Page images
PDF
EPUB

pupil the Duke of Marlborough, the advances of the Duchess Dowager, her note is :

Disinterested is not quite the word to use. He served his interest in preferring the Duke's power to a connection with the Duchess, who bad only her life income to bestow, and a faded person possessing no attractions.

“ There was a number of Members who regularly received from him (Pelham's Secretary of the Treasury) their payment or stipend at the end of every session in bank notes.” — Wraxall.

Note.--I am sorry to read these things of Mr. Pelham, whom everybody loved, and Garrick praised so sweetly, saying:

“ Let others hail the rising sun,
I bow to that whose course is run,

Which sets in endless night;
Whose rays benignant bless'd our Isle,
Made peaceful nature round us smile,

With calm but cheerful light.

“ See as you pass the crowded street,
Despondence clouds each face you meet,

All their lost friend deplore.
You read in every pensive eye,
You hear in

every

broken sigh, That Pelham is no more."

This ode *, from whence I have selected two stanzas, not the best, and a comical thing called “The News

* It was on the coincidence of his death occurring on the day when Bolingbroke's works were published.

Writers' Petition," that came out a very little while before, give one the impression of his having been a very honest man. I am quite sorry Wraxall's book tends so much to destroy that impression.

Pelham’s death was curious, and he thought so; for it was his favourite maxim in politics, neyer to stir an evil which lies quiet. “ And now,” said he, upon his death-bed to his doctor, “I die for having acted in contradiction to my own good rule-taking unnecessary medicines for a stone which lay still enough in my bladder, and might perhaps have never given me serious injury.” But so it is, that though death certainly does strike the dart, it is often vice or folly poisons it - with regard to this world or the world to

come.

MARGINAL NOTES ON BOSWELL'S LIFE OF

JOHNSON.*

On the friendship between Warburton and Richardson : Very curious, and an odd friendship somehow between men so completely dissimilar. The elephant and zebra drawing together.

On a story of a clergyman preaching to convicts about to be hanged and promising them a continuation of his discourse: Like the hangman, who when some generous fellow gave him a guinea, cried out, “ Long life to your honour," whilst he was tying the knot.

In reference to a parody of Johnson's style under the title of “ Lexiphanes” (1767): It vexed him however, I well remember.

On the reported remark that no child has affection for a parent whom it has not seen : No- nor whom it has seen, I believe, except by chance. Johnson to Boswell, 1772. “Mrs. Thrale loves you."

” Not I. I never loved him.

As to Lady Emily Harvey having been mad: She was never mad as I know of. Seven years after this date, or more, we met in a library at Brighthelmstone. “Don't

* Most of her marginal notes on Boswell have been used for the Introduction.

you remember your old acquaintance Dr. Johnson?” said she. “Ah, Lady Emily! have you left off your

, old tricks ?” was the reply. “ All the bad ones, I hope,” answered Lady Emily, coldly, and turned away.

On Goldsmith : Who would believe Goldy when he told of a ghost ? A man whom one could not believe when he told of a brother. It is questionable now whether he had a brother or not.

Boswell. “- Would you not allow a man to drink for that reason (to make him forget what is disagreeable)?” Johnson. — “Yes, Sir, if he sate next you." Dr. Johnson said: “ The man compels me to treat him

so."

“You continue to stand high with Mrs. Thrale," (Johnson to Boswell, February 22nd, 1773.) Poor Mrs. Thrale was obliged to say so in order to keep well with Johnson.

On the story of the tallow-chandler and melting day: It was Murphy's story originally, who always told it of dripping night, instead of melting day.

On a passage in Johnson's letter, August 27th, 1775, to Boswell: “ She has a great regard for you.” Not I- never had: I thought him a clever and a comical fellow.

Johnson to Boswell.—“Have you no better manners ? That is your want” (1770). So it was. Curiosity carried Boswell farther than it ever carried any mortal breathing. He cared not what he provoked so as he saw what such a one would say or do.

On the remark that Lord Lyttelton employed an

I am

other man to point (stop) his history: Yes, à corkcutter.

As to Dr. Dodd: If the King could have saved any man it would have been Ryland, whom he personally loved; but having tried his interest for that man, “Now,” said he, “if I am ever solicited to pardon for forgery, you shall be made to remember these arguments."

On it being said that Pope's sorrowful reflection, that all things would be as gay as ever on the day of his death, is natural and common: I don't know how common, but not natural in the least to me. glad other people go on if I am forced to stop.

On Johnson's declaration of readiness to sit up all night being called an animated speech from a man of sixty-eight: Not from Johnson, who delighted to sit up all night and lie in bed all day.

“I have been put so to the question by Bozzy, this morning,” said Dr. Johnson, one day, “that I am now panting for breath."

66 What sort of questions did he ask, I wonder ?” “Why, one question

I was :- Pray, Sir, can you tell why an apple is round and a pear pointed?! Would not such talk make a man hang himself ?”

“ Pennant has the true spirit of a gentleman." (Johnson, as reported by Boswell): So he has. I wish he had the style of a gentleman ; but his perverse imitation of countinghouse brevity, leaving the personal pronoun out so perpetually, teazes a reader more than one could imagine. His style resembles a letter

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »