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Attacks on authors.
He observed to me afterwards, that the advantages authors derived from attacks, were chiefly in subjects of taste, where you cannot confute, as so much may be said on either side'. He told me he did not know who was the author of the Adventures of a Guinea', but that the bookseller had sent the first volume to him in manuscript, to have his opinion if it should be printed; and he thought it should.
The weather being now somewhat better, Mr. James M'Donald, factor to Sir Alexander M‘Donald in Slate, insisted that all the company at Ostig should go to the house at Armidale, which Sir Alexander had left, having gone with his lady to Edinburgh, and be his guests, till we had an opportunity of sailing to Mull. We accordingly got there to dinner; and passed our day very cheerfully, being no less than fourteen in number.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2. Dr. Johnson said, that'a Chief and his Lady should make
us of it.”! He wrote to Baretti :- A man of genius has been seldom
. ruined but by himself.' Ante, i. 441. Voltaire in his Essay Sur les inconvéniens attachés à la Littérature (Works, ed. 1819, xliii. 173), after describing all that an author does to win the favour of the critics, continues :—* Tous vos soins n'empêchent pas que quelque journaliste ne vous déchire. Vous lui répondez; il réplique ; vous avez un procès par écrit devant le public, qui condamne les deux parties au ridicule.' See ante, ii. 70, note 2.
| However advantageous attacks may be, the feelings with which they are regarded by authors are better described by Fielding when he says :— Nor shall we conclude the injury done this way to be very slight, when we consider a book as the author's offspring, and indeed as the child of his brain. The reader who hath suffered his muse to continue hitherto in a virgin state can have but a very inadequate idea of this kind of paternal fondness. To such we may parody the tender exclamation of Macduff, “ Alas! thou hast written no book.”' Tom Jones, bk. xi. ch. 1.
* It is strange that Johnson should not have known that the Adventures of a Guinea was written by a namesake of his own, Charles Johnson. Being disqualified for the bar, which was his profession, by a supervening deafness, he went to India, and made some fortune, and died there about 1800. WALTER SCOTT.
The training of gentlemen's daughters. (Oct. ..
their house like a court. They should have a certain number of the gentlemen's daughters to receive their education in the family, to learn pastry and such things from the housekeeper, and manners from my lady. That was the way in the great families in Wales; at Lady Salisbury's', Mrs. Thrale's grandmother, and at Lady Philips's”. I distinguish the families by the ladies, as I speak of what was properly their province. There were always six young ladies at Sir John Philips's : when one was married, her place was filled up. There was a large school-room, where they learnt needle-work and other things.' I observed, that, at some courts in Germany, there were academies for the pages, who are the sons of gentlemen, and receive their education without any expence to their parents. Dr. Johnson said, that manners were best learned at those courts. “You are admitted with great facility to the prince's company, and yet must treat him with much respect. At a great court, you are at such a distance that you get no good. I said, * Very true: a man sees the court of Versailles, as if he saw it on a theatre.' He said, “ The best book that ever was written upon good breeding, Il Corteggiano, by Castiglione',
· Salusbury, not Salisbury.
· Horace Walpole (Letters, ii. 57) mentions in 1746 his cousin Sir John Philipps, of Picton Castle; ‘a noted Jacobite.'... He thus mentions Lady Philipps in 1788 when she was 'very aged. “They have a favourite black, who has lived with them a great many years, and is remarkably sensible. To amuse Lady Philipps under a long illness, they had read to her the account of the Pelew Islands. Somebody happened to say we were sending a ship thither; the black, who was in the room, exclaimed, “ Then there is an end of their happiness." What a satire on Europe !' Ib. ix. 157.
Lady Philips was known to Johnson through Miss Williams, to whom, as a note in Croker's Boswell (p. 74) shews, she made a small yearly allowance.
3.To teach the minuter decencies and inferiour duties, to regulate the practice of daily conversation, to correct those depravities which are rather ridiculous than criminal, and remove those grievances which, if they produce no lasting calamities, impress hourly vexation, was first attempted by Casa in his book of Manners, and Castiglione
Goldsmith's love of talk.
grew up at the little court of Urbino, and you should read . it.' I am glad always to have his opinion of books. At Mr. M‘Pherson's, he commended Whitby's Commentary', and said, he had heard him called rather lax; but he did not perceive it. He had looked at a novel, called The Man of the World', at Rasay, but thought there was nothing in it. He said to-day, while reading my Journal, ‘This will be a great treasure to us some years hence.'
Talking of a very penurious gentleman of our acquaintance®, he observed, that he exceeded L'Avare in the play'. I concurred with him, and remarked that he would do well, if introduced in one of Foote's farces; that the best way to get it done, would be to bring Foote to be entertained at his house for a week, and then it would be facit indignatio'. JOHNSON. “Sir, I wish he had him. I, who have eaten his bread will not give him to him ; but I should be glad he came honestly by him.
