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The circle of his friends, indeed, at this time was extensive and various, far beyond what has been generally imaadd, that both parties were disappointed in their views. If Levet took her for an heiress, who in time might be rich, she regarded him as a physician already in considerable practice. Compared with the marvels of this transaction, (as Johnson himself declared when relating them,) the tales in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments seem familiar occurrences. Never was infant more completely imposed on than our hero. He had not many days been married before he was arrested for debts incurred by his wife. In a short time afterwards she was tried (providentially, in his opinion) for theft, at the Old Bailey. Levet attended the court, in the hope she would be hanged; and very angry was he with the counsel who undertook her defence. I once thought, said he, the man had been my friend, but this behaviour of his has proved the contrary. She was acquitted; and Johnson himself concerted the terms of separation for this illstarred couple, and then took Levet home, where he continued till his death, which happened suddenly, without pain, and at the age of more than eighty. As no relations of his were known to Dr. Johnson, he advertised for them. In the course of a few weeks an heir at law appeared, and ascertained his title to what effects the deceased had left behind him.

“Levet's character was rendered valuable by repeated proofs of honesty, tenderness, and gratitude to his benefactor, as well as by an unwearied diligence in his profession. His single failing (if it may be called one) was an occasional departure from sobriety. Johnson would observe, he was perhaps the only man who ever became intoxicated through motives of prudence. He reflected, that if he refused the gin or brandy offered him by some of his patients, he could have been no gainer by their cure, as they might have had nothing else to bestow on him. This habit of taking a fee in whatever shape it was exhibited, could not be put off by advice or admonition of any kind. He would swallow what he did not like, nay what he knew would injure him, rather than go home with an idea that his skill had been exerted without recompense. 'Had,' said Johnson, all his patients maliciously combined to reward him with meat and strong liquors, instead of money, he would either have burst, like the dragon in the Apocrypha, through repletion, or have been scorched up, like Portia, by swallowing fire.' But let not from hence an imputation of rapaciousness be fixed upon him. Though he took all that was offered him, he demanded nothing from the poor, nor was known, in any instance, to have enforced the payment of even what was justly his due.

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His person was middle-sized and thin; his visage swarthy, adust, and corrugated. His conversation, except on professional subjects, barren. When in dishabille he might have been mistaken for an alchemist, whose complexion had been hurt by the fumes of the crucible, and whose clothes had suffered from the sparks of the furnace.

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Such was Levet, whose whimsical frailty, if weighed against his good and useful qualities, was

"A floating atom, dust that falls unheeded

"Into the adverse scale, nor shakes the balance.-IRENE.

'I am, Mr. Baldwin, your most humble servant, etc."-ED.

gined. To trace his acquaintance with each particular person, if it could be done, would be a task of which the labour would not be repaid by the advantage. But exceptions are to be made; one of which must be a friend so eminent as sir Joshua Reynolds, who was truly his dulce decus, and with whom he maintained an uninterrupted intimacy to the last hour of his life. When Johnson lived in Castle-street, Cavendish-square, he used frequently to visit two ladies who lived opposite to him, Miss Cotterells, daughters of admiral Cotterell. Reynolds used also to visit there, and thus they met. Mr. Reynolds, as I have observed above, had, from the first reading of his Life of Savage, conceived a very high admiration of Johnson's powers of writing. His conversation no less delighted him; and he cultivated his acquaintance with the laudable zeal of one who was ambitious of general improvement. Sir Joshua, indeed, was lucky enough at their very first meeting to make a remark, which was so much above the commonplace style of conversation, that Johnson at once perceived that Reynolds had the habit of thinking for himself. The ladies were regretting the death of a friend, to whom they owed great obligations; upon which Reynolds observed; "You have, however, the comfort of being relieved from a burthen of gratitude." They were shocked a little at this alleviating suggestion, as too selfish; but Johnson defended it in his clear and forcible manner, and was much pleased with the mind, the fair view of human nature°, which it exhibited, like some of the reflections of Roche

• Johnson himself has a sentiment somewhat similar in his 87th Rambler: "There are minds so impatient of inferiority, that their gratitude is a species of revenge, and they return benefits, not because recompense is a pleasure, but because obligation is a pain."-J. Boswell.

Tender-handed stroke a nettle,

And it stings you for your pains;
Grasp it like a man of mettle,

And it soft as silk remains.

'Tis the same with common natures:

Use them kindly, they rebel;

But, be rough as nutmeg-graters,

And the rogues obey you well.-AARON HILL.-ED.

faucault. The consequence was, that he went home with Reynolds, and supped with him.

