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Dr Johnson's Pride

Sir Joshua Reynolds used to relate the following characteristic anecdote

of Johnson:--About the time of their early acquaintance, they met one

evening at the Misses Cotterell's, when the Duchess of Argyll and another

lady of rank came in. Johnson, thinking that the Misses Cotterell 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 suspected pride, by making the great visitors

imagine they were low indeed, Johnson addressed himself in a loud tone

to 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?" just as though they were

ordinary mechanics.

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