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ing, without the smallest knowledge or care about the noise made round him. His deafness made such conduct less odd and less difficult to him than it would have been to another man; but his advising others to take the same method, and pull a little book out when they were not entertained with what was going forward in society, seemed more likely to advance the growth of science than of polished manners, for which he always pretended extreme veneration.

Mr. Johnson indeed always measured other people's notions of every thing by his own, and nothing could persuade him to believe, that the books which he disliked were agreeable to thousands, or that air and exercise which he despised were beneficial to the health of other mortals. When poor Smart, so well known for his wit and misfortunes, was first obliged to be put in private lodgings, a common friend of both lamented in tender terms the necessity which had torn so pleasing a companion from their acquaintance—“A madman must be confined, Sir,” (replies Dr. Johnson;) “but,” says the other, “I am now apprehensive for his general health, he will lose the benefit of exercise." “ Exercise ! (returns the Doctor) I never heard that he used any: he might, for aught I know, walk to the alehouse; but I believe he was always carried home again.”

It was however unlucky for those who delighted to echo Johnson's sentiments; that he would not endure from them today, what perhaps he had yesterday, by his own manner of treating the subject, made them fond of repeating ; and I fancy Mr. B— has not forgotten, that though his friend one evening in a gay humour talked in praise of wine as one of the blessings permitted by heaven, when used with moderation, to lighten the load of life, and give men strength to endure it; yet, when in consequence of such talk he thought fit to make a Bacchanalian discourse in its favour, Mr. Johnson contradicted him somewhat roughly as I remember; and when to assure himself of conquest he added these words: “You must allow me, Sir, at least that it produces truth; in vino veritas, you know, Sir.”- -“ That (replied Mr. Johnson) would be useless to a man who knew he was not a liar when he was sober."

When one talks of giving and taking the lie familiarly, it is impossible to forbear recollecting the transactions between the editor of Ossian and the author of the “ Journey to the Hebrides." It was most observable to me however, that Mr. Johnson never

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bore his antagonist the slightest degree of ill-will. He always kept those quarrels which belonged to him as a writer, separate from those which he had to do with as a man; but I never did hear him say in private one malicious word of a public enemy; and of Mr. Macpherson I once heard him speak respectfully, though his reply to the friend who asked him if any man living could have written such a book, is well known, and has been often repeated; “Yes, Sir; many men, many women, and many children.”

I enquired of him myself if this story was authentic, and he said it was.

I made the same enquiry concerning his account of the state of literature in Scotland, which was repeated up and down at one time by every body—“ How knowledge was divided among the Scots, like bread in a besieged town, to every man a mouthful, to no man a bellyful.” This story he likewise acknowledged, and said besides, “ that some officious friend had carried it, to Lord Bute, who only answered—Well, well ! never mind what he says-he will have the pension all one.”

Another famous reply to a Scotsman who commended the beauty and dignity of Glasgow, till Mr. Johnson stopped him by observing, “ that he probably had never yet seen Brentford,” was one of the jokes he owned : and said himself, “that when a gentleman of that country once mentioned the lovely prospects common in his nation, he could not help telling him, that the view of the London road was the prospect in which every Scotsman most naturally and most rationally delighted."

Mrs. Brooke received an answer not unlike this, when expatiating on the accumulation of sublime and beautiful objects, which form the fine prospect up the river St. Lawrence in North America; “ Come Madam (says Dr. Johnson), confess that nothing ever equalled your pleasure in seeing that sight reversed; and finding yourself looking at the happy prospect down the river St. Lawrence.” The truth is, he hated to hear about prospects and views, and laying out ground and taste in gardening : “ That was the best garden (he said) which produced most roots and fruits; and that water was most to be prized which contained most fish.” He used to laugh at Shenstone most unmercifully for not caring whether there was any thing good to eat in the streams he was so fond of, as if (says Johnson) one could fill

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I Vol. i., p. 314.

ing, without the smallest knowledge or care about the noise made round him. His deafness made such conduct less odd and less difficult to him than it would have been to another man; but his advising others to take the same method, and pull a little book out when they were not entertained with what was going forward in society, seemed more likely to advance the growth of science than of polished manners, for which he always pretended extreme veneration.

Mr. Johnson indeed always measured other people's notions of every thing by his own, and nothing could persuade him to believe, that the books which he disliked were agreeable to thousands, or that air and exercise which he despised were beneficial to the health of other mortals. When poor Smart, so well known for his wit and misfortunes, was first obliged to be put in private lodgings, a common friend of both lamented in tender terms the necessity which had torn so pleasing a companion from their acquaintance—“A madman must be confined, Sir," (replies Dr. Johnson;) “but,” says the other, “I am now apprehensive for his general health, he will lose the benefit of exercise." “ Exercise ! (returns the Doctor) I never heard that he used any : he might, for aught I know, walk to the alehouse; but I believe he was always carried home again.”

