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firmness to turn round, Mr. Langton solemnly said, “The Doctor is very sorry indeed not to see you ; but he desired me to come and speak to you for him myself, and to tell you, that he hopes you will excuse him ; for he feels himself too weak for such an interview.” Touched to the very heart by so kind, though sorrowful a message, at a moment that seemed so awful, I hastily expressed something like thanks to Mr. Langton, who was visibly affected; and, leaving my most affectionate respects, with every warmly kind wish I could half utter, I hurried back to my father's coach. The very next day, Monday, the 13th of December, Dr. Johnson expired, and without a groan. Expired, it is thought, in his sleep.
ANECDOTES AND REMARKS,
BY DR. BEATTIE. (')
427. Johnson's “ Journey." Johnson's “ Journey to the Hebrides” contains many things worthy of the author, and is, on the whole, very entertaining. His account of the isles is, I dare say, very just : I never was there, and therefore can say nothing of them, from my own knowledge. His account of some facts, relating to other parts of Scotland, are not unexceptionable. Either he must have been misinformed, or he must have misunderstood his informer, in regard to several of his remarks on the improvement of the country. I am surprised at one of his mistakes, which leads him once or twice into perplexity and false conjecture. He seems not to have known, that, in the common language of Scotland, Irish and Erse are both used to denote the speech of the Scots Highlanders ; and are as much synonymous (at least, in many parts of the kingdom) as Scotch and Scottish. Irish is generally thought the genteeler appellation ; and Erse the vulgar and colloquial
. His remarks on the trees of Scotland must greatly surprise a native. In some of our provinces trees cannot be reared by any mode of cultivation we have yet discovered ; in some, where trees flourish extremely well, they are not much cultivated, because they are not necessary; but in others, we have store of wood, and forests
(1) (From Sir William Forbes's Life of Dr. Beattie.]
of great extent, and of great antiquity. I admire Johnson's genius ; I esteem him for his virtues ; I shall ever cherish a grateful remembrance of the civilities I have received from him. I have often, in this country, exerted myself in defence both of his character and writings ; but there are in this book several things which I cannot defend.
He was a
428. Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. — Goldsmith. I was introdưced to Mr. and Mrs. Thrale by Dr. Johnson, and received many and great civilities from both. Mr. Thrale was a most respectable character ; intelligent, modest, communicative, and friendly; and I greatly admired his wife for her vivacity, learning, affability, and beauty. I thought her, indeed, one of the most agreeable women I ever saw ; and could not have imagined her capable of acting so unwise a part as she afterwards did. What she says of Goldsmith is perfectly true. poor fretful creature, eaten up with affectation and envy. He was the only person I ever knew who acknowledged himself to be envious. In Johnson's presence he was quiet enough ; but in his absence expressed great uneasiness on hearing him praised.
429. Mrs. Montagu. Johnson's harsh censure of Mrs. Montagu's Essay on Shakspeare does not surprise me; for I have heard him speak contemptuously of it. It is, for all that, one of the best, the most original, and most elegant pieces of criticism in our language, or in any other. Johnson had many of the talents of a critic; but his want of temper, his violent prejudices, and something, I am afraid, of an envious turn of mind, made him often an unfair one.
Mrs. Montagu was very kind to him ; but Mrs. Montagu has more wit than any body; and Johnson could not bear that any person should be thought to have wit but himself. Even Lord Chesterfield, and, what is more strange, even Mr. Burke, he would not allow to have wit. He preferred Smollett to Fielding. He would not grant that Armstrong's poem of “ Health,” or the tragedy of “Douglas,”