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| Porter told me that when he was first intro
duced to her mother his appearance was FROM a newly issued Life of Johnson very forbidding ; he was then lean and lank, illustrated, we have taken a view of the so that his immense structure of bones was great lexicographer's birth-place, and of hideously striking to the eye, and the scars Edial House where he first undertook his of the scrofula were deeply visible. He also office of teacher.
wore his hair, which was straight and stiff, We subjoin Boswell's account of the and separated behind; and he often bad courtship of the doctor, with some notice of seemingly convulsive starts and odd gesticuhis mother's family :
lations, which tended to excite at once sur
prise and ridicule. Mrs. Porter was so much "His juvenile attachments to the fair sex engaged by his conversation that she overwere very transient. * * * * looked all these external disadvantages, and
"In a man whom religious education has said to her daughter, This is the most sensecured from licentious indulgences, the pas sible man that I ever saw in my life.' sion of love, when once it has seized him, is “ Though Mrs. Porter was double the age exceedingly strong; being unimpaired by of Johnson, and her person and manner, as dissipation, and totally concentrated in one described to me by the late Mr. Garrick, object. This was experienced by Johnson were by no means pleasing to others, she when he became the fervent admirer of Mrs. must have had a superiority of understandPorter, after her first husband's death. Missing and talents, as she certainly inspired bim
with a more than ordinary passion ; and his father is there styled gentleman, a cirshe having signified her willingness to accumstance of which an ignorant panegyrist cept of his hand, he went to Lichfield to ask has praised him for not being proud; when his mother's consent to the marriage, which the truth is, that the appellation of gentlehe could not but be conscious was a very man, though now lost in the indiscriminate imprudent scheme, both on account of their assumption of esquire, was commonly taken disparity of years and her want of fortune. by those who could not boast of gentility. But Mrs. Johnson knew too well the ardor of | His father was Michael Johnson, a native of her son's temper, and was too tender a pa- Derbyshire, of the same extraction, who rent to oppose his inclinations,
settled in Lichfield as a bookseller and sta" I know not for what reason the mar tioner. His mother was Sarah Ford, deriage ceremony was not performed at Bir- scended from an ancient race of substantial mingham ; but a resolution was taken that yeomanry in Warwickshire. They were it should be at Derby, for which place the well advanced in years when they married, bride and bridegroom set out on horseback, and never had more than two children, both I suppose in very good bumor. But, though sons—Samuel, their first born, who lived to Mr. Topham Beauclerk used archly to men- be such an illustrious character; and Nation Johnson's having told him with much thaniel, who died in his twenty-fifth year. gravity, “Sir, it was a love marriage on She was a woman of distinguished underboth sides,' I have had from my illustrious standing, which, however, was not much friend the following curious account of their cultivated, as we may gather from Dr. journey to church upon the nuptial morn Johnson's own account of his early years. [9th July) :—Sir, she had read the old ro • My father and mother,' says Johnson, 'had mances, and had got into her head the fan- not much happiness from each other. They tastical notion that a woman of spirit should seldom conversed; for my father could not use her lover like a dog. So, sir, at the first bear to talk of his affairs; and my mother, she told me that I rode too fast, and she being unacquainted with books, cared not to could not keep up with me; and when I talk of any thing else. Had my mother rode a little slower, she passed me, and been more literate, they had been better complained I lagged behind. I was not to companions.' be made the slave of caprice; and I resolved “There is a circumstance in the life of to begin as I meant to end. I, therefore, his father somewhat romantic, but so well pushed on briskly, till I was out of her sight. authenticated as to deserve mention. A The road lay between two hedges, so I was young woman of Leek, in Staffordshire, sure she could not miss it ; and I contrived while he served his apprenticeship there, that she should soon come up with me. conceived a violent passion for him; and, When she did, I observed her to be in tears.' | though it met with no favorable return,
“This, it must be allowed, was a singular followed him to Lichfield, where she took beginning of connubial felicity; but there is lodgings opposite to the house in which he no doubt that Johnson, though he thus lived, and indulged her hopeless flame. showed a manly firmness, proved a most When he was informed that it so preyed affectionate and indulgent husband to the upon her mind that her life was in danger, last moment of Mrs. Johnson's life; and in be with a generous humanity went to her, his · Prayers and Meditations we find very and offered to marry her, but it was then remarkable evidence that his regard and too late, her vital power was exhausted; fondness for her never ceased, even after and she thus painfully illustrated that a her death."
woman can die for love. Boswell says of the birth of this renowned “Of the power of Dr. Johnson's memory, writer that he
for which he was all his life eminent to a “Was born at Lichfield, in Staffordshire, degree almost incredible, the following early on the 18th of September, N. s., 1709, and his instance is recorded as told in his presence initiation into the Christian Church was not at Sheffield, in 1770, by his stepdaughter, delayed, for his baptism is recorded in the Mrs. Lucy Porter, and related to her by his register of St. Mary's parish in that city to mother :- When he was a child in petti. have been performed on the day of his birth; Icoats, and learned to read, Mrs. Johnson
one morning put the Common Prayer Book | it,' he replied; and repeated it distinctly, into his hands, pointing to the collect for the though he could not not have read it more day, and said, 'Sam, you must get this by than twice. heart.' She went up stairs, leaving him to “The parlor in the house where Dr. Johnstudy; but by the time she had reached the son was born is the only room which remains second floor she heard him following her. in the same state as when occupied by his "What's the matter” said she. “I can say father. * * *
" After his marriage he set up a private wealthy have embraced an opportunity of academy, for which purpose he hired a large putting their sons under the learned tuition house well situated near his native city. In of Samuel Johnson !" the Gentleman's Magazine for 1736 there is the following advertisement :“At Edial, near Lichfield, in Stafford
From "The Tribune." shire, young gentlemen are boarded and
SONNET. taught the Latin and Greek languages by Samuel Johnson.'
