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SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL. D.
PASSED many hours with him on the “I am not sorry that you read Boswell , 17th, [May], of which I find all my memo- journal. Is it not a merry piece? There rialis, “ much laughing.” It should seem is much in it about poor me. he had that day been in a humour for jocu- Do not buy C- _'s 2 Travels; they larity and merriment, and upon such occa
are dulier than T- -'s 3. W - 4 is sions I never knew a man laugh more hear- too fond of words, but you may read him. tily. We may suppose that the high relish I shall take care that Adair's account of of a state só different from his habitual America may be sent you, for I shall have gloom produced more than ordinary exer- it of my own. tions of that distinguishing faculty of man,
“ Beattie has called once to see me. He which has puzzled philosophers so much to lives grand at the archbishop's.”] explain. Johnson's laugh was as remarkable as any circumstance in his manner. It
“ TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. was a kind of good-humoured growl. Tom
“27th May, 1775 Davies described it drolly enough: “ He “ DEAR SIR, I make no doubt but
you laughs like a rhinoceros.”
are now safely lodged in your own habita
tion, and have told all your adventures to “ TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
Mrs. Boswell and Miss Veronica. Pray " 21st May, 1775.
teach Veronica to love me. Bid her not “ DEAR SIR, I have an old amanuensis mind mamma. in great distress 1. I have given what I “ Mrs. Thrale has taken cold, and been think I can give, and begged till I cannot very much disordered, but I hope is grown tell where to beg again. I put into his well. Mr. Langton went yesterday to hands this morning four guineas. If you Lincolnshire, and has invited Nicolaida 5 to could collect three guineas more, it would follow him. Beauclerk talks of going to clear him from his present difficulty. I am, Bath. I am to set out on Monday; so sir, your most humble servant,
there is nothing but dispersion, “ SAM. JOHNSON." " I have returned Lord Hailes's entertain.
ing sheets, but must stay till I come back [“ TO MRS. THRALE.
for more, because it will be inconvenient to
"220 May, 1775. send them after me in my vagrant state. “One thing or other still hinders me, be- “I promised Mrs. Macaulay 6 that I sides, perhaps, what is the great hindrance, that I have no great mind to
2 [Probably “Chandler's Travels in Asia Miwent away at two this morning. L[ang: nor.”—Ep.) ton] I suppose goes this week. B[oswell] 3 [Probably “Travels through Spain and Porgot two-and-forty guineas in fees while he tugal in 1772 and 1775, by Richard Twiss, Esq.” was here. He has, by his wife's persuasion
--Ed.) and mine, taken down a present for his
4 [Probably “Cursory Remarks made in a mother-in-law.
Tour through some of the Northern Parts of Europe, by Nathaniel Wraxall, jun.”—Ed.]
5 A learned Greek.-Boswell. (Mr. Lang. 1 [He had written to Mrs. Thrale the day before . “Peyton and Macbean are both starving,
ton was an enthusiast about Greek. -Ed.)
6 Wife of the Reverend Mr. Kenneth Macau. and I cannot keep them.”- Lett. v. i. p. 218.
lay, author of “The History of St. Kilda.” BosweLL.
would try to serve her son at Oxford. I tham. I went this morning to the chape have not forgotten it, nor am unwilling to at six, and if I were to stay would try to perform it. If they desire to give him an conform to all wholesome rules * * Mr. English education, it should be considered Coulson 3 is well
, and still willing to keep whether they cannot send him for a year me, but I delight not in being long here. or two to an English school. If he comes Mr. Smollett, of Loch Lomond 4, and his immediately from Scotland, he can make no lady have been here—we were glad to figure in our Universities. The schools in meet." the north, I believe, are cheap, and when I was a young man, were eminently good.
"6th June, 1775. « There are two little books published by “Such is the uncertainty of all human the Foulis, Telemachus and Collins's Po- things, that Mr. (Coulson) has quarrelled ems, each a shilling; I would be glad to with me. He says I raise the laugh upon have them.
him, and he is an independent man, and all “ Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, he has is his own, and he is not used to though she does not love me.
such things. And so I shall have no more what perverse things ladies are, and how good of C[oulson), of whom I never had little fit to be trusted with feudal estates. any good but flattery, which my dear mis When she mends and loves me, there may
tress knows I can have at home. be more hope of her daughters.
