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haste: do not come hither before the height of summer, th t you may fall gradually into the inconveniences of your native clime. July seems to be the proper month. August and September will prepare you for the winter. After having travelled so far to find health, you must take care not to lose it at home ; and I hope a little care will effectually preserve it.
“Miss Nancy has doubtless kept a constant and copious journal. She must not expect to be welcome when she returns without a great mass of information. Let her review her journal often, and set down what she finds herself to have omitted, that she may trust to memory as little as possible, for memory is soon confused by a quick succession of things ; and she will grow every day less confident of the truth of her own narratives, unless she can recur to some written memorials. If she has satisfied herself with hints, instead of full representations, let her supply the deficiencies now while her memory is yet fresh, and while her father's memory may help her. If she observes this direction, she will not have travelled in vain ; for she will bring home a book with which she may entertain herself to the end of life. If it were not now too late, I would advise her to note the impression which the first sight of any thing new and wonderful made upon her mind. Let her now set her thoughts down as she can recollect them; for, faint as they may already be, they will grow every day fainter.
Perhaps I do not flatter myself unreasonably when I imagine that you may wish to know something of
I can gratify your benevolence with no account of health. The hand of time, or of disease, is very heavy upon me. I pass restless and uneasy nights, harassed with convulsions of my breast, and flatulencies at my stomach; and restless nights make heavy days. But nothing will be mended by complaints, and therefore I will make an end. When we meet, we will try to for
If I had gone
get our cares and our maladies, and contribute, as can, to the cheerfulness of each other. with you, I believe I should have been better ; but I do not know that it was in my power. I am, dear Sir, your most humble seșvant,
This letter, while it gives admirable advice how to travel to the best advantage, and will therefore be of very general use, is another eminent proof of Johnson's warm and affectionate heart. (1)
LETTER 313. TO MRS. LUCY PORTER.
« Feb. 19. 1778. “ DEAR MADAM, - I have several little things to mention which I have hitherto neglected. You judged rightly in thinking that the bust (-) would not please. It is condemned by Mrs. Thrale, Mrs. Reynolds, and Mrs. Garrick; so that your disapprobation is not sin. gular.
“ These things have never cost me any thing, so that I do not much know the price. My bust was made for the Exhibition, and shown for honour of the artist, who is a man of reputation above any of the other sculptors. To be modelled in clay costs, I believe, