Imágenes de página

ten for him, used to come about him. He had then little for himself; but frequently sent money to Mr. Shiels, when in diftress. The friends who visited him at that time, were chiefly Dr. Bathurst, and Mr. Diamond, an apothecary in Cork-Street, Burlington-Gardens, with whom he and Miss Williams generally dined every Sunday. There was a talk of his going to Ireland with him, which would probably have happened had he lived. There were also Mr. Cave, Dr. Hakesworth, Mr. Ryland merchant on Tower-hill, Mrs. Masters the poetess, who lived with Mr. Cavė, Mrs. Carter, and sometimes Mrs. Macaulay ; also Mrs. Gardiner, wife of a tallow-chandler in Snowhill, not in the learned way, but a worthy good woman ; Mr. (now) Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Millar, Mr. Dodsley, Mr. Bouquet, Mr. Payne of Pater-noster Row, bookseller; Mr. Strahan the printer ; the Earl of Orrery', Lord Southwell, Mr. Garrick, &c.”

Johnson seems to have fought a remedy for this deprivation of domestic fociety, in the company of his acquaintance, the circle of which was now very extensive. Among his more intimate companions at this time, are to be reckoned, Dr. Bax thurst, Dr. Hakesworth, Sir Joshua Reynolds; and Bennet Langton, Esq. and Topham Beauclerck, Esq. eldest son of Lord Sidney Beauclerck, young men of elegant manners, who conceived for him the most sincere veneration and esteem. Innumerable were the scenes, in which he was amused by them, who, though their opinions and modes of life were different, formed an agreeable attachment.

Mr. Boswell has given the following account of an adventure of Johnson's, with his gay companions, which displays the author of the Rambler in a new light, and



[ocr errors]

shows that his conduct was not always fo folemn as his effays.

“ One night when Beauclerck and , Langton had fupped at a tavern in London, and sat till about three in the morning, it came into their heads to go and knock up Johnson, and see if they could prevail on him to join them in a ramble. They rapped violently at the door of his chambers in the Temple, till, at last, he appeared in his shirt, with his little black wig on the top of his head, instead of a night cap, and a poker in his hand; imagining, probably, that some ruffians were coming to attack him. When he discovered who they were, and was told their errand, he smiled, and with great good humour, agreed to their proposal. “ What! is it you, ye dogs ! I'll have a frisk with you." He was soon dressed; and they fallied forth together into Govent-Garden, where the green grocers and fruiterers were begin.

[ocr errors]

ning to arrange their hampers just come in from the country. Johnson made some attempts to help them ; but the honest gardeners stared fo at his figure and manner, and odd interference, that he soon saw his services were not relished. They then repaired to one of the neighbouring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked; while in joyous contempt of sleep, from which he had been roused, he repeated the festive lines,

Short, O short then be thy reign,
And give us to the world again!

[ocr errors]

“ They did not stay long, but walked down to the Thames, took a boat, and rowed to Billingsgate. Beauclerck and John-' fon were so well pleased with their amusement, that they resolved to persevere in dilipation for the rest of the day; but Langton deserted them, being engaged to breakfast with some young ladies.”

* In the catalogue of Johnson's visitants, given by his servant, many are no doubt omitted ; in particular, his humble friend Robert Levett, an obscure practiser in phyfic amongst the lower people, with whom he had been acquainted from the year 1746. Such was his predilection for him, and fanciful estimation of his moderate abilities, that he consulted him in all that related to his health, and “ made him so necessary to him, as hardly to be able to live without him.” He now drew him into a closer intimacy with him, and not long after, gave him an apartment in his house; of which he continued a constant inmate during the remainder of his life. He waited upon him every morning through the whole course of his tedious breakfast, and was seen generally no more by him till midnight. He was of a strange grotesque appearance; stiff and formal in his manner, and seldom said a word while any




« AnteriorContinuar »