“I will not send compliments to my “ Here I am, and how to get away ! do friends by name, because I would be loth to not see, for the power of departure, otherleave any out in the enumeration. Tell wise than in a post-chaise, depends upon them, as you see them, how well I speak of accidental vacancies in passing coaches, of Scotch politeness, and Scotch hospitality, which all but one in a week pass through and Scotch beauty, and of every thing this place at three in the morning. After Scotch, but Scotch oat-cakes and Scotch that one I have sent, but with little hope; prejudices.
yet I shall be very unwilling to stay here "Let me know the answer of Rasay, another week.” and the decision relating to Sir Allanı. I
“ (Oxford], 7th June, 1775. am, my dearest sir, with great affection, your most obliged and most humble ser
C[oulson) and I am pretty well again. vant, “SAM. JOHNSON."
I grudge the cost of going to Lichfield
Frank and I—in a post-chaise—yet I think [In the latter end of May he set out
of thundering away to-morrow. on what he called “his annual ramble
will write your next dear letter to Lích
field.” into the middle counties," of which his let.
“Lichfield, 10th June, 1775. ters to Mrs. Thrale give a kind of journal. He had, it seems, previous to his departure, intended to have passed a day or two at
« On Thursday I took a post-chaise, and a kind of fit, which, as well as Mr. Thrale's Birmingham, but Hector had company in care for his personal appearance, he thus
his house, and I went on to Lichfield, notices:]
where I know not how long I shall stay." [“ TO MRS. THRALE.
" Lichfield, 11th June, 1775. “Loudon, 25th May, 1775.
“ Lady Smith is settled here at last, and “ The fit was a sudden faint
sees company in her new house. I went ness, such as I have had I know
on Saturday. Poor Lucy Porter has her not how often; no harm came of hand in a băg, so unabled by the gout that it, and all is well. I cannot go [to Oxford] she cannot dress herself. I go every day to till Saturday, and then go I will if I can. Stowehill; both the sisters 5 are now at My clothes, Mr. Thrale says, must be made home. I sent Mrs. Aston a Taxation 6,' like other people's, and they are gone to and sent it to nobody else, and Lucy borrowthe tailor's.
ed it. Mrs. Aston, since that, inquired by "Oxford, 1st June, 1775, a messenger when I was expected. I can “ I did not make the epitaph 2 before last tell nothing about it,' said Lucy : “when he night, and this morning I have found it too is to be here, I suppose she 'll know.' long; I send it to you as it is to pacify you, Every, body remembers you all. You left and will make it shorter * *.
a good impression behind you. I hope you pose that I live here as we live at Strea.
3 [Mr. Coulson, of University College. See 1 A lawsuit carried on by Sir Allan Maclean,
493.--Ep.) chief of his clan, to recover certain parts of his 4 | See anie, vol. i.
p. 452.--Ep.) family estates from the duke of Argyle.—Bos- 5 ( Mrs. Gastrell and Miss Aston.-Ep.)
6 (A copy of his pamphlet, “Taxation nc 2 (On Mrs. Salisbury.- Ep.
Letters, vol. i. p. 122-234.
ante, vol. i.
21] to the same at [Lewes]. Do not make | passion, but never have I known or expe. them speeches. Unusual compliments, to rienced the reality of those virtues, till which there is no stated and prescriptive this joyful morning, when I received the answer, embarrass the feeble who do not honour of your most tender and affectionate know what to say, and disgust the wise, letter with its most welcome contents. Mawho, knowing them to be false, suspect them dam, I may with truth say, I have not words to be hypocritical.
