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"TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
"DEAR SIR,—I have an old amanuensis
"I am not sorry that you read Boswell journal. Is it not a merry piece? There is much in it about poor me. "Do not buy C- -'s2 Travels; they are duller than T- -'s 3. W. too fond of words, but you may read him. I shall take care that Adair's account of America may be sent you, for I shall have it of my own.
"Beattie has called once to see me. He lives grand at the archbishop's."]
[He had written to Mrs. Thrale the day before. "Peyton and Macbean are both starving,
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. "27th May, 1775 "DEAR SIR,-I make no doubt but you are now safely lodged in your own habitation, and have told all your adventures to Mrs. Boswell and Miss Veronica. Pray teach Veronica to love me. Bid her not mind mamma.
"Mrs. Thrale has taken cold, and been very much disordered, but I hope is grown well. Mr. went yesterday to Lincolnshire, and has invited Nicolaidas to follow him. Beauclerk talks of going to Bath. I am to set out on Monday; so there is nothing but dispersion.
"I have returned Lord Hailes's entertaining sheets, but must stay till I come back for more, because it will be inconvenient to send them after me in my vagrant state.
"I promised Mrs. Macaulays that I
"TO MRS. THRALE.
sides, perhaps, what is the great hindrance,
2 [Probably "Chandler's Travels in Asia Mi
that I have no great mind to went away at two this morning. L[ang- nor."-ED.] ton] I suppose goes this week. B[oswell] got two-and-forty guineas in fees while he tugal in 1772 and 1775, by Richard Twiss, Esq."
3 [Probably "Travels through Spain and Por
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 Tour through some of the Northern Parts of Europe, by Nathaniel Wraxall, jun.”—ED.]
5 A learned Greek.-BOSWELL. [Mr. Langton was an enthusiast about Greek.-ED.]
6 Wife of the Reverend Mr. Kenneth Macau
and I lay, author of "The History of St. Kilda,"
would try to serve her son at Oxford. I have not forgotten it, nor am unwilling to perform it. If they desire to give him an English education, it should be considered whether they cannot send him for a year or two to an English school. If he comes immediately from Scotland, he can make no figure in our Universities. The schools in the north, I believe, are cheap, and when I was a young man, were eminently good.
There are two little books published by the Foulis, Telemachus and Collins's Poems, each a shilling; I would be glad to have them.
"Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, though she does not love me. You see what perverse things ladies are, and how little fit to be trusted with feudal estates. When she mends and loves me, there may be more hope of her daughters.
"I will not send compliments to my friends by name, because I would be loth to leave any out in the enumeration. Tell them, as you see them, how well I speak of Scotch politeness, and Scotch hospitality, and Scotch beauty, and of every thing Scotch, but Scotch oat-cakes and Scotch prejudices.
"Let me know the answer of Rasay, and the decision relating to Sir Allan1. I am, my dearest sir, with great affection, your most obliged and most humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."
tham. I went this morning to the chape at six, and if I were to stay would try to conform to all wholesome rules **. Mr. Coulson 3 is well, and still willing to keep me, but 1 delight not in being long here. Mr. Smollett, of Loch Lomond 4, and his lady have been here we were glad to meet."
"6th June, 1775.
"Such is the uncertainty of all human things, that Mr. [Coulson] has quarrelled with me. He says I raise the laugh upon him, and he is an independent man, and all he has is his own, and he is not used to such things. And so I shall have no more good of C[oulson], of whom I never had any good but flattery, which my dear mis tress knows I can have at home. * *
"Here I am, and how to get away! do not see, for the power of departure, otherwise than in a post-chaise, depends upon accidental vacancies in passing coaches, of which all but one in a week pass through this place at three in the morning. After that one I have sent, but with little hope; yet I shall be very unwilling to stay here another week."
"Lichfield, 11th June, 1775.
Lady Smith is settled here at last, and sees company in her new house. I went on Saturday. Poor Lucy Porter has her hand in a bag, so unabled by the gout that she cannot dress herself. I go every day to Stowehill; both the sisters 5 are now at home. I sent Mrs. Aston a Taxation 6,' and sent it to nobody else, and Lucy borrowed it. Mrs. Aston, since that, inquired by messenger when I was expected. 'I can tell nothing about it,' said Lucy: when he
to be here, I suppose she'll know.' You left Every body remembers you all. a good impression behind you. I hope you
3 [Mr. Coulson, of University College. See ante, vol. i. p. 493.--Ed.]
