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of them is adverse to the opinion of the existence of 1781. the soul between death and the last day; the ques- Ætat. 72. tion simply is, whether departed spirits ever have the power of making themselves perceptible to us: a man who thinks he has seen an apparition, can only be convinced himself; his authority will not convince another; and his conviction, if rational, must be founded on being told something which cannot be known but by supernatural means."
He mentioned a thing as not unfrequent, of which I had never heard before,-being called, that is, hearing one's name pronounced by the voice of a known person at a great distance, far beyond the possibility of being reached by any sound uttered by human organs. “An acquaintance, on whose veracity I can depend, told me, that walking home one evening to Kilmarnock, he heard himself called from a wood, by the voice of a brother who had gone to America ; and the next packet brought accounts of that brother's death.” Macbean asserted that this inexplicable calling was a thing very well known. Dr. Johnson said, that one day at Oxford, as he was turning the key of his chamber, he heard his mother
may be led erroneously to suppose that Dr. Johnson was so fond of such discussions, as frequently to introduce them. But the truth is, that the authour himself delighted in talking concerning ghosts, and what he has frequently denominated the mysterious ; and therefore took every opportunity of leading Johnson to converse on such subjects. M.]
[The auihour of this work was most undoubtedly fond of the mysterious, and perhaps upon some vccasions may have directed the conversation to those topicks, when they would not spontaneously have suggested themselves to Johnson's mind; but that he also had a love for speculations of that nature, may be gathered from his writings throughout. J. B.-0.]
1781. distinctly call—Sam. She was then at Lichfield ; but
n othing ensued. This phenomenon is, I think, as
“ But two at a time there's no mortal can bear.”
“ What, Sir, (said 1,) are you going to turn Captain Macheath?” There was something as pleasantly ludicrous in this scene as can be imagined. The contrast between Macheath, Polly, and Lucy-and Dr. Samuel Johnson, blind, peevish Mrs. Williams, and lean, lank, preaching Mrs. Hall, was exquisite.
I stole away to Coachmakers’-hall, and heard the difficult text of which we had talked, discussed with great decency, and some intelligence, by several speakers. There was a difference of opinion as to the appearance of ghosts in modern times, though the arguments for it, supported by Mr. Addison's authority, preponderated. The immediate subject of debate was embarrassed by the bodies of the saints having been said to rise, and by the question what became of them afterwards:- did they return again to their graves? or were they translated to heaven?
Only one evangelist mentions the fact, and the 1781. commentators whom I have looked at do not make the passage clear. There is, however, no occasion for our understanding it farther, than to know that it was one of the extraordinary manifestations of divine power, which accompanied the most important event that ever happened.
On Friday, April 20, I spent with him one of the happiest days that I remember to have enjoyed in the whole course of my life. Mrs. Garrick, whose grief for the loss of her husband was, I believe, as sincere as wounded affection and admiration could produce, had this day, for the first time since his death, a select party of his friends to dine with her. The company was, Miss Hannah More, who lived with her, and whom she called her Chaplain ; Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Burney, Dr. Johnson, and inyself. We found ourselves very elegantly entertained at her house in the Adelphi, where I have passed many a pleasing hour with him “who gladdened life.” She looked well, talked of her husband with complacency, and while she cast her eyes on his portrait, which hung over the chimney-piece, said, that “ death was now the most agreeable object to her.” The very semblance of David Garrick was cheering. Mr. Beauclerk, with happy propriety, inscribed under that fine portrait of him, which by Lady Diana's kindness is now the property of my friend Mr. Langton, the following passage from his beloved Shakspeare:
4 St. Matthew, chap. xxvii. v. 52, 53.
See Vol. III. latter end of April, 1778. ..
A merrier man,
We were all in fine spirits; and I whispered to Mrs. Boscawen, “ I believe this is as much as can be made of life.” In addition to a splendid entertainment, we were regaled with Lichfield ale, which had a peculiar appropriate value. Sir Joshua, and Dr. Burney, and I, drank cordially of it to Dr. Johnson's health; and though he would not join us, he as cordially answered, “ Gentlemen, I wish you all as well as you do me." .
The general effect of this day dwells upon my mind in fond remembrance; but I do not find much conversation recorded." What I have preserved shall be faithfully given.'
One of the company mentioned Mr. Thomas Hollis, the strenuous Whig, who used to send over Europe presents of democratical books, with their boards stamped with daggers and caps of liberty. Mrs. Carter said, “ He was a bad man: he used to talk uncharitably.” Johnson. “ Poh! poh! Madam; who is the worse for being talked of uncharitably? Besides, he was a dull poor creature as ever 1781.
lived: and I believe he would not have done harm
Sir Joshua Reynolds praised “ Mudge's Sermons." JOHNSON. “ Mudge's Sermons are good, but not practical. He grasps more sense than he can hold; he takes more corn than he can make into meal; he opens a wide prospect, but it is so distant, it is indistinct. I love · Blair's Sermons.' Though the dog is a Scotchman, and a Presbyterian, and every thing he should not be, I was the first to praise them. Such was my candour.” (smiling.) Mrs. BoscaWEN. “ Such his great merit, to get the better of all your prejudices.” JOHNSON. “Why, Madam, let us compound the matter; let us ascribe it to my candour, and his merit.”
In the evening we had a large company in the 'drawing-room; several ladies, the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr. Percy, Mr. Chamberlayne of the Treasury, &c. &c. Somebody said, the life of a mere literary man could not be very entertaining. Johnson. “ But it certainly may. This is a remark which has been made, and repeated, without justice; why should the }ife of a literary man be less entertaining than the
See page 82 of this Volume.