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through the hall, and down the broad steps of Chesterfield House. Johnson never forgot and never forgave the slight. Colley Cibber, so the story runs, had been allowed precedence of the Doctor; and when the actor issued laughing from his lordship's private apartment, Johnson, who did not even then receive his summons into the presence of the great man, could tolerate it no longer, and left straightway. There seems every reason to believe that this account is accurate. It is true that Johnson himself, referring to the matter with Boswell some years afterwards, declared that there never was any particular incident which produced a quarrel between Lord Chesterfield and him, but that his lordship's neglect was the reason why he resolved to have no connection with him.' It is worth while to compare with this assertion Johnson's actual subsequent conduct. Some twenty years after the alleged circumstance, Chesterfield, perceiving that the Dictionary' would make its author's fame, was seized with the wish to gratify his vanity by connecting his own name with that of the erst-despised hack. Mr. Johnson's labours,' wrote his lordship in the World, will now, I daresay, very fully supply that want, and greatly contribute to the farther spreading of our language in other countries. Learners were discouraged by finding no standard to resort to; and consequently thought it incapable of any. They will now be undeceived and encouraged.' Johnson, as his biographer intimates to us, was highly indignant at his lordship imagining he could be the dupe of such an artifice. Upon which' (i.e. the appearance of the article in question), he says to Boswell, I wrote him' (Lord Chesterfield) 'a letter, expressed in civil terms, but such as might show him that I did not mind what he said or wrote, and that I had done with him.' Now in this letter, expressed in civil terms,' Johnson specifically alludes to the incident that he had previously denied, or seemed to Boswell to deny. Seven years,' he writes, my lord, have passed since I waited in your outward room and was repulsed from your door, during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to complain, without one word of encouragement or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before. . Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached the ground encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it.'

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This is not all. The famous couplet in the Vanity of Human Wishes stands in all the earlier editions thus:

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'Yet think what ills the scholar's life assail :
Toil, envy, want, the garret, and the jail.'

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After his experience of Lord Chesterfield's treatment, for garret' 'patron' was substituted, much to the improvement of the verse no doubt, but certainly for some more definite and substantial reason than that of rhythmical reform. Secondly, the general truth of the anecdote, which Boswell discredits, was allowed by Chesterfield's great friend, Lord George Lyttelton,' who merely adds: 'Cibber, who had been introduced familiarly by the back stairs, had probably not been there above ten minutes.' The conclusion most naturally arrived at seems to be, that Johnson did receive some specific rebuff at the hands of the great arbiter elegantiarum of his time; that at the moment he felt it most acutely; that, as years wore by and his literary position was fortified, and concurrently his social position improved, he felt something akin to shame at having taken so petty a matter so profoundly to heart, that when Boswell interrogated him on the point, he pooh-poohed the affair as unworthy serious consideration, and that this contemptuous dismissal of an unsavoury topic was erroneously mistaken by Johnson's biographer as equivalent to a flat denial that the thing had ever occurred.

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This is a digression; but it is a digression which the reader will at least pardon, if it should prove, as we venture to think it may, a solution of a moot point in the history of a great man. How far patronage was a scandal and a mischief to literature-an abuse which, with pocket-boroughs and other abominations, we have done well to reform off the face of the earth-is a subject into which inquiry here need not be too curiously made. Neither Dryden's Virgil nor Pope's Homer would have seen the light had it not been for the patron. It is not easy to fix the precise epoch at which what De Quincey calls the old full-blown patron en grand costume, with his heraldic bearings emblazoned at the head of the dedication,' died out. If Mr. Forster is to be implicitly trusted, the exact period was that of Goldsmith. By what Mr. E. A. Freeman calls the law of historical fatalism,' the patron does indeed still exist. But we have changed his name, and we call him the public. There are cynics who may say that it is quite as servile to pander to the popular taste as to do homage to the taste of one individual. Let that pass, and let us examine things as they are. Quite independently of the growth of this public, there is a very good reason why patronage, upon the scale or in the guise with which the world was once familiar with it, should have ceased to exist. Literature, which was once a close corporation, has now become an open profession. Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim. It is a time hen those write now who never wrote before, and those who always wrote now write the more. Wealth and fashion, the Bar and the Church, statesmanship and diplomacy, have invaded Grubstreet and taken it by storm. Your next-door neighbour at dinner may present, as to his exterior, the appearance of a dashing young

clerk in the Foreign Office; you talk to him, and find that he is engaged on a treatise on political philosophy. You hand an elderly matron in to supper, and she asks you whether you have read her new volume, Poems of the Heart. You present a simpering schoolgirl with a cup of tea, and you discover that she has produced her first-born novel. You are accosted by an individual who has the manner of a bagman, and who speaks in the language of Cockaigne, and, infinitely to your surprise, he informs you that he is one of the great fraternity of the quill, and asks you whether it is not a pity that the classics of Athens and Rome are not more universally studied in the present Victorian era. Under such conditions as these, patronage as patronage once was is an impossible system. To play the patron properly one would have to ask all the world and his wife, his sons and his daughters, to breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. But the spirit of patronage survives for all this. Mæcenas has left his heirs, and the succession is not yet extinct.

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Eccentricity is the high mode just now. There are drawingrooms in London which are perfect cabinets of curiosities. There are hosts and hostesses who adore intellect and art and literature, and all that sort of thing, don't you know,' for the same reason that they pet pug-dogs or cultivate old china. Every one knows the kind of houses to which I refer. On your first entrance into the drawing-room, you are reminded of the scriptural entertainer who found his guests in the highways and byways of the city. You are in the midst of a surging throng of aspiring musicians, of artists whose canvas is innocent of the walls of Burlington House, of small littérateurs, of masculine-minded women, and of virgins who pride themselves on their power of satirical repartee, which is an euphemistic alias for pert rudeness. You see every variety of beard, of whisker, and moustache; every conceivable cut of coat and hue of dress. In a word, you are in an intellectual salon. 'A queer lot,' says your host under his breath; but my wife, you know, goes in for this kind of business."

Just at present authors do not rank particularly high in the favour of these butterfly patrons. For one invitation that old Lady Semperley-she is eighty if she is a day, and has still, the dear old thing, the pretty flighty manners of sweet seventeen-sends, for her very particular Sunday dinners, to a man of letters, she despatches half a dozen to actors and artists. These people who write are so dull,' her ladyship meditatively remarks; I suppose they keep all their best things for paper!' What Lady Semperley likes is a lively rattle of conversation with the champagne, and a running fire of piquant anecdotes as piquant as you like, my dear'-with the claret. She is a woman of the world, and understands that sort of thing. I shall not hang my head and blush, my dear, whatever it is,' remarks this voluble old dame; and in

