Open main menu

Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/13

This page has been validated.


Samuel Johnson, afterwards so loyal a eulogist of London, only came up to it when he had already experimented in life in various parts of the country. He was born at Lichfield in 1709; his father was a bookseller, and a worthy, if somewhat sombre type, of that old thinking middle class of England (now so nearly extinct) of which his celebrated son will always be the great historic incarnation. He went to Oxford, to Pembroke College, where venerable tales are told of his independence and eccentricity: he became a master in a school at Market Bosworth, and subsequently the assistant of a bookseller in Birmingham. In his twenty-fifth year occurred the curious and brief episode of his marriage; he married a widow named Porter; she was considerably older than himself, and died very soon after the union. He spoke of her very rarely in after life but then always with marked tenderness. Failing in a second attempt at the trade of schoolmaster, he came to London with David Garrick, his friend and pupil; and began reporting parliamentary debates for The