페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

that she can form. I hope she will live long and 1782. happily

Ætat.73. “ I forgot whether I told you that Rasay has been here; we dined cheerfully together. I entertained lately a young gentleman from Corrichatachin.

“ I received your letters only this morning. I am, dear Sir,

Yours, &c. “ London, Sept. 7, 1782.

“SAM. JOHNSON."

In answer to my next letter, I received one from him, dissuading me from hastening to him as I had proposed ; what is proper for publication is the following paragraph, equally just and tender :

“ One expence, however, I would not have you to spare ; let nothing be omitted that can preserve Mrs. Boswell, though it should be necessary to transplant her for a time into a softer climate. She is the prop and stay of your life.

How much must your children suffer by losing her.”

My wife was now so much convinced of his sincere frendship for me, and regard for her, that, without any suggestion on my part, she wrote him a very polite and grateful letter.

DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. BOSWELL.

DEAR LADY,

“ I have not often received so much pleasure as from your invitation to Auchinleck. The journey thither and back is, indeed, too great for the latter part of the year ; but if my health were fully recovered, I would suffer no little heat and cold, nor à wet or a rough road to keep me from you. I am, indeed, not without hope of seeing Auchinleck again ;

1782. but to make it a pleasant place I must see its lady Swell, and brisk, and airy. For my sake, therefore, Ætat. 73.

among many greater reasons, take care, dear Madam, of your health, spare no expence, and want no attendance that can procure ease, or preserve it. Be very careful to keep your mind saiet ; and do not think it too much to give an account of your recovery to Madam,

Your's, &c. “ London, Sept. 7,'1782.

"SAM. JOHNSON."

TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.

in a

DEAR SIR,

“ Having passed almost this whole year succession of disorders, I went in October to Brighthelmstone, whither I came in a state of so much weakness, that I rested four times in walking between the inn and the lodging. By physick and abstinence I grew better, and am now reasonably easy, though at a great distance from health. I am afraid, however, that health begins, after seventy, and long before, to have a meaning different from that which it had at thirty. But it is culpable to murmur at the established order of the creation, as it is vain to oppose it, he that lives, must grow old ; and he that would rather grow old than die, has God to thank for the infirmities of old age,

" At your long silence I am rather angry. You do rot, since now you are the head of think it worth your while to try whether you or your friend can live longer without writing, nor suspect that after so many years of friendship, that when I do not write to you, I forget you. Put all such useJess jealousies out of your head, and disdain to regu

your house,

late your own practice by the practice of another, or 1782. by any other principle than the desire of doing right. Ætat.75.

Your economy, I suppose, begins now to be settled; your expences are adjusted to your revenue, and all your people in their proper places. Resolve not to be poor : whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness ; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.

“Let me know the history of your life, since your accession to your estate. How many houses, how many cows, how much land in your own hand, and what bargains you make with your tenants.

“ Of my · Lives of the Poets,' they have printed a new edition in octavo, I hear, of three thousand. Did I give a set to Lord Hailes ? If I did not, I will do it out of these. What did

you

make of all your

copy?

“ Mrs. Thrale and the three Misses are now for the winter, in Argyll-street. Sir Joshua Reynolds has been out of order, but is well again ; and I am, dear Sir,

- Your affectionate humble servant, " London, Dec. 7, 1782.

“SAM, Johnson."

TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.

DEAR SIR,

“Edinburgh, Dec. 20, 1782. “ I was made happy by your kind letter, which gave us the agreeable hopes of seeing you in Scotland again.

" I am much flattered by the concern you are pleased to take in my recovery.

I ain better, and hope to have it in my power to convince you by my

1782. attention, of how much consequence I esteem your

health to the world and to myself. I remain, Sir, Ætat. 73. with grateful respect, Your obliged and obedient servant,

66 MARGARET BOSWELL."

The death of Mr. Thrale had made a very material alteration with respect to Johnson's reception in that family. The manly authority of the husband no longer curbed the lively exuberance of the lady; and as her vanity had been fully gratified, by having the Colossus of Literature attached to her for many years, she gradually became less assiduous to please him. Whether her attachment to him was already divided by another object, I am unable to ascertain ; but it is plain that Johnson's penetration was alive to her neglect or forced attention ; for on the oth of October this year, we find him making a “parting use of the library” at Streatham, and pronouncing a prayer, which he composed on leaving Mr. Thrale's family.

Almighty God, Father of all mercy, help me by thy grace, that I may, with humble and sincere thankfulness, remember the comforts and conveniencies which I have enjoyed at this place; and that I may resign them with holy submission, equally trusting in thy protection when Thou givest, and when thou Takest away. Have mercy upon me, o LORD, have mercy upon me.

“To thy fatherly protection, O LORD, I commend this family. Bless, guide, and defend them, that they may so pass through this world, as finally to en

[ocr errors]

Prayers and Meditations, p. 214.

joy in thy presence everlasting happiness, for Jesus 1782. CHRIST's sake. Amen."

Ætat. 73. · One cannot read this prayer, without some emotions not very favourable to the lady whose conduct occasioned it.

In one of his memorandum-books I find “ Sunday, went to church at Streatham. Templo valedixi cum osculo."

He met Mr. Philip Metcalfe often at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, and other places, and was a good deal with him at Brighthelmstone this autumn, being pleased at once with his excellent table and animated conversation. Mr. Metcalfe shewed him great respect, and sent him a note that he might have the use of his carriage whenever he pleased. Johnson (3d October, 1782) returned this polite answer :“Mr. Johnson is very much obliged by the kind offer of the carriage, but he has no desire of using Mr. Metcalfe's carriage, except when he can have the pleasure of Mr. Metcalfe's company." Mr. Metcalfe could not but he highly pleased that his company was thus valued by Johnson, and he frequently attended him in airings. They also went together to Chichester, and they visited Petworth, and Cowdry, the venerable seat of the Lords Montacute. (said Johnson,) I should like to stay here four-andtwenty hours.

We see here how our ancestors lived."

That his curiosity was still unabated, appears from two letters to Mr. John Nichols, of the 10th and 20th of October this

year. In one he says, “I have looked into your "Anecdotes,' and you will

66 Sir,

· [This venerable niansion has since been totally destroyed by fire, M.]

« 이전계속 »