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one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where the deviation from truth will end.” BOSWELL: “ It may come to the door: and, when, at once, an account is at all varied in one circumstance, it may by degrees be varied 80 as to be totally different from what really happened.” Our lively hostess, whose fancy was impatient of the rein, fidgeted at this, and ventured to say,—"this is too much. If Mr. Johnson should forbid me to drink tea, I should comply, as I should feel the restraint only twice a day; but little variations in parratives must happen a thousand times a day, if one is not par petually watching." Johnson: “Well, madam, and you ought to be perpetually watching! It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.”
6. On Friday, May 8, I dined with him at Mr. Langton’s. I was reserved and silent, which I suppose he perceived, and might recollect the cause. After dinner, when Mr. Langton was called out of the room, and we were by ourselves, he drew his chair near to mine, and said, in a tone of conciliating courtesy,—“Well, how have you done?” BOSWELL: “Sir, you have made me very uneasy by your behavior to me when we were last at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s. You know, my dear sir, no man has a greater respect and affection for you, or would sooner go to the end of the world to serve you. Now, to treat me 80—.” He insisted that I had interrupted him, which I assured him was not the case; and proceeded, -"But why treat me so before people who neither love you nor me?” JOHNSON : “Well, I am sorry for it. I'll make it up to you twenty different ways, as you please.” BOSWELL: “I said to-day to Sir Joshua, when he observed that you tossed me sometimes, I don't care how often, or how high he tosses me, when only friends alo present, for then I fall upon soft ground; but I do not like falling on stones, which is the case when enemies are present I think this is a pretty good image, sir.” Johnson: “Sir, it is one of the happiest I have ever heard.”
7. Johnson called the East Indians barbarians. BosWELL;
You will except the Chinese, sir ?” Johnson: “No, sir :" BOSWELL: “Have they not arts ?” Johnson: “They have pottery.” BOSWELL: “What do you say to the written characters of their language ?” Johnson: “Sir, they have not an alphabet. They have not been able to form what all other nations have formed.” BOSWELL: “ There is more learning in their language than in any other, from the immense number of their characters.” JOHNSON: “It is only more difficult from its rudeness ; as there is more labor in hewing down a tree with a stone than with an ax.”
8. I reminded him how heartily he and I used to drink wine together, when we were first acquainted; and how I used to have a headache after sitting up with him. He did not like to have this recalled, or, perhaps, thinking that I boasted improperly, resolved to have a witty stroke at me; “Nay, sir, it was not the wine that made your head ache, but the sense I put into it.” BOSWELL: “What, sir, will sense make the head ache ?” JOHNSON: “Yes, sir (with a smile), when it is not used to it.”
THOMAS NUTTALL, author of the following splendid description of the Mocking-Bird, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1786, and died in Lancashire, September 10th, 1859. He came to this country about the beginning of the present century, and commenced a series of researches, in natural history, which obliged him to visit and explore nearly every state in the Union. From 1822 to 1834, he held the Professorship of Natural History in Harvard College. The extract below is from his “Manual of the Ornithology of the United States and Canada.”
THOMAS NUTTALL 1. With the dawn of morning, while yet the sun lingers below the blushing horizon, our sublime songster, in his native wilds, mounted on the topmost branch of a tall bush or tree in the forest, pours out his admirable song, which, amidst the multi
* For an analysis of this word, see Exercise LXXX.
tudes of notes from all the warbling host, still rises pre-eminent, so that his solo is heard alone, and all the rest of the musical choir appear employed in mere accompaniments to this grand actor in the sublime opera of nature.
2. As if conscious of his unrivaled powers of song, and ani. mated by the harmony of his own voice, his music is, as it were, accompanied by chromatic dancing and expressive gestures; he spreads and closes his light and fanning wings, expands his silvered tail, and, with buoyant gayety and enthusiastic ecstasy, he sweeps around, and mounts and descends into the air from his lofty spray, as his song swells to loudness, or dies away in sinking whispers.
3. While thus engaged, so various is his talent, that it might be supposed a trial of skill from all the assembled birds of the country; and so perfect are his imitations, that even the sportsman is at times deceived, and sent in quest of birds that have no existence around. The feathered tribes themselves are decoyed by the fancied call of their mates; or dive with fear into the close thicket, at the well-feigned scream of the hawk.
4. Soon reconciled to the usurping fancy of man, the mockingbird often becomes familiar with his master; playfully attacks him through the bars of his cage, or at large in a room; restless and capricious, he seems to try every expedient of a lively imagination, that may conduce to his amusement. Nothing escapes his discerning and intelligent eye or faithful ear.
5. He whistles, perhaps, for the dog, who, deceived, runs to meet his master; the cries of the chicken in distress bring out the clucking mother to the protection of her brood. The barking of the dog, the piteous wailing of the puppy, the mewing of the cat, the action of a saw, or the creaking of a wheelbarrow, quickly follow with exactness. He repeats a tune of considerable length; imitates the warbling of the Canary, the lisping of the Indigo-bird, and the mellow whistle of the Cardinal, in a manner so superior to the originals, that, mortified and astonished, they withdraw from his presence, or listen in silence, as he continues to triumph by renewing his efforts.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE, the finest, perhaps, of all Scott's poetical efforts, has for the theater of its action the country surrounding the beautiful Loch Katrine. The feuds between the civilized Lowlands and the mountain districts inhabited by the Celtic tribes furnish the main matter of the poem. The plot is exceedingly interesting: consisting, in part, of the romantic adventures of King James V. (here fassing under the title Fitz-James), “who delighted to traverse the vicinage of his several palaces, in various disguises,” and who, in the scene below, having lost his way, suddenly encounters Roderick Dhu, the chief of a Highland clan that had long set at defiance the Lowland monarch.
SCENE FROM THE LADY OF THE LAKE.
BIR WALTER 800TT.
With cautious step, and ear awake,
In dread, in danger, and alone,
* Seo Exercise LXXV. for a comparison of Scott with Chateaubriand
III. “ Art thou a friend to Roderick ?”_"No."“Thou darest not call thyself a foe?”— “I dare! to him and all the band He brings to aid his murderous hand.” “Bold words !--but though the beast of game The privilege of chase may claim, Though space and law the stag we lend, Ere hound we slip, or bow we bend, Who ever recked, where, bow, or when, The prowling fox was trapped and slain ? Thus treacherous scouts,—yet sure they lic, Who say thou cam’st a secret spy ?”
IV. • They do, by Heaven -Come Roderick Dhu, And of his clan the boldest too, And let me but till morning rest, I'll write the falsehood on their crest." “If by the blaze I mark aright, Thou bear'st the belt and spur of knight.” “ Then by these tokens may'st thou know Each proud oppressor's mortal foe.”
“Enough, enough; sit down and share A soldier's couch, a soldier's fare."
He gave him of his highland cheer,
“Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu