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became severe it expelled from fiction foot of a sloj ing hill, shelterd with a the coarseness of Smollett and the beautiful underwood behind, and a indecencies of Sterne ; and the novel, prattling river before; on one side a in every respect moral, before falling meadow, on the other a green. into the almost prudish hands of Miss (It) consisted but of one storey, and Rurney, passes into the noble hands of was covered with thatch, which gave it Goldsmith. His Vicar of Wakefield is an air of great snugness; the walls on “a prose idyl,” somewhat spoilt by the inside were nicely whitewashed. phrases too rhetorical, but at bottom Though the same room served us as homely as a Flemish picture. Ob- for parlor and kitchen, that only made serve in Terburg's or Mieris' paintings it the warmer. Besides, it was kept a woman at market or a burgomaster with the utmost neatness, the dishes, emptying his long glass of beer : the plates, and coppers, being well scrured, faces are vulgar, the ingenuousness is and all disposed in bright rows on the comical, the cookery occupies the place shelves, the eye was agreeably relieved, of honor; yet these good folks are so and did not want richer furniture." * peaceful, so contented with their small They make hay all together, sit under ordinary happiness, that we envy them. the honeysuckle to drink a bottle of The impression left by Goldsmith's gooseberry wine ; the girls sing, the book is pretty much the same. The two little ones read; and the parents excellent Dr. Primrose is a country "would stroll down the sloping field, clergyman, the whole of whose adven- that was embellished with blue bells tures have for a long time consisted in and centaury : ” “But let us have one
nigrations from the blue bed to the bottle more, Deborah, my life, and brown.” He has cousins, “even to the Moses, give us a good song. What fortieth remove,” who come to eat his thanks do we not owe to heaven for dinner and sometimes to borrow a pair thus bestowing tranquillity, health, and of boots. His wife, who has all the competence! I think myself happier education of the time, is a perfect cook, now than the greatest monarch upon can almost read, excels in pickling and earth. He has no such fireside, nor preserving, and at dinner gives the such pleasant faces about it.” + history of every dish. His daughters Such is moral happiness. Their aspire to elegance and even “make a misfortune is no less moral. The poor wash for the face over the fire." His vicar has lost his fortune, and, remov. son Moses gets cheated at the fair, and ing to a small living, turns farmer. sells a colt for a gross of green spec- The squire of the neighborhood se tacles. Dr. Primrose himself writes duces and carries off his eldest daugh. pamphlets, which no one buys, against ter; his house takes fire ; his arm was second marriages of the clergy; writes burnt in a terrible manner in saving beforehand in his wife's epitaph, though his two little children. He is put in she was still living, that she was "the prison for debt, amongst wretches and only wife of Dr. Primrose," and by way rogues, who swear and blasphenic, in of encouragement, places this piece a vile atmosphere, sleeping on straw, of eloquence in an elegant frame over feeling that his illness increases, fore: the chimney-piece. But the household seeing that his family will soon be continues the even tenor of its way; without bread, learning that his daugh the daughters and the mother slightly ter is dying. Yet he does not give domineer over the father of the family; way: he remains a priest and the head he lets them do so, because he is an of a family, prescribes to each of them casy-going man; now and again fires his duty; encourages, consoles, pro off an innocent jest, and busies himself vides for, orders, preaches to the pris in his new farm, with his two horses, oners, endures their coarze jests, rewall-eyed Blackberry and the other forms them; establishes in the prison without a tail : "Nothing could ex- useful work, and " institutes fines for ceed the nea 'ness of my enclosures, punishment and rewards for industry.” che elms and hedge-rows appearing It is not hardness of heart nor a mo with inexpressible beauty. Our
* The Vicar of Wakefied, ch. iv. little habitation was situated at the t Ibid. ch. xvii.
rose temperamen which gives him reflection. Meditation which usually strength; he has :he most paternal produces (nly phrases, results with Dr. soul, the most sociable, humane, open Primrose in actions. Verily reason to gentle emotions and familiar tender-has here taken the helm, and it tas
He says: “I have no resent taken it without oppressing other feel ment now; and though he (the squire) ings; a rare and eloquent spectacle has taken from me what I held dearer which, uniting and harmonizing in ono than all his treasures, though he has character the best features of the man, wrung my heart (for I am sick almost ners and morals of that time and to fainting, very sick, my fellow-pris- country, creates an admiration and love oner), yet that shall never inspire me for pious and orderly, domestic and with vengeance. . . . If this (my) sub-disciplined, laborious and rural life. mission can do him any pleasure, let Protestant and English virtue has not him know, that if I have done him any a more approved and amiable exempinjury, I ain sorry for it. ... I should lar. Religious, affectionate, rational, detest my own heart, if I saw either the Vicar unites predilections which pride or resentment lurking there. On seemed irreconcilable; a clergyman, a the contrary, as my oppressor has been farmer, a head of a family, he enhances once my parishioner, I hope one day those characters which appeared fit to present him up an unpolluted soul only for comic or homely parts. at the eternal tribunal.” * But the hard-hearted squire haughtily repulses
IX. the noble application of the vicar, and in addition causes his second daughter
We now come upon a strange char. to be carried off, and the eldest son to acter, the most esteemed of his time, be thrown into prison under a false
a sort of literary dictator. Richardson
was his friend, and gave him essays for accusation of murder.
