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gulped the pill very prettily—so much for Baretti! Johnson, you are the very man Lord Chesterfield describes :- :-a Hottentot indeed, and tho' your abilities are respectable, you never can be respected yourself. He has the aspect of an Idiot, without the faintest
ray of sense gleaming from any one feature—with the most awkward garb, and unpowdered grey wig, on one side only of his head-he is for ever dancing the devil's jig, and sometimes he makes the most driveling effort to whistle some thought in his absent paroxisms. He came up to me and took me by the hand, then sat down on a sofa, and mumbled out that he had heard two papers had appeared against him in the course of this week—one of which was that he was to go to Ireland next summer in order to abuse the hospitality of that place also. His awkwardness at table is just what Chesterfield described, and his roughness of manners kept pace with that. When Mrs. Thrale quoted something from Foster's “ Sermons,” he flew in a passion and said that Foster was a man of mean ability, and of no original thinking. All which tho’ I took to be most true, yet I held it not meet to have it so set down. He said that he looked upon Burke to be the author of Junius, and that though he would not take him contra mundum, yet he would take him against any man. Baretti was of the same mind, tho' he mentioned a fact which made against the opinion, which was that a paper having appeared against Junius, on this day, a Junius came out in answer to that the very next, when (every body knew) Burke was in Yorkshire. But all the Juniuses were evidently not written by the same hand. Burke's brother is a good writer, tho' nothing like Edmund. The doctor as he drinks no wine, retired soon after dinner, and Barretti, who I see is a sort of literary toad eater to Johnson, told me that he was a man nowise affected by praise or dispraise, and that the journey to the Hebrides would never have been published but for himself. The Doctor however returned again, and with all the fond anxiety of an author, I saw him cast out all his nets to know the sense of the town about his last pamphlet, “ Taxation no Tyranny,” which he said did not sell. Mr. Thrale told him such and such members of both houses admired it, and why did you not tell me this, quoth Johnson. Thrale asked him what Sir Joshua Reynolds said of it. Sir Joshua, quoth the Doctor, has not read it. I suppose, quoth Thrale, he has been very busy of late; no, says the Doctor, but I never look at his pictures, so he won't read my writings. Was this like a man insensible to glory! Thrale then asked him if he had got Miss Reynolds' opinion, for she it seems is a politician ; as to that, quoth the Doctor, it is no great matter, for she could not tell after she had read it, on which side of the question Mr. Burke's speech was. N.B.—We had a great deal of conversation about Archdeacon Congreve, who was his class-fellow at Litchfield School. He talked of him as a man of great coldness of mind, who could be two years in London without letting him know it till a few weeks ago, and then apologising by saying, that he did not know where to enquire for him. This plainly raised his indignation, for he swelled to think that his celebrity should not be notorious to every porter in the street. The Archdeacon, he told me, has a sermon upon the nature of moral good and evil, preparing for the press, and should he die before publication, he leaves fifty pounds for that purpose. He said he read some of it to him, but that as he had interrupted him to make some remarks, he hopes never to be troubled with another rehearsal.
17th. Patrick's day, fair—nothing remarkable occurred this day. Dined with Tom Orr, where I met Lisson and other Hibernians. Except the Duke of Leinster's chairmen and beggars, I saw very few people wear Shamrougs. This night for the first time played Loo, and came off a winner.
18th. Showery in the forenoon, and rainy in the afternoon, and now it is pouring at eleven o'clock. In the morning I went to the Tower alone, where I had a contest with one of the redcoats who led me round. At first he blustered, and talked of taking me to the Constable of the Tower; but, upon my insisting to go there, his crest fell, and he was fain to forego his exaction. This I did merely to try the humour of the people. But people are the same every where, individuals and customs and institutions differ. This night I went to Covent garden, where maugre Mrs. Barry's excellency's, “ Edward and Eleonora” went off insipidly. I bought an onyx cameo ring, the device a Madona's head, and the face (happily) white, the rest of a cornelian colour, price two guineas and two shillings.
19th. Hazy all day, interspersed with showers. Breakfasted with Pierson, and took from him a box ticket for Miss Young's benefit on Tuesday night-a place to be kept. I went to St. James's, and saw the King and Queen go to Chappel. There was more pomp than I expected, for among other errors I had imbibed in Ireland, this was one, that the Lord Lieutenant in
Ireland appeared in greater display of state than his Majesty ; but the thing is impossible, for I think the Battle axe Guards is all the apparatus of state in Ireland, but the men here dressed in the same uniform with them, whose denomination I forget, are inore numerous, and besides the yeomen of the guard, and gentlemen pensioners who line ail the avenues from the presence chamber to the Chappel, are more richly dressed than common officers, not to say any thing of the nobility in office, maids of honour, &c. Dined with Lord Dartrey, who lives a l’Anglois, or rather Francois, the cloth not being at all removed, &c. There was the celebrated Mrs. Carter, whom I should not have suspected to be either an authoress or an old maid, for she was an unaffected, plain, well-looking woman, yet they told me she has translated Epictetus, and that her poems are beautiful. There was also Miss Duckworth, who does not accompany Lady Dartrey to Ireland in May. Coming home I stepped into St. James's Church, where I saw a grave gentleman-Mr. Parker, reading a lecture on the Catechism out of a book, but whether printed or not, I could not decide. He warned his hearers that the quantity of God's grace communicated did not depend on the quantity of water wherewith the child was besprinkled, for that it was originally immersion, which custom was changed in cold climates, with other wise saws to the like effect. There were about a hundred hearers thinly scattered, and there seemed not one for each candle, and indeed I wonder how any body stayed in the Church. I next stepped into St. Martin's, in the Strand, which I saw lighted up, but I could get no further than the door, such a crowd I never saw under one roof. And wherefore this—why, there was one Harrison (as I learned) in the pulpit, who was the very reverse of the other. No bombast-player in Tom Thumb, or Chrononboton, &c., ever so roared and so bellowed as he did, and his matter was as lifeless as his manner was hyper-tragic. A man at the door, from whom I learned his name, told me he was a very good liver and a fine preacher, if he had not those ways with him, yet here the poor fellow was deceived, for it was those ways (as he called it) which made him pass for a fine preacher. And this is a strong example, what action in the pulpit can atchieve. When action is blamed, it is incongruous action.
