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to please myself; and it always pleases myself to do nothing at all.
“But I will say, in the words of a man whom I resemble in nothing but his idleness and procrastination, · Desidiæ valedixi, Syrenis istius cantibus surdum posthac aurem obversurus.'* If the world knew me, I am a confounded hypocrite. I am reckoned good-tempered, but it is because I am too indolent to be angry; generous, because it is too much trouble to refuse what I am asked. But will I take pains to do any man good ? Alas! no. Why, then, should I draw my own picture ?
“ But let me not answer that at present, for I only intend to draw it. I have already done enough, and lay aside my pen.”
This was in the very spirit of the man, and accordingly, from the dates (for he actually did put dates to his exertions), I find he did not renew his intentions till that day month. I then found the following entry :
“ Day the first.- Received a long letter, with longer accounts, from my agent, requiring an immediate answer, which I resolved to give; but the weather wet, cold, and comfortless. Not in spirits to write; so put the letter on my desk, to answer it the next morning.
“ Had a fall, from the carpet being unnailed. Mem. -To have it nailed directly; but John out of the way.
* A diary of Johnson quoted by Boswell :-“ I bid farewell to sloth, resolved henceforth to turn a deaf ear to her syren strains."
“ Day the second.—Weather the same. Unfortunately the housemaid, who is far too tidy, had put my agent's letter out of sight, and I forgot it. Stumbled again over the carpet ; John never in the way.
“ Day the third. Observed my grandfather's picture hung awry. Got upon a chair to put it straight, but could not reach it. Looked for the steps, but they were not in the room. Steps are always out of the way. Mem.—To tell John about the picture as well as the carpet.
“ Day the fourth.—Picture still crooked; had forgot to tell John ; looks very awkward. · " Day the fifth.- Found my agent's letter in the drawer of the inkstand. Gave me a nervous fit, and sat down to answer it; but on looking at my watch, found the post would be gone before I could finish, so put it off till evening, when I felt too sleepy for accounts, so postponed it till morning.
“ Day the sixth.-In excellent humour for commencing my journal, or reading, and resolved to pass the morning in the library, but found the windows shut up, and had not been opened this month. Too close and damp to sit in it.
“ N.B. -Servants always as bad, or worse, than their masters. My letter again out of sight, and I was too much occupied with subjects of study to think of it. My grandfather not yet put straight. I wonder John's own eyes do not see it without being told. Strange that I should always forget to tell him, as it is very offensive. Mary, however, found out the carpet, and nailed it herself without being told. A good creature that; much shocked when she heard I had had a fall.”
I was not unnaturally curious to find out what his love of study produced; but all that I got was, that his books, which had been put up promiscuously on the shelves, to save time, some months before, had never been classed, and he could not possibly read till they were. This he resolved (for he was always resolving) should be done by his own hand; but finding he could do it better by John's, under his direction, and John always pleading some excuse for nonattendance (not unwillingly accepted by his master), the library and the desire of study remained in statu quo, as I suppose did the agent's letter, for it never was mentioned again.
The following entry was characteristic:“Wednesday morning, 9 o'clock.—Had very little sleep, so resolved to lie a while. Broad awake, and in a reverie; yet could not tell what I was thinking of. Got up at last, but found it was eleven, so put off shaving till after breakfast. Sat in night-gown and slippers. Put on one shoe; but, taking up Shakspeare, forgot the other.
“ Resolved to begin another journal, though so many had failed. Spread paper for that purpose. Got as far as the date, and I intendo-but found the ink clotty and difficult to write with. Wished to ring for John to change it, but, as he was coming to take away the breakfast-things, thought I would wait. He did not come for an hour, when I had lost the thread of my reflections, and gave up the journal for that morning. Meantime I had begun to dress, but my eye having caught a view of the old church tower and the rookery, I leaned back in my chair, and fell into a charming reminiscence of old times, which lasted till John came in, and I had then forgot what I wanted
“ Felt my beard, and as it was not very rough, thought I would go without shaving; but John said he was sure Mrs. Prettyman would call about the lease of her house, as it was so fine, and we had been so long in settling it. So I ordered the water ; but before it came (John is always confoundedly long), I had again taken up Henry IV., and lost myself in Eastcheap, Shrewsbury, Gualtree Forest, and Justice Shallow, and before I had done, the stable clock struck one, and the water was cold. Servants being all gone to dinner, I did not like to disturb them for more, and walked out into the grove in my dressing-gown.
“ Weather fine, and rooks delightful. Their cawing always soothes me. Enjoyed it while sitting on the long bench under the lime tree, which smelt very sweet, and the bees would have hummed me to sleep had not John, having finished his dinner, bored me again with Mrs. Prettyman, and insisted I should shave. Felt my beard again, and not being in a humour to hold the razor myself, told him to fetch Suds the barber, though I hate his dirty fingers and bad razors, As Suds lives a quarter of a mile off, I hoped this would give me a quarter of an hour's respite; but in five minutes horribly alarmed by a ringing at
the gate. Mrs. Prettyman going to town in her coach and four, and nobody to answer but Dolly Cook. Unfortunate that Mary was gone up to Ryegate. Should not have minded it, only Mrs. Prettyman is such a fine lady, and, to give consequence to her son, who has an eye to the county, will always travel in her coach and four. Fool enough to be ashamed, and sneaked in at the side door, but thought it needless to wash till Suds came.
“ John returned without him, for he was out. Confound them both: but as I could not keep Mrs. Prettyman waiting (for I was afraid the lease would never be signed), I was forced to appear, after all, without being shaved.
“ This was not the worst, for, unfortunately, she piques herself upon being a woman of business, and would not sign till she had heard every word of the lease read over, which—as I never can find the places in reading a lease, was no small matter. I wonder why the devil law language should be so totally different from any other.
“ Thank heaven, Mrs. Prettyman would not stay for the luncheon which John, in his officiousness, brought in upon a tray, and I was left my own master for the rest of the day; only when Mary came in, she flew into a passion because Mrs. Prettyman called when she was out, which she said she was sure was by design.
“N.B. The report is revived that I have views upon the rich widow. Heaven knows my innocence—but it annoys Mary, who says she supposes she will be dis