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Piozzi, man calls his wife to walk with him in the shade, and
she feels a strange desire just at that moment to sit in the sun; he offers to read her a play, or sing her a song, and she calls the children in to disturb them, or advises him to seize that opportunity of settling the family accounts. Twenty such tricks will the faithfulest wife in the world not refuse to play, and then look astonished when the fellow fetches in a mistress. Boarding-schools were established,” continued he, "for the conjugal quiet of the parents : the two partners cannot agree which child to fondle, nor how to fondle them, so they put the young ones to school and remove the cause of contention. The little girl pokes her head, the mother reproves her sharply: 'Do not mind your mamma,' says the father, 'my dear, but do your own way.' The mother complains to me of this : 'Madam,' said I, ‘your husband is right all the while; he is with you but two hours of the day perhaps, and then you tease him by making the child cry. Are not ten hours enough for tuition ? And are the hours of pleasure so frequent in life, that when a man gets a couple of quiet ones to spend in familiar chat with his wife, they must be poisoned by petty mortifications? Put Missey to school; she will learn to hold her head like her neighbours, and you will no longer torment your family for want of other talk.'”]
[To the same effect, Hawkins relates that he used Apoph. p. 210. to say, that in all family disputes the odds were in
favour of the husband, from his superior knowledge of life and manners: he was, nevertheless, extremely fond of the company and conversation of women, and had certainly very correct notions as to the basis on which matrimonial connexions should be formed. He always advised his friends, when they were about to marry, to unite themselves to a woman of a pious and
religious frame of mind. “Fear of the world, and a Hawk.
Apoph. sense of honour,” said he, “may have an effect upon p. 202. a man's conduct and behaviour ; a woman without religion is without the only motive that in general can incite her to do well.”
When some one asked him for what he should marry, he replied, “ First, for virtue; secondly, for wit; thirdly, for beauty; and fourthly, for money.”] [He occasionally said very contemptuous things of Piozzi,
p. the sex; but was exceedingly angry when Mrs. Thrale told Miss Reynolds that he said, “ It was well managed of some one to leave his affairs in the hands of his wife, because, in matters of business," said he, “no woman stops at integrity.” “This was, I think,"added Mrs. Thrale, " the only sentence I ever observed him solicitous to explain away after he had uttered it.”]
He this evening expressed himself strongly against the Roman Catholics, observing, “In every thing in which they differ from us, they are wrong.
He was even against the invocation of saints; in short, he was in the humour of opposition.
Having regretted to him that I had learnt little Greek, as is too generally the case in Scotland; that I had for a long time hardly applied at all to the study of that noble language, and that I was desirous of being told by him what method to follow; he recommended as easy helps, Sylvanus's “First Book of the Iliad;" Dawson's “ Lexicon to the Greek New Testament;" and “Hesiod,” with “Pasoris Lexicon" at the end of it.
Letters, vol. ii.
[“ TO MRS. THRALE.
“ London, 11th Oct. 1779. “I do not see why you should trouble yourself with physicians while Mr. Thrale grows better. Company and bustle will, I hope, complete his cure. Let him gallop over the Downs in the morning, call his friends about him to dinner,
Letters, and frisk in the rooms at night, and outrun time and outface vol. ii.
“Notwithstanding all authorities against bleeding, Mr. Thrale bled himself well ten days ago.
“ You will lead a jolly life, and perhaps think little of me; but I have been invited twice to Mrs. Vesey's conversation, but have not gone. The gout that was in my ankles, when Queeney criticised my gait, passed into my toe, but I have hunted it, and starved it, and it makes no figure. It has drawn some attention, for Lord and Lady Lucan sent to inquire after
This is all the news that I have to tell you. Yesterday I dined with Mr. Strahan, and Boswell was there. We shall be both to-morrow at Mr. Ramsay's.]