It was however unlucky for those who delighted to echo Johnson's sentiments; that he would not endure from them today, what perhaps he had yesterday, by his own manner of treating the subject, made them fond of repeating ; and I fancy Mr. B- has not forgotten, that though his friend one evening in a gay humour talked in praise of wine as one of the blessings permitted by heaven, when used with moderation, to lighten the load of life, and give men strength to endure it; yet, when in consequence of such talk he thought fit to make a Bacchanalian discourse in its favour, Mr. Johnson contradicted him somewhat roughly as I remember; and when to assure himself of conquest he added these words: “You must allow me, Sir, at least that it produces truth; in vino veritas, you know, Sir.”—“That (replied Mr. Johnson) would be useless to a man who knew he was not a liar when he was sober.”

When one talks of giving and taking the lie familiarly, it is impossible to forbear recollecting the transactions between the editor of Ossian and the author of the “ Journey to the Hebrides." It was most observable to me however, that Mr. Johnson never and many

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bore his antagonist the slightest degree of ill-will. He always kept those quarrels which belonged to him as a writer, separate from those which he had to do with as a man; but I never did hear him say in private one malicious word of a public enemy; and of Mr. Macpherson I once heard him speak respectfully, though his reply to the friend who asked him if any man living could have written such a book, is well known, and has been often repeated; “Yes, Sir; many men, many women, children.”

I enquired of him myself if this story was authentic, and he said it was. I made the same enquiry concerning his account of the state of literature in Scotland, which was repeated up and down at one time by every body—“ How knowledge was divided among the Scots, like bread in a besieged town, to every man a mouthful, to no man a bellyful.” This story he likewise acknowledged, and said besides, “that some officious friend had carried it. to Lord Bute, who only answered—Well, well! never mind what he says—he will have the pension all one."

Another famous reply to a Scotsman who commended the beauty and dignity of Glasgow, till Mr. Johnson stopped him by observing, “ that he probably had never yet seen Brentford,” was one of the jokes he owned: and said himself, “ that when a gentleman of that country once mentioned the lovely prospects common in his nation, he could not help telling him, that the view of the London road was the prospect in which every Scotsman most naturally and most rationally delighted.”

Mrs. Brooke received an answer not unlike this, when expatiating on the accumulation of sublime and beautiful objects, which form the fine prospect up the river St. Lawrence in North America ; “ Come Madam (says Dr. Johnson), confess that nothing ever equalled your pleasure in seeing that sight reversed; and finding yourself looking at the happy prospect down the river St. Lawrence." The truth is, he hated to hear about prospects and views, and laying out ground and taste in gardening: That was the best garden (he said) which produced most roots and fruits ; and that water was most to be prized which contained most fish.” He used to laugh at Shenstone most unmercifully for not caring whether there was any thing good to eat in the streams he was so fond of, “ as if (says Johnson) one could fill

I Voli., p. 314.

66

one's belly with hearing soft murmurs, or looking at rough cascades !”

He loved the sight of fine forest trees however, and detested Brighthelmstone Downs, “ because it was a country so truly desolate (he said), that if one had a mind to hang one's self for desperation at being obliged to live there, it would be difficult to find a tree on which to fasten the rope.” Walking in a wood when it rained, was, I think, the only rural image he pleased his fancy with; "for (says he) after one has gathered the apples in an orchard, one wishes them well bakcd, and removed to a London eating-house for enjoyment.”

With such notions, who can wonder he passed his time uncomfortably enough with us, who he often complained of for living so much in the country ; feeding the chickens (as he said I did) till I starved my own understanding. Get however (said he) a book about gardening, and study it hard, since you

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pass your life with birds and flowers, and learn to raise the largest turnips, and to breed the biggest fowls.” It was vain to assure him that the goodness of such dishes did not depend upon their size; he laughed at the people who covered their canals with foreign fowls, “ when (says he) our own geese and ganders are twice as large: if we fetched better animals from distant nations, there might be some sense in the preference; but to get cows from Alderney, or water-fowl from China, only to see nature degenerating round one, is a poor ambition indeed."

Nor was Mr. Johnson more merciful with regard to the amusements people are contented to call such : 66 You hunt in the morning (says he), and crowd to the public rooms at night, and call it diversion; when your heart knows it is perishing with poverty of pleasures, and your wits get blunted for want of some other mind to sharpen them upon. There is in this world no real delight (excepting those of sensuality), but exchange of ideas in conversation; and whoever has once experienced the full flow of London talk, when he retires to country friendships and rural sports, must either be contented to turn baby again and play with the rattle, or he will pine away like a great fish in a little pond, and die for want of his usual food.”- -“Books without the knowledge of life are useless (I have heard him say); for what should books teach but the art of living ? To study manners however only in coffee-houses, is more than equally imperfect; the minds of men who acquire no solid learning, and only exist on the daily

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