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I owned this was a forcible authority, yet would have replied, and said something about Lord Oxford and Swift, which I had amused myself with in Sir Harry Goff's library.
Fothergill immediately took it up, and said there was no proof that theirs was more than one of those alliances of mutual usefulness which he had mentioned.
“ Oxford,” said he, “ wanted a writer, and Swift wrote for him By his own account, he was enlisted at first as a humble friend,* which did not at all suit Swift's pride, and soon produced a quarrel; for Harley, presuming to pay him with £50 (the reward was perhaps not large enough), Swift kicked, and pouted; though at length appeased with a Deanery, he could hold his head up better.
What even then might have been the event, we don't know, for Harley's power was ruined, and himself forgotten, while Swift filled the world with his fame.The same may be almost said of Swift and Bolingbroke. They wrote freely to one another, and amuse us with their playfulness and seeming attachment. But a fat Dean is not so much below an attainted Viscount. Both were warmly engaged in trying to pull down a common political enemy, and this alone will bind the most unequal parties together for a time, with hoops of brass. The chief will not only tolerate
Yet, while your vessel's under sail,
* “ 'Tis, let me see, three years and more,
Swift's Imitation of Horace.
Once a year,
the subaltern, but, while he wants him, will make him his most familiar companion, so that their friendship shall seem that of Damon and Pythias.
“ But even here observe, though his arms are open, his house is not; he may visit you, but not your wife. He will know you in the streets, and at the club, but not at court. His notice at best is confined to his single condescension to your single person, and that only as long as your usefulness continues; but to think of allowing my lady to visit your homely family, is a solescism with my lord. perhaps, and in the country, with all the tag-rag of the neighbourhood, your wife and daughter may be admitted to the extraordinary condescension of the Countess, who meets them afterwards in town, and passes without knowing them.
“ These are considerations, my young cousin,” continued Fothergill, " which, if I mistake not, will weigh with you, as Horace's Epistle we quoted just now did with Lollius. That epistle was, as you know, the caution of a man who well knew the world, to a young friend just entering it; and you would do well to ponder the whole; but in particular that part of it which paints the folly of the inferior in an unequal friendship, if, to prove his disregard of the inequality, he presume to imitate his superior in eccentricity or expense.
6 How fatal has this been in examples within our own time, ending in the ruin, and even death by suicide, of the subaltern; rendered more bitter by the indifference of the higher in degree, who, in the words of our Satirist, even insults and derides him.
· Dives amicus,
Meæ (contendere noli)
Certare." Here Fothergill stopt, and these classical allusions certainly had their weight with me, both at the time and for ever after. For amply were these remarks afterwards confirmed in the world, where I have seen little men hanging on great ones, and fancying themselves part of them, but after being used, thrown neglected by. Possibly I may bring them forward in the course of these memoirs; at present I return to my tutor, to whom I could not help observing, that the passages he had adduced from Horace, pointed not so much at friendship, as a companionship in vice.
“ You are right," said he, “but take a virtuous mutual regard and esteem, with great inequality of condition, such as mine was, and is still, with Lord Castleton, though we now never see one another."
Lord Castleton ! what the minister ?” asked I. 6. Yes! and it
to know our history. We were college friends of the same age, and seemingly of the same tastes, like you and Hastings ; that is, we loved reading, and talked of what we read, which united us much in this place. He was honourable, generous, frank, talented, and rich. I, in comparison, very poor. We both thought this no
* My lord, more vicious and more great,
thing; and, being sent to travel by his father, he insisted
upon my accompanying him ; and as I was to give up my career here as a tutor, he offered me three hundred a year, his table, and perfect equality. Notwithstanding all this, I was a mere rustic in manners; he one of the best bred men in the kingdom. Here begân the rub. He was fond of me in private ; but, his fine mind being not so experienced, and his sensibility not so well disciplined, as it is now, though I will not say he was ashamed, he was awkward with me in public. I took no pains to shew, by obsequious deference, my sense of the inequality of our conditions, nor even to get rid of my rust. I gave myself up to books, and the study of mankind, where I best found it (because in an undress), in shops, markets, the bourse, and courts of justice; while he passed his time in the palaces of princes, ministers, and ladies. Here, when I was admitted with him, as I sometimes was, though he never was what
may be called disconcerted, he was not overpleased. I was not happy at this, and felt like Gray with Walpole, and we were near separating, as they did, yet without losing respect for one another. Indeed, like Walpole, he acknowleged he was in fault, and had the candour not to let me go.-On our return home, however, things altered still more. Though he kept me in his house, to assist, as he said, his reading—and complimented me on what he called my shrewdness, nay sometimes consulted me in politics, to which he gave himself up with ardour-he soon found that, from too great indifference towards the people he wished me to cultivate, or perhaps a want of sufficient ambition, he could not produce me 'in public as he wished.
The independence of my manners, owing to the equal friendship which reigned
in our private apartments (in which I must do him the justice to say he never altered), was not always, or exactly, what he liked when ministers and nobles met at his table. He employed me much in literary, or rather political researches, and drawing papers founded upon them, but complained that my productions were more satirical, or at best philosophical, than serviceable. Hence, perhaps, he turned me into a mere amanuensis, which I did not like. But three hundred a year, a great house, and a great man, who was also an accomplished and real friend, I did not like to abandon. In time, however, we both grew less warm; he from being occupied with others more necessary to him; I, from my sense of that very
circumstance. Though I continued, therefore, to dine at his table, and our mutual esteem was not interrupted, I felt too much a burthen to him, not to wish to relieve him from it, as well as myself;—and I told
He seemed at first uncomfortable, if not distressed; but allowed that he feared our habits, views, and occupations were too little alike to make my abode with him pleasant to myself. He owned he had too much of the ambition of the world on his part, for what he called my philosophy; and, seeing that I really longed to be where he allowed I could be more useful, as well as more happy, he did not long oppose our separation.
“ But though I shall lose you,” he was pleased to observe, “ as a coadjutor, we must always remain the friends we are, and I shall continue to rely upon your assistance where I think your stores, or future position, may enable you to give it, as I know you will do.”
Our parting really affected me, and I ought to add, to his honour, that having, as he said, seduced me