PROFESSOR WALKER, who frequently met the Bard, one day supped with him at the table of Dr. Blair. The other guests were very few; and as each had been invited chiefly to have an opportunity of meeting with the poet, the doctor endeavoured to draw him out, and make him the central figure of the group.
Being asked from which of the public places he had received the greatest gratification, he named the High Church, but gave the preference as a preacher to (the Rev. Walker) the colleague (and most formidable rival) of our worthy entertainer – whose celebrity rested on his pulpit eloquence – in a tone so pointed and decisive as to throw the whole company into the most foolish embarrassment. The doctor, indeed, with becoming self-command, endeavoured to relieve the rest by cordially seconding the encomium so injudiciously introduced; but this did not prevent the conversation from labouring under that compulsory effort which was unavoidable, while the thoughts of all were full of the only subject on which it was improper to speak. His secret mortification was indeed so great, that he never mentioned the circumstance until many years after, when he said that his silence proceeded from the pain which he felt in recalling it to his memory.