At this mo- his paper; Goldsmith, with an artless ment all the affections of the father vanity, admires him, whilst suffering to are wounded, all his consolations lost, be continually outshone by him ; Miss all his hopes ruined. “ His heart weeps to behold” all this misery, he him as a father. Gibbon the historian,
Burney imitates his style, and reveres was going to curse the cause of it all; Reynolds the painter, Garrick the acbut soon, returning to his profession
tor, Burke the orator, Sir William and his duty, he thinks how he will Jones the Orientalist, come to his prepare to fit his son and himself for club to converse with him. Lord Ches. eternity, and by way of being useful to terfield, who had lost his favor, vainly as many people as he can, he wishes tried to regain it by proposing to asat the same time to exhort his fellow- sign to him, on every word in the lanprisoners. He made an effort to guage, the authority of a dictator. * rise on the straw, but wanted strength, Boswell dogs his steps, sets down his and was able only to recline against opinions, and at night fills quartos the wall ; my son and his mother sup- with them. His criticism becomes ported me on either side.” † In this con- law; men crowd to hear him talk; he dition he speaks, and his sermon, con is the arbiter of style. Let us transport trasting with his condition, is the more in imagination this ruler of mind, Dr. moving. It is a dissertation in the Eng. Samuel Johnson, into France, among lish style, made up of close reasoning, the pretty drawing-rooms, full of ele seeking only to establish that “ Prov
gant philosophers and epicurean man idence has given to the wretched two Advantages over the happy in this ners; the violence of the contrast will
mark better than all argument the bent life,” greater felicity in dying; and in and predilections of the English mind heaven all that superiority of pleasure which arises from contrasted enjoy whose "person was large, robust, ap
There appears then before us a man ments. We see the sources of this proaching to the gigantic, and grown virtue, born of Christianity and natural kindness, but long nourished by inner Croker, 1893, ch. vi. p. 8s, Chesterfield's com
* Sec, in Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. * The Vuar
of. Wakefield, ch. xviii. plimbatary paper on Johnson's Dictionary • Ibid. ch. xxviii.
í Ibid. ch. xxix. printed in the World
unwieldy from corpulency," *. with a Thrale), talk no more of this ; nonsense gloomy and unpolished air, “his coun- can be defended but by nonsense. tenance disfigured by the king's evil," "One thing I know, which you don't and blinking with one of his eyes,
seem to know, that you are very una fu!. suit of plain brown clothes,” and civil.” + “In the intervals of articu. with not overclean linen, suffering from lating he made various sounds with his morbid melancholy since his birth, and mouth, sometimes as if ruminating, moreover a hypochondriac. † In com- sometimes giving a half whistle, pany he would sometimes retire to a sometimes making his tongue play lackwin low or corner of a room, and mut- wards from the roof of his mouth, as ter a Latin verse or a prayer. At if clucking like a hen.. Generally, other times, in a recess, he would roll when he had concluded a period, in the his head, sway his body backward and course of a dispute, .. : he used to korward, stretch out and then convul- blow out his breath like a whale,” I and sively draw back his leg. His biogra- swallow several cups of tea. pher relates that it " was his constant Then in a low voice, cautiously, men anxious care to go out or in at a door would ask Garrick or Boswell the hisor passage, ... so as that either his tory and habits of this strange being. right or his left foot should constantly He had lived like a cynic and an eccenmake the first actual movement; . tric, having passed his youth reading when he had neglected or gone wrong miscellaneously, especially Latin folios, in this sort of magical movement, even those least known, such as Ma. have seen him go back again, put him-crobius ; he had found on a shelf in his self in the proper posture to begin the father's shop the Latin works of Pe. ceremony, and having gone through it, trarch, whilst he was looking for apples, walk briskly on and join his compan- and had read them; $“ he published ion.” §
People are sitting at table, proposals for printing by subscription when suddenly, in a moment of abstrac- the Latin poems of Politian.” || At tion, he stoops, and clenching hold of twenty-five he had married for love a the foot of a lady, draws off her shoe. ll woman of about fifty,“ very fat, with Hardly is the dinner served when he swelled cheeks, of a florid red, produced darts on the food; "his looks seemed by thick painting, flaring and fantasti rivetted to his plate ; nor would he, un- in her dress," T and who had children as less when in very high company, say old as himself. Having come to Lon. one word, or even pay the least atten- don to earn his bread, some people, see. tion to what was said by others; (he) ing his convulsive grimaces, took him indulged with such intenseness, that, for an idiot; others, seeing his robust while in the act of cating, the veins of frame, advised him to buy a porter's his forehead swelled, and generally a knot.** For thirty years he worked strong perspiration was visible.” If like a hack for the publishers, whos by chance the hare was high, or the he used to thrash when they becam.
