صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

were equally true and pleasing: I know not why Garrick's were preferred to them.

The hand of him here torpid lies,
That drew th' essential form of grace;
Here clos'd in death th' attentive eyes,
That saw the manners in the face'.

Mr. Hogarth, among the variety of kindnesses shewn to me when I was too young to have a proper sense of them, was used to be very earnest that I should obtain the acquaintance, and if possible the friendship of Dr. Johnson, whose conversation was to the talk of other men, like Titian's painting compared to Hudson's 2, he said: but don't you tell people now, that I say so (continued he), for the connoisseurs and I are at war you know; and because I hate them, they think I hate Titian-and let them 3! Many were indeed the lectures I used to have in my

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Whose pictur'd Morals charm the mind,

And thro' the eye correct the

heart.

If thou hast Genius, Reader, stay,
If Nature touch thee, drop a

tear;

If neither move thee, turn away, For Hogarth's honour'd dust lies here.' Letters, i. 186. 2 For Hogarth's mistaking Johnson for an idiot see Life, i. 146.

Hudson was for a time, 'for want of a better, the principal portrait painter in England.' Reynolds was apprenticed to him. Leslie and Taylor's Reynolds, i. 20.

3 Horace Walpole wrote on May 5, 1761 (Letters, iii. 399) :-'I went t'other morning to see a portrait Hogarth is painting of Mr. Fox. He told me he had promised, if Mr. Fox would sit as he liked, to make as good a picture as Vandyke or Rubens could. I was silent-"Why now," said he, "you think this very vain, but why should not one speak truth?”

241

very early days from dear Mr. Hogarth, whose regard for my father induced him perhaps to take notice of his little girl, and give her some odd particular directions about dress, dancing, and many other matters interesting now only because they were his. As he made all his talents, however, subservient to the great purposes of morality, and the earnest desire he had to mend mankind, his discourse commonly ended in an ethical dissertation, and a serious charge to me, never to forget his picture of the Lady's last Stake'. Of Dr. Johnson, when my father and he were talking together about him one day: That man (says Hogarth) is not contented with believing the Bible, but he fairly resolves, I think, to believe nothing but the Bible. Johnson (added he), though so wise a fellow, is more like king David than king Solomon; for he says in his haste that all men are liars. This charge, as I afterwards came to know, was but too well founded: Mr. Johnson's incredulity amounted almost to disease', and I have seen it mortify his companions exceedingly. But the truth is, Mr. Thrale had a very powerful influence over the Doctor, and could make him suppress many rough answers: he could likewise prevail on him to change his shirt, his coat, or his plate, almost before it came indispensably necessary to the comfortable feelings of his friends3: But as I never had any

This truth was uttered in the face of his own Sigismonda, which is exactly a maudlin w--, tearing off the trinkets that her keeper had given her, to fling at his head.'

The picture was founded on Colley Cibber's play. Mrs. Thrale, according to Mr. Hayward, when a girl of fourteen, sat to Hogarth for the Lady in this picture. According to her account he said to her :-' You are not fourteen years old yet, I think, but you will be twenty-four, and this portrait will then be like you. 'Tis the lady's last stake; see how she hesitates between her money and her honour. Take you care; I see an ardour for play in your eyes and in your heart; don't indulge it.' VOL. I.

R

[blocks in formation]

ascendency at all over Mr. Johnson, except just in the things that concerned his health, it grew extremely perplexing and difficult to live in the house with him when the master of it was no more'; the worse indeed, because his dislikes grew capricious; and he could scarce bear to have any body come to the house whom it was absolutely necessary for me to see 2. Two gentlemen, I perfectly well remember, dining with us at Streatham in the Summer 1782, when Elliot's brave defence of Gibraltar was a subject of common discourse, one of these men naturally enough begun some talk about red-hot balls thrown with surprizing dexterity and effect3: which Dr. Johnson having listened some time to, 'I would advise you, Sir (said he with a cold sneer) never to relate this story again: you really can scarce imagine how very poor a figure you make in the telling of it.' Our guest being bred a Quaker, and I believe a man of an extremely gentle disposition, needed no more reproofs for the same folly; so if he ever did speak again, it was in a low voice to the friend who came with him. The check was given before dinner 5, and after

cloaths, Mr. Thrale says, must be made like other people's, and they are gone to the taylor.' Letters, i. 322. 'I will send directions to the taylor to make me some cloaths according to Mr. Thrale's direction.' Ib. ii. 39.

'I know no man (said Johnson) who is more master of his wife and family than Thrale. If he but holds up his finger he is obeyed.' Life, i. 494.

