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as a contraction for Elizabeth, her christian name, but which to us seems ludicrous, when applied to a woman of her age and appearance. Mr. Garrick described her to me as very fat, with a bosom of more than ordinary protuberance, with swelled cheeks, of a florid red, produced by thick painting, and increased by the liberal use of cordials; flaring and fantastick in her dress, and affected both in her speech and her general behaviour. I have seen Garrick exhibit her, by his exquisite talent of mimickry, so as to excite the heartiest bursts of laughter; but he, probably, as is the case in all such representations, considerably aggravated the picture.
That Johnson well knew the most proper course to be pursued in the instruction of youth, is authentically ascertained by the following paper in his own handwriting, given about this period to a relation, and now in the possession of Mr. John Nichols.
SCHEME FOR THE CLASSES OF A GRAMMAR SCHOOL.
When the introduction, or formation of nouns and verbs, is perfectly mastered, let them learn
Corderius by Mr. Clarke, beginning at the same time to translate out of the introduction, that by this means they may learn the syntax. Then let them proceed to
Erasmus, with an English translation, by the same author.
Class the second learns Eutropius and Cornelius Nepos, or Justin, with the translation.
N. B. The first class gets for their part, every morning, the rules which they have learned before, and in the afternoon learns the Latin rules of the nouns and verbs.
They are examined in the rules which they have learned, every Thursday and Saturday.
The second class does the same whilst they are in Eutropius; afterwards their part is in the irregular nouns and verbs, and in the rules for making and scanning verses. They are examined as the first.
Class the third. Ovid's Metamorphoses in the morning, and Cæsar's Commentaries in the afternoon.
Practise in the Latin rules till they are perfect in them; afterwards in Mr. Leeds's Greek Grammar. Examined as before.
Afterwards they proceed to Virgil, beginning at the same time to write themes and verses, and to learn Greek; from thence passing on to Horace, etc. as shall seem most proper.
I know not well what books to direct you to, because you have not informed me what study you will apply yourself to. I believe it will be most for your advantage to apply yourself wholly to the languages, till you go to the university. The Greek authors I think it best for you to read are these :
Attick and Dorick. Thus you will be tolerably skilled in all the dialects, beginning with the Attick, to which the rest must be referred.
In the study of Latin, it is proper not to read the latter authors, till you are well versed in those of the purest ages; as Terence, Tully, Cæsar, Sallust, Nepos, Velleius Paterculus, Virgil, Horace, Phædrus.
The greatest and most necessary task still remains, to attain a habit of expression, without which knowledge is of little use.
This is necessary in Latin, and more necessary in English ; and can only be acquired by a daily imitation of the best and correctest authors.
While Johnson kept his academy, there can be no doubt ha he was insensibly furnishing his mind with various knowledge ; but I have not discovered that he wrote any thing except a great part of his tragedy of Irene. Mr. Peter Garrick, the elder brother of David, told me that he remembered Johnson's borrowing the Turkish history of him, in order to form his play from it. When he had finished some part of it, he read what he had done to Mr. Walmsley, who objected to his having already brought his heroine into great distress, and asked him, “How can you possibly contrive to plunge her into deeper calamity?” Johnson, in sly allusion to the supposed oppressive pro
ceedings of the court of which Mr. Walmsley was registrar, · replied, “Sir, I can put her into the spiritual court.”
Mr. Walmsley, however, was well pleased with this proof of Johnson's abilities as a dramatick writer, and advised him to finish the tragedy, and produce it on the stage.
Johnson now thought of trying his fortune in London, the great field of genius and exertion, where talents of every kind have the fullest scope, and the highest encouragement. It is a memorable circumstance that his pupil, David Garrick, went thither at the same time, with intent to complete his education, and follow the profession of the law, from which he was soon diverted by his decided preference for the stage.
This joint expedition of those two eminent men to the metropolis, was many years afterwards noticed in an allegorical poem on Shakspeare's mulberry tree, by Mr. Lovibond, the ingenious author of the Tears of Old-May-day.
They were recommended to Mr. Colson!, an eminent
P Both of them used to talk pleasantly of this their first journey to London. Garrick, evidently meaning to embellish a little, said one day in my hearing,
We rode and tied. And the bishop of Killaloe, Dr. Barnard, informed me, that at another time, when Johnson and Garrick were dining together in a pretty large company, Johnson humorously ascertaining the chronology of something, expressed himself thus: “That was the year when I came to London with twopence halfpenny in my pocket.” Garrick overhearing him, ex. claimed, “Eh? what do you say? with twopence halfpenny in your pocket ?”