to express my gratitude as I ought to a lady, You never told me, and I omitted to inquire, whose bounty has, by an act of benevolence, how you were entertained by Boswell's doubled my income, and whose tender, • Journal.' One would think the man had compassionate assurance has removed the been hired to be a spy upon me; he was future anxiety of trusting to chance, the very diligent, and caught opportunities of terror of which only could have prompted writing from time to time. You may now me to stand a public candidate for Mr. conceive yourself tolerably well acquainted Hetherington's bounty. May my sincere with the expedition. Folks want me to go and grateful thanks be accepted by you, and to Italy, but I say you are not for it.” may the Author of all good bless and long
continue a life, whose shining virtues are so “Lichfield, 13th June, 1775. “ I now write from Mrs. Cobb's, where I conspicuous and exemplary, is the most ar
dent prayer of her who is, with the greatest have had custard. Nothing considerable has happened since I wrote, only I am sorry obliged, and obedient humble servant,
respect, madam, your most devoted, truly to see Miss Porter so bad, and I am not
“ ANNA WILLIAMS."'] pleased to find that, after a very comfortable intermission, the old flatulence distressed [The following letter, addressed to me again last night. The world is full of Dr. Johnson, though it does not belong ups and downs,' as, I think, I told you once to his personal history, describes a scene ol before.
public amusement, and affords some details Lichfield is full of box-clubs. The la concerning the habits of society, which may dies have one for their own sex. They have amuse the reader, and in a work of this na. incorporated themselves under the appella- ture will hardly be considered as misplaced.] tion of the Amicable Society; and pay each
[“MRS. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON. twopence a week to the box. Any woman
“24th June, 1775. who can produce the weekly twopence is “ Now for the regatta, of which, admitted to the society; and when any of Baretti says, the first notion was
v. i.P the poor subscribers is in want, she has six taken from Venice, where the gon- 2477 shillings a week; and, I think, when she doliers practise rowing against each dies five pourds are given to her children. other perpetually ; and I dare say 'tis good Lucy is not one, nor Mrs. Cobb. The sub- diversion where the weather invites, and scribers are always quarrelling; and every the water seduces to such entertainments, now and then, a lady, in a fume, withdraws Here, however, it was not likely to answer; her name; but they are an hundred pounds and I think nobody was pleased. beforehand.
Well! Cræsus promised a reward, you " Mr. Green has got a cast of Shake remember, for him who should produce a speare, which he holds to be a very exact new delight; but the prize was never obresemblance.
tained, for nothing that was new proved “ There is great lamentation here for the delightful; and Dr. Goldsmith, three thou death of Col. Lucy is of opinion that he sand years afterwards, found out that who was wonderfuly handsome.
ever did a new thing did a bad thing, and “ Boswell is a favourite, but he has lost whoever said a new thing said a false thing. ground since I told them that he is married, So yestermorning, a flag flying from some and all hope is over.”]
conspicuous steeple in Westminster gave [The history of Mrs. Williams be- notice of the approaching festival, and at longs so inseparably to that of Dr. John
noon the managers determined to hold it on
that day. In about two hours the wind son, that the Editor cannot omit here insert
rose very high, and the river was exceed. ing the following letter, relating to a small annuity, which the charity of Mrs. Montagu ingly rough; but the lot was cast, and the had secured to Mrs. Williams, and which, ladies went on with their dresses. It had
been agreed that all should wear white; but as we shall see, was long afterwards a sub
the ornaments were left to our own choice. ject of acknowledgment from Dr. Johnson to that lady.]
I was afraid of not being fine enough; so I
trimmed my white lutestring with silver [MRS. WILLIAMS TO MRS. MONTAGU. gauze, and wore black riband intermixed “ Johnson's-court, 26th June, 1775.
