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above the state in which they once were, encroachment must be repelled, and the kinder feelings sacrificed. To one of the very fortunate persons whom I have mentioned, namely, Mr. Wedderburne, now Lord Loughborough, I must do the justice to relate, that I have been assured by another early acquaintance of his, old Mr. Macklin, who assisted in improving his pronunciation, that he found him very grateful. Macklin, I suppose, had not pressed upon his elevation with so much eagerness as the gentleman who complained of him. Dr. Johnson's remark as to the jealousy entertained of our friends who rise far above us is certainly very just. By this was withered the early friendship between Charles Townshend and Akenside ('); and many similar instances might be adduced.
He said, "It is commonly a weak man who marries for love." We then talked of marrying women of fortune; and I mentioned a common remark, that a man may be, upon the whole, richer by marrying a woman with a very small portion, because a woman of fortune will be proportionably expensive; whereas a woman who brings none will be very moderate in expenses. JOHNSON. "Depend upon it, Sir, this is not true. A woman of fortune being used to the
(1) This is no appropriate instance. Charles Townshend the grand-nephew of the Duke of Newcastle and of Mr. Pelham, both prime ministers - the grandson of a peer, who had married Sir Robert Walpole's sister, and was secretary of state, and leader of the House of Lords—was as much above Akenside in their earliest days, as at any subsequent period; nor was Akenside in rank inferior to Dr. Brocklesby, with whom Charles Townshend continued in intimate friendship to the end of his life.-C.
handling of money, spends it judiciously; but a woman who gets the command of money for the first time upon her marriage, has such a gust in spending it, that she throws it away with great profusion."
He praised the ladies of the present age, insisting that they were more faithful to their husbands, and more virtuous in every respect, than in former times, because their understandings were better cultivated. It was an undoubted proof of his good sense and good disposition, that he was never querulous, never prone to inveigh against the present times, as is so common when superficial minds are on the fret. On the contrary, he was willing to speak favourably of his own age; and, indeed, maintained its superiority in every respect, except in its reverence for government; the relaxation of which he imputed, as its grand cause, to the shock which our monarchy received at the Revolution, though necessary; and, secondly, to the timid concessions made to faction by successive administrations in the reign of his present majesty. I am happy to think, that he lived to see the crown at last recover its just influence.
At Leicester we read in the newspaper that Dr. James was dead. (1) I thought that the death of an old schoolfellow, and one with whom he had lived a good deal in London, would have affected my fellow-traveller much but he only said, "Ah! poor Jamy!" Afterwards, however, when we were in the chaise, he said, with more tenderness, "Since
(1) Dr. James died 23d March, 1776. — C.
I set out on this jaunt, I have lost an old friend and a young one ;- Dr. James, and poor Harry" (meaning Mr. Thrale's son).
Having lain at St. Alban's on Thursday, March 28., we breakfasted the next morning at Barnet. I expressed to him a weakness of mind which I could not help; an uneasy apprehension that my wife and children, who were at a great distance from me, might, perhaps, be ill. "Sir," said he, "consider how foolish you would think it in them to be apprehensive that you are ill." This sudden turn relieved me for the moment; but I afterwards perceived it to be an ingenious fallacy. (1) I might, to be sure, be satisfied that they had no reason to be apprehensive about me, because I knew that I myself was well: but we might have a mutual anxiety, without the charge of folly; because each was, in some degree, uncertain as to the condition of the other.
I enjoyed the luxury of our approach to London, that metropolis which we both loved so much, for the high and varied intellectual pleasure which it furnishes. I experienced immediate happiness while whirled along with such a companion, and said to him, "Sir, you observed one day at General Oglethorpe's, that a man is never happy for the present, but when he is drunk. Will you not add or when driving rapidly in a postchaise ?" JOHNSON.
(1) Surely it is no fallacy, but a sound and rational argument. He who is perfectly well, and apprehensive concerning the state of another at a distance from him, knows to a certainty that the fears of that person concerning his health are imaginary and delusive; and hence has a rational ground for supposing that his own apprehensions, concerning his absent wife or friend, are equally unfounded. - M
Sir, you are driving rapidly from something, or to something." ()
Talking of melancholy, he said, "Some men, and vrey thinking men too, have not those vexing thoughts. (2) Sir Joshua Reynolds is the same all the year round. Beauclerk, except when ill and in pain, is the same. But I believe most men have them in the degree in which they are capable of having them. If I were in the country, and were distressed by that malady, I would force myself to take a book; and every time I did it I should find it the easier. Melancholy, indeed, should be diverted by every means but drinking."
We stopped at Messieurs Dillys, booksellers in the Poultry; from whence he hurried away, in a hackney coach, to Mr. Thrale's in the Borough. I called at his house in the evening, having promised
(1) Yet it was but a week before that he had said that "life had few things better than driving rapidly in a post-chaise." This is an instance of the justice of Mrs. Piozzi's observation, that "it was unlucky for those who delighted to echo Johnson's sentiments, that he would not endure from them to-day what he had yesterday, by his own manner of treating the subject, made them fond of repeating."— C.
(2) The phrase "vexing thoughts," is, I think, very expressive. It has been familiar to me from my childhood; for it is to be found in the "Psalms in Metre," used in the churches (I believe I should say kirks) of Scotland, Psal. xliii. v. 5.
"Why art thou then cast down my soul? what should discourage thee? And why with vexing thoughts art thou disquieted in me?"
Some allowance must no doubt be made for early prepossession. But at a maturer period of life, after looking at various metrical versions of the Psalms, I am well satisfied that the version used in Scotland is, upon the whole, the best; and that it is vain to think of having a better. It has in general a simplicity and unction of sacred poesy; and in many parts its transfusion is admirable.
to acquaint Mrs. Williams of his safe return; when, to my surprise, I found him sitting with her at tea, and, as I thought, not in a very good humour: for, it seems, when he had got to Mr. Thrale's, he found the coach was at the door waiting to carry Mrs. and Miss Thrale, and Signor Baretti, their Italian master, to Bath. This was not showing the attention which might have been expected to the "guide, philosopher, and friend;" the Imlac who had hastened from the country to console a distressed mother, who he understood was very anxious for his return. They had, I found, without ceremony, proceeded on their journey. I was glad to understand from him that it was still resolved that his tour to Italy with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale should take place, of which he had entertained some doubt, on account of the loss which they had suffered; and his doubts afterwards appeared to be well founded. He observed, indeed, very justly, that "their loss was an additional reason for their going abroad; and if it had not been fixed that he should have been one of the party, he would force them out; but he would not advise them unless his advice was asked, lest they might suspect that he recommended what he wished on his own account." I was not pleased that his intimacy with Mr. Thrale's family, though it no doubt contributed much to his comfort and enjoyment, was not without some degree of restraint: not, as has been grossly suggested, that it was required of him as a task to talk for the entertainment of them and their company; but that he was not quite at his ease; which, however, might partly be