Sunday, February 28, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 111

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Assistant Professor of Illustrated Literature Studies; Assistant Women’s Water Polo Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Genteel Rake, the Olney Community College Press.

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On Thursday, April 6, I dined with him at Mr. Thomas Davies's, with Mr. Hicky, the painter, and my old acquaintance Mr. Moody, the player. 

Dr. Johnson, as usual, spoke contemptuously of Colley Cibber.

'It is wonderful that a man, who for forty years had lived with the great and the witty, should have acquired so ill the talents of conversation: and he had but half to furnish; for one half of what he said was oaths.'

He, however, allowed considerable merit to some of his comedies, and said there was no reason to believe that the Careless Husband was not written by himself.

Davies said, he was the first dramatick writer who introduced genteel ladies upon the stage. Johnson refuted this observation by instancing several such characters in comedies before his time.

DAVIES (trying to defend himself from a charge of ignorance,) 'I mean genteel moral characters.'

'I think (said Hicky,) gentility and morality are inseparable.'

BOSWELL. 'By no means, Sir. The genteelest characters are often the most immoral. Does not Lord Chesterfield give precepts for uniting wickedness and the graces? A man, indeed, is not genteel when he gets drunk; but most vices may be committed very genteelly: a man may debauch his friend's wife genteely: he may cheat at cards genteelly.'

HICKY. 'I do not think that is genteel.'

BOSWELL. 'Sir, it may not be like a gentleman, but it may be genteel.'

JOHNSON. 'You are meaning two different things. One means exteriour grace; the other honour. It is certain that a man may be very immoral with exteriour grace. Lovelace, in Clarissa, is a very genteel and a very wicked character. Tom Hervey, who died t'other day, though a vicious man, was one of the genteelest men that ever lived.'

Tom Davies instanced Charles the Second.

JOHNSON, (taking fire at any attack upon that Prince, for whom he had an extraordinary partiality,) 'Charles the Second was licentious in his practice; but he always had a reverence for what was good. Charles the Second knew his people, and rewarded merit. The Church was at no time better filled than in his reign. He was the best King we have had from his time till the reign of his present Majesty, except James the Second, who was a very good King, but unhappily believed that it was necessary for the salvation of his subjects that they should be Roman Catholicks. He had the merit of endeavouring to do what he thought was for the salvation of the souls of his subjects, till he lost a great Empire. We, who thought that we should not be saved if we were Roman Catholicks, had the merit of maintaining our religion, at the experience of submitting ourselves to the government of King William, (for it could not be done otherwise,)— to the government of one of the most worthless scoundrels that ever existed.

No; Charles the Second was not such a man as ——, (naming another King). He did not destroy his father's will. He took money, indeed, from France: but he did not betray those over whom he ruled: He did not let the French fleet pass ours. George the First knew nothing, and desired to know nothing; did nothing, and desired to do nothing: and the only good thing that is told of him is, that he wished to restore the crown to its hereditary successor.'

He roared with prodigious violence against George the Second. When he ceased, Moody interjected, in an Irish tone, and with a comick look, 'Ah! poor George the Second.'


I mentioned that Dr. Thomas Campbell had come from Ireland to London, principally to see Dr. Johnson. He seemed angry at this observation.

DAVIES. 'Why, you know, Sir, there came a man from Spain to see Livy; and Corelli came to England to see Purcell, and when he heard he was dead, went directly back again to Italy.' 

JOHNSON. 'I should not have wished to be dead to disappoint Campbell, had he been so foolish as you represent him; but I should have wished to have been a hundred miles off.'

This was apparently perverse; and I do believe it was not his real way of thinking: he could not but like a man who came so far to see him. He laughed with some complacency, when I told him Campbell's odd expression to me concerning him: 'That having seen such a man, was a thing to talk of a century hence,'— as if he could live so long.

We got into an argument whether the Judges who went to India might with propriety engage in trade. Johnson warmly maintained that they might.

'For why (he urged) should not Judges get riches, as well as those who deserve them less?'

I said, they should have sufficient salaries, and have nothing to take off their attention from the affairs of the publick.

JOHNSON. 'No Judge, Sir, can give his whole attention to his office; and it is very proper that he should employ what time he has to himself, to his own advantage, in the most profitable manner.'

