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SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
I PASSED many hours with him on the “I am not sorry that you read Boswell's 17th, [May], of which I find all my memo- journal. Is it not a merry piece? There rial is, “ 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 duller than T- s3. W -4 is sions I never knew a man laugh more hearti- too fond of words, but you may read hina. ly. We may suppose that the high relish I shall take care that Adair's account of of a state so 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 Nicolaidă 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 ["STO MRS. THRALE.
for more, because it will be inconvenient to
“ 22d 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 go. Boswell 2 [Probably Chandler's Travels in Asia Minor. went away at two this morning. L[ang: -Ed.] ton] I suppose goes this week. B[oswell] 3 [Probably “ Travels through Spain and Per. got 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
“ Cursory Remarks made in a mother-in-law.
Tour through some of the Northern Parts of Enrope, by Nathaniel Wraxall, jun.”—Ed.]
5 A learned Greek.—BosWELL. (Mr. Lang [He had written to Mrs. Thrale the day beton was an enthusiast about Greek.—ED.] fore. ton and Macbean are both starving,
6 Wife of the Reverend Mr. Kenneth Macanand I cannot keep them."--Lett. v. i. p. 218. lay, authour of “ The History of St. Kilda."ED.)
would try to serve her son at Oxford. I tham. I went this morning to the chapel 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
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. You see 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 misWhen 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 I 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 everything 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 Allan 1. I am, my dearest sir, with great affection,
“ (Oxford), 7th June, 1775. your most obliged and most humble ser- C[oulson) and I am pretty well again. vant, 6. 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. So you
on what he called “his annual ramble will write your next dear letter to Lichinto the middle counties,” of which his let- field.” ters to Mrs. Thrale give a kind of journal.
“Lichfield, 10th June, 1775. He had, it seems, previous to his departure, “ On Thursday I took a post-chaise, and a kind of fit, which, as well as Mr. Thrale's intended to have passed a day or two at care for his personal appearance, he thus Birmingham, but Hector had company in notices:]
his house, and I went on to Lichfield,
where I know not how long I shall stay.” [“ TO MRS. THRALE. “London, 25th May, 1775.
Lichfield, 11th June, 1775 Letters, " The fit was a sudden faint- Lady Smith is settled here at last, and
ness, such as I have had I know sees company in her new house. I went
not how often; no harm came of on Saturday. Poor Lucy Porter has her it, and all is well. I cannot go [to Oxford] hand in a bag, so unabled by the gout that till Saturday, and then go I will if I can. she cannot dress herself. I go every day to My clothes, Mr. Thrale says, must be made Stowehill: both the sisters 5 are now at like other people's, and they are gone to home. I sent Mrs. Aston a • Taxation 6, ' the tailor's.”
and sent it to nobody else, and Lucy borrow
ed it. Mrs. Aston, since that, inquired by “Oxford, 1st June, 1775.
a messenger when I was expected. “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 * *. Don't sup- a good impression behind you.
I hope you pose that I live here as we live at Strea
[Mr. Coulson, of University College. See A lawsuit carried on by Sir Allan Maclean, ante, vol. i. p. 493.- Ed.] chief of his clan, to recover certain parts of his [See ante, vol. i. p. 452.-ED.] family estates from the duke of Argyle.—Bos- [Mrs. Gastrell and Miss Aston.-Ed.]
[A copy of his pamphlet,
“ Taxation ne ? (On Mri. Salisbury.-E..]
vol. i. p. 222--234.
will do the same at [Lewes). Do not make passion, but never have I known or expethem 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 dain, 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. conspicuous and exempiary, is the most ar“ I now write from Mrs. Cobb’s, where I dent prayer of her who is, with the greatest have had custard. Nothing considerable respect, madam, your most devoted, truly has happened since I wrote, only I am sorry obliged, and obedient humble servant, 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 of 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 naincorporated themselves under the appella- ture will hardly be considered as misplaced.] tion of the Amicable Society; and pay each twopence a week to the box. Any woman [“ MRS. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON. who can produce the weekly twopence is
* 24th June, 1775. admitted to the society; and when any of “ Now for the regatta, of which, the poor subscribers is in want, she has six Baretti says, the first notion was shillings a week ; and, I think, when she taken from Venice, where the gon- 247. dies five pounds are given to her children. doliers practise rowing against each Lucy is not one, nor Mrs. Cobb. The sub- other perpetually; and I dare say 'tis good scribers are always quarrelling; and every diversion where the weather invites, and now and then, a lady, in a fume, withdraws the water seduces to such entertainments. her name; but they are an hundred pounds Here, however, it was not likely to answer; beforehand.
and I think nobody was pleased. “ Mr. Green has got a cast of Shak- “ Well! Cræsus promised a reward, you speare, which he holds to be a very exact remember, for him who should produce a resemblance.
new delight; but the prize was never ob“ There is great lamentation here for the tained, for nothing that was new proved death of Col. Lucy is of opinion that he delightful; and Dr. Goldsmith, three thouwas wonderfully handsome.
sand years afterwards, found out that who“ Boswell is a favourite, but he has lost ever did a new thing did a bad thing, and ground since I told them that he is married, whoever said a new thing said a false thing. and all hope is over."]