He said, he was angry at Thrale, for sitting at General Oglethorpe's without speaking. He censured a man for degrading himself to a non-entity. I observed, that Goldsmith was on the other extreme ; for he spoke at all venturesø.
in his Courtier; two books yet celebrated in Italy for purity and elegance.' Johnson's Works, vii. 428. The Courtier was translated into English so early as 1561. Lowndes's Bibl. Man. ed. 1871, p. 386.
Burnet (History of His Own Time, ii. 296) mentions Whitby among 'the persons who both managed and directed the controversial war' against Popery towards the end of Charles II's reign. 'Popery,' he says, ‘was never so well understood by the nation as it came to be upon this occasion.' Whitby's Commentary on the New Testament was published in 1703-9.
By Henry Mackenzie, the author of The Man of Feeling. Ante, i. 417. It had been published anonymously this spring. The play of the same name is by Macklin. It was brought out in 1781.
• No doubt Sir A. Macdonald. Ante, p. 169. This ‘ penurious gentleman’ is mentioned again, p. 358. • Molière's play of L'Avare. '... facit indignatio versum.'
Juvenal, Sat. i. 79. See ante, iii. 286.
Johnson and Boswell's co-partnership. (Oct. 2.
JOHNSON. “Yes, Sir ; Goldsmith, rather than not speak, will talk of what he knows himself to be ignorant, which can only end in exposing him.' 'I wonder, (said 1,) if he feels that he exposes himself. If he was with two taylors,'Or with two founders, (said Dr. Johnson, interrupting me,) he would fall a-talking on the method of making cannon, though both of them would soon see that he did not know what metal a cannon is made of.' We were very social and merry in his room this forenoon. In the evening the company danced as usual. We performed, with much activity, a dạnce which, I suppose, the emigration from Sky has occasioned. They call it America. Each of the couples, after the common involutions and evolutions, successively whirls round in a circle, till all are in motion; and the dance seems intended to shew how emigration catches, till a whole neighbourhood is set afloat. Mrs. M.Kinnon told me, that last year when a ship sailed from Portree for America, the people on shore were almost distracted when they saw their relations go off, they lay down on the ground, tumbled, and tore the grass with their teeth. This year there was not a tear shed. The people on shore seemed to think that they would soon follow. This indifference is a mortal sign for the country.
We danced to-night to the musick of the bagpipe, which made us beat the ground with prodigious force. I thought it better to endeavour to conciliate the kindness of the people of Sky, by joining heartily in their amusements, than to play the abstract scholar. I looked on this Tour to the Hebrides as a copartnership between Dr. Johnson and me. Each was to do all he could to promote its success; and I have some reason to flatter myself, that my gayer exertions were of service to us. Dr. Johnson's immense fund of kr owledge and wit was a wonderful source of admiration and delight to them ; but they had it only at times; and they required to have the intervals agreeably filled up, and even little elucidations of his learned text. I was also fortunate enough frequently to draw him forth to talk, when he would otherwise have been silent. The fountain was at
times locked up, till I opened the spring. It was curious to hear the Hebridians, when any dispute happened while he was out of the room, saying, “Stay till Dr. Johnson comes : say that to himn !!'
Yesterday, Dr. Johnson said, I cannot but laugh, to think of myself roving among the Hebrides at sixty'. I wonder where I shall rove at fourscore”! This evening he disputed the truth of what is said, as to the people of St. Kilda catching cold whenever strangers come. • How can there (said he) be a physical effect without a physical cause®?' He added, laughing, “the arrival of a ship full of strangers would kill them ; for, if one stranger gives them one cold, two strangers must give them two colds; and so in proportion.' I wondered to hear him ridicule this, as he had praised MʻAulay for putting it in his book: saying, that it was manly in him to tell a fact, however strange, if he himself believed it. He said, the evidence was not adequate to the improbability of the thing; that if a physician, rather disposed to be incredulous, should go to St. Kilda, and report the fact, then he would begin to look about him. They said, it was annually proved by M‘Leod's steward, on whose arrival all the inhabitants caught cold. He jocularly remarked, “the steward always comes to demand something from them; and so they fall a-coughing. I suppose the people in Sky all take a cold, when (naming a certain person) comes. They said, he came only in summer. JOHNSON. That is out of tenderness to you. Bad weather and he, at the same time, would be too much.'
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3.
" He was sixty-four.
* It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles.'
Tennyson's Ulysses. • See ante, ii. 58.
See ante, ii. 172. 5 Sir Alexander Macdonald,