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We have a graphic and amusing picture of Reynolds's hospitable but motley establishment, in an account given by a Mr. Courtenay to Sir James Mackintosh ; though it speaks of a time after Reynolds had received the honor of knighthood. There was something singular," said he, “ in the style and economy of Sir Joshua's table that contributed to pleasantry and good-humor, a coarse, inelegant plenty, without any regard to order and arrangement. At five o'clock precisely, dinner was served, whether all the invited guests had arrived or not. Sir Joshua was never so fashionably ill-bred as to wait an hour perhaps for two or three persons of rank or title, and put the rest of the company out of humor by this invidious distinction. His invitations, however, did not regulate the number of his guests. Many dropped in uninvited. A table prepared for seven or eight was often compelled to contain fifteen or sixteen. There was a consequent deficiency of knives, forks, plates, and glasses. The attendance was in the same style, and those who were knowing in the ways of the house took care on sitting down to call instantly for beer, bread, or wine, that they might secure a supply before the first course was over. He was once prevailed on to furnish the table with decanters and glasses at dinner, to time and prevent confusion. These gradually were demolished in the course of service, and were never replaced. These trifling embarrassments, however, only served to enhance the hilarity and singular pleasure of the entertainment. The wine, cookery, and dishes were




but little attended to; nor was the fish or venison ever talked of or recommended. Amidst this convivial animated bustle among his guests, our host sat perfectly composed ; always attentive to what was said, never minding what was ate or drank, but left every one at perfect liberty to scramble for himself.

Out of the casual but frequent meeting of men of talent at this hospitable board rose that association of wits, authors, scholars, and statesmen, renowned as the Literary Club. Reynolds was the first to propose a regular association of the kind, and was eagerly seconded by Johnson, who proposed as a model a club which he had formed many years previously in Ivy Lane, but which was now extinct. Like that club the number of members was limited to nine. They were to meet and sup together once a week, on Monday night, at the Turk’s Head on Gerard Street, Soho, and two members were to constitute a meeting. It took a regular form in the year 1764, but did not receive its literary appellation until several years afterwards.

The original members were Reynolds, Johnson, Burke, Dr. Nugent, Bennet Langton, Topham Beauclerc, Chamier, Hawkins, and Goldsmith ; and here a few words concerning some of the members may be acceptable. Burke was at that time about thirty-three years of age ; he had mingled a little in politics and been Under-Secretary to Hamilton at Dublin, but was again a writer for the booksellers, and as yet but in the dawning of his fame. Dr. Nugent was his father

in-law, a Roman Catholic, and a physician of talent and instruction. Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Hawkins was admitted into this association from having been a member of Johnson's Ivy-Lane club. Originally an attorney, he had retired from the practice of the law, in consequence of a large fortune which fell to him in right of his wife, and was now a Middlesex magistrate. He was, moreover, a dabbler in literature and music, and was actually engaged on a history of music, which he subsequently published in five ponderous volumes. To him we are also indebted for a biography of Johnson, which appeared after the death of that eminent man. Hawkins was as mean and parsin as he was pompous and conceited. He forbore to partake of the suppers at the club, and begged therefore to be excused from paying his share of the reckoning.

66 And was he excused ?” asked Dr. Burney of Johnson. “Oh, yes, for no man is angry at another for being inferior to himself. We all scorned him and admitted his plea. Yet I really believe him to be an honest man at bottom, though to be sure he is penurious, and he is mean, and it must be owned he has a tendency to savageness." He did not remain above two or three years in the club; being in a manner elbowed out in consequence of his rudeness to Burke.

Mr. Anthony Chamier was Secretary in the war-office, and a friend of Beauclerc, by wliom he was proposed. We have left our mention of Bennet Langton and Topham Beauclerc until the last, because we have most to say about them



They were doubtless induced to join the club through their devotion to Johnson, and the intimacy of these two very young and aristocratic young men with the stern and somewhat melancholy moralist is among the curiosities of literature.

Bennet Langton was of an ancient family, who held their ancestral estate of Langton in Lincolnshire, a great title to respect with Johnson. “ Langton, sir,” he would say, “ has a grant of free-warren from Henry the Second ; and Cardinal Stephen Langton, in King John's reign, was of this family."

Långton was of a mild, contemplative, enthuastic nature. Wh but eighteen years

of age he was so delighted with reading Johnson's “ Rambler,” that he came to London chiefly with a view to obtain an introduction to the author. Boswell gives us an account of his first interview, which took place in the morning. It is not often that the personal appearance of an author agrees with the preconceived ideas of his admirer. Langton, from perusing the writings of Johnson, expected to find him a decent, well-dressed, in short a remarkably decorous philosopher. Instead of which, down from his bedchamber about noon, came, as newly risen, a large uncouth figure, with a little dark wig which scarcely covered his head, and his clothes hanging loose about him. But his conversation was so rich, so animated, and so forcible, and his religious and political notions so congenial with those in which Langton had been educated, that he conceived for him that veneration and attachment which he ever preserved.

Langton went to pursue his studies at Trinity College, Oxford, where Johnson saw much of him during a visit which he paid to the University. He found him in close intimacy with Topham Beauclerc, a youth two years older than himself, very gay and dissipated, and wondered what sympathies could draw two young men together of such opposite characters. On becoming acquainted with Beauclerc he found that, rake though he was, he possessed an ardent love of literature, an acute understanding, polished wit, innate gentility, and high aristocratic breeding. He was, moreover, the only son of Lord Sidney Beauclerc and grandson of the Duke of St. Albans, and was thought in some pårticulars to have a resemblance to Charles the Second. These were high recommendations with Johnson ; and when the youth testified a profound respect for him and an ardent admiration of his talents, the conquest was complete, so that in a time,” says Boswell, “ the moral pious Johnson and the gay dissipated Beauclerc were panions."

The intimacy begun in college chambers was continued when the youths came to town during the vacations. The uncouth, unwieldy moralist was flattered at finding himself an object of idolatry to two high-born, high-bred, aristocratic young men, and throwing gravity aside, was ready to join in their vagaries and play the part of a "young man upon town.” Such at least is the

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