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1775. that I am sure you would have thought me to blame Ætat. 66.
if I had neglected to recommend to you this He-
“ Your most obliged
“ JAMES Boswell."
Mr. Maclean returned with the most agreeable accounts of the polite attention with which he was received by Dr. Johnson.
In the course of this year Dr. Burney informs me that “he very frequently met Dr. Johnson at Mr. Thrale's, at Streatham, where they had many long conversations, often sitting up as long as the fire and candles lasted, and much longer than the patience of the servants subsisted.”
A few of Johnson's sayings, which that gentleman recollects, shall here be inserted.
“ I never take a nap after dinner but when I have had a bad night, and then the nap takes me.”
“ The writer of an epitaph should not be considered as saying nothing but what is strictly true. Allowance must be made for some degree of exaggerated praise. In lapidary inscriptions a man is not
“ There is now less flogging in our great schools than formerly, but then less is learned there; so that what the boys get at one end they lose at the other.”
“ More is learned in publick than in private schools, from emulation; there is the collision of mind with mind, or the radiation of many minds pointing to one centre. Though few boys make
their own exercises, yet if a good exercise is given 1775. up, out of a great number of boys, it is made by Ætat. 66. somebody.”
“ I hate by-roads in education. Education is as well known, and has long been as well known, as ever it can be. Endeavouring to make children prematurely wise is useless labour. Suppose they have more knowledge at five or six years old than other children, what use can be made of it? It will be lost before it is wanted, and the waste of so much time and labour of the teacher can never be repaid. Too much is expected from precocity, and too little performed. Miss
was an instance of early cultivation, but in what did it terminate? · In marrying a little Presbyterian parson, who keeps an infant boarding-school, so that all her employment now is,
"To suckle fools, and chronicle small-beer.'
She tells the children, “This is a cat, and that is a dog, with four legs and a tail; see there! you are much better than a cat or a dog, for you can speak.' If I had bestowed such an education on a daughter, and had discovered that she thought of marrying such a fellow, I would have sent her to the Congress."
“ After having talked slightingly of musick, he was observed to listen very attentively while Miss Thrale played on the harpsichord, and with eagerness he called to her, 'Why don't you like Burney?' Dr. Burney upon this said to him, * I believe, Sir, we shall make a musician of you at last. Johnson with candid complacency replied,
Sir, I shall be glad to have a new sense given to me.”
1775. “ He had come down one morning to the breakÆtat. 66.
fast-room, and been a considerable time by himself before any body appeared. When on a'subsequent day he was twitted by Mrs. Thrale for being very late, which he generally was, he defended himself by alluding to the extraordinary morning, when he had been too early. Madam, I do not like to come down to vacuity."
“ Dr. Burney having remarked that Mr. Garrick was beginning to look old, he said, “ Why, Sir, you are not to wonder at that; no man's face has had more wear and tear.”
Not having heard from him for a longer time than I supposed he would be silent, I wrote to him December 18, not in good spirits. “ Sometimes I have been afraid that the cold which has gone over Europe this year
like a sort of pestilence has seized you severely: sometimes my imagination, which is upon occasion's prolifick of evil, hath figured that you may have somehow taken offence at some part of my conduct. "
" TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ Never dream of any offence, How should you offend me? I consider your friendship as a possession, which I intend to hold till you take it from me, and to lament if ever by my fault I should I use it. However, when such suspicions find their way
into your inind, always give them vent; I shall make haste to disperse them; but hinder their first
ingress if you can.
you can. Consider such thoughts as 1775. morbid.
Ætat. 66. “Such illness as may excuse my omission to Lord Hailes, I cannot honestly plead. I have been hindered, I know not how, by a succession of petty obstructions. I hope to mend immediately, and to send next post to his Lordship. Mr. Thrale would have written to you if I had omitted; he sends his compliments and wishes to see you.
“ You and your lady will now have no more wrangling about feudal inheritance. How does the young
Laird of Auchinleck? I suppose Miss Veronica is grown a reader and discourser.
“ I have just now got a cough, but it has never yet hindered me from sleeping; I have had quieter nights than are common with me.
“I cannot but rejoice that Josepho has had the wit to find the way back. He is a fine fellow, and one of the best travellers in the world.
Young Col brought me your letter. He is a very pleasing youth. I took him two days ago to the Mitre, and we dined together. I was as civil as I had the means of being.
“ I have had a letter from Rasay, acknowledging, with great appearance of satisfaction, the insertion in the Edinburgh paper. I am very glad that it was done.
My compliments to Mrs. Boswell, who does not love me; and of all the rest, I need only send them to those that do; and I am afraid it will give you
9 Joseph Ritter a Bohemian, who was in my service many years, and attended Dr. Jobnson and me in our Tour to the Hebrides, After having left me for some time, he had now returned to me.
1775. very little trouble to distribute them. I am, my Ætat. 66. dear, dear Sir,
“ Your affectionate humble servant, “ December 23, 1775.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
1776. IN 1776, Johnson wrote, so far as I can discover, Ætat. 67. nothing for the publick: but that his mind was still
ardent, and fraught with generous wishes to attain to still higher degrees of literary excellence, is proved by his private notes of this year, which I shall insert in their proper place.
“ I have at last sent you all Lord Hailes's papers. While I was in France, I looked very often into Henault; but Lord Hailes, in my opinion, leaves him far and far behind. Why I did not dispatch so short a perusal sooner, when I look back, I am utterly unable to discover: but human moments are stolen away by a thousand petty impediments which leave no trace behind them. I have been afflicted, through the whole Christmas, with the general disorder, of which the worst effect was a cough, which is now much mitigated, though the country, on which I look from a widow at Streatham, is now covered with a deep snow.
Mrs. Williams is very ill: every body else is as usual.
“ Among the papers, I found a letter to you, which I think you had not opened; and a paper for "The Chronicle,' which I suppose it not necessary now to insert. I return them both.
“ I have, within these few days, had the honour