no longer ate, but devoured. When once fasted two days; 11 content when at last his appetite was satisfied, and he could dine on " a cut of meat for lie consented to speak, he disputed, sixpence, and bread for a penny ; ” S8 whouted, made a sparring match of his having written Rasselas in eight nigils. conversation, triumphed no matter how, to pay for his mother's funeral. Now laid down his opinion dogmatically, pensioned || || by the king, freed from and ill treated those whom he was re- # Ibid. ch. xxii. 201. 1 lbid. ch. Ixviii. 628. kutir.g. "Sir, I perceive you are a vile
1 lbid. ch. xviii. 166. Ibid. ch. ii. 12.
Ibid. ch. iv. 26.
**Ibid. ch. v. 28, note 3.
tt Ibid. ch. vii, 46. * See, in Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. 11 Ibid. ch. xvii. 159. $$ Ibid. ch. 1. 28. Croker, 1853, ch. xxx. 269, Chesterfield's com- I He had formerly put in his Dictionary plimentary paper on Johnson's Dictionary, the following definition of the word pension : printed in the World
“ Pension-an allowance made to any one | Life of Johnson, ch. iü. 14 and 15. without an equivalent. In England it is gen. 1 Ibid. ch. xviii. 165, n. 4.
erally understood to mean pay given to a stateŠ Ibid. ch. xviû. 166.
hireling for treason to his country.” This i Ibid. ch. xlviii. 439, R. 3..
drew of course afterwards all the murpms of Ibid. ch. xvii. 159. * Thich ch. xxvi. 336. his adversaries upon himself.
his daily labors, he gave way to his I would sooner sigo a sentence natural indolence, lying in bed often for his transportation, than that of any till mid-day and after. He is visited felon who has gone from the Old Bai. at that hour. We mount the stairs of ley these many years. Yes, I shưuld a gloomy house on the north side of like to have hím' work in the planta. Fleet Street, the busy quarter of Lon- tions.”* don, in a narrow and obscure court; It seems that in England people do and as we enter, we hear the scoldings not like philosophical innovators. Let of four old women and an old quack us see if Voltaire will be treated better: doctor, poor penniless creatures, bad “ It is difficult to settle the proportiob in health and in disposition, whom he of iniquity between them (Rousseau has rescued, whom he supports, who and Voltaire).” † In good sooth, this vex or insult hi.n. We ask for the is clear. But can we not look for truth doctor, a negro opens the door ; we outside an Established Church? No; gather round the master's bed; there “no honest man could be a Deist; foi are always many distinguished people no man could be so after a fair exami at his levee, including even ladies. nation of the proofs of Christianity.” 1 Thus surrounded, “ he declaims, then Here is a peremptory Christian; there went to dinner at a tavern, where he are scarcely any in France so decisive. commonly stays late,” * talks all the Moreover, he is an Anglican, with a evening, goes out to enjoy in the streets passion for the hierarchy, an admirer the London mud and fog, picks up a of established order, an enemy of Dis friend to talk again, and is busy pro- senters. We see him bow to an archnouncing oracles and maintaining his bishop with peculiar veneration. We opinion till four in the morning. hear him reprove one of his friends
Whereupon we ask if it is the free“ for saying grace without mention of dom of his opinions which is fascina- the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” | ting. His friends answer, that there is If we speak to him of a Quaker's meetno more indomitable partisan of order. ing, and of a woman preaching, he will He is called the Hercules of Toryism. tell us that “a woman preaching is like From infancy he detested the Whigs, a dog's walking on his hind legs ; it is and he never spoke of them but as not done well, but you are surprised to public malefactors. He insults them find it done at all.” He is a Consereven in his Dictionary. He exalts vative, and does not fear being conCharles the Second and James the sidered antiquated. He went at one Second as two of the best kings who o'clock in the morning into St. John's have ever reigned. He justifies the Church, Clerkenwell, to interrogate a arbitrary taxes which Government pre- tormented spirit, which had promised sumes to levy on the Americans. I He to "give a token of her presence there declares that“ Whiggism is a negation by a knock upon her coffin.” **
If we of all principle;” § that“ the first Whig look at Boswell's life of him, we will was the devil ; ” || that “the Crown has find there fervent prayers, examinations not power enough;”, that "mankind of conscience, and rules of conduct. are happier in a state of inequality and Amidst prejudices and ridicule he has subordination." ** Frenchmen of the a deep conviction, an active faith, a present time, admirers of the Contrat severe moral piety. He is a Christiaı Social, soon feel, on reading or hearing from his heart and conscience, reason all this, that they are no longer in and practice. The thought of God, the France. And what must they feel when fear of the last judgment, engross and a few moments later the Doctor says : reform him. He said one day to Gar
I think him (Rousseau) one of the rick : " I'll come no more behind your worst of men; a rascal who ouglat to be scenes, David, for the silk stockings hunted out of society, as he has been. and white bosoms of your actressco
• Boswell's Life, ch. XXIV. 216.
