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"A few years ago, Mrs. M. and the doctor (who never had a very cordial esteem for each other) met at the house of a third person, who had invited them to spend the day. Before dinner, the conversation turned on the nature of civil government. Johnson, as usual, declared, in very strong terms, for monarchy; Mrs. M. for a republic. Some sparring past on both sides; and Johnson happening to cite some passage of Scripture, which he thought spoke in favour of his own system, Mrs. M. undertook him on the scriptural score, and (as I was told, for I was not present) was rather more potent and pertinent, in her quotations, than he. Johnson, who does not easily digest contradiction, grew rather sour: and he well knows that he acquits himself better in a political, an historic, or in a philosophic war, than in a holy one. The annunciation of dinner occasioned a
truce to debate; but the Doctor, with more ill manners than I ever heard authentically placed to his account, except in this instance, took occasion, when the company were all seated at table, to renew hostilities with his amiable antagonist. Mrs. M.'s footman was standing, according to custom, at the back of his lady's chair, when Johnson addressed him thus:- Henry, what makes you stand? Sit down. Sit down. Take your We are all republicans, Henry. rights of human nature are equal. at your asserting your privilege of peerage. We are all on a level. Do take your chair and sit down.' This was very indelicate and rude:
place at table with the best of us. There's no distinction here. The Your mistress will not be angry
or was it arguing fairly; for a master or mistress (let the natural rights of mankind be, originally, ever so equal) has not only a just claim to superiority, but a title to the services of every person, who, by voluntary stipulation, engages to render those services for a consideration agreed upon. Mrs. Macaulay, it seems, coloured a little, and drew up her head, but made no answer. If I had been there, I should not have let the doctor off so easily, for this savage piece of spurious wit. It is true, his great parts are entitled to proper respect; but, as Mrs. Macaulay was observing to me, when she was last in Devonshire, with reference to this very Doctor Johnson,' A learned man is not so miraculous a phenomenon in this kingdom, that he should expect to be honoured with divine worship.' Though, it must be owned, there are very few Johnsons, in any kingdom, or in any age.'
The circumstance of the dispute between Dr. Johnson and Osborne, the bookseller, Boswell had from Johnson in these words"Sir, he (Osborne) was impertinent to me, and I beat him. But it was not in his shop: it was in my own chamber."
* Toplady's Works, vol. vi. p. 262,
The author from whom I have made the above quotation records the particulars of this dispute
"Osborne called upon him one morning, soon after the publication of his Dictionary. The particulars of the conversation I have forgot but, in the course of it, some reference was had to a passage in that work. The Doctor was for consulting the particular place itself; and, ascending a set of moveable steps, reached down his dictionary from one of the higher-most shelves. While Johnson was thus mounted, and holding the dictionary in his hands, Osborne, who was standing beneath, happened to say some saucy thing that the doctor did not relish: on which, without further ceremony, he hurled the massy folio at the poor bookseller's head, who fell to the floor with the blow, but soon recovered his feet again. An impertinent puppy,' said Johnson to him, I will teach you to behave with insolence to me, I will.' P. 264.
It should be observed that Mr. Toplady was well acquainted both with Mrs. Macaulay and Mr. Osborne, from whom he very probably received the above particulars.
If, Mr. Editor, you should judge fit to admit this article into your miscellany, it may not be thought unworthy of the attention of Mr. Malone, in a fourth edition of Boswell's Memoirs.
ANECDOTE FROM AMMIRATO.-A rich old citizen of Bergamo had lent to one of his countrymen at Florence 400 crowns, which he advanced without any person being present, and without requiring a written acknowledgment. When the stipulated time had elapsed, the creditor required his money; but the borrower, well apprized that no proof could be brought against him, positively denied that he had ever received it. After many fruitless attempts to recover it, the lender was advised to resort to the Duke, who would find some method of doing him justice. Alessandro accordingly ordered both the parties before him, and after hearing the assertions of the one, and the positive denial of the other, he turned to the creditor, saying, "Is it possible then, friend, that you can have lent your money when no one was present ?"-"There was no one, indeed," replied the creditor, "I counted out the money to him on a post." "Go, bring the post then this instant," said the Duke, “and I will make it confess the truth." The creditor, though astonished,
on receiving such an order, hastened to obey, having first received a secret caution from the Duke not to be very speedy in his return. In the mean time the Duke employed himself in transacting the affairs of his other suitors, till at length, turning again towards the borrower, "This man," said he "stays a long time with his post." "It is so heavy, Sir," replied the other," that he could not yet have brought it." Again Alessandro left him, and returning some time afterwards, carelessly exclaimed, "What kind of men are these that lend their money without evidence.Was there no one present but the post?"-" No indeed, Sir," replied the knave."The post is a good witness, then," said the Duke, "and shall make thee pay the man his money."
ANECDOTE OF GARRICK, WELL AUTHENTICATED, but not
IT may be recollected that the avenue to the boxes of Old Drury was through Vinegar Yard. In this passage an old Spider, better known, perhaps, by the name of a Procuress, had spread her web, alias, opened a bagnio, and obtained a plentiful living by preying on those who unfortunately or imprudently fell into her clutches. Those who are not unacquainted with Haddocks, will understand the loose fish I allude to, who beset her doors, and accosted with smiles or insults every one that passed. It happened that a noble lord, in his way to the theatre, with his two daughters under his arm, was most grossly attacked by this band of "flaming ministers." He immediately went behind the scenes, and insisted on seeing Mr. Garrick, to whom he represented his case, and so roused the vengeance of the little manager, that he instantly, full of wrath, betook himself to this unholy Sybil,
"Twin-child with Cacus; Vulcan was their sire,
"Foul offspring both of healthless fumes and fire." Finding her at the mouth of her cavern, he quickly gave went to his rage in the most buskin'd strain, and concluded by swearing that he would have her ousted. To this assault she was | not backward in reply, but soon convinced him that she was much more powerful in abusive eloquence than our Roscius, though he had recourse in his speech to Milton's "hell-born bitch," and other phrases of similar celebrity, whilst she entirely depended on her own .' natural resources. Those to whom this oratory is not new, have no need of my reporting any of it; and those to whom it is a perfect mystery, boast a "state the more gracious," and are the more
happy for their ignorance. None of this rhapsody, however, altho' teeming with blasphemy and abuse, had any effect on Garrick, and he would have remained unmoved, had she not terminated in the following manner, which so excited the laughter of the collected mob, and disconcerted the soul of Richard" that, without another word to say, he hastily took shelter in the theatre. Putting her arms a-kimbo, and letting down each side of her mouth with wonderful expression of contempt, she exclaimed: "You whipper-snapper. You oust me? You be d-d! My house is as good as yours -ay, and better too. I can come into yours whenever I like, and see the best you can do for a shilling; but damme if you, or any-body else, shall come into mine for less than a fifteenpennynegus!"