- Johnson. “Why, yes'; when I came with twopence halfpenny in my pocket, and thou, Davy, with three halfpence in thine.”-Boswell.
9 The reverend John Colson was bred at Emmanuel college in bridge, and in 1728, when George the second visited that university, was created master of arts. About that time he became first master of the freeschool at Ro
mathematician and master of an academy, by the following letter from Mr. Walmsley.
TO THE REVEREND MR. COLSON.
“ Lichfield, March 2, 1737. “ DEAR SIR, I had the favour of yours, and am extremely obliged to you; but I cannot say I had a greater affection for you upon it than I had before, being long since so much endeared to you, as well by an early friendship as by your many excellent and valuable qualifications; and, had I a son of my own, it would be my ambition, instead of sending him to the university, to dispose of him as this young gentleman is.
“He, and another neighbour of mine, one Mr. Samuel Johnson, set out this morning for London together. David Garrick is to be with you early the next week, and Mr. Johnson to try his fate with a tragedy, and to see to get himself employed in some translation either from the Latin or the French. Johnson is a very good scholar and poet, and I have great hopes will turn out a fine tragedy writer". If it should any way lie in your way, I doubt not but you would be ready to recommend and assist your countryman.
* G. WALMSLEY." chester, founded by sir Joseph Williamson. In 1739, he was appointed Lucasian professor of mathematics in the university of Cambridge, on the death of professor Sanderson, and held that office till 1759, when he died. He published Lectures on Experimental Philosophy, translated from the French of l'abbé Nodet, 8vo. 1732, and some other tracts. Our author, it is believed, was mistaken in stating him to have been master of an academy. Garrick, probably during his short residence at Rochester, lived in his house as a private pupil.-MALONE.
The character of Gelidus the philosopher, in the Rambler, No. 24, was probably meant to represent this gentleman. See Mrs. Piozzi’s Anecdotes, etc. p. 49, and Preface to Irene, vol. i. Johnson's Works.-ED.
The predictions of Johnson's early friend on this subject were as far from being realized, as were Ford's on his character in conversation. “ You will make your way the more easily in the world, I see,” said Ford, as you are contented to dispute no man's claim to conversational excellence; they will, therefore, more willingly allow your pretensions as a writer.” Boileau's father patted the young satirist's head, and prophesied thus : "Ce petit bon homme n'a point trop d'esprit, mais il ne dira jamais mal de personne !” So much for paternal prognostication.-ED.
How he employed himself upon his first coming to London is not particularly knowns. I never heard that he found any protection or encouragement by the means of Mr. Colson, to whose academy David Garrick went. Mrs. Lucy Porter told me, that Mr. Walmsley gave him a letter of introduction to Lintot his bookseller, and that Johnson wrote some things for him ; but I imagine this to be a mistake, for I have discovered no trace of it; and I am pretty sure he told me, that Mr. Cave was the first publisher by whom his pen was engaged in London.
He had a little money when he came to town, and he knew how he could live in the cheapest manner. His first lodgings were at the house of Mr. Norris, a staymaker, in Exeter-street, adjoining Catherine-street, in the Strand. “I dined,” said he, “ very well for eightpence, with very good company, at the Pineapple in New-street, just by. Several of them had travelled. They expected to meet every day; but did not know one another's names. It: used to cost the rest a shilling, for they drank wine; but I had a cut of meat for sixpence, and bread for a penny, and gave the waiter a penny; so that I was quite well served, nay, better than the rest, for they gave the waiter nothing."
He at this time, I believe, abstained entirely from fermented liquors; a practice to which he rigidly conformed for many years together, at different periods of his life.
His Ofellus in the Art of living in London, I have heard him relate, was an Irish painter, whom he knew at Birmingham, and who had practised his own precepts of economy for several years in the British capital. He assured Johnson, who, I suppose, was then meditating to try his fortune in London, but was apprehensive of the expense, “ that thirty pounds a year was enough to enable a man to live there without being contemptible. He allowed
* One curious anecdote was communicated by himself to Mr. John Nichols. Mr. Wilcox the bookseller, on being informed by him that his intention was to get his livelihood as an author, eyed his robust frame attentively, and with a significant look, said, You had better buy a porter's knot.” He however added, “ Wilcox was one of my best friends.”-Boswell.