* Ibid. ch. xix. 175.
1 Ibid. ch. xix. 176 Ś Ibid. ch. lxxv. 723. 1 Ibid. ch. xiv. aid
Ibid. ch. xvii. 157.
excite ny amorous propensities." He age would recogr. ze him as a master reproaches himself with his indolence, and attribute to him in eloquence the implores God's pardon, is humble, has mastery which it attributed to Pepe in scruples. All this is very strange. We verse. ask men what can please them in this We wish to know what ideas have grumbling bear, with the manners of a made him popular. Here the astonishbeadle and the inclinations of a con- ment of a Frenchman redoubles. We stable? They answer, that in London vainly tarn over the pages of his Dic people are less exacting than in Paris, tionary, his eight volumes of essays, as to manners and politeness; that in his many volumes of biographies, his England they allow energy to be rude numberless articles, his conversation and virtue odd ; that they put up with so carefully collected; we yawn. His a combative conversation; that public truths are too true ; we already know opinion is all on the side of the consti- his precepts by heart. We learn from tution and Christianity; and that so- him that life is short, and we ought to ciety was right to take for its master a improve the few moments granted to man who, by his style and precepts, us; * that a mother ought not to bring best suited its bent.
up her son as a fop ; that a man ought We now send for his books, and to repent of his faults, and yet avoid after an hour we observe, that whatever superstition; that in every thing we the work be, tragedy or dictionary, ought to be active, and not hurried. biography or essay, he always writes in We thank him for these sage counsels, the same style. "Dr. Johnson," Gold- but we mutter to ourselves that we smith said one day to him, “if you could have done very well without were to make little fishes talk, they them. We should like to know who would talk like whales.”* In fact, his could have been the lovers of ennur phraseology rolls ever in solemn and who have bought up thirteen thousand majestic periods, in which every sub- copies of his works. We then rememstantive marches ceremoniously, ac- ber that sermons are liked in England, companied by its epithet ; grand, pom- and that these Essays are sermons. pous words peal like an organ ; every We discover that men of reflection do proposition is set forth balanced by a not need bold or striking ideas, but proposition of equal length; thought palpable and profitable truths. They is developed with the compassed reg- desire to be furnished with a useful ularity and official splendor of a pro- provision of authentic examples on man cession. Classical prose attains its and his existence, and demand nothing perfection in him, as classical poetry more. No matter if the idea is vulgar;: in Pope. Art cannot be more finished, meat and bread are vulgar too, and are or nature more forced. No one has no less good. They wish to be taught confined ideas in more strait compart. the kinds and degrees of happiness and ments ; none has given stronger relief unhappiness, the varieties and results of to dissertation and proof; none has character and condition, the advantages imposed more despotically on story and and inconveniences of town and coundialogue the forms of argumentation try, knowledge and ignorance, wealth and violent declamation ; none has and moderate circumstances, because gore generally mutilated the flowing they are moralists and utilitarians ; be. iberty of conversation and life by an- cause they look in a book for the knowl. i itheses and technical words. It is the edge to turn them from folly, and :ompletion and the excess, the triumph abstract the mind from all local emotion would ina tue tyranny of oratorical style.t be impossible if it were endeavoured, and We understand now that an oratorical would be foolish if it were possible
from me and from any friends be such frigid * Boswell's Life, ch. xxviii. 256.
philosophy as may conduct us indifferent and † Here is a celebrated phrase, which will unmoved over any ground which has been diggive some idea of his style (Boswell's Journal, nified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That ch. xliii. 381): “We were now treading that man is little to be envied, whose patriotism illustrious island, which was once the luminary would not gain force upon the plain of Maraof the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans thon, or whose piety would not grow warmer and roving barbarians derived the benefits of among the ruins of lona." knowledge and the blessings of religion. To # Rambler 108, 109, 110, Ul.