'Then, Sir, (said Davies, who enlivened the dispute by making it somewhat dramatick,) he may become an insurer; and when he is going to the bench, he may be stopped,—" Your Lordship cannot go yet: here is a bunch of invoices: several ships are about to sail."'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, you may as well say a Judge should not have a house; for they may come and tell him, "Your Lordship's house is on fire;" and so, instead of minding the business of his Court, he is to be occupied in getting the engine with the greatest speed. There is no end of this. Every Judge who has land, trades to a certain extent in corn or in cattle; and in the land itself, undoubtedly. His steward acts for him, and so do clerks for a great merchant. A Judge may be a farmer; but he is not to geld his own pigs. A Judge may play a little at cards for his amusement; but he is not to play at marbles, or at chuck-farthing in the Piazza.

No, Sir; there is no profession to which a man gives a very great proportion of his time. It is wonderful, when a calculation is made, how little the mind is actually employed in the discharge of any profession. No man would be a Judge, upon the condition of being totally a Judge. The best employed lawyer has his mind at work but for a small proportion of his time: a great deal of his occupation is merely mechanical. I once wrote for a magazine: I made a calculation, that if I should write but a page a day, at the same rate, I should, in ten years, write nine volumes in folio, of an ordinary size and print.' 

BOSWELL. 'Such as Carte's History?' 

JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir. When a man writes from his own mind, he writes very rapidly. The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book.'

I argued warmly against the Judges trading, and mentioned Hale as an instance of a perfect Judge, who devoted himself entirely to his office. 

JOHNSON. 'Hale, Sir, attended to other things besides law: he left a great estate.' 

BOSWELL. 'That was, because what he got, accumulated without any exertion and anxiety on his part.'

While the dispute went on, Moody once tried to say something upon our side. Tom Davies clapped him on the back, to encourage him. Beauclerk, to whom I mentioned this circumstance, said, 'that he could not conceive a more humiliating situation than to be clapped on the back by Tom Davies.'

JOHNSON. 'Old Gardner the bookseller employed Rolt and Smart to write a monthly miscellany, called The Universal Visitor. There was a formal written contract, which Allen the printer saw.  They were bound to write nothing else; they were to have, I think, a third of the profits of this sixpenny pamphlet; and the contract was for ninety-nine years. I wrote for some months in The Universal Visitor, for poor Smart, while he was mad, not then knowing the terms on which he was engaged to write, and thinking I was doing him good. I hoped his wits would soon return to him. Mine returned to me, and I wrote in The Universal Visitor no longer.'

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part 112

Monday, February 22, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 110

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of 21st Century Graphic Literature Studies; Assistant Women’s Field Hockey Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Poisoned Tea of Mrs. Williams, the Olney Community College Press.

Art and layout personally supervised by rhoda penmarq (design, pencils, inks, oils, and gouache by eddie el greco; lettering by roy dismas ) for penmarqtronic™ productions.

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for previous chapter, click here

I visited him by appointment in the evening, and we drank tea with Mrs. Williams. He told me that he had been in the company of a gentleman whose extraordinary travels had been much the subject of conversation. But I found that he had not listened to him with that full confidence, without which there is little satisfaction in the society of travellers. I was curious to hear what opinion so able a judge as Johnson had formed of his abilities, and I asked if he was not a man of sense. 

JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, he is not a distinct relater; and I should say, he is neither abounding nor deficient in sense. I did not perceive any superiority of understanding.'

BOSWELL. 'But will you not allow him a nobleness of resolution, in penetrating into distant regions?'

JOHNSON. 'That, Sir, is not to the present purpose. We are talking of his sense. A fighting cock has a nobleness of resolution.'

Next day, Sunday, April 2, I dined with him at Mr. Hoole's. We talked of Pope. 

JOHNSON. 'He wrote his Dunciad for fame. That was his primary motive. Had it not been for that, the dunces might have railed against him till they were weary, without his troubling himself about them. He delighted to vex them, no doubt; but he had more delight in seeing how well he could vex them.'

BOSWELL. 'Surely, Sir, Mr. Mason's Elfrida is a fine Poem: at least you will allow there are some good passages in it.'

JOHNSON. 'There are now and then some good imitations of Milton's bad manner.'

His Taxation no Tyranny being mentioned, he said, 'I think I have not been attacked enough for it. Attack is the re-action; I never think I have hit hard, unless it rebounds.'

