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DR. JOINSON. by any found, uttered by human organs. An acquaintance, on whose veracity I can depend, told me, that walking home one evening to Kilmarnock, he heard himself called from a wood, by the voice of a brother who had gone to America; and the next packet brought accounts of that brother's death.” Macbean asserted that this inexplicable calling was a thing very well known. Dr. Johnson said, that one day at Oxford, as he was turning the key of his chamber, he heard his mother distinctly call Sen. She was then at Lichfield; but nothing ensued. This phænomenon is, I think, as wonderful as any other mysterious fact, which many people are very now to believe, or rather, indeed, reject with an obstinate contempt. .

Some time after this, upon his making a remark which escaped my attention, Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Hall were both together striving to answer him. He grew angry, and called out loudly, “ Nay, when you both speak at once it is intolerable.” But checking himself, and softening, he said, “ This one may say, though you are ladies.” Then he brightened into gay humour, and addressed them in the words of one of the songs in “ The Beggar's Opera,"

< But two at a time there's no mortal can bear.”

“What, Sir, (said I,) are you going to turn Captain Macheath?” There was something as pleasantly ludicrous in this scene as can be imagined. The contrast between Macheath, Polly, and Lucy—and Dr. Samuel Johnson, blind, peevith Mrs. Williams, and lean, lank, preaching Mrs. Hall, was exquisite.

I stole away to Coachmaker's-hall, and heard the difficult text of which we had talked, discussed with great decency, and some intelligence, by several speakers. There was a difference of opinion as to the appearance of ghosts in modern times, though the arguments for it, supported by Mr. Addison's authority, preponderated. The immediate subject of debate was embarrafied by the bodies of the saints having been said to rise, and by the question what became of them afterwards ; did they return again to their graves? Or were they translated to Heaven? Only one evangelist mentions the fact', and the commentators whom I have looked at, do not make the passage clear. There is, however, no occasion for our understanding it farther, than to know that it was one of the extraordinary manifestations of divine power, which accompanied the most important event that ever happened.

9 St. Matthew, chap. xxvii. v. 52, 53.





Ætat. 72

On Friday, April 20, I spent with him one of the happiest days that remember to have enjoyed in the whole course of my life. Mrs. Garrick, whose grief for the loss of her husband was, I believe, as sincere as wounded affection and admiration could produce, had this day, for the first time since his death, a select party of his friends to dine with her. The company was Miss Hannah More, who lived with her, and whom she called her Chaplain; Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Burney, Dr. Johnson, and myself. We found ourselves very elegantly entertained at her house in the Adelphi, where I have passed many a pleasing hour with him “who gladdened life.” She looked very well, talked of her husband

, with complacency, and while she cast her eyes on his portrait, which hung over the chimney-piece, faid, that “ death was now the most agreeable object to her.” The very femblance of David Garrick was cheering. Mr, , Beauclerk, with happy propriety, inscribed under that fine portrait of him, which by Lady Diana's kindness is now the property of my friend Mr. Langton, the following passage from his beloved Shakspeare:

A merrier man,
“ Within the limit of becoming mirth,
“ I never spent an hour's talk withal.
“ His eye begets occasion for his wit;
“ For ev'ry object that the one doth catch,
" The other turns to a mirth-moving jest;
“ Which his fair tongue (Conceit's expositor)
“ Delivers in such apt and gracious words,
“ That aged ears play truant at his tales,
“ And younger hearings are quite ravished;
“ So sweet and voluble is his discourse."

We were all in fine fpirits ; and I whispered to Mrs. Bofcawen, “ I believe this is as much as can be made of life.” In addition to a splendid entertainment, we were regaled with Lichfield ale, which had a peculiar appropriated value. Sir Joshua, and Dr. Burney, and. I, drank cordially of it to Dr. Johnson's health ; and though he would not join us, he as cordially answered, “ Gentlemen, I wish you all as well as you do me.” ,

. The general effect of this day dwells upon my mind in fond remembrance; but I do not find much conversation recorded. What I have preserved shall be faithfully given,


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Somebody mentioned Mr. Thomas Hollis, the strenuous Whig, who used
to send over Europe presents of democratical books, with their boards
stamped with daggers and caps of liberty. Mrs. Carter said, “He was a
He used to talk uncharitably.” Johnson. “Poh! poh! Madam;

who is the worse for being talked of uncharitably? Besides, he was a dull
poor creature as ever lived. And I believe he would not have done harm
to a man whom he knew to be of very opposite principles to his own. I
remember once at the Society of Arts, when an advertisement was to be
drawn up, he pointed me out as the man who could do it best. This,
you will observe was kindness to me. I however nipt away and escaped it.”

Mrs. Carter having said of a certain person, “ I doubt he was an Atheist.”
JOHNSON. “ I don't know that. He might perhaps have become one, if he
had had time to ripen, (smiling). He might have exuberated into an

Sir Joshua Reynolds praised “ Mudge's Sermons.” JOHNSON. “ Mudge's
Sermons' are good, but not practical. He grasps more sense than he can
hold; he takes more corn than he can make into meal; he opens a wide
prospect, but it is so distant, it is indistinct. . I love · Blair's Sermons.'
Though the dog is a Scotchman, and a Presbyterian, and every thing he
should not be, I was the first to praise them. Such was my candour.” (smiling).
Mrs. Boscawen. “ Such his great merit to get the better of all your pre-
judices.” Johnson. “Why, Madam, let us compound the matter'; let us
ascribe it to my candour, and his merit.”