2 Miss Burney writing of his conduct at Brighton in the late autumn of 1782 says:-'He has been in a terrible severe humour of late, and has really frightened all the people, till they almost ran from him. To me only I think he is now kind, for Mrs. Thrale fares worse than anybody.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii. 177. See also Life, iv. 159, n. 3. 3 It was in the autumn of 1782 that the news of the defence reached England. Horace Walpole wrote on Oct. I

(Letters, viii. 286):-'I have this minute received a letter from General Conway with these words :-"I have a piece of good news to tell you, which is the complete and entire defeat of the long-meditated attack on Gibraltar, which began on the 13th [of September] at 3 p.m., and before midnight all the famous batteries were either burnt or sunk by our red-hot balls."'

This Quaker cannot have been Mr. Barclay the purchaser of the brewery, for he had never observed any rudeness or violence on the part of Johnson.' Croker's Boswell, ed. 1844, x. 123. Johnson told Boswell 'that he liked individuals among the Quakers, but not the sect.' Life, ii. 458.

5 According to Barclay, 'Johnson, like many other men, was always in much better humour after dinner than before.' Croker's Boswell, x. 123.

coffee

coffee I left the room.

When in the evening however our companions were returned to London, and Mr. Johnson and myself were left alone, with only our usual family about us, 'I did not quarrel with those Quaker fellows,' (said he, very seriously.) You did perfectly right, replied I; for they gave you no cause of offence. 'No offence! (returned he with an altered voice ;) and is it nothing then to sit whispering together when I am present, without ever directing their discourse towards me, or offering me a share in the conversation?' That was, because you frighted him who spoke first about those hot balls. 'Why, Madam, if a creature is neither capable of giving dignity to falsehood, nor willing to remain contented with the truth, he deserves no better treatment.'

2

Mr. Johnson's fixed incredulity of every thing he heard, and his little care to conceal that incredulity, was teizing enough to be sure: and I saw Mr. Sharp was pained exceedingly, when relating the history of a hurricane that happened about that time in the West Indies3, where, for aught I know, he had

[blocks in formation]

R 2

and human; to doubt the second; and when obliged by unquestionable testimony,... to admit of something extraordinary, to receive as little of it as is consistent with the known facts and circumstances.' Hume's History of England, ed. 1773, iii. 143.

2

Perhaps Richard Sharpe, commonly known as 'Conversation Sharpe.' H. C. Robinson (Diary, ii. 412) wrote of him in 1829:- In his room were five most interesting portraits, all of men he knew-Johnson, Burke and Reynolds, by Reynolds, Henderson by Gainsborough, and Mackintosh by Opie.' Among those present at Johnson's Funeral was a Mr. Sharp. Letters, ii. 434. Samuel Sharp, the author of Letters from Italy (Life, iii. 55), died in 1778.

[blocks in formation]

himself

himself lost some friends too, he observed Dr. Johnson believed not a syllable of the account: 'For 'tis so easy (says he) for a man to fill his mouth with a wonder, and run about telling the lie before it can be detected, that I have no heart to believe hurricanes easily raised by the first inventor, and blown forwards by thousands more.' I asked him once if he believed the story of the destruction of Lisbon by an earthquake when it first happened: 'Oh! not for six months (said he) at least: I did think that story too dreadful to be credited, and can hardly yet persuade myself that it was true to the full extent we all of us have heard ''

Among the numberless people however whom I heard him grossly and flatly contradict, I never yet saw any one who did not take it patiently excepting Dr. Burney, from whose habitual softness of manners I little expected such an exertion of spirit: the event was as little to be expected. Mr. Johnson asked his pardon generously and genteelly, and when he left the room rose up to shake hands with him, that they might part in peace 2. On another occasion, when he had violently provoked Mr. Pepys3, in a different but perhaps not a less offensive manner, till something much too like a quarrel was grown up between them, the moment he was gone, 'Now (says Dr. Johnson) is Pepys gone home hating me, who love him better than I did before; he spoke in defence of his dead friend; but though I hope I spoke better who spoke against him, yet all my eloquence will gain me nothing but an honest man for an enemy!' He did not how

He wrote, I have no doubt, the review in the Literary Magazine for 1756 (p. 22), of A True Account of Lisbon since the Earthquake, in which it is stated that the destruction was grossly exaggerated. After quoting the writer at length, he concludes:- Such then is the actual, real situation of that place which once was Lisbon, and has been since gazetically and pamphletically quite destroyed, consumed, annihilated!' See Life, i. 309, n. 3.

2 Ib. iv. 49, n. 3.

3 William Weller Pepys, a Master in Chancery, brother of Sir Lucas Pepys (Life, iv. 169), and father of Lord Chancellor Cottenham. Samuel Pepys, the author of the Diary, was of the same family. Letters, ii. 136,

n. I.

4 The 'dead friend' was Lord Lyttelton. For Miss Burney's account of this quarrel see Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii. 45, 82, 290, and Life, iv. 65, n. I.

« السابقةمتابعة »