BOSWELL. 'I don't know, Sir, what you would be at. Five or six shots of small arms in every newspaper, and repeated cannonading in pamphlets, might, I think, satisfy you. But, Sir, you'll never make out this match, of which we have talked, with a certain, political lady, since you are so severe against her principles.'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, I have the better chance for that. She is like the Amazons of old; she must be courted by the sword. But I have not been severe upon her.'

BOSWELL. 'Yes, Sir, you have made her ridiculous.'

JOHNSON. 'That was already done, Sir. To endeavour to make her ridiculous, is like blacking the chimney.'

I talked of the chearfulness of Fleet-street, owing to the constant quick succession of people which we perceive passing through it.

JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, Fleet-street has a very animated appearance; but I think the full tide of human existence is at Charing-cross.'

He made the common remark on the unhappiness which men who have led a busy life experience, when they retire in expectation of enjoying themselves at ease, and that they generally languish for want of their habitual occupation, and wish to return to it. He mentioned as strong an instance of this as can well be imagined.

'An eminent tallow-chandler in London, who had acquired a considerable fortune, gave up the trade in favour of his foreman, and went to live at a country-house near town. He soon grew weary, and paid frequent visits to his old shop, where he desired they might let him know their melting-days, and he would come and assist them; which he accordingly did. Here, Sir, was a man, to whom the most disgusting circumstance in the business to which he had been used was a relief from idleness.'

On Wednesday, April 5, I dined with him at Messieurs Dilly's, with Mr. John Scott of Amwell, the Quaker, Mr. Langton, Mr. Miller, (now Sir John,) and Dr. Thomas Campbell, an Irish Clergyman, whom I took the liberty of inviting to Mr. Dilly's table, having seen him at Mr. Thrale's, and been told that he had come to England chiefly with a view to see Dr. Johnson, for whom he entertained the highest veneration.

We talked of publick speaking.—

JOHNSON. 'We must not estimate a man's powers by his being able or not able to deliver his sentiments in publick. Isaac Hawkins Browne, one of the first wits of this country, got into Parliament, and never opened his mouth. For my own part, I think it is more disgraceful never to try to speak, than to try it and fail; as it is more disgraceful not to fight, than to fight and be beaten.'

This argument appeared to me fallacious; for if a man has not spoken, it may be said that he would have done very well if he had tried; whereas, if he has tried and failed, there is nothing to be said for him.

'Why then, (I asked,) is it thought disgraceful for a man not to fight, and not disgraceful not to speak in publick?'

JOHNSON. 'Because there may be other reasons for a man's not speaking in publick than want of resolution: he may have nothing to say, (laughing.) Whereas, Sir, you know courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other.'

He observed, that 'the statutes against bribery were intended to prevent upstarts with money from getting into Parliament;' adding, that 'if he were a gentleman of landed property, he would turn out all his tenants who did not vote for the candidate whom he supported.'

LANGTON. 'Would not that, Sir, be checking the freedom of election?'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, the law does not mean that the privilege of voting should be independent of old family interest; of the permanent property of the country.'

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part 111

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 109

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Assistant Professor of Comic Book Studies; Assistant Women’s Track and Field Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Body of Wits, the Olney Community College Press.

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I met him at Drury-lane play-house in the evening. Sir Joshua Reynolds, at Mrs. Abington's request, had promised to bring a body of wits to her benefit; and having secured forty places in the front boxes, had done me the honour to put me in the group. Johnson sat on the seat directly behind me; and as he could neither see nor hear at such a distance from the stage, he was wrapped up in grave abstraction, and seemed quite a cloud, amidst all the sunshine of glitter and gaiety.

I wondered at his patience in sitting out a play of five acts, and a farce of two. He said very little; but after the prologue to Bon Ton had been spoken, which he could hear pretty well from the more slow and distinct utterance, he talked of prologue-writing, and observed,

'Dryden has written prologues superiour to any that David Garrick has written; but David Garrick has written more good prologues than Dryden has done. It is wonderful that he has been able to write such variety of them.'

At Mr. Beauclerk's, where I supped, was Mr. Garrick, whom I made happy with Johnson's praise of his prologues. Garrick, however, when he pleased, could imitate Johnson very exactly; for that great actor, with his distinguished powers of expression which were so universally admired, possessed also an admirable talent of mimickry. He was always jealous that Johnson spoke lightly of him. I recollect his exhibiting him to me one day, saying, 'Davy has some convivial pleasantry about him, but 'tis a futile fellow;' which he uttered perfectly with the tone and air of Johnson.