4 [See ante, vol. i. p. 452.-ED.]
5 [Mrs. Gastrell and Miss Aston.-ED.] 6 A copy of his pamphlet, "Taxation ne Tyranny."-ED.]
* * * * * *
will do the same at [Lewes]. Do not make | them speeches. Unusual compliments, to which there is no stated and prescriptive answer, embarrass the feeble who do not know what to say, and disgust the wise, who, knowing them to be false, suspect them to be hypocritical. You never told me, and I omitted to inquire, how you were entertained by Boswell's Journal.' One would think the man had been hired to be a spy upon me; he was very diligent, and caught opportunities of writing from time to time. You may now conceive yourself tolerably well acquaintedwith the expedition. Folks want me to go to Italy, but I say you are not for it."
"Lichfield, 13th June, 1775. "I now write from Mrs. Cobb's, where I have had custard. Nothing considerable has happened since I wrote, only I am sorry to see Miss Porter so bad, and I am not pleased to find that, after a very comfortable intermission, the old flatulence distressed me again last night. The world is full of ups and downs,' as, I think, I told you once before.
"Lichfield is full of box-clubs. The ladies have one for their own sex. They have incorporated themselves under the appellation of the Amicable Society; and pay each twopence a week to the box. Any woman who can produce the weekly twopence is admitted to the society; and when any of the poor subscribers is in want, she has six shillings a week; and, I think, when she dies five pounds are given to her children. Lucy is not one, nor Mrs. Cobb. The subscribers are always quarrelling; and every now and then, a lady, in a fume, withdraws her name; but they are an hundred pounds beforehand.
"Mr. Green has got a cast of Shakspeare, which he holds to be a very exact resemblance.
“There is great lamentation here for the death of Col. Lucy is of opinion that he was wonderfuly handsome.
"Boswell is a favourite, but he has lost ground since I told them that he is married, and all hope is over."
[The history of Mrs. Williams belongs so inseparably to that of Dr. Johnson, that the Editor cannot omit here inserting the following letter, relating to a small annuity, which the charity of Mrs. Montagu had secured to Mrs. Williams, and which, as we shall see, was long afterwards a subject of acknowledgment from Dr. Johnson to that lady.]
passion, but never have I known or experienced the reality of those virtues, till this joyful morning, when I received the honour of your most tender and affectionate letter with its most welcome contents. Madam, I may with truth say, I have not words to express my gratitude as I ought to a lady, whose bounty has, by an act of benevolence, doubled my income, and whose tender, compassionate assurance has removed the future anxiety of trusting to chance, the terror of which only could have prompted me to stand a public candidate for Mr. Hetherington's bounty. May my sincere and grateful thanks be accepted by you, and may the Author of all good bless and long continue a life, whose shining virtues are so conspicuous and exemplary, is the most ardent prayer of her who is, with the greatest respect, madam, your most devoted, truly obliged, and obedient humble servant, “ANNA WILLIAMS."]
["MRS. WILLIAMS TO MRS. MONTAGU. "Johnson's-court, 26th June, 1775. "MADAM,-Often have I heard of generosity, benevolence, and com
[The following letter, addressed to ED. Dr. Johnson, though it does not belong to his personal history, describes a scene of public amusement, and affords some details ncerning the habits of society, which may amuse the reader, and in a work of this nature will hardly be considered as misplaced.]
["MRS. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON. "24th June, 1775. "Now for the regatta, of which, Baretti says, the first notion was taken from Venice, where the gondoliers practise rowing against each other perpetually; and I dare say 'tis good diversion where the weather invites, and the water seduces to such entertainments. Here, however, it was not likely to answer; and I think nobody was pleased.
"Well! Cræsus promised a reward, you remember, for him who should produce a new delight; but the prize was never obtained, for nothing that was new proved delightful; and Dr. Goldsmith, three thou sand years afterwards, found out that who ever did a new thing did a bad thing, and whoever said a new thing said a false thing. So yestermorning, a flag flying from some conspicuous steeple in Westminster gave notice of the approaching festival, and at noon the managers determined to hold it on that day. In about two hours the wind rose very high, and the river was exceedingly rough; but the lot was cast, and the ladies went on with their dresses. It had been agreed that all should wear white; but the ornaments were left to our own choice. I was afraid of not being fine enough; so 1 trimmed my white lutestring with silver gauze, and wore black riband intermixed We had obtained more tickets than I hoped for, though Sir Thomas Robinson gave us [Ante, v. i. p. 173. —ED.]