In the evening we had a large company in the drawing-room, several ladies, the Bishop of Killaloe, D. Percy, Mr. Chamberlayne, of the Treasury, &c. &c. Somebody said the life of a mere literary man could not be very entertaining. Johnson. “But it certainly may. This is a remark which has been made, and repeated, without justice; why should the life of a literary man be less entertaining than the life of any other man? ? Are there not as interesting varieties in such a life? As a literary life it may be very entertaining.” Boswell.“ But it must be better surely, when it is diversified with a little active variety—such as his having gone to Jamaica ;--or-his having gone to the Hebrides.” Johnson was not displeased at this.

Talking of a very respectable authoúr, he told us a curious circumstance in his life, which was, that he had married a printer's devil. REYNOLDS. . “ A printer's devil, Sir! Why, I thought a printer's devil was a creature with a black face and in rags.” Johnson. “ Yes, Sir.

“ Yes, Sir. But I suppose, he had her face washed, and put clean clothes on her. (Then looking very D d d 2



Atat. 72.

serious, and very earnest) And she did not disgrace him—the woman had a bottom of good sense.” The word bottom thus introduced, was so ludicrous, when contrasted with his gravity, that most of us could not forbear tittering and laughing, though I recollect that the Bishop of Killaloe kept his countenance with perfect steadiness, while Miss Hannah More Nyly hid her face behind a lady's back who fate on the same settee with her. His pride could not bear that any expression of his should excite ridicule, when he did not intend it; he therefore resolved to assume and exercise despotick power, glanced sternly around, and called out in a strong tone, “Where's the merriment?” Then collecting himself, and looking aweful, to make us feel how he could impose restraint, and as it were searching his mind for a still more ludicrous word, he slowly pronounced, “ I say the woman was fundamentally sensible;” as if he had said, hear this now, and laugh if you dare. We all fat composed as at a funeral.

He and I walked away together; we stopped a little while by the rails of the Adelphi, looking on the Thames, and I said to him with tenderness, that I thought of two friends we had lost, who once lived in the buildings behind us, Beauclerk and Garrick. “ Aye, Sir, (faid he, tenderly,) and two such friends as cannot be supplied.”

For some time after this day I did not see him very often, and of the conversation which I did enjoy, I am sorry to find I have preserved but little. I was at this time engaged in a variety of other matters, which required exertion and assiduity, and necessarily occupied almost all my time.

One day having spoken very freely of those who were then in power, he said to me, “ Between ourselves, Sir, I do not like to give opposition the satisfaction of knowing how much I disapprove of the ministry." And when I mentioned that Mr. Burke had boasted how quiet the nation was in George the Second's reign, when Whigs were in power, compared with the present reign, when Tories governed. Why, Sir, (said he,) you are to consider that Tories having more reverence for government, will not oppose with the fame violence as Whigs, who being unrestrained by that principle, will oppose by any means.'

This month he loft not only Mr. Thrale, but another friend, Mr. William Strahan, Junior, printer, the eldest son of his old and constant friend, Printer to his Majesty.


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“ THE grief which I feel for the loss of a very kind friend is. sufficient to make me know how much you must suffer by the death of an amiable son; a man, of whom I think it may truly be said, that no one knew him who does not lament him. I look upon myself as having a friend, another friend taken from me.

“ Comfort, dear Madam, I would give you if I could, but I know how little the forms of confolation can avail. Let me, however, counsel you not to waste your health in unprofitable forrow, but go to Bath, and endeavour to prolong your own life, but when we have all done all that we can, one friend must in time lose the other. I am, dear Madam,

« Your most humble servant, “ April 23, 1781.


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On Tuesday, May 8, I had the pleafure of again dining with him and Mr.
Wilkes, at Mr. Dilly's. No negotiation was now required to bring them
together ; for Johnson was so well fatisfied with the former interview, that he
was very glad to meet Wilkes again, who was this day feated between Dr.
Beattie and Dr. Johnson ; (between Truth and Reason, as General Paoli said,
when I told him of it). WILKES. “ I have been thinking, Dr. Johnson,
that there should be a bill brought into parliament that the controverted
elections for Scotland should be tried in that country, at their own Abbey of
Holy-Rood House, and not here; for the consequence of trying them here
is, that we have an inundation of Scotchmen, who come up and never go
back again. Now here is Boswell, who has come up upon the election for
his own county, which will not last a fortnight.” Johnson. “Nay, Sir, I

see no reason why they should be tried at all; for, you know, one Scotchman is
as good as another.” Wilkes. “ Pray, Boswell, how much may got in a
year by an Advocate at the Scorch bar ?" Boswell. “ I believe two thousand
pounds.” Wilkes. “ How can it be possible to spend that money in Scot-
land ?” Johnson. “Why, Sir, the money may be spent in England: but
there is a harder question. If one man in Scotland gets poffeffion of two
thousand pounds, what remains for all the rest of the nation ?” WILKES. -
“You know, in the last war, the immense booty which Thurot carried off



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