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said gravely of Goethe, that he measures the literary faculty of his friends by the extent of their appreciation of his idol, it is to a composite creation of the genius of the master and of the sympathetic talent of the disciple that is paid this singular homage. For it was assuredly a certain analogy of character that fitted Boswell to be the friendly devotee and intellectual servitor of Dr. Johnson, and the resemblances of style and manner which are visible even in the fragments brought together in this volume cannot be regarded as parodies or conscious imitations, but rather as illustrations of the mental harmony which enabled the reporter to produce with such signal fidelity, in the words of another, his own ideal of all that was good and great.

"Elia," with his charming othersidedness, writes, in one place, "I love to lose myself in other men's minds," and in another, "the habit of too constant intercourse with spirits above you instead of raising you, keeps you down; too frequent doses of original thinking from others restrains what lesser portion of that faculty you may possess in your own. You get entangled in another man's mind, even as you lose yourself in another man's ground; you are walking with a tall varlet, whose strides outpace yours to lassitude." Both observations are true, and instances are not wanting of the spirit of reverence and the habit of waiting on the words and thoughts of those who are regarded as the spokesmen of authority, emasculating the self-reliance and


thralling the free action of superior men. This is especially observable in political life, where a certain surrender of independence is indispensable to success, but where, if carried too far, it tends to dwarf the stature and plane down the beneficial varieties of public characters. But there will always be many forces that militate against this courtliness in the Republic of Letters; leading men will have their clique, and too often like to be kings of their company, but more damage is done to themselves than to those who serve them, and there is little fear of too rapid a succession of Boswells or Eckermanns.

In these days of ready and abundant writing the value of Conversation, as the oral tradition of social intercourse, is not what it was in times when speech was almost the exclusive communicator of intelligence between man and man. Yet there will ever be an appreciation of the peculiar talent which reproduces with vivacity those fabrics of the hour, and gives to the passing lights and shades of thought an artistic and picturesque coherence. This is the product of a genial spirit itself delighting in the verbal fray, and of a society at once familiar and intellectual. We have from other sources abundant details of the vivacity of the upper classes of the Scottish community in the latter half of the last century and the beginning of the present. It had the gaiety which is the due relaxation of stern and solid temperaments, and the


Ore day in December when in a passionat
his sister Phemie for something the had said
he had this strong expression. Phemie
if your tongue be not cut out,
be full of lies.

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January 11 He complained that his brother James beat him. Grange said. he should not mind him as he was but a bhild. Ay said he, But he must not be a big man to me. -ding to the weight off his flows.)



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humour which is the genuine reverse of a deep sense of realities and an inflexible logic. It was intemperate, not with the intemperance of other northern nations, to whom intoxication is either a diversion to the torpor of the senses, or a narcotic applied by a benevolent nature to an anxious and painful existence, but with a conviviality which physical soundness and moral determination enabled them to reconcile with the sharpest attention to their material interests and with the hardest professional work.

Scotland had had the remarkable destiny in its earlier history of assimilating to itself the elements of a finer civilisation without losing its independence or national character; and it had even interchanged with the continent of Europe various influences of manners and speech. It had thus retained a certain intellectual selfsufficiency, especially in its relations with English society and literature, which never showed itself more distinctly than in its estimate of Dr. Johnson and of his connection with Boswell. In the pamphlets, and verses, and pictures of the time, Boswell appears as a monomaniac, and Johnson as an impostor. The oblong quarto of Caricatures which followed their journey to the Hebrides shows that Boswell not only did not gain any favour from his countrymen, by introducing among them the writer, who, however little understood in his entire worth, nevertheless held a high place among English wits and men of letters, but brought abundant ridicule on himself,


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