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cuitous process; one, he observed, was the eye of the mind, the other the nose of the mind. (1)
A young gentleman (2) present took up the argument against him, and maintained that no man ever thinks of the nose of the mind, not adverting that though that figurative sense seems strange to us, as very unusual, it is truly not more forced than Hamlet's “ In my mind's eye, Horatio.” He persisted much too long, and appeared to Johnson as putting himself forward as his antagonist with too nuch presumption: upon which he called to him in a loud tone, “ What is it you are contending for, if you be contending ?” — And afterwards imagining that the gentleman retorted upon him with a kind of smart drollery, he said, “ Mr. *****, it does not become you to talk so to me. Besides, ridicule is not your talent; you have there neither intuition nor sagacity.” — The gentleman protested that he intended no improper freedom, but had the greatest respect for Dr. Johnson.
After a short pause, during which we were somewhat uneasy ;— JOHNson. “ Give me your hand, Sir. You were too tedious, and I was too short.” Mr. *****. “ Sir, I am honoured by your attention in any way.” JOHNSON. “ Come, Sir, let's have no more of it. We offended one another by our contention ; let us not offend the company by our compliments.”
(1.) These illustrations were probably suggested by the radical meaning of the words, the first of which, in Latin, properly be longs to sight, and the latter to smell.
(2) The epithet “ young” was added after the two first editions, and the ***** substituted instead of a dash which lead to a suspicion that young Mr. Burke was meant- C.
He now said, he wished much to go to Italy, and that he dreaded passing the winter in England. I said nothing; but enjoyed a secret satisfaction in thinking that I had taken the most effectual measures to make such a scheme practicable.
On Monday, June 28., I had the honour to receive from the Lord Chancellor the following letter : LETTER 465. LORD THURLOW TO MR.
BOSWELL. “SIR, - I should have answered your letter immediately, if (being much engaged when I received it) I had not put it in my pocket, and forgot to open it til this morning.
“ I am much obliged to you for the suggestion ; and I will adopt and press it as far as I can. The best argument, I am sure, and I hope it is not likely to fail, is Dr. Johnson's merit. But it will be necessary, if I should be so unfortunate as to miss seeing you, to converse with Sir Joshua on the sum it will be proper to ask, -in short, upon the means of setting him out. It would be a reflection on us all if such a man should perish for want of the means to take care of his health. Yours, &c.
THURLOW." This letter gave me very high satisfaction; I next day went and showed it to Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was exceedingly pleased with it. He thought that I should now communicate the negotiation to Dr. Johnson, who might afterwards complain if the attention with which he had been honoured should be too long concealed from him. I intended to set out for Scotland next morning ; but Sir Joshua cordially insisted that I should stay another day, that Johnson and I might dine with him, that we
66 I am very
three mign talk of his Italian tour, and, as Sir Joshua expressed himself, “ have it all out." I hastened to Johnson, and was told by him that he was rather better to-day. Boswell. unxious about you, Sir, and particularly that you should go to Italy for the winter, which I believe is your own wish." JOHNSON. “ It is, Sir.” BosWELL. “ You have no objection, I presume, but the money it would require." Johnson. “Why, no, Sir.” Upon which I gave him a particular account of what had bren done, and read to him the Lord Chancellor's letter. He listened with much attention; then warmly said, “ This is taking projigious pains about a man. " O, Sir," said I, with most sincere affection, “ your friends would do every thing for you.” He paused, -- grew more and more agitated, — till tears started into his eyes, and he exclaimed with fervent emotion, “ God bless you all!” I was so affected that I also shed tears. After a short silence, he renewed and extended his grateful benediction, “God bless you all, for JESUS Christ's sake.” We both remained for some time unable to speak. He rose suddenly and quitted the room, quite melted in tenderness. He staid but a short time, till he had recovered his firmness; soon after he returned I left him, having first engaged him to dine at Sir Joshua Reynolds's next day. I never was again under that roof which I had so long reverenced.
On Wednesday, June 30., the friendly confidential dinner with Sir Joshua Reynolds took place, no other company being present. Had I
known that this was the last time that I should enjoy in this world the conversation of a friend whom I so much respected, and from whom I derived so much instruction and entertainment, I should have been deeply affected. When I now look back to it, I am vexed that a single word should have been forgotten.
Both Sir Joshua and I were so sanguine in our expectations, that we expatiated with confidence on the liberal provision which we were sure would be made for him, conjecturing whether munificence would be displayed in one large donation, or in an emple increase of his pension. He himself catched so much of our enthusiasm as to allow himself to fuppose it not impossible that our hopes might in une way or other be realised. He said that he would rather have his pension doubled than a grant of a thousand pounds. “ For,” said he,“ though probably I may not live to receive as much as a thousand pounds, a man would have the consciousness that he should pass the remainder of his life in splendour, how long soever it might be.” Con. sidering what a moderate proportion an income of six hundred pounds a-year bears to innumerable fortunes in this country, it is worthy of remark, that a man so truly great should think it splendour.
As an instance of extraordinary liberality of friendship, he told us that Dr. Brocklesby had upon this occasion offered him a hundred a-year for his life.(1) A grateful tear started into his eye, as he spoke this in a faltering tone.
(1) It should be recollected that the amiable and accom.
Sir Joshua and I endeavoured to flatter his ima. gination with agreeable prospects of happiness in Italy. Nay,” said he, “ I must not expect much of that; when a man goes to Italy merely to feel how he breathes the air, he can enjoy very little.”
Our conversation turned upon living in the country, which Johnson, whose melancholy mind required the dissipation of quick successive variety, had habituated himself to consider as a kind of mental imprisonment. “ Yet, Sir," said I, “ there are many people who are content to live in the country.' Johnson. “ Sir, it is in the intellectual world as in the physical world; we are told by natural philosophers that a body is at rest in the place that is fit for it; they who are content to live in the country are fit for the country."
Talking of various enjoyments, I argued that a refinement of taste was a disadvantage, as they who have attained to it must be seldomer pleased than those who have no nice discrimination, and are therefore satisfied with every thing that comes
JOHNSON. Nay, Sir, that is a paltry notion. Endeavour to be as perfect as you can in every respect.”
I accompanied him in Sir Joshua Reynolds's coach to the entry of Bolt Court. He asked me whether I would not go with him to his house ; I declined it, from an apprehension that my spirits would sink. We bade adieu to each other affection
in their way.
plished man who made this generous offer to the Tory champion was a keen Whig; and it is stated in the Biographical Dictionary, that he pressed Johnson in his last illness to remove to his house for the more immediate convenience of medical advice. Dr. Brocklesby died in 1-97, æt. 76.