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CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH.
The commentary, too, was getting forward; but Weedon Butler, the faithful secretary, amanuensis, and man of all work, was behind the scenes, doing a good deal of the mere navvy's work. And even in this task broke out some of the false
metal through the outside plating; and much of that flash and trickery, which, either in true shape or by suspicion, hung about all his life and labour. For he announced with a flourish that he was to have the use of papers and notes left by John Locke, and also some notes of Cudworth, which were in Lord Masham's hands.* And yet it was insinuated at the time that he knew well that these documents were either spurious, or not forthcoming. As the king's chaplain passed by in his “rustling silk,” men looked after
* These papers be announced as including interleaved Bibles of Locke and Waterland, “with a curious MSS. of Lord Clarendon, written in his own hand.” For more about this matter, see the article on Chillingworth, in Chalmers.
him, and admired (though it was said that he had turned vain and “pompous,” and was puffed up); but still there was an impression as of something unsound, which would be discovered later.
There were many who believed in him. The faithful Weedon Butler held to him through all. While the Doctor was being eaten up with the dreadful annuities, and plunging deeper into the town delights, which the annuities went to purchase, the trusty henchman did what he could to aid him. Weedon Butler kept a diary, and we look over his shoulder on the 23rd of March, 1787, as he writes : "Engaged all the evening with Doctor Dodd, in translating Bishop Lowth's Lectures.” And in the following month we see a more significant entry: “Did not go out all day; the Doctor abroad; when he returned in the evening, sat down with him to Bishop Lowth's Lectures." Later, the too partial clerk wrote to a friend : “I think I see every day more and more the benefits derived to myself from Doctor Dodd.” Even a young American clergyman wrote over, in a transport of pious desire, that he longed for nothing so much in this world as to see the Doctor bishop of " that quarter of the globe”—a pastoral charge too extensive, certainly, for one man, and as a sphere of missionary action wholly unsuited to the Magdalen preacher's tastes. We have a little after-dinner picture, when Doctor Dodd had Mr. Hoole to meet Hawksworth, the translator of Telemachus; and the subject of the divine government of events being started, the Doctor turned his chair towards the fireplace, and “looking down to the fender, spoke slowly
and gently, in an uninterrupted strain that delighted all. No one replied."
We can see the Doctor at one of the little City dinners, driving there in his carriage. The Messrs. Dilly of the Poultry—and readers of Boswell know of many pleasant dinners at that house-gave a party in the November of this year, to Wilkes, Mr. Jones, afterwards Sir William, De Lolme of the “English Constitution,” Doctor Dodd, Sir Nathaniel Wraxall—whose accuracy, often impeached in the pleasant epigram "misquoting facts all," is daily more and more established by independent evidence and two or three
Johnson had met Wilkes at a little dinnerone of the most delightful in Boswell—at the same house a few months previously. Wraxall knew Dodd very well. The party was “gay, animated, and convivial,” so much so, that Doctor Dodd invited the whole party to dine with him in Argyle-street on an early day. To Wraxall he was particularly attentive, and on going home set him down at the St. James's Coffee-house. The baronet, who was a man of the world, and a good judge of a man of the world, always found him “plausible and agreeable, lively, entertaining, and well informed.”
The dinner he gave to Messrs. Dilly's party was an elegant repast, and Wraxall remarked the “French wines of various sorts.” Mrs. Dodd“ presided,” and in the evening received a large company of friends. This is all characteristic—the inviting of the party en masse from the house where he was dining, and the evening entertainment got up so suddenly, while all this time the “lively, entertaining” host was “de
voured by annuities;" the carriage that set the baronet down, the elegant repast, and the French wines not paid for, and actually a bill of sale on the seat where Mrs. Dodd“ presided !” This is the last glimpse we have of the Doctor in society.
With this little vista of pastoral innocence, the decent, respectable portion of the Doctor's life fades out; and it makes a very curious study to see how gradually the furies of extravagance, pleasure, and the other familiars of gay life, preying on his weak, unfortified nature, gradually dragged him down to destruction.
BOOK THE SECOND.
THE “MACARONI PARSON."
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
STILL, though so pleasant an after-dinner impresion was left on Mr. Hoole, there was a growing belief abroad that something was wrong. The extravagance, the entertaining of the “noble pupils,” " and the City feasting, were spoken of openly; but in that day public opinion in reference to the cloth was in a state of utter unsoundness, and so far from attempting to check, seemed rather to encourage a degraded tone among the men who wore the gown. A coarse jest, or a broad scoff, was, at most, the only reproof uttered by the lax society of “fine" ladies and gentlemen of the time. A popular print of him about this time is in itself significant-for it exhibits him