Next day I dined with Johnson at Mr. Thrale's. He attacked Gray, calling him 'a dull fellow.'

BOSWELL. 'I understand he was reserved, and might appear dull in company; but surely he was not dull in poetry.'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull every where. He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him GREAT.'

He then repeated some ludicrous lines, which have escaped my memory.

'No, Sir, there are but two good stanzas in Gray's poetry, which are in his Elegy in a Country Church-yard.'

He then repeated the stanza, 'For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,' &c. 

He added, 'The other stanza I forget.'

A young lady who had married a man much her inferiour in rank being mentioned, a question arose how a woman's relations should behave to her in such a situation. While I contended that she ought to be treated with an inflexible steadiness of displeasure, Mrs. Thrale was all for mildness and forgiveness, and, according to the vulgar phrase, 'making the best of a bad bargain.'

JOHNSON. 'Madam, we must distinguish. Were I a man of rank, I would not let a daughter starve who had made a mean marriage; but having voluntarily degraded herself from the station which she was originally entitled to hold, I would support her only in that which she herself had chosen; and would not put her on a level with my other daughters. You are to consider, Madam, that it is our duty to maintain the subordination of civilized society; and when there is a gross and shameful deviation from rank, it should be punished so as to deter others from the same perversion.'

On Friday, March 31, I supped with him and some friends at a tavern. One of the company attempted, with too much forwardness, to rally him on his late appearance at the theatre; but had reason to repent of his temerity. 

'Why, Sir , did you go to Mrs. Abington's benefit? Did you see?' 

JOHNSON. 'No, Sir.' 

'Did you hear?' 

JOHNSON. 'No, Sir.' 

'Why then, Sir, did you go?' 

JOHNSON. 'Because, Sir, she is a favourite of the publick; and when the publick cares the thousandth part for you that it does for her, I will go to your benefit too.'

Next morning I won a small bet from lady Diana Beauclerk, by asking him as to one of his particularities, which her Ladyship laid I durst not do. It seems he had been frequently observed at the Club to put into his pocket the Seville oranges, after he had squeezed the juice of them into the drink which he made for himself. Beauclerk and Garrick talked of it to me, and seemed to think that he had a strange unwillingness to be discovered. We could not divine what he did with them; and this was the bold question to be put. I saw on his table the spoils of the preceding night, some fresh peels nicely scraped and cut into pieces.

'O, Sir, (said I,) I now partly see what you do with the squeezed oranges which you put into your pocket at the Club.'

JOHNSON. 'I have a great love for them.'

BOSWELL. 'And pray, Sir, what do you do with them? You scrape them, it seems, very neatly, and what next?'

JOHNSON. 'Let them dry, Sir.'

BOSWELL. 'And what next?'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, you shall know their fate no further.'

BOSWELL. 'Then the world must be left in the dark. It must be said (assuming a mock solemnity,) he scraped them, and let them dry, but what he did with them next, he never could be prevailed upon to tell.'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, you should say it more emphatically:— he could not be prevailed upon, even by his dearest friends, to tell.'

He had this morning received his Diploma as Doctor of Laws from the University of Oxford. He did not vaunt of his new dignity, but I understood he was highly pleased with it.

I observed to him that there were very few of his friends so accurate as that I could venture to put down in writing what they told me as his sayings.

JOHNSON. 'Why should you write down my sayings?'

BOSWELL. 'I write them when they are good.'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, you may as well write down the sayings of any one else that are good.'

But where, I might with great propriety have added, can I find such?


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part 110

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 108

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of Graphic Biographical Studies; Assistant Women’s Indoor Volleyball Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Ghost of Goldsmith, the Olney Community College Press.

Artwork and layout personally supervised by rhoda penmarq (design, pencils, inks, colors by eddie el greco; lettering by roy dismas ) for penmarqoboliq™ productions.

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'I am sorry that I could get no books for my friends in Scotland. Mr. Strahan has at last promised to send two dozen to you. If they come, put the names of my friends into them; you may cut them out, and paste them with a little starch in the book.

'In the mean time, the bookseller says that the sale is sufficiently quick. They printed four thousand. Correct your copy wherever it is wrong, and bring it up. Your friends will all be glad to see you. I think of going myself into the country about May.

