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better in later ages than when I was of it; for now it seems the fashion is, when they apprehend their customer is not in the best circumstances, if they are not paid as soon as they carry home the suit, they charge him in their book as much again as it is worth, and then send a gentleman with a small scrip of parchment to demand the money. If this be not immediately paid, the gentleman takes the beau with him to his house, where he locks him up till the tailor is contented: but in my time these scrips of parchment were not in use; and if the beau disliked paying for his clothes, as very often happened, we had no method of compelling him.
In several of the characters which I have related to you I apprehend I have sometimes forgot myself, and considered myself as really interested as I was when I personated them on earth. I have just now caught myself in the fact; for I have complained to you as bitterly of my customers as I formerly used to do when I was the tailor: but, in reality, though there were some few persons of very great quality, and some others, who never paid their debts; yet those were but a few, and I had a method of repairing this loss. My customers I divided under three heads: those who paid ready money, those who paid slow, and those who never paid at all. The first of these, I considered apart by themselves, as persons by whom I got a certain but small profit. The two last I lumped together, making those who paid slow contribute to repair my losses by those who did not pay at all. Thus, upon the whole, I was a very inconsiderable loser, and might have left a fortune to my family, had I not launched forth into expenses which swallowed up all my gains. I had a wife, and two children. These indeed I kept frugally enough; for I half starved them.... I kept. likewise a brace of hunters, rather for that it was fashionable so to do than for any great delight I took in the sport, which
I very little attended; not for want of leisure, for few noblemen had so much. All the work I ever did was taking measure, and that only of my greatest and best customers. I scarce ever cut a piece of cloth in my life, nor was indeed much more able to fashion a coat than any gentleman in the kingdom. This made a skilful servant too necessary to me. He knew I must submit to any terms with, or any treatment from, him. He knew it was easier for him to find another such a tailor as me, than for me to procure such another workman as him: for this reason, he exerted the most notorious and cruel tyranny, seldom giving me a civil word: nor could the utmost condescension on my side, though attended with continual presents and rewards, and raising his wages, content or please him. In a word, he was as absolutely my master as was ever an ambitious, industrious prime minister over an indolent and voluptuous king. All my other journeymen paid more respect to him than to me; for they considered my favour as a necessary consequence of obtaining his.
These were the most remarkable occurrences while I acted this part.-A Journey from this World to the Next.
SAMUEL JOHNSON was born at Lichfield in 1709. His father was a bookseller in that city. He received his early education at the Free School under Mr. Hawkins. He was distinguished in childhood less for application or the love of learning than for an extraordinary tenacity of memory which he retained down to old age. His reading was rambling, rapid, and desultory, but he hoarded up knowledge. For about two years before going up to Oxford he was at Stourbridge School, whence he entered Pembroke College, accompanying thither a young gentleman commoner, to whom he acted as tutor. He left Oxford, unable through poverty, to take a degree, though by the aid of friends he had completed three years of residence. From the University he returned to Lichfield, where at the close of 1731, his father died, leaving him an estate of £20, and the charge of the support of his mother. To meet this obligation, Johnson became usher at a school, and this task proving ungrateful, he turned to his first literary occupation as a translator. On his marriage, in 1736, he again attempted teaching, opening an academy near Lichfield, where Garrick was his pupil. This undertaking also failed, and in 1737 he and Garrick betook themselves together to London as candidates for the fame which awaited them. Johnson now began the struggle of a literary life, and continued it with ever increasing renown, but with uncertain pecuniary success, until in 1762 he received the grant of £300 a-year from the Crown as the reward of his labours in the field of letters. The last twenty years of his life were passed in comparative ease, chequered only
by the loss of friends and by the ill health which beset his latter days. He died in 1784, and was buried with honour in Westminster Abbey, near to the monument of Shakespeare, and close beside the grave of Garrick.
Johnson was the chief literary man of his time; he wrote poems, moral and controversial essays, and biographies. While he composed these, he also prepared his celebrated English Dictionary, which appeared in 1755. His best known works are two satires, in verse, written in imitation of Juvenal, London, and the Vanity of Human Wishes; moral essays, published in the Rambler and the Idler; Rasselas, which was written to defray the expense of his mother's funeral, and to pay her last debts; his edition of Shakespeare, and his Lives of the Poets were his most important publications subsequent to the appearance of the Dictionary.
Johnson is, perhaps, best known through his Life by Boswell. It has been said of him, that while the lives of other authors were known because of their writings, his writings are known because of his life. That this is so, is due in part to his having found in Boswell an incomparable biographer. It is due also to the fact that Johnson occupied a peculiar position. In his time the world of literature was a comparatively small world, the members of which were well known to each other, and marked off from the rest of society as a distinct class. Over this world Johnson ruled as undisputed king. He held his position mainly by his unparalleled powers of conversation, but he was also, from the fame of his writings, the acknowledged head of the literary profession.
His satires, his controversial works, his moral essays, and even his dictionary, were among the most popular works of their day, and were considered no less remarkable for beauty of style than for vigour of thought. The verdict of posterity has not altogether ratified the judgment of Johnson's contemporaries. His style, which was the source of his popularity, in the 18th century, injures his reputation with modern readers. His settled preference for words derived from Latin sources is opposed to modern taste, and frequently gives to his sentences an air of cumbrous pedantry. Moreover, his thoughts are more remark
able for their vigorous good sense than for their originality or profoundness. As a critic, he displays far more acuteness than subtlety, and rarely criticises with effect any writers but those who, like Pope, belong to his own school of sentiment. Yet, on the whole, the Lives of the Poets are the best of his works. These Lives are written in a style which is dignified without being pedantic, and contain many striking and noteworthy reflections. It is, in fact, Johnson's great merit, that he never wrote unless he had something to say, and that he could always express exactly what he meant to say in precise language. Few writers who have filled as many volumes, have written as little that was not worth writing as Johnson.
1. The Happy Valley.
THE place, which the wisdom, or policy, of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abissinan princes, was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded, on every side, by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. The only passage, by which it could be entered, was a cavern that passed under a rock, of which it has been long disputed, whether it was the work of nature, or of human industry. The outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth, which opened into the valley, was closed with gates of iron, forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massy, that no man could, without the help of engines, open or shut them.
From the mountains, on every side, rivulets descended, that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl, whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of