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deed, as regards the blushing part of the business, it would be strange if she did; for her ladyship paints an inch thick, and what is not paint is enamel. With continental, and above all with American, littérateurs the case is different. These are to be met with in great varieties in ducal drawing-rooms and at lordly dinners. The Marquis of Carabas would as soon ask an English journalist to dinner as his tailor, but much affects the society of Transatlantic bards and Parisian feuilletonists. The real Mæcenas of the day, the true modern antitype of the courtly and cultured premier of his Roman majesty, Augustus the Great, belongs to no one of these classes. Very probably he is a gentleman of commercial antecedents, possessed by a parliamentary ambition. He has a great idea of the influence of the press, and is convinced that its writers must be a 'devilish well-informed set of fellows.' If you were to set Mr. Infelix Nummus to work at a ledger or an invoice, he would master its intricacies in a moment. Somehow or other, for the life of him, he cannot understand contemporary politics. He hears about the education question, religious questions, the Gold Coast, the Eastern difficulty, the Russian empire in India, and he asks despairingly what does it all mean. He reads a leading article, and finds himself more hopelessly at sea than ever. So he invites Pen of the Banner to breakfast, or Hack of the Thunderbolt to dinner. It is astonishing,' he observed, how much you get from these newspaper men. I suppose one must pay for it, though,' he adds, with a slight sigh; for Mr. Hack asked Mr. Nummus the other day to lend him a five-pound note, as he was 'rather short that week,' and the aspirant after a political career scarcely thought it discreet to refuse. When Mr. Infelix Nummus stood for the Deepdraily Burghs at the last General Election, the members of that benighted constituency could not help contrasting the tenuity of Mr. Nummus's oratory with the rich eloquence of his address. It was not surprising. The address was written by Pen, with a bottle of Mr. Nummus's dry sherry at his side. Infelix is a thoroughly good-hearted person, a little ostentatious, but with genuinely hospitable instincts. He has a motive of his own in filling his dining-room with Messrs. Pen, Hack, and Co., and the different members of their respective families, just as he has a motive in heading subscription lists, and in driving about a pair of high-stepping horses, of which he is secretly afraid. But he enjoys their society, and he wishes his guests well. When Mr. Infelix Nummus was last heard of he was going to take Pen in his yacht for a cruise to Norway; and on his return he flatters himself that he will be perfectly posted up on all topics of the time. As Mr. Nummus remarks to himself, 'It is only what Disraeli did for Lord George Bentinck; and he did not even get a glass of sherry for his trouble.'

Lord Magnolia is the magnificent patron of the stage. He likes the world behind the scenes, he likes actors, he likes actresses. There is something highly engaging and attractive in the condescension with which he will drive a comedian down to dinner at Richmond, or give some tragic Roscius a seat in his box at Ascot. What I like about his lordship'-his protégés are always very careful about giving him the benefit of his full titular dignity—' is, that there's not an ounce of false pride in his composition,' declares Garriculus to a professional friend.

'Well, Magnolia,' inquires Viscount Purple at the Marlborough, what is the last thing in human oddities you've picked up ?'

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Very well to laugh,' replies Magnolia, but these theatrical people don't bore me half as much as you do; I rather think I shall fraternise with that crossing-sweeper next. It will be a new sensation; and his lordship takes up the Era, a newspaper which is much read just now at the Pall Mall club sacred to English royalty and American bowls.

Sir Rufus Clutterbuck, first baronet, is a Mæcenas of a different order from Lord Magnolia. Having devoted the best part of his days to the service of the Crown in the Australian continent, Sir Rufus has returned to spend the residue of his existence in the land of his birth. Accustomed to authority and habituated to toadies, the late lieutenant-governor has formed for himself a society of literary satellites. Of this system he is the supreme, absolute, and autocratic head. He likes the admiration and the homage which he receives from this gang of fifth-rate scribblers. It delights his majesty to listen to their meagre witticisms, the antithetical badinage which passes for epigrams, and the agonising word distortions which do duty for humour. He

'Likes a beefsteak, too, as well as any;
Has no objection to a pot of beer.'

In other words, Sir Rufus Clutterbuck is amused with that Bohemian tavern-bar existence which is spent by the disappointed playwrights, the inferior order of theatrical critics, and picturesque reporters, who are the parasitic outgrowth of the London press. No monarch could have lieges more loyal and obedient. They meet at his bidding; they take their refreshment when and how he dictates; they dine at the hour which suits him best, and separate when he gives the signal. If he is in a sportive humour, they crack their jokes and tumble for his benefit; if in a serious, they are ready to discuss any question of statesmanship, philosophy, or theology which he may choose to start. To speak highly of Sir Rufus would be regarded by any member of the set as a social blasphemy, the one sin for which there could be no forgiveness. When little Bingo Blinks, who is the dramatic Aristarchus of the High, Low, Jack, and the Game, ventured one day to insinuate that Sir Rufus was a 'conceited

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