Tag Archives: endearing

Henry Digby Beste

In early youth I knew Bennet Langton, of that ilk, as the Scotch say; with great personal claims to the respect of the public, he is known to that public chiefly as a friend of Johnson; he was a very tall, meagre, long-visaged man, much resembling, according to Richard Paget, a stork standing on one leg, near the shore, in Raphael’s cartoon of the miraculous draught of fishes. His manners were, in the highest degree, polished; his conversation mild, equable, and always pleasing. He had the uncommon faculty (’tis strange that it should be an uncommon faculty), of being a good reader[.] […]

I formed an intimacy with his son, George Langton, nearly of the same age as myself, and went to pay him a visit some years later, at Langton, where he resided with his family. and went to pay him a visit at Langton. […] After breakfast we walked to the top of a very steep hill behind the house. When we arrived at the summit, Mr. Langton said, “Poor, dear Dr. Johnson, when he came to this spot, turned back to look down the hill, and said he was determined ‘to take a roll down.’ When we understood what he meant to do, we endeavoured to dissuade him; but he was resolute, saying, ‘he had not had a roll for a long time;’ and taking out of his lesser pockets whatever might be in them–– keys, pencil, purse, or pen-knife, and laying himself parallel with the edge of the hill, he actually descended, turning himself over and over, till he came to the bottom.”

Henry Digby Beste, Personal and Literary Memorials, London, 1829, pp. 62, 64-65