How two strong elements strive in the soul ; " But the only pupils that were put un Not right and wrong, which should be clear to
senseder his care were the celebrated David
But inner truths, and outer evidence ! Garrick and his brother George, and a Mr. The inner, firm, as loadstone to the pole, Offely, a young gentleman of good fortune, While booming facts, like wild sea billows roll, who died early. As yet bis name had
Athwart belief-which is the soul's defence,
On which is built its freedom,-innocence, nothing of that celebrity which afterwards
Reason, which should, hand-locked with Faith. commanded the highest attention and re
control. spect of mankind. Had such an advertise This inner gense, the poet's richest gift,ment appeared after the publication of his A half-veil'd madness to the worldly eye,
Men still confound with idle fantasy, "London,' his “Rambler,' or his · Dictionary,'
Which has no power so to dilate, uplift, how would it have burst upon the world!
And bind the soul in lofty reverie,
From “ Fraser's Magazine."
whose privilege it is to follow a regiment on THE BEST OF THREE;
service. It is enough to know that, out of
this chaos of confusion, spring the elements OR, THE OFFICER'S CHARGER.
of order and arrangement, and that, in twenAn unmilitary spectator, gazing upon a ty-four hours at the outside, every thing is regiment of cavalry on the march, is apt to ready for the road, the rail, the transport, or suppose that, like a body of chess-men in a the field. Add to all this, the knowledge box, it has but to be packed up, and dis- that the corps thus set in motion is about to patched in any direction at a moment's leave home on active service, where promonotice. He sees each individual private, tion and distinction are as surely awaiting looking straight between the ears of his the survivors, as grape and musketry, round charger, surrounded by his own and his shot and sabre-cuts, are in store for those horse's paraphernalia—which personal pro- whose fate it may be never to see merry perty the faithful pair carry about with England again, and some idea may be formthem like a snail does her shell, in all their ed of the excitement prevailing in the wanderings. Being a civilian, the delighted cavalry barracks at York one fine spring gazer has, of course, an immense idea of morning early in the present century, on the military punctuality and quickness; so, for receipt of "the route" for the Peninsula by getting the difficulty with which he sets his the gallant - th Dragoons. own family in motion, to perform a journey! Ah! I was young in those days, and would from Ramsgate to Southampton, he fondly not have exchanged my lieutenancy in that supposes that the blast of a trumpet, sound- | distinguished regiment, with my aspirations ing" boots and saddles," is sufficient to move for military glory, and hopes for the future any number of squadrons, baggage, horses, -no! not for a dukedom in possession. sick men, officers’-mess-establishments, and Like Mazeppa, other impedimenta, at a moment's warning,
I was a goodly stripling then; to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Quebec, or Aliwal.
At seventy years I so may say; Little does he know the confusion created and with youth, strength, health, and, above in a barrack-yard by the arrival of “the all, hope, with the world, not of reality, but route"—the hurrying to and fro of orderlies, of boyhood's dreams, all before me, could corporals, serjeants, and trumpeters—the any position in life be more enviable than grave and steady bustle of the colonel, and mine? I am old now, and, like all old and his admiring imitator, the regimental men, somewhat inclined to overrate the serjeant-major—the hurried arrangements advantages of youth. But I must strive to of the doctor, probably a married man, with curb the garrulity which is so apt to steal on a host of children the frantic state of the with increasing years, and tell my story in adjutant, and calm despair of the riding the off-hand fashion of the present day. It master, invariably a stalwart warrior, whose is not fair to lay hold of my courteous reader corpulent proportions it appears impossible by the button, and inflict on him the unfor any horse to carry—the captains com- necessary twaddle that shall dub me “bore." pletely engrossed in the affairs of their Well; the gallant — th were quartered respective troops, and the movement of their at York, and "a glorious summer" we made own baggage-the lieutenants thinking of it for the “sons of York," ay, and the daugh“ the girls that we left behind us”—and the ters, too. Balls, pic-nics, races, theatricals, cornets (happy dogs!) with the true elasti. all the autumn-more balls, more theatricity of youth, swamping all their cares for cals, capital-hunting, famous shooting, all the the present, and regrets for the past, in winter. Yorkshire has ever been celebrated golden anticipations of the future. We will for the kindness and hospitality of its inpass over the difficulties of the mess-man, habitants. It still keeps up its character in important as that functionary must unques that respect, as I am informed on all hands ; tionably be; nor will we dwell upon the but in those days I can vouch for every labors of bât-men and servants, packing up man's home being literally " his castle ;” and baggage, and stowing the most ingenious truly we were free of them all. inventions into the smallest given space; or Amongst the many from whom my brother the discomforts of the bandful of women, | officers and myself were sure of a hearty