We had obtained more tickets than I hoped “ MADAM,--Often have I heard of for, though Sir Thomas Robinson I gave us generosity, benevolence, and com
1 [Ante, v. i. p. 173. --Ed.]
none at .ast; but he gives one such a pro- me for a long whi e out of the notion that fusion of words, and bows, and compliments, it was covered with black, till through a tel. that I suppose he thinks every thing else escope we espied the animals in motion, superfluous. Mr. Cator I was the man for like magnified mites in a bit of old cheese. a real favour at last, whose character is di- Well! from this house in the Temple we rectly opposite, as you know; but if both hasted away to Ranelagh, happy in having are actuated by the spirit of kindness, let us at least convinced a hundred folks we never try at least to love them both.
saw before, and perhaps never shall see * He wished Hester (Miss Thrale] to go, again, that we had tickets for the regatta, and she wished it too, and her father wished; and fine clothes to spoil with the rain, and 80 I would not stand out, though my fears that we were not come thither like the vulgar for her health and safety lessened the plea- -in good time !-only to see the boat-race. sure her company always gives. The And now, without one image of Cleopatra's D'Avenants, then, Mr. Cator, Mr. Evans, galley or Virgil's games, or one pretext to Mr. Seward, and ourselves, set about being say how it put us in mind of either, we happy with all our might, and tried for a drove to Ranelagh, and told each other all barge to flutter in altogether. The barges, the way how pretty it would be to look at however, were already full, and we were to the ladies disembarking to musick, and be divided and put into separate boats. walking in procession up to the rotunda. The water was rough, even seriously so; the But the night came on; the wind roared ; time glided away in deliberation of what was the rain fell; and the barges missing their to be done; and we resolved, at last, to run way, many came up to the wrong stairs. to the house of a gentleman in the Temple, The managers endeavoured to rectify the of whom we knew nothing but that he was
mistake, and drive them back, that some D'Avenant's friend, and look at the race
order might be kept, and some appearance from his windows,—then drive away for of regularity might be made ; but the wo. Ranelagh, in time to see the barges drawn men were weary and wet, and in no disposiup, and the company disembark. Of the tion to try for further felicity out of the old race, however, scarce any thing could be common road; so the procession was spoil. seen for clouds of dust that intercepted one's ed; and as to musick, we heard none but sight; and we have no balconies to see shows
screams of the frighted company, as they from, as are provided in countries where
were tossed about at the moment of getting processions make much of the means of en
to shore. Once more, then, all were turned tertainment; so we discomposed our head- loose to look for pleasure where it could be dresses against each other, by struggling found. The rotunda was not to be opened for places in an open window, and then till twelve o'clock, when the bell was to call begged pardons with courtesies, which ex- us to sup there; the temporary building was posed our trains to be trod on, and made us
not finished, and the rain would not permit still more out of humour. It was however walking in the garden. Calamity, however, a real pleasure to look at the crowd of spec
vanishes often upon a near approach-does tators. Every shop was shut; every street not it ?—as well as happiness. We all deserted; and the tops of all such houses as crowded into the new building, from whence had any catch of the river swarmed with we drove the carpenters, and called for people, like bees settling on a branch. cards, without the help of which, by some Here is no exaggeration, upon my honour ;
fatality, no day dedicated to amusement is even the lamp-irons on Westminster-bridge
ever able to end. were converted into seats, while every " Queeney said there was no loss of the lighter lying in the Thames bore men up ornaments intended to decorate Neptune's to the topmast-head. This was the true hall; for she saw no attempt at embellishwonder of the day. Baretti says he will ment, except a few fluttering rags, like those show us finer sights when we go to Italy. which dangle from a dyer's pole into the I believe him; but shall we ever see so pop
street; and in that room we sat telling ulous a city as London ? so rich a city? so
opinions, adventures, &c. till supper was happy a city? I fancy not.
served, which the men said was an execra.
ble one, and I thought should have been · Let bear or elephant be e'er so white, finer. «Was nothing good, then?' you beThe people sure, the people, are the sight.' gin to exclaim; • here is desire of saving « They could not indeed be very atten
something where little is to be said, and lative to the games, like those Horace talks
mentations are the readiest nonsense my of, for here was neither panther nor camel;
mistress can find to fill her letter with: no pretence to draw us together, as I could
No, no; I would commend the concert, the find ;-vet they sat so thick upon the slating catch singers, for an hour, if you would of Whitehall, that nobody could persuade hear me; the musick was well selected, and
admirably executed; nor did the company TA timber-merchant in the Borough.—Ec.] look much amiss when all the dismal was