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FRIDAY, September 19, after breakfast, Dr. Johnson and I set out in Dr. Taylor's chaise to go to Derby. The day was fine, and we resolved to go by Keddlestone, the seat of Lord Scarsdale, that I might see his Lordship's fine house. I was struck with the magnificence of the building ; and the extensive park, with the finest verdure, covered with deer, and cattle, and sheep, delighted me. The number of old oaks, of an immense size, filled me with a sort of respectful admiration : for one of them sixty pounds was offered. The excellent smooth gravel roads; the large piece of water formed by his Lordship from some small brooks, with a handsome barge upon it; the venerable Gothick church, now the family chapel, just by the house ; in short, the grand group of objects agitated and distended my mind in a most agreeable manner. 66 One should think (said I), that the proprietor of all this must be happy." Nay, sir (said Johnson), all this excludes but one evil -poverty."
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1 When I mentioned Dr. Johnson's remark to a lady of admirable good sense and quickness of understanding, she observed, “ It is true, all this excludes only one evil; but how much good does it let in ?"--To this observation much praise has been justly given. Let me then now do myself the hon
Our names were sent up, and a well-dressed elderly housekeeper, a most distinct articulator, shewed us the house ; which I need not describe, as there is an account of it published in “ Adam's Works in Architecture.” Dr. Johnson thought better of it to-day than when he saw it before; for he had lately attacked it violently, saying, “ It would do excellently for a townhall. The large room with the pillars (said he), would do for the Judges to sit in at the assizès; the circular room for a jury-chamber; and the room above for prisoners." Still he thought the large room ill lighted, and of no use but for dancing in; and the bed-chambers but indifferent rooms; and that the immense sum which it cost was injudiciously laid out. Dr. Taylor had put him in mind of his appearing pleased with the house. “ But (said he), that was when Lord Scarsdale was present. Politeness obliges us to appear pleased with a man's works when he is present. No man will be so ill bred as to question you. You may therefore pay compliments without saying what is not true. I should say to Lord Scarsdale of his large room, My Lord, this is the most costly room that I ever saw ;' which is true.”
Dr. Manningham, physician in London, who was risiting at Lord Scarsdale's, accompanied us through many of the rooms, and soon afterwards my Lord himself, to whom Dr. Johnson was known, appeared, and did the honours of the house. We talked of Mr. Langton. Johnson, with a warm vehemence of affectionate regard, exclaimed, " The earth does not bear a wortbier man than Bennet Langton.” We saw a good many fine pictures, which I think are described in one of 6. Young's Tours." There is a printed catalogue of them, which the housekeeper put into my hand; I should like to view them at leisure. I was much struck with Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream, by
our to mention that the lady who made it was the late Margaret Montgomerie, my very valuable wife, and the very affectionate mother of my children, who, if they inherit her good qualities, will have no reason to complain of their lot. Dos magna parentum virtus.
Rembrandt.-We were shewn a pretty large library. In bis Lordship's dressing-room lay Johnson's small Dictionary: be shewed it to me, with some eagerness, saying, "Look’ye ! Quce regio in terris nostri non plena laboris.' He observed, also, Goldsmith's “ Animated Nature ;” and said, “ Here's our friend ! the poor Doctor would have been happy to hear of this."
In our way, Johnson strongly expressed his love of driving fast in a post-chaise. "If (said he), I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman; but she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation.” I observed that we were this day to stop just where the Highland army did in 1745. Johnson. « It was a ble attempt.” BOSWELL. “I wish we could have an authentick history of it." Johnson. “ If you were not an idle dog you might write it, by collecting from evéry body what they can tell, and putting down your authorities." BOSWELL. “ But I could not have the advantage of it in my life-time.” Johnson. 6 You might have the satisfaction of its fame, by printing it in Holland ; and as to profit, consider how long it was before writing came to be considered in a pecuniary view. Baretti says, he is the first man that ever received copy-money in Italy." I said that I would endeavour to do what Dr. Johnson sugzested; and I thought that I might write so as to venture to publish my History of the Civil War in Great Britain in 1745 and 1746," without being obliged to go to a foreign press.
When we arrived at Derby, Dr. Butter accompanied us to see the manufactory of china there. I aduired the ingenuity and delicate art with which a man fashioned clay into a cup, a saucer, or a tea-pot, while a boy turned round a wheel to give the mass rotundity. I thought this as excellent in its species of power, as
1 lam now happy to under nd that Mr. John Home, who was himself gallantly in the field for the reigning family, in that interesting warfare, but is generous enough to do justict to the other side, is preparing an account of it for the press.
making good verses in its species. Yet I had no re. spect for this potter. Neither, indeed, has a man of any extent of thinking for a mere verse-maker, in whose numbers, however perfect, there is no poetry, no mind. The china was beautiful, but Dr. Johnson justly observed it was too dear; for that he could have vessels of silver, of the same size, as cheap as what were here made of porcelain.
I felt a pleasure in walking about Derby, such as I always have in walking about any town to which I am not accustomed. There is an immediate sensation of novelty; and one speculates on the way in which life is passed in it, which although there is a sameness every where upon the whole, is yet minutely diversified.
The minute diversities in every thing are wonderful. Talking of shaving the other night at Dr. Taylor's, Dr. Johnson said, “Sir, of a thousand shavers, two do not shave so much alike as not to be distinguished.” I thought this not possible, till he specified so many of the varieties in shaving ;-holding the razor more or less perpendicular ;-drawing long or short strokes ; ---beginning at the upper part of the face, or underat the right side or the left side. Indeed, when one considers what variety of sounds can be uttered by the wind-pipe, in the compass of a very small aperture, we
, may be convinced how many degrees of difference there
may be in the application of the razor. We dined with Dr. Butter,' whose lady is daughter of my cousin Sir John Douglas, whose grandson is now presumptive heir of the noble family of Queensberry. Johnson and he had a good deal of medical conversation. Johnson said, he had some where or other given
account of Dr. Nichols' discourse 56 De Animá Medicá.” He told us " that whatever a man's distem. per was, Dr. Nichols would not attend him as a physician, if his mind was not at ease; for he believed that
1 [Dr. Butter was at this time a practising physician at Derby. He afterwards removed to London, where he died in his 79th year, March 22, 1805. He is author of several medical tracts. M.)