Sir Joshua told me a pleasant characteristical anecdote of Johnson about the time of their first acquaintance. When they were one evening together at the Miss Cotterells', the then duchess of Argyle and another lady of high rank came in. Johnson, thinking that the Miss Cotterells were too much engrossed by them, and that he and his friend were neglected, as low company, of whom they were somewhat ashamed, grew angry and resolving to shock their supposed pride, by making their great visiters imagine that his friend and he were low indeed, he addressed himself in a loud tone to Mr. Reynolds, saying, "How much do you think you and I could get in a week, if we were to work as hard as we could?"—as if they had been common mechanicks.

His acquaintance with Bennet Langton, esq. of Langton in Lincolnshire, another much valued friend, commenced soon after the conclusion of his Rambler; which that gentleman, then a youth, had read with so much admiration that he came to London chiefly with a view of endeavouring to be introduced to its author. By a fortunate chance he happened to take lodgings in a house where Mr. Levet frequently visited; and having mentioned his wish to his landlady, she introduced him to Mr. Levet, who readily obtained Johnson's permission to bring Mr. Langton to him; as, indeed, Johnson, during the whole course of his life, had no shyness, real or affected, but was easy of access to all who were properly recom mended, and even wished to see numbers at his levee, as his morning circle of company might, with strict propriety, be called. Mr. Langton was exceedingly surprised when the sage first appeared. He had not received the smallest intimation of his figure, dress, or manner. From perusing

his writings, he fancied he should see a decent, well-drest, in short, a remarkably decorous philosopher. Instead of which, down from his bedchamber, about noon, came, as newly risen, a huge uncouth figure, with a little dark wig,

which scarcely covered his head, and his clothes hanging loose about him. But his conversation was so rich, so animated, and so forcible, and his religious and political notions so congenial with those in which Langton had been educated, that he conceived for him that veneration and attachment which he ever preserved. Johnson was not the less ready to love Mr. Langton for his being of a very ancient family; for I have heard him say, with pleasure, "Langton, sir, has a grant of free warren from Henry the second; and cardinal Stephen Langton, in king John's reign, was of this family."

Mr. Langton afterwards went to pursue his studies at Trinity college, Oxford, where he formed an acquaintance with his fellow-student, Mr. Topham Beauclerk; who, though their opinions and modes of life were so different, that it seemed utterly improbable that they should at all agree, had so ardent a love of literature, so acute an understanding, such elegance of manners, and so well discerned the excellent qualities of Mr. Langton, a gentleman eminent not only for worth and learning, but for an inexhaustible fund of entertaining conversation, that they became intimate friends.

Johnson, soon after this acquaintance began, passed a considerable time at Oxford. He at first thought it strange that Langton should associate so much with one who had the character of being loose, both in his principles and practice; but, by degrees, he himself was fascinated. Mr. Beauclerk's being of the St. Alban's family, and having, in some particulars, a resemblance to Charles the second, contributed, in Johnson's imagination, to throw a lustre upon his other qualities; and in a short time, the moral, pious Johnson, and the gay, dissipated Beauclerk, were companions. "What a coalition!" said Garrick, when he heard of this: "I shall have my old friend to bail out of the round-house." But I can bear testimony that it was a very agreeable association. Beauclerk was too polite, and valued learning and wit too much, to offend Johnson by sallies of infidelity or licen

tiousness; and Johnson delighted in the good qualities of Beauclerk, and hoped to correct the evil. Innumerable were the scenes in which Johnson was amused by these young men. Beauclerk could take more liberty with him than anybody with whom I ever saw him; but, on the other hand, Beauclerk was not spared by his respectable companion, when reproof was proper. Beauclerk had such a propensity to satire, that at one time Johnson said to him, "You never open your mouth but with intention to give pain; and you have often given me pain, not from the power of what you said, but from seeing your intention." At another time, applying to him, with a slight alteration, a line of Pope, he said,

"Thy love of folly, and thy scorn of fools

every thing thou dost shows the one, and every thing thou sayst the other." At another time he said to him, "Thy body is all vice, and thy mind all virtue." Beauclerk, not seeming to relish the compliment, Johnson said, “ Nay, sir, Alexander the great, marching in triumph into Babylon, could not have desired to have had more said to him."

Johnson was some time with Beauclerk at his house at Windsor, where he was entertained with experiments in natural philosophy. One Sunday, when the weather was very fine, Beauclerk enticed him, insensibly, to saunter about all the morning. They went into a church-yard, in the time of divine service, and Johnson laid himself down at his ease upon one of the tombstones. "Now, sir,"

said Beauclerk, "you are like Hogarth's Idle Apprentice." When Johnson got his pension, Beauclerk said to him, in the humorous phrase of Falstaff, "I hope you'll now purge, and live cleanly, like a gentleman."

One night, when Beauclerk and Langton had supped at a tavern in London, and sat till about three in the morning, it came into their heads to go and knock up Johnson, and see if they could prevail on him to join them in a ramble. They rapped violently at the door of his chambers in the Temple, till at last he appeared in his shirt, with his little

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