On Tuesday, October 12, I dined with him at Mr. Ramsay's, with Lord Newhaven', and some other company, none of whom I recollect, but a beautiful Miss Graham', a relation (niece] of his lordship’s, who asked Dr. Johnson to hob or nob with her. flattered by such pleasing attention, and politely told her, he never drank wine; but if she would drink a glass of water, he was much at her service. She accepted. “Oho, sir!" said Lord Newhaven, “ you are caught.” Johnson. “Nay, I do not see how I am caught; but if I am caught, I don't want to get free again. If I am caught, I hope to be kept.” Then when the two glasses of water were brought, smiling placidly to the young lady, he said, “ Madam, let us reciprocate.”
Lord Newhaven and Johnson carried on an argument for some time concerning the Middlesex election. Johnson said, “ Parliament may be considered as bound by law, as a man is bound where there is nobody to tie the knot. As it is clear that the house of commons may expel, and expel again and again,
"(William Mayne, esq. was created a baronet in 1763 ; a privy-counsellor in Ireland in 1766 ; and in 1776 advanced to the Irish peerage by the title of Baron Newhaven. He took an active part in the intrigues, jobs, and squabbles, which constituted the Irish politics of his day.- ED.]
* Now the lady of Sir Henry Dashwood, bart. Boswell.
why not allow of the power to incapacitate for that parliament, rather than have a perpetual contest kept up between parliament and the people.” Lord Newhaven took the opposite side; but respectfully said, “ I speak with great deference to you, Dr. Johnson; I speak to be instructed.” This had its full effect on my friend. He bowed his head almost as low as the table to a complimenting nobleman, and called out, “My lord, my lord, I do not desire all this ceremony; let us tell our minds to one another quietly.” After the debate was over, he said, “I have got lights on the subject to-day, which I had not before.” This was a great deal from him, especially as he had written a pamphlet upon it.
He observed, “ The house of commons was originally not a privilege of the people, but a check, for the crown, on the house of lords. I remember, Henry the Eighth wanted them to do something; they hesitated in the morning, but did it in the after
He told them, “It is well you did ; or half your heads should have been upon Temple-bar.' But the house of commons is now no longer under the power of the crown, and therefore must be bribed.” He added, “ I have no delight in talking of publick affairs.”
Of his fellow-collegian', the celebrated Mr. George Whitefield, he said, “ Whitefield never drew as much attention as a mountebank does : he did not draw attention by doing better than others, but by doing what was strange. Were Astley’ to preach a sermon
[George Whitfield, or Whitefield, did not enter at Pembroke College before November, 1732, more than twelve months after Johnson's name was off the books, and nearly three years after he had ceased to be resident at Oxford; so that, strictly speaking, they were not fellow-collegians, though they were both of the same college.-HALL ].
? [Philip Astley, a celebrated horse-rider, who first exhibited equestrian pantomimes, in which his son (who survived his father but a short time) rode with great grace and agility. Astley had at once theatres in Paris, London, and Dublin, and migrated with his actors, biped and quadruped, from one to the other.-Ed.
standing upon his head on a horse's back, he would collect a multitude to hear him; but no wise man would say he had made a better sermon for that. I never treated Whitefield's ministry with contempt; I believe he did good. He had devoted himself to the lower classes of mankind, and among them he was of use. But when familiarity and noise claim the praise due to knowledge, art, and elegance, we must beat down such pretensions.”
What I have preserved of his conversation during the remainder of my stay in London at this time is only what follows: I told him that when I objected to keeping company with a notorious infidel, a celebrated friend of ours said to me, “ I do not think that men who live laxly in the world, as you and I do, can with propriety assume such an authority: Dr. Johnson may, who is uniformly exemplary in his conduct. But it is not very consistent to shun an infidel to-day, and get drunk to-morrow.” JOHNSON. Nay, sir, this is sad reasoning. Because a man cannot be right in all things, is he to be right in nothing? Because a man sometimes gets drunk, is he therefore to steal ? This doctrine would very soon bring a man to the gallows.”
After all, however, it is a difficult question how far sincere christians should associate with the avowed enemies of religion; for in the first place, almost every man's mind may be more or less “ corrupted by evil communications ;" secondly, the world may very naturally suppose that they are not really in earnest in religion, who can easily bear its opponents; and thirdly, if the profane find themselves quite well received by the pious, one of the checks upon an open declaration of their infidelity, and one of the probable chances of obliging them seriously to reflect, which their being shunned would do, is removed.