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to Murphy, he composed for the Gentleman's Magazine that speech of Pitt, which enthusiasts compared to the masterpieces of Demosthenes. How long he lived in Exeter Street, or whether he quitted and returned to it, is not known; but in July, 1737, he was lodging in Church Street, Greenwich, next door to the now non-existent Golden Heart. At Greenwich he proceeded with his play of Irene, three acts of which he had already completed; and he told Boswell that he used to work at it as he walked in the Park. At the end of 1737, he had rooms with Mrs. Johnson, who had then joined him, in "Woodstock Street, near Hanover Square" (it lies between New Bond Street and South Molton Street); and hence he moved to No. 6, Castle Street. Castle Street, then described as Castle Street, Cavendish Square, is now known as Castle Street East, Oxford Street and runs at the back of the Princess's Theatre. At No. 36, where there is a Society of Arts tablet, lived later Barry the painter; and No. 6 (which in December, 1900, was in process of demolition) stood on the same side as Barry's, but higher up, and next the Hotel York in Newman Street.1 It was from Castle Street that Johnson issued his proposals for the never fully-completed translation of the History of the Council of Trent of Sarpi, Macaulay's "favourite modern historian," which proposals, according to the Weekly Miscellany for 21st October, 1738, were to be had of (among others) "the Translator, at No. 6, in Castle-street, by Cavendish-square." Here, again, he wrote his poem of London ; and from a letter he sent from the provinces to his wife, it seems that the landlady's name was Mrs. Crow. This letter, which belongs to Mr. W. R. Smith of Greatham Moor, West Liss, Hants, is the document where he styles Mrs. Johnson, who was within a few days of fifty-one, and twenty years older than himself, his "dear Girl," and tells her that Irene, which had been finished, was at last become "a kind of Favourite among the Players." At Castle Street he first made the acquaintance of Reynolds, whom he met at the house of his opposite neighbours, the two Miss Cotterells (daughters of Admiral Cotterell), to whom he had been introduced by Joseph Baretti.
For the next ten years the traces of Johnson's dwelling-places are
1 The No. 6 nearly opposite No. 36 is not No. 6 Castle Street, but No. 6 Winsley Street.
few and far between. According to the list already quoted, he lived in the Strand, and then in Boswell Court,1 which, before the erection. of the New Law Courts, ran from Carey Street to the back of St Clement Danes. In March, 1741, he had lodgings "at the Black Boy,' over against Durham Yard,”—a locality which has long since given place to the Adelphi ; afterwards at Bow Street, and in Holborn. In his Prayers and Meditations he refers to "a good night's rest " he once enjoyed in Fetter Lane, which comes next on the list. Then he is in Holborn again at another tavern, the "Golden Anchor," Holborn Bars. But of all these, there is no sufficient record; and the fullest particulars have been preserved in regard to a residence which is not in his own list, though, like the rest, it seems to have been only a passing home. This is a cottage at Hampstead, which, under the name of Priory Lodge, was still said to exist in an enlarged and altered form, as late as May, 1899. Johnson himself describes it as a "small house beyond the church," and Park, the local antiquary, who may be relied upon, as "the last in Frognall (southward)." Park says that in 1818 it was occupied by a Mr. Stephenson. Its name of Priory Lodge was probably derived from a sham-Gothic structure in its neighbourhood known as Frognal Priory, which disappeared in 1876. In Priory Lodge Johnson undoubtedly lived during part of 1748, and his wife much longer. Here he wrote the greatest part of the Vanity of Human Wishes; and Boswell dwells effusively on the "fervid rapidity" with which that performance was produced. "I have heard him say, that he composed seventy lines of it in one day, without putting one of them upon paper till they were finished." Compared with the five couplets of the Deserted Village, which Goldsmith thought "no bad morning's work," this is certainly a good deal. But nowadays we should not readily agree with Johnson's biographer in regarding it as "scarcely credible."
Early in 1749, Johnson went to live permanently at No. 17 Gough Square. This, which is in many respects the most interesting of his London residences, is still in existence, and it is marked by a Society of Arts tablet. Gough Square lies on the north side of Fleet Street, from which it is entered either through Hind Court or