For just action is the language of nature. Nothing is worse than false emphasis, yet are we not to use emphasis ?
20th. A tolerable day, but showery: walked with Pierson The per
over a great part of the city, which I had not seen, viz. : Moorfields, and Bartholomew's and Christ's Hospital, Bethlehem, &c. Went in the evening to the “ Suspicious Husband.” Woodward (for whose benefit it was), holds out wonderfully, he acts with as much spirit as ever, but his looks grow too old for Ranger. The Cataract in the entertainment of the “ Druids ” was amazingly fine; it was done, I suppose, by means of a wheel. spective too of the Piazza, Covent Garden, was excellent.
21st. A sweet, soft, and fair day. Strolled into the Chapter Coffee-house, Ave Mary Lane, which I had heard was remarkable for a large collection of books, and a reading Society. I subscribed a shilling for the right of a year's reading, and found al} the new publications I sought, and I believe, what I am told, that all the new books are laid in, some of which, to be sure, may be lost or mislayed. Here I saw a specimen of English freedom, viz., a whitesmith in his apron, and some of his saws under his arm, came in, sat down, and called for his glass of punch and the paper, both which he used with as much ease as a Lord—such a man in Ireland, (and I suppose in France too, or almost any other country) would not have shewn himself with his hat on; nor any way unless sent for by some gentleman : now, really every other person in the room was well dressed.
Pierson dined with me at the Grecian, and we went together to the play, and tho’ both dressed we walked, for here it is not indecorous as in Dublin, to wear a hat in the boxes. The play
Timanthes,” very heavy, except the last act. Smith is a mere ape of Barry. Palmer, a fine figure, and strong voice, and if he had an atom of judgment, would be an actor, but he is a wretched mouthing ranter. The farce was the “ Irish Widow." Mrs. Grevill was not equal to Mrs. Sparks, and Dodd in Kecks, was nothing to Ryder. Slingsby danced after the play, the provencalle dance, with Signior Hidon, and admirably he did dance. Between the acts of the farce, was introduced a dance called the “ Irish fair," into which was introduced several Irish tunes, a hornpipe was danced to Thindu-deelas, a drum was introduced on the stage to give it (a) hub-bub air ; but it would have still been better, (tho' it was very well) if they had introduced the bag-pipe also. As Slingsby was so excellent, the Irishry of tonight went off well, though I don't think the farce hit the English taste. Either I am mistaken, or the best of the English don't think as ill of the Irish as I expected. Let me not forget to set
down what Ryland, who is one of the first engravers, told me, what indeed I had always heard in Ireland, that old West was the best drawer in red chalks at Paris, of his time, and that for drawing in general he was the best scholar of Venloo. I re. member Dixon, at West's Academy, whose drawing, he says, is better than any other mettzotinto scraper's. Burke is his scholar, and he is now among the first, so that all the scrapers have been Irish, except one, (Earlom) McArdell was the first of his time, then Fry, now Watson, Fisher, Dixon, Burke, &c. quere.
22nd. A fair day. Nothing remarkable.
23rd. Fair also, but rain at night. Dined at the Bedford, where I met Dr. Jackson, lamenting the state of his wife from the case of the Perraus, her brothers. I went to Ranelagh, where there were few ladies, except of pleasure. The room beautiful, and about four times the size of the Rotunda, but Almack's rooms are by far the finest I have yet seen. The ballroom is above 90 by 40, the serpentine wreath round the pillars was prettily painted, and every thing finished in the best manner. The tables were laid out in the rooms under this for supper ; the display for the dessert was sumptuous, and in short every thing in the most elegant style. Called on Lord Dacre for Fombell's papers,
he asked me to dine. I find the first method of conciliating an Englishman, is to praise England.
24th. A fair day. Called on Mr. Coombe with Dean Woodward's letter, he received me with great courtesy, called also at Dr. Campbell's, but found him not at home. Dined from mere curiosity at a shilling ordinary in the Strand, where I own I was better pleased at the adventure, for such I call it, than any thing I saw in London yet. For it exhibited a view of people, who affected somewhat above themselves, better than anything I have seen in real life. The company was mostly Scotch, and they called each other, Colonel, or Captain, or Doctor. There were two or three -s and an old highland Parson, who, being much of his life abroad, had almost forgot the Erse, and had not learned much English. They talked high of Lords and Lady's and their engagements with them, &c.
25th. Eddying winds in the forenoon, rendered the streets very disagreeable with dust, which was laid in the evening by rain from three. Dined at Mr. Thrale's, where there were ten or more gentlemen, and but one lady besides Mrs. Thrale. The dinner was excellent: first course, soups at head and foot, re