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wisest, or at least the most crafty, sovereign of his time, was fond of ordinary life, and, being himself a man of wit, enjoyed the jests and repartees of social conversation more than could have been expected from other points of his character. W. SCOTT.
SAMUEL JOHNSON TO LORD CHESTERFIELD.
MY LORD,—I have been lately informed by the proprietor of the World, that two papers," in which my Dictionary” is recommended to the public, were written by your lordship. To be so distinguished, is an honour which, being very little accustomed to favours from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.
When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre—that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending ; 2 but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all that I could ; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.3
Seven years, my lord, have now passed since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door ; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.
1 Papers, Articles._2 That regard for which I saw the world contending, Cet intérêt dont je voyais le monde jaloux. _3 To have his all neglected, be it ever so little, De voir dédaigner ce qui, si peu que ce soit, est tout pour lui.
The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.
Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind ; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.
Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less ; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation, my lord, your lordship’s most humble, most obedient servant,
SCENE FROM “THE GOOD-NATURED MAN.”
Mr Honeywood and Jarvis. Hon. Well, Jarvis, what messages
friends this morning ?
Jar. You have no friends.
Jar. [Pulling out bills.] A few of our usual cards of compliment, that's all. This bill from your tailor; this from your mercer ; and this from the little broker in Crooked Lane. He says he has been at a great deal of trouble to get back the money you borrowed.
Hon. That I don't know ; but I'm sure we were at a great deal of trouble in getting him to lend it.
I Grew at last acquainted with, Finit par connaître.
Jar. He has lost all patience.
Jar. There's that ten guineas you were sending to the poor gentleman and his children in the Fleet. I believe that would stop his mouth, for a while at least. | Hon. Ay, Jarvis, but what will fill their mouths in the meantime ? Must I be cruel because he happens to be importunate ; and, to relieve his avariee, leave them to insupportable distress?
Jar. Sir, the question now is, how to relieve yourself. Yourself—hav'n't I reason to be out of my senses, when I see things going at sixes and sevens ?
Hon. Whatever reason you may have for being out of your senses, I hope you 'll allow that I'm not quite unreasonable for continuing in mine.
Jar. You're the only man alive, in your present situation, that could do so. Everything upon the waste. There's Miss Richland and her fine fortune gone already, and upon the point of being given to
rival. Hon. I'm no man's rival.
Jar. Your uncle in Italy preparing to disínherit you ; your own fortune almost spent; and nothing but pressing creditors, false friends, and a pack of drunken servants, that your kindness has made unfit for any other family.
Hon. Then they have the more occasion for being in mine.
Jar. Soh! What will you have done with him that I caught stealing your plate in the pantry ? In the fact; I caught him in the fact.
Hon. In the fact ! If so, I really think we should pay him his wages, and turn him off.
Jar. He shall be turned off at Tyburn, the dog ; we'll hang him, if it be only to frighten the rest of the family.
Hon. No, Jarvis ; it's enough that we have lost what he has stolen ; let us not add to it the loss of a fellow-creature.
Jar. Very fine : well, here was the footman just now, to complain of the butler ; he says he does most work, and ought to have most wages.
1 The Fleet, La Flotte, (formerly a prison for insolvents.)
Hon. That's but just ; tho' perhaps here comes the butler to complain of the footman.
Jar. Ay, it's the way with them all, from scullion to the privy councillor. If they have a bad master, they keep quarrelling with him ; if they have a good master, they keep quarrelling with one another.
About the Right of England to Tax America. Oh! inestimable right! Oh! wonderful, transcendent right! the assertion of which has cost this country thirteen provinces, six islands, one hundred thousand lives, and seventy millions of money! Oh! invaluable right! for the sake of which we have sacrificed our rank among nations, our importance abroad, and our happiness at home! Oh right! more dear to us than our existence, which has already cost us so much, and which seems likely to cost our all! Infatuated man !(fixing his eye on the minister), miserable and undone country! not to know that the claim of right, without the power of enforcing it, is nugatory and idle. We have a right to tax America, the noble lord tells us, therefore we ought to tax America. This is the profound logic which comprises the whole chain of his reasoning. Not inferior to this was the wisdom of him who resolved to shear the wolf. What! shear a wolf ! Have you considered the resistance, the difficulty, the danger of the attempt! No, says the madman, I have considered nothing but the right. Man has a right of dominion over the beasts of the forest; and therefore I will shear the wolf. How wonderful that a nation could be thus deluded! But the noble lord deals in cheats and delusions. They are the daily traffic of his invention ; and he will continue to play off his cheats
1 To play off, Mettre en oeuvre.
on this House so long as he thinks them necessary to his purpose, and so long as he has money enough at command to bribe gentlemen to pretend that they believe him. But a black and bitter day of reckoning will surely come; and whenever that day comes, I trust I shall be able, by a parliamentary impeachment, to bring upon the heads of the authors of our calamities the punishment they deserve.
THE ANTIQUARY. FOLLOWING the windings of the beach, Sir Arthur and his daughter passed one projecting point or headland of rock after another, and now found themselves under a huge and continued extent of precipices,1 by which that iron-bound coast is in most places defended. Long projecting reefs of rock, extending under water, and only evincing their existence by here and there a peak entirely bare, or by the breakers which foamed over those that were partially covered, rendered Knockwinnock Bay dreaded by pilots. The crags, which rose between the beach and the mainland, to the height of two or three hundred feet, afforded in their crevices shelter for unnumbered sea-fowl, in situations seemingly secured by their dizzy height from the rapacity of man. Many of these wild tribes, with the instinct which sends them to seek the land before a storm arises, were now winging towards their nests with the shrill and dissonant clang which announces disquietude and fear. The disc of the sun became almost totally obscured ere he had altogether sunk below the horizon, and an early and lurid shade of darkness blotted the serene twilight of summer evening. The wind next began to arise, but its wild and moaning sound was heard for some time, and its effects became visible on the bosom of the sea, before the gale was felt on shore. The mass of waters, now dark and threatening, began to lift itself in larger ridges, and sink in deeper furrows, forming waves, that
1 Under a huge and continued extent of precipices, Sous une longue chaîne non interrompue de rochers escarpés.