'I am sorry that I have not managed to send the book sooner. I have left four for you, and do not restrict you absolutely to follow my directions in the distribution. You must use your own discretion.

'Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell: I suppose she is now just beginning to forgive me.

'I am, dear Sir, your humble servant,


'Feb. 25, 1775.'

On Tuesday, March 21, I arrived in London; and on repairing to Dr. Johnson's before dinner, found him in his study, sitting with Mr. Peter Garrick, the elder brother of David, strongly resembling him in countenance and voice, but of more sedate and placid manners. Both at this interview, and in the evening at Mr. Thrale's, where he and Mr. Peter Garrick and I met again, he was vehement on the subject of the Ossian controversy; observing,

'We do not know that there are any ancient Erse manuscripts; and we have no other reason to disbelieve that there are men with three heads, but that we do not know that there are any such men.'

He also was outrageous, upon his supposition that my countrymen 'loved Scotland better than truth,' saying,

'All of them,— nay not all,— but droves of them, would come up, and attest any thing for the honour of Scotland.'

He also persevered in his wild allegation, that he questioned if there was a tree between Edinburgh and the English border older than himself. I assured him he was mistaken, and suggested that the proper punishment would be that he should receive a stripe at every tree above a hundred years old, that was found within that space. He laughed, and said, 'I believe I might submit to it for a banbee!' {“banbee”: halfpenny – Ed.}

The doubts which, in my correspondence with him, I had ventured to state as to the justice and wisdom of the conduct of Great-Britain towards the American colonies, while I at the same time requested that he would enable me to inform myself upon that momentous subject, he had altogether disregarded; and had recently published a pamphlet, entitled, Taxation no Tyranny; an answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Congress.

He had long before indulged most unfavourable sentiments of our fellow-subjects in America. For, as early as 1769, I was told by Dr. John Campbell, that he had said of them,

'Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for any thing we allow them short of hanging.'

Of this performance I avoided to talk with him; for I had now formed a clear and settled opinion, that the people of America were well warranted to resist a claim that their fellow-subjects in the mother-country should have the entire command of their fortunes, by taxing them without their own consent; and the extreme violence which it breathed, appeared to me so unsuitable to the mildness of a Christian philosopher, and so directly opposite to the principles of peace which he had so beautifully recommended in his pamphlet respecting Falkland's Islands, that I was sorry to see him appear in so unfavourable a light. Besides, I could not perceive in it that ability of argument, or that felicity of expression, for which he was, upon other occasions, so eminent. Positive assertion, sarcastical severity, and extravagant ridicule, which he himself reprobated as a test of truth, were united in this rhapsody.

His pamphlets in support of the measures of administration were published on his own account, and he afterwards collected them into a volume, with the title of Political Tracts, by the Authour of the Rambler.  

These pamphlets drew upon him numerous attacks. Against the common weapons of literary warfare he was hardened; but there were instances of animadversion which I communicated to him, and from what I could judge, both from his silence and his looks, appeared to me to impress him much.

However confident of the rectitude of his own mind, Johnson may have felt sincere uneasiness that his conduct should be erroneously imputed to unworthy motives, by good men; and that the influence of his valuable writings should on that account be in any degree obstructed or lessened.

He complained to a Right Honourable friend of distinguished talents and very elegant manners, with whom he maintained a long intimacy, that his pension having been given to him as a literary character, he had been applied to by administration to write political pamphlets; and he was even so much irritated, that he declared his resolution to resign his pension. His friend shewed him the impropriety of such a measure, and he afterwards expressed his gratitude, and said he had received good advice. To that friend he once signified a wish to have his pension secured to him for his life; but he neither asked nor received from government any reward whatsoever for his political labours.

On Friday, March 24, I met him at the LITERARY CLUB, where were Mr. Beauclerk, Mr. Langton, Mr. Colman, Dr. Percy, Mr. Vesey, Sir Charles Bunbury, Dr. George Fordyce, Mr. Steevens, and Mr. Charles Fox. Before he came in, we talked of his Journey to the Western Islands, and of his coming away 'willing to believe the second sight,' which seemed to excite some ridicule. I was then so impressed with the truth of many of the stories of it which I had been told, that I avowed my conviction, saying,

'He is only willing to believe: I do believe. The evidence is enough for me, though not for his great mind. What will not fill a quart bottle will fill a pint bottle. I am filled with belief.'

'Are you? (said Colman,) then cork it up.'

