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" MR. GREEN has informed me that you are much better; I hope I need not tell you that I am glad of it. I cannot boast of being much better; my old nocturnal complaint still pursues me, and my respiration is difficult, though much easier than when I left you the summer before last. Mr. and Mrs. Thrale are well ; Miss has been a little indisposed; but she is got well again. They have, since the loss of their boy, had two daughters; but they seem likely to want a son.

“ I hope you had some books which I sent you. I was sorry for poor Mrs. Adey’s death, and am afraid you will be sometimes solitary; but endeavour, whether alone or in company, to keep yourself cheerful. My friends likewise die very fast; but such is the state of I am, dear love,

“ Your most humble servant, "May 4, 1779.



He had, before I left London, resumed the conversation concerning the appearance of a ghost at Newcastle upon Tyne, which Mr. John Wesley believed, but to which Johnson did not give credit. I was, however, desirous to examine the question closely, and at the same time wished to be made acquainted with Mr. John Wesley; for though I differed from him in some points,

by understanding words in an uncommon sense, the interpretation may be said to be recondite, and however ingenious, may be suspected not to be sound; but when words are explained in their ordinary acceptation, and the explication which is fairly deduced from them without any force or constraint is also perfectly justified by the context, it surely may be safely accepted ; and the calling such an explication recondite, when nothing else can be said against it, will not make it the less just. MALONE.]

I admired his various talents, and loved his pious zeal. At my request, therefore, Dr. Johnson gave me a letter of introduction to him.



“ MR. BOSWELL, a gentleman who has been long known to me, is desirous of being known to you, and has asked this recommendation, which I give him with great willingness, because, I think it very much to be wished that worthy and religious men should be acquainted with each other.

“ I am, Sir,

" Your most humble servant. May 3, 1779.

66 SAM. Johnson.”

Mr. Wesley being in the course of his ministry at Edinburgh, I presented this letter to him, and was very politely received. I begged to have it returned to me, which was accordingly done.—His state of the evidence as to the ghost, did not satisfy me.

I did not write to Johnson, as usual, upon my return to my family ; but tried how he would be affected by my silence. Mr. Dilly sent me a copy of a note which he received from him on the 13th of July, in these words:



“ SINCE Mr. Boswell's departure, I have never heard from him; please to send word what you know of him, and whether you have sent my books to his lady.



I am,

My readers will not doubt that his solicitude about me was very flattering:



“ What can possibly have happened, that keeps us two such strangers to each other? I expected to have heard from you when you came home; I expected afterwards. I went into the country and returned; and yet there is no letter from Mr. Boswell. No ill I hope has happened; and if ill should happen, why should it be concealed from him who loves you? Is it a fit of humour, that has disposed you to try who can hold out longest without writing ?. If it be, you have the victory. But I am afraid of something bad; set me free from my suspicions.

My thoughts are at present employed in guessing the reason of your silence: you must not expect that I should tell you any thing, if I had any thing to tell. Write, pray write to me, and let me know what is, or what has been the cause of this long interruption.

“ I am, dear Sir,

“ Your most affectionate humble servant, July 13, 1779.



“ Edinburgh, July 17, 1779. “ WHAT may be justly denominated a supine indolence of mind, has been my state of existence since I last returned to Scotland. In a livelier state I had often suffered severely from long intervals of silence on your part; and I had even been chid by you for expressing my uneasiness. I was willing to take advantage of my insensibility, and while I could bear the experiment, to try whether your affection for me would, after an unusual silence on my part, make you write first. This afternoon I have had a very high satisfaction by receiving your kind letter of enquiry, for which I most gratefully thank you. I am doubtful if it was right to make the experiment; though I have gained by it. I was beginning to grow tender, and to upbraid myself, especially after having dreamt two nights ago that I was with you. I and my wife, and my four children, are all well. I would not delay one post to answer your letter; but as it is late, I have not time to do more. You shall soon hear from me, upon many and various particulars; and I shall never again put you to any test. I am, with veneration, my dear Sir,


“ Your most obliged
6 And faithful humble servant,

“ JAMES BOSWELL." On the 22d of July, I wrote to him again; and gave him an account of my last interview with my worthy friend, Mr. Edward Dilly, at his brother's house at Southill in Bedfordshire, where he died soon after I parted from him, leaving me a very kind remembrance of his regard.

I informed him that Lord Hailes, who had promised to furnish him with some anecdotes for his 66 Lives of the Poets,” had sent me three instances of Prior's borrowing from Gombauld, in Recueil des Poetes," tome 3. Epigram “ To John I owed great obligation,”

“ To the Duke of Noailles, p. 32. “ Sauntering Jack and idle Joan,” p. 25.

My letter was a pretty long one, and contained a variety of particulars; but he, it should seem, had not attended to it; for his next to me was as follows:

p. 25.


“ ARE you playing the same trick again, and trying who can keep silence longest ?. Remember that all tricks are either knavish or childish : and that it is as foolish to make experiments upon the constancy of a friend, as upon the chastity of a wife.

“ What can be the cause of this second fit of silence, I cannot conjecture; but after one trick, I will not be cheated by another, nor will harass my thoughts with conjectures about the motives of a man who, probably, acts only by caprice. I therefore suppose you are well, and that Mrs. Boswell is well too; and that the fine summer has restored Lord Auchinleck. I am much better than you left me; I think I am better than when I was in Scotland.

“ I forgot whether I informed you that poor Thrale has been in great danger. Mrs. Thrale likewise has miscarried, and been much indisposed. Every body else is well; Langton is in camp. I intend to put Lord Hailes's description of Dryden? into another edition, and, as I know his accuracy, wish he would consider the dates, which I could not always settle to my own mind.

“ Mr. Thrale goes to Brighthelmstone, about Michaelmas, to be jolly and ride a hunting. I shall go to town, or perhaps to Oxford. Exercise and gaiety, or rather carelessness, will, I hope, dissipate all remains of his malady; and I likewise hope by the change of place, to find some opportunities of growing yet better myself. I am, dear Sir,

“ Your humble servant, “ Streatham, Sept. 9, 1779.

“ Sam. JOHNSON."

My readers will not be displeased at being told every slight circumstance of the manner in which Dr. John

1 Which I communicated to him from his Lordship, but it has not yet been published. I have a copy of it.

[The few notices concerning Dryden, which Lord Hailes had collected, the authour afterwards gave me. MALONE.]

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