So yestermorning, a flag flying from some
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 son, that the Editor cannot omit here insert- that day. In about two hours the wind ing the following letter, relating to a small rose very high, and the river was exceedannuity, 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 as we shall see, was long afterwards a sub- been agreed that all should wear white; but ject of acknowledgment from Dr. Johnson the ornaments were left to our own choice. 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.
We had obtained more ickets than I hoped " Johnson's-court, 26th June, 1775. “MADAM,–Often have I heard of for, though Sir Thomas Robinson 1 gave us generosity, benevolence, and com
[Ante, v. i. p. 173.-ED.)
Lett v. l. p.
none at last; but he gives one such a pro- me for a long while out of the notion that fusion of words, and bows, and compliments, it was covered with black, till through a telthat I suppose he thinks every thing else escope we espied the animals in motion, superfluous. Mr. Cator 1 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 so 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 woRanelagh, 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 spoilseen for clouds of dust that intercepted one's ed: and as tó 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 execraLet bear or elephant be e'er so white,
ble one, and I thought should have been The people sure, the people, are the sight.'
finer. Was nothing good, then ?' you be
gin to exclaim; here is desire of saying “ 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;-yet 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 1 [A timber-merchant in the Borough.-Ed.] look much amiss when all the dismal was
over, and we walked round Ranelagh a lit- | whole transaction, and need not regret that tle in the old way;-every body being you did not make the tour of the Hebrides." dressed in white was no advantage indeed to the general appearance.
"Lichfield, July (27), 1775.
“ I have passed one day at Birmingham “ We returned safe nome about five or with my old friend Hector—there's a name! six o'clock: a new scene to Hester, who and his sister, an old love. My mistress is behaved sweetly, and had no fears in the grown much older than my friend. crowd, but prodigious surprise in finding it broad day when we came out. I might
• O quid habes illius, illius have wondered too, for few people have
Quæ spirabat amores frequented publick places less than myself;
Quæ me surpuerat mihi.'"
HOR. Od. 13. I. 4. and for the first six years after my marriage, as you know, I never set my foot in He returned to town about the end any theatre or place of entertainment at all. of August.) What most amazed me about this regatta, After my return to Scotland, I wrote however, was the mixture of company, three letters to him, from which I extract when tickets were so difficult to obtain the following passages: Somebody talked at Ranelagh of two ladies “I have seen Lord Hailes since I came that were drowned; but I have no doubt down. He thinks it wonderful that you that was a dream.”]
are pleased to take so much pains in revising
his : Annals.' I told him that you said you ER [In the last days of June, he removed were well rewarded by the entertainment
to Ashbourne; and his letters thence which you had in reading them.” contain the usual routine of his country “ There has been a numerous flight of observations, with one or two more charac- Hebrideans in Edinburgh this summier, teristic circumstances. He was very anx-whom I have been happy to entertain at jous that an old horse of Mrs. Thrale's my house. Mr. Donald Macqueen 1 and should not be sold to hard work, or, as he Lord Monboddo supped with me one evencalled it, degraded, for five pounds, and was ing. They joined in controverting your willing to have borne the expense of main- proposition. that the Gaëlick of the Hightaining the poor animal.
lands ana Isles of Scotland was not written For his friend Baretti, of some point of till of late.” whose conduct Mrs. Thrale had complain- “My mind has been somewhat dark this ed, he intercedes with that lady in a tone of summer. I have need of your warming modest propriety:
and vivifying rays; and I hope I shall have
them frequently. I am going to pass some “ DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE. time with my father at Auchinleck.”
“ Ashbourne, 15th July, 1775. Letters, “ Poor Baretti ! do not quarrel " TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. izė. P. with him; to neglect him a litile will
“London, Aug. 27, 1775. be sufficient. He means only to be “ DEAR SIR, I am returned from the frank, and manly, and independent, and annual ramble into the middle counties. perhaps, as you say, a little wise. To be Having seen nothing I had not seen before frank, he thinks, is to be cynical, and to be I have nothing to relate. Time nas left independent to be rude. Forgive him, that part of the island few antiquities; and dearest lady, the rather because of his mis-commerce has left the people no singularibehaviour; I am afraid he has learned part ties. I was glad to go abroad, and, perof me. I hope to set him hereafter a better haps, glad to come home; which is in other example.”
words, I was, I am afraid, weary of being
at home, and weary of being abroad. Is This coolness soon ended, as the not this the state of life? But, if we connext letter informs us :
fess this weariness, let us not lament it; for
all the wise and all the good say, that we “DR, JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE.
may cure it. "Ashbourne, 21st July, 1775. « For the black fumes which rise in your Letters, “ You and [Baretti] are friends mind, I can prescribe nothing but that you
again. My dear mistress has the disperse them by honest business or innoquality of being easily reconciled, and not cent pleasure, and by reading, sometimes easily offended. Kindness is a good thing in easy and sometimes serious. Change of itself; and there are few things that are worthy of anger, and still fewer that can justify The very leamed minister in the Isle of Sky. malignity.
whom both Dr. Johnson and I have mentioned “I am glad you read Boswell's Journal. | with regard.—BOSWELL. (See ante, vol. i. p. You are now sufficiently informed of the 377.—ĚD.]