1 Boswell Court was not named after James Boswell.
Bolt Court. Johnson's house stands in the north-west corner of the little enclosure, now given over to unattractive places of business, but formerly described by topographers as "fashionable." In the interior the house is much altered, though it still reveals an ancient oak-balustraded staircase, while at the street door hangs a huge cross-chain which dates from Johnson's time. The topmost
room the sky parlour, or "first floor down the chimney," as Beau Tibbs would
have called it is a garret occupying the entire length of the building, and having five windows. This was the manufactory of the famous Dictionary. Here, duly partitioned off, laboured the Doctor's six amanuenses; here came Joseph Warton, and Roubillac and Reynolds; and here, when the place was promoted to the rank of library, Dr. Burney found the great Lexicographer in company with "five or six Greek folios, a deal writingdesk, and a chair and a half." This last is the memorable piece of furniture in the
manipulation of which its possessor was so proficient. He "never forgot its defect," said Miss Reynolds; "but would either hold it in his hand, or place it with great composure against some support, taking no notice of its imperfection to his visitor." Gough Square ("Goff Square," he spells it in a letter to Miss Porter of 12th July, 1749) Johnson lived ten years. Hence he sent forth the Vanity of Human Wishes, the Rambler, the essays for Hawkesworth's Adventurer, the Dictionary, the Idler, and the proposals for Shakespeare. Hence, too, he dispatched that epistle to Chesterfield, which is still the pride of independent men of letters. At Gough Square,
in 1752, he lost his wife; and seven years afterwards his mother. "The life which made my own life pleasant is at an end," he wrote mournfully of the latter bereavement; and to pay his mother's modest debts, he penned the story of Rasselas.
But before Rasselas was published in the April of 1759, he had quitted Gough Square, the precise date of his departure being fixed by a letter to his step-daughter, Lucy Porter. "I have this day moved my things," he writes on March 23rd, "and you are now to direct to me at Staple Inn, London." Staple Inn is another of his Holborn residences. From this he moved to Gray's Inn, and thence again to a first floor at I, Inner Temple Lane, on the southern side of Fleet Street. Here he remained from 1760 to 1765. The house, which was long inscribed "Dr. Johnson's Staircase," was pulled down in 1857, and Johnson's Buildings has now obliterated the site. If his existence here has been accurately described, it was not of the happiest. "He lived," says Arthur Murphy, "in poverty, total idleness, and the pride of literature"; and a chance caller was surprised to find him, on one occasion, absolutely unprovided with pen, ink, or paper. His library was hidden away in a couple of garrets up four pair of stairs, commanding a view of St. Paul's and the surrounding roofs. He had many good books, but they were ill-arranged and ill-kept. It was to Inner Temple Lane in 1762 that Murphy brought him tidings of the pension later conferred upon him by Lord Bute; and at Inner Temple Lane, in virtue of the honorary degree of the University of Dublin, he first became a Doctor. It was here, too, that he was visited by Mme. de Boufflers, speeding his parting guest with the grotesque ceremonial described by Boswell. "All at once I heard a noise like thunder. This was occasioned by Johnson, who, it seems, on a little recollection, had taken it into his head that he ought to have done the honours of his literary residence to a foreign lady of quality, and eager to show himself a man of gallantry, was hurrying down the stair-case in violent agitation. He overtook us before we reached the Temple-gate, and, brushing in between me and Madame de Boufflers, seized her hand, and conducted her to her coach." In Inner Temple Lane, again, it was that Ozias Humphrey, the miniature painter, discovered him, close upon one o'clock in the day, "waving over his breakfast like a lunatic,"
66 as correct as a
and arrayed as to his person in a rusty brown suit, an ancient black wig, unbuttoned shirt-sleeves, and a pair of old shoes worn slipperwise. But when he began to talk, everything was second edition"; and his visitor found it impossible to argue with him, he was "so sententious and so knowing."
From Inner Temple Lane, Johnson migrated to No. 7, Johnson's Court, where, in 1775, he received a second honorary degree, that of D.C.L., Oxford. Johnson's Court (the name of which is a mere coincidence) lies on the north side of Fleet Street to the north and west of the present Anderton's Hotel. While here, he published his Journey to the Western Islands, and his long-promised Shakespeare.
"He for Subscribers baits his hook,
And takes their cash-but where's the Book ?”
sang the inexorable Churchill, in reprobation of the great man's tardiAt Johnson's Court, the Doctor was already surrounded by his little colony of pensioners. Levett,
"Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend,"
occupied the garret ; and blind Miss Williams the ground floor. On Easter-day, 1773, Boswell, to his delight, dined with his Mentor chez lui, on “a boiled leg of lamb and spinach, a veal pye, and a rice pudding"-a repast far superior to the Lacedemonian "black broth" which Foote, in allusion to Johnson's coloured servant, Francis Barber, had led him to anticipate. On the contrary, everything was excellent of its kind, and served in good order. Johnson's earliest letter from Johnson's Court is dated 17th October, 1765; and he left it in March 1776 for 8, Bolt Court, between Gough Square and Fleet Street. No. 8 stood upon the site of what, until very recently, was the Stationers' Company's school; and this again had been the printing office which Bensley, the printer, had erected to take the place of Johnson's former dwelling when, in 1819, it was burned down. In the Doctor's time the Bolt Courthouse had a garden at the back, in which (credite posteri !), only a few weeks before his death, he gathered three bunches of grapes; and at its door were two stone seats, from