I found his Journey the common topick of conversation in London at this time, wherever I happened to be.

At one of Lord Mansfield's formal Sunday evening conversations, strangely called Levees, his Lordship addressed me, 'We have all been reading your travels, Mr. Boswell.'

I answered, 'I was but the humble attendant of Dr. Johnson.'

The Chief Justice replied, with that air and manner which none, who ever saw and heard him, can forget, 'He speaks ill of nobody but Ossian.'

Johnson was in high spirits this evening at the club, and talked with great animation and success. He attacked Swift, as he used to do upon all occasions. I wondered to hear him say of Gulliver's Travels,

'When once you have thought of big men and little men, it is very easy to do all the rest.'

From Swift, there was an easy transition to Mr. Thomas Sheridan.

— JOHNSON. 'Sheridan is a wonderful admirer of the tragedy of Douglas, and presented its authour with a gold medal.

Some years ago, at a coffee-house in Oxford, I called to him, "Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Sheridan, how came you to give a gold medal to Home, for writing that foolish play?" This, you see, was wanton and insolent; but I meant to be wanton and insolent. A medal has no value but as a stamp of merit. And was Sheridan to assume to himself the right of giving that stamp? Sheridan had no right to give a stamp of merit: it was counterfeiting Apollo's coin.'

On Monday, March 27, I breakfasted with him at Mr. Strahan's. He told us, that he was engaged to go that evening to Mrs. Abington's benefit.

'She was visiting some ladies whom I was visiting, and begged that I would come to her benefit. I told her I could not hear: but she insisted so much on my coming, that it would have been brutal to have refused her.'

This was a speech quite characteristical. He loved to bring forward his having been in the gay circles of life; and he was, perhaps, a little vain of the solicitations of this elegant and fashionable actress.

Mr. Strahan talked of launching into the great ocean of London, in order to have a chance for rising into eminence; and, observing that many men were kept back from trying their fortunes there, because they were born to a competency, said, 'Small certainties are the bane of men of talents;' which Johnson confirmed.

Mr. Strahan put Johnson in mind of a remark which he had made to him;

'There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money.'

'The more one thinks of this, (said Strahan,) the juster it will appear.'

Mr. Strahan had taken a poor boy from the country as an apprentice, upon Johnson's recommendation. Johnson having enquired after him, said,

'Mr. Strahan, let me have five guineas on account, and I'll give this boy one. Nay, if a man recommends a boy, and does nothing for him, it is sad work. Call him down.'

I followed him into the court- yard, behind Mr. Strahan's house; and there I had a proof of what I had heard him profess, that he talked alike to all. 'Some people tell you that they let themselves down to the capacity of their hearers. I never do that. I speak uniformly, in as intelligible a manner as I can.'

'Well, my boy, how do you go on?'

'Pretty well, Sir; but they are afraid I an't strong enough for some parts of the business.'

JOHNSON. 'Why I shall be sorry for it; for when you consider with how little mental power and corporeal labour a printer can get a guinea a week, it is a very desirable occupation for you. Do you hear,— take all the pains you can; and if this does not do, we must think of some other way of life for you. There's a guinea.'

Here was one of the many, many instances of his active benevolence. At the same time, the slow and sonorous solemnity with which, while he bent himself down, he addressed a little thick short-legged boy, contrasted with the boy's aukwardness and awe, could not but excite some ludicrous emotions.  

(classix comix is sponsored by Bob’s Bowery Bar™, conveniently located at the northwest corner of Bleecker and the Bowery: “’Be of Good Cheer’ reads the legend which greets the clientèle of Bob’s Bowery Bar, and what better way to induce a state of the most mellow felicity than to avail oneself of Bob’s famous prix-fixe Sunday brunch,

featuring all-you-can-eat buttermilk flapjacks, fresh-baked groatcakes, organic scrapple, nitrate-free bacon, Mom’s baked beans ‘n’ fatback, fried mush, biscuits ‘n’ red-eye gravy, creamed chipped beef on your choice of sourdough or challah toast, and eggs ‘any style’? What a ‘steal’ at $3.95!” – Horace P. Sternwall, host of Bob’s Bowery Bar Presents the Philip Morris Commander Comedy Cavalcade, featuring Tony Winston & his Winstonians with Shirley De LaSalle and the Betty Baxter Dancers, Tuesdays at 10pm (EST), exclusively on the Dumont Television Network.)

part 109