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Sir I did not care to dobain your Sorvant while & cute an answer to your Fetter, in which you som samphnate that I had promifed more than I am wady to perform. If I have reased your Expectations by any thing that may, have speaped my memory I am sorry, and if you remind me of it shank Shank you for the Javour. If I made ferver alterations than usual and bedobabes is was only beanse there appened, and still appear to me to be less nood of Alteration. As to Father Paul, I have not got been nft to my crepeful,, Cut have met with impediments which I hope, we hawatan and, and if you and the Progros hereafter act ouch as you have a night to expect you can supply shmulate a adgligent Tranflator. I

To Mr have at

St John's Gate

am Sir


Your humble Levant
Cam: Johnson




197. Portable Books.

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DR. JOHNSON used to say, that no man read long together with a folio on his table. "Books," said he, may carry to the fire, and hold readily in your hand, are the most useful after all." He would say, "such books form the mass of general and easy reading." He was a great friend to books like the French " Esprits d'un tel ; for example, "Beauties of Watts," &c. &c.: "at which," said he, "a man will often look and be tempted to go on, when he would have been frightened at books of a larger size, and of a more erudite appearance.

198. Conversation.

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He had a great opinion of the knowledge procured by conversation with intelligent and ingenious persons. His first question concerning such as had that character was ever, "What is his conversation?"

199. Christian Religion.

The Duke of***2 once said to Johnson, that " every religion had a certain degree of morality in it." "Ay, my lord," answered he, "but the Christian religion alone puts it on its proper basis."

1 [Sir John Hawkins published, in 1787, his Life of Johnson; and, in the same year, superintended an edition of the Doctor's Works, in eleven volumes octavo. From these publications the present selection has been made.]

2 [The Duc de Chaulnes. See post, No. 399.]

200. Learned Ladies. — Mrs. Carter.

He used to say something tantamount to this: When a woman affects learning, she makes a rivalry between the two sexes for the same accomplishments, which ought not to be, their provinces being different. Milton said before him,


"For contemplation he and valour form'd,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace."

And upon hearing a lady of his acquaintance commended for her learning, he said, "A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table than when his wife talks Greek. My old friend, Mrs. Carter," he added, "could make a pudding as well as translate Epictetus from the Greek, and work a handkerchief as well as compose a poem." He thought, however, that she was too reserved in conversation upon subjects she was so eminently able to converse upon, which was occasioned by her modesty and fear of giving offence.

201. Rising in the World.


When some one was lamenting Foote's unlucky fate in being kicked, in Dublin, Johnson said he was glad of it. "He is rising in the world," said he: "when he was in England, no one thought it worth while to kick him."

202. Precepts and Practice.

To a person, who once said he paid little regard to those writers on religion or morality whose practice corresponded not with their precepts, he imputed a want of knowledge of mankind; saying, it was gross ignorance in him not to know, that good principles and an irregular life were consistent with each other.

203. Volubility.

Of a member of parliament, who, after having harangued for some hours in the House of Commons, came into a company where Johnson was, and endeavoured to talk him down, he said, "This man has a pulse in his ongue."

204. Equality- Mrs. Macaulay.

Dr. Johnson and Dr. Sumner, of Harrow, were dining one day, with many other persons, at Mrs. Macaulay's.1 She had talked a long time at dinner about the natural equality of mankind. Johnson, when she had finished her harangue, rose up from the table, and with great solemnity of countenance, and a bow to the ground, said to the servant, who was waiting behind his chair," Mr. John, pray be seated in my place, and permit me to wait upon you in my turn your mistress says, you hear, that we are all equal."

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"I am convinced," said he to a friend, "I ought to be present at divine service more frequently than I am; but the provocations given by ignorant and affected preachers, too often disturb the mental calm which otherwise would succeed to prayer. I am apt to whisper to myself on such occasions, How can this illiterate fellow dream of fixing attention, after we have been listening to the sublimest truths, conveyed in the most chaste and exalted language, throughout a liturgy which must be regarded as the genuine offspring of piety impregnated by wisdom! Take notice, however, though I make this confession respecting myself, I do not mean to recommend the fastidiousness that sometimes leads me to exchange congregational for solitary worship." He was at Streatham church when Dodd's first application to him was made, and went out of his pew immediately, to write an answer to the letter he had received. Afterwards, when he related this circumstance, he added, "I hope I shall be pardoned, if once I deserted the service of God for that of man."2

206. Physicians.

Johnson obeyed that precept of Scripture which exhorts us to honour the physician, and would frequently

[See Croker's Boswell, vol. i. pp. 225. 460.] 2 [Ibid., vol. iii. p. 508.]

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