Lett v. i. p 247.
none at .ast; but he gives one such a profusion of words, and bows, and compliments, that I suppose he thinks every thing else superfluous. Mr. Cator was the man for a real favour at last, whose character is directly opposite, as you know; but if both are actuated by the spirit of kindness, let us try at least to love them both.
"He wished Hester [Miss Thrale] to go, and she wished it too, and her father wished; so I would not stand out, though my fears for her health and safety lessened the pleasure her company always gives. D'Avenants, then, Mr. Cator, Mr. Evans, Mr. Seward, and ourselves, set about being happy with all our might, and tried for a barge to flutter in altogether. The barges, however, were already full, and we were to be divided and put into separate boats. The water was rough, even seriously so; the time glided away in deliberation of what was to be done; and we resolved, at last, to run to the house of a gentleman in the Temple, of whom we knew nothing but that he was D'Avenant's friend, and look at the race from his windows,-then drive away for Ranelagh, in time to see the barges drawn up, and the company disembark. Of the race, however, scarce any thing could be seen for clouds of dust that intercepted one's sight; and we have no balconies to see shows from, as are provided in countries where processions make much of the means of entertainment; so we discomposed our headdresses against each other, by struggling for places in an open window, and then begged pardons with courtesies, which exposed our trains to be trod on, and made us still more out of humour. It was however a real pleasure to look at the crowd of spectators. Every shop was shut; every street deserted; and the tops of all such houses as had any catch of the river swarmed with people, like bees settling on a branch. Here is no exaggeration, upon my honour; even the lamp-irons on Westminster-bridge were converted into seats, while every lighter lying in the Thames bore men up to the topmast-head. This was the true wonder of the day. Baretti says he will show us finer sights when we go to Italy. I believe him; but shall we ever see so populous a city as London? so rich a city? so happy a city? I fancy not.
me for a long whi e out of the notion that it was covered with black, till through a telescope we espied the animals in motion, like magnified mites in a bit of old cheese. Well! from this house in the Temple we hasted away to Ranelagh, happy in having at least convinced a hundred folks we never saw before, and perhaps never shall see again, that we had tickets for the regatta, and fine clothes to spoil with the rain, and that we were not come thither like the vulgar -in good time!-only to see the boat-race. And now, without one image of Cleopatra's galley or Virgil's games, or one pretext to say how it put us in mind of either, we drove to Ranelagh, and told each other all the way how pretty it would be to look at the ladies disembarking to musick, and walking in procession up the rotunda. But the night came on; the wind roared; the rain fell; and the barges missing their way, many came up to the wrong stairs. The managers endeavoured to rectify the mistake, and drive them back, that some order might be kept, and some appearance of regularity might be made; but the wo men were weary and wet, and in no disposition to try for further felicity out of the old common road; so the procession was spoiled; and as to musick, we heard none but screams of the frighted company, as they were tossed about at the moment of getting to shore. Once more, then, all were turned loose to look for pleasure where it could be found. The rotunda was not to be opened till twelve o'clock, when the bell was to call us to sup there; the temporary building was not finished, and the rain would not permit walking in the garden. Calamity, however, vanishes often upon a near approach-does not it as well as happiness. We all crowded into the new building, from whence we drove the carpenters, and called for cards, without the help of which, by some fatality, no day dedicated to amusement is
ever able to end.
Queeney said there was no loss of the ornaments intended to decorate Neptune's hall; for she saw no attempt at embellishment, except a few fluttering rags, like those which dangle from a dyer's pole into the street; and in that room we sat telling opinions, adventures, &c. till supper was served, which the men said was an execrable one, and I thought should have been finer. Was nothing good, then?' you begin to exclaim; here is desire of saving something where little is to be said, and lamentations are the readiest nonsense my mistress can find to fill her letter with. No, no; I would commend the concert, the catch singers, for an hour, if you would hear me; the musick was well selected, and admirably executed; nor did the company look much amiss when all the dismal was