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THE LUSTRE FROM DRESS

1776 him and Dr. Johnson, and said, 'I fight many battles for him, as many people in the country dislike him. Johnson. ‘But you should consider, Sir, that by every one of your victories he is a loser; for, every man of whom you get the better, will be very angry, and resolve not to employ him ; whereas if people get the better of you in argument about him, they'll think,“We'll send for Dr. ****** nevertheless." This was an observation deep and sure in human nature.

Next day we talked of a book in which an eminent judge was arraigned before the bar of the publick, as having pronounced an unjust decision in a great cause. Dr. Johnson maintained that this publication would not give any uneasiness to the judge. For (said he,) either he acted honestly, or he meant to do injustice. If he acted honestly, his own consciousness will protect him ; if he meant to do injustice, he will be glad to see the man who attacks him, so much vexed.'

Next day, as Dr. Johnson had acquainted Dr. Taylor of the reason for his returning speedily to London, it was resolved that we should set out after dinner. A few of Dr. Taylor's neighbours were his guests that day.

Dr. Johnson talked with approbation of one who had attained to the state of the philosophical wise man, that is, to have no want of any thing. Then, Sir, (said I,) the savage is a wise man.' 'Sir, (said he,) I do not mean simply being without,--but not having a want.' I maintained, against this proposition, that it was better to have fine clothes, for instance, than not to feel the want of them. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; fine clothes are good only as they supply the want of other means of procuring respect. Was Charles the Twelfth, think you, less respected for his coarse blue coat and black stock? And you find the King of Prussia dresses plain, because the dignity of his character is sufficient.' I here brought myself into a scrape, for I heedlessly said, * Would not you, Sir, be the better for velvet and embroidery?' JOHNSON. 'Sir, you put an end to all argument when

you

introduce your opponent himself. Have you no better manners? There is your want.' I apologised by say: ing, I had mentioned him as an instance of one who wanted as little as any man in the world, and yet, perhaps, might receive some additional lustre from dress.

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From the picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the National Gallery (1773)

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