Dr Johnson And Hannah More
When Hannah More came to London in 1773, or 1774, she was domesticated
with Garrick, and was received with favour by Johnson, Reynolds, and
Burke. Her sister has thus described her first interview with Johnson:--
"We have paid another visit to Miss Reynolds; she had sent to engage Dr.
Percy, ('Percy's Collection,' now you know him), quite a sprightly modern,
instead of a rusty antique, as I expected: he was no sooner
one than the
most amiable and obliging of women, Miss Reynolds, ordered the coach to
take us to Dr. Johnson's very own house: yes, Abyssinian Johnson!
Dictionary Johnson! Ramblers, Idlers, and Irene Johnson! Can you picture
to yourselves the palpitation of our hearts as we approached his mansion?
The conversation turned upon a new work of his just going to the press
(the 'Tour to the Hebrides'), and his old friend Richardson. Mrs.
Williams, the blind poet, who lives with him, was introduced to us. She
is engaging in her manners, her conversation lively and entertaining.
Miss Reynolds told the Doctor of all our rapturous exclamations on the
road. He shook his scientific head at Hannah, and said she was 'a silly
thing.' When our visit was ended, he called for his hat, as it rained,
to attend us down a very long entry to our coach, and not Rasselas could
have acquitted himself more en cavalier. I forgot to mention, that not
finding Johnson in his little parlour when we came in, Hannah seated
herself in his great chair hoping to catch a little ray of his genius:
when he heard it, he laughed heartily, and told her it was a chair on
which he never sat. He said it reminded him of Boswell and himself when
they stopped a night, as they imagined, where the weird sisters appeared
to Macbeth. The idea so worked on their enthusiasm, that it quite
deprived them of rest. However, they learned the next morning, to their
mortification, that they had been deceived, and were quite in another
part of the country."
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