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TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“I AM returned from the annual ramble into the middle counties. Having seen nothing I had not seen before, I have nothing to relate. Time has left that part of the island few antiquities; and commerce has left the people no singularities. I was glad to go abroad, and, perhaps, glad to come home; which is, in other words, I was, I am afraid, weary of being at home, and weary of being abroad. Is not this the state of life? But, if we confess this weariness let us not lament it; for all the wise and all the good say, that we may cure it.
“ For the black fumes which rise in your mind, I can prescribe nothing but that you disperse them by honest business or innocent pleasure, and by reading, sometimes easy and sometimes serious. Change of place is useful; and I hope that your residence at Auchinleck will have many good effects.
66 That I should have given pain to Rasay, I am sincerely sorry; and am therefore very much pleased that he is no longer uneasy. He still thinks that I have represented his as personally giving up the Chieftainship. I meant only that it was no longer contested between the two houses, and supposed it settled, perhaps, by the cession of some remote generation, in the house of Dunvegan. I am sorry the advertisement was not continued for three or four times in the paper.
" That Lord Monboddo and Mr. Macqueen should controvert a position contrary to the imagi
nary interest of literary or national prejudice, might' 1775. be easily imagined; but of a standing fact there
Ætat. 66. ought to be no controversy; if there are men with tails, catch an homo caudatus; if there was writing of old in the Highlands or Hebrides, in the Erse language, produce the manuscripts. Where men write they will write to one another, and some of their letters, in families studious of their ancestry, will be kept. In Wales there are many manuscripts.
“ I have now three parcels of Lord Hailes's history, which I purpose to return all the next week : that his respect for my little observations should keep his work in suspense, makes one of the evils of my journey. It is in our language, I think, a new mode of history which tells all that is wanted, and, I suppose, all that is known, without laboured splendour of language, or affected subtilty of conjecture. The exactness of his dates raises my wonder. He seems to have the closeness of Henault without his constraint.
“Mrs. Thrale was so entertained with your' Jour. nal,'' that she almost read herself blind. She has a great regard for you.
“ Of Mrs. Boswell, though she knows in her heart that she does not love me, I am always glad to hear any good, and hope that she and the little dear ladies will have neither sickness nor any other affliction. But she knows that she does not care what becomes of me, and for that she may be sure that I think her very much to blame.
“ Never, my dear Sir, do you take it into your
“ Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," which that lady read in the original manuscript.
love and my
1775. head to think that I do not love you; you may settle Ætat. 66. yourself in full confidence both of my
esteem; I love you as a kind man, I value you as a worthy man, and hope in time to reverence you as a man of exemplary piety. I hold you has Hamlet has it in my heart of hearts, and therefore, it is little to say, that I am, Sir,
“ Your affectionate humble servant, “ London, August 27, 1775. “ SAM. JOHNSON."
TO THE SAME.
“ IF in these papers, there is little alteration attempted, do not suppose me negligent. I have read them perhaps more closely than the rest; but I find nothing worthy of an objection.
“ Write to me soon, and write often, and tell me all your honest heart.
“ I am, Sir,
“ Your's affectionately, " August 30, 1775.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
TO THE SAME.
MY DEAR SIR,
“ I now write to you, lest in some of your freaks and humours you should fancy yourself neglected. Such fancies I must entreat you never to admit, at least never to indulge; for my regard for you is so radicated and fixed, that it is become part of my mind and cannot be effaced but by some cause uncommonly violent; therefore whether I
7 Another parcel of Lord Hailes's " Annals of Scotland."
write or not, set your thoughts at rest. I now write 1775. to tell you that I shall not very soon write again, for
Ætat. 66. I am to set out to-morrow on another journey.
“ Your friends are all well at Streatham, and in Leicester-fields. Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, if she is in good humour with me.
“ I am, Sir, &c. “September 14, 1775.
What he mentions in such light terms as, “I am to set out to-morrow on another journey,” I soon afterwards discovered was no less than a tour to France with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. This was the only time in his life that he went upon the Continent.
TO MR. ROBERT LEVET.
Sept. 18, 1775,
Calais. - We are here in France, after a very pleasing passage
of no more than six hours. I know not when I shall write again, and therefore I write now, though you cannot suppose that I have much to say. You have seen France yourself. From this place we are going to Rouen, and from Rouen to Paris, where Mr. Thrale designs to stay about five or six weeks. We have a regular recommendation to the English resident, so we shall not be taken for vagabonds. We think to go one way and return another, and for as much as we can, I will try to speak a little French; I tried hitherto but little, but I spoke sometimes. If I heard better, I suppose I should learn faster. I am, Sir,
« Your humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
: Where Sir Joshua Reynolds lived.
TO THE SAME.
“ Paris, Oct. 22, 1775.
" I think I had not been on this side of the sea five days before I found a sensible improvement in my health. I ran a race in the rain this day, and beat Baretti. Baretti is a fine fellow, and speaks French, I think, quite as well as English.
“ Make my compliments to Mrs. Williams; and
9 Miss Thrale.