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ordinarily wore: he therefore appeared behind the scenes, and even in one of the side boxes, in a scarlet waistcoat, with rich gold lace, and a gold-laced hat. He humorously observed to Mr. Langton, "that when in that dress he could not treat people with the same ease as when in his usual plain clothes." Dress, indeed, we must allow, has more effect, even upon strong minds, than one should suppose, without having had the experience of it. His necessary attendance while his play was in rehearsal, and during its performance, brought him acquainted with many of the performers of both sexes, which produced a more favourable opinion of their profession, than he had harshly expressed in his Life of Savage. (1) With some of them he kept up an acquaintance as long as he and they lived, and was ever ready to show them acts of kindness. He, for a considerable time, used to frequent the Green-Room, and seemed to take delight in dissipating his gloom, by mixing in the sprightly chit-chat of the motley circle then to be found there. Mr. David Hume related to me from Mr. Garrick, that Johnson at last denied himself this amusement, from considerations of rigid virtue; saying, "I'll come no more behind your scenes, David; for the silk stockings and white bosoms of your actresses excite my amorous propensities."


(1) This appears to have been by no means the case. most acrimonious attacks on Garrick, and Sheridan, and players

in general, were subsequent to this period.



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TO MISS LUCY PORTER. (1) "Goff Square, July 12. 1749. "DEAR MISS, - I am extremely obliged to you for your letter, which I would have answered last post, but that illness prevented me. I have been often out of order of late, and have very much neglected my affairs. You have acted very prudently with regard to Levett's affair, which will, I think, not at all embarrass me, for you may promise him, that the mortgage shall be taken up at Michaelmas, or, at least, some time between that and Christmas; and if he requires to have it done sooner, I will endeavour it. I make no doubt, by that time, of either doing it myself, or persuading some of my friends to do it for me.

"Please to acquaint him with it, and let me know if he be satisfied. When he once called on me, his name was mistaken, and therefore I did not see him; but, finding the mistake, wrote to him the same day, but never heard more of him, though I entreated him to let me know where to wait on him. You frighted me, you little gipsy, with your black wafer, for I had forgot you were in mourning, and was afraid your letter had brought me ill news of my mother, whose death is one of the few calamities on which I think with terror. I long to know how she does, and how you all do. Your poor mamma is come home, but very weak; yet I hope she will grow better, else she shall go into the country. She is now up stairs, and knows not of my writing. I am, dear miss, your most

humble servant,


(1) [This is one of Johnson's letters to his step-daughter, which Mr. Croker received from the Rev. Dr. Harwood, the historian of Lichfield. See Preface, antè.]

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Johnson begins "The Rambler."- His Prayer on commencing the Undertaking.—Obligations to CorrespondSuccess of the Rambler. Collected into Volumes. "Beauties" of the Rambler. Writes a Prologue, to be spoken by Garrick, for the Benefit of Milton's Grand-daughter. "Life of Cheynel."― Lauder's Forgery against Milton.—Mrs. Anna Williams.

IN 1750 Johnson came forth in the character for which he was eminently qualified, a majestic teacher of moral and religious wisdom. The vehicle which he chose was that of a periodical paper, which he knew had been, upon former occasions, employed with great success. The Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, were the last of the kind published in England, which had stood the test of a long trial; and such an interval had now elapsed since their publication, as made him justly think that, to many of his readers, this form of instruction would, in some degree, have the advantage of novelty. A few days before the first of his Essays came out, there started another competitor for fame in the same form, under the title of "The Tatler Revived," which, I believe, was "born but to die." John

son was, I think, not very happy in the choice of his title," The Rambler;" which certainly is not suited to a series of grave and moral discourses; which the Italians have literally, but ludicrously, translated by Il Vagabondo; and which has been lately assumed as the denomination of a vehicle of licentious tales, "The Rambler's Magazine." He gave Sir Joshua Reynolds the following account of its getting this name: "What must be done, Sir, will be done. When I was to begin publishing that paper, I was at a loss how to name it. I sat down at night upon my bedside, and resolved that I would not go to sleep till I had fixed its title. The Rambler seemed the best that occurred, and I took it.” (1)

With what devout and conscientious sentiments this paper was undertaken, is evidenced by the following prayer, which he composed and offered up on the occasion:


Almighty God, the giver of all good things, without whose help all labour is ineffectual, and without whose grace all wisdom is folly: grant, I beseech Thee, that in this undertaking thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from me, but that I may promote thy glory, and the salvation of myself and others: grant

(1) I have heard Dr. Warton mention, that he was at Mr. Robert Dodsley's with the late Mr. Moore, and several of his friends, considering what should be the name of the periodical paper which Moore had undertaken. Garrick proposed the Salad, which, by a curious coincidence, was afterwards applied to himself by Goldsmith:

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"Our Garrick's a salad, for in him we see

Oil, vinegar, sugar, and saltness agree!"

At last, the company having separated, without any thing of which they approved having been offered, Dodsley himself thought of The World.

this, O Lord, for the sake of thy son, JESUS CHRIST. Amen." (1)

The first paper of the Rambler was published on Tuesday the 20th of March, 1749-50; and its author was enabled to continue it, without interruption, every Tuesday and Saturday, till Saturday the 14th of March, 1752, on which day it closed. This is a strong confirmation of the truth of a remark of his, which I have had occasion to quote elsewhere [Aug. 16. 1773], that "a man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it;" for, notwithstanding his constitutional indolence, his depression of spirits, and his labour in carrying on his Dictionary, he answered the stated calls of the press twice a week from the stores of his mind during all that time; having received no assistance, except four billets in No. 10., by Miss Mulso, now Mrs. Chapone; No.30., by Mrs. Catherine Talbot; No. 97., by Mr. Samuel Richardson, whom he describes in an introductory note, as 66 an author who has enlarged the knowledge of human nature, and taught the passions to move at the command of virtue;" (2)

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(1) Prayers and Meditations, p. 9. In the Pemb. MS. the last sentence runs- "the salvation both of myself and others: grant this, O Lord, for the sake of Jesus Christ."-HALL.

(2) Lady Bradshaigh, one of Mr. Richardson's female sycophants, thus addresses him on the subject of this letter:-"A few days ago I was pleased with hearing a very sensible lady greatly pleased with the Rambler, No. 97. She happened to be in town when it was published; and I asked if she knew who was the author? She said, it was supposed to be one who was concerned in the Spectators, it being much better written than any of the Ramblers. I wanted to say who was really the author, but durst not without your permission.”. Rich. Cor., vol. vi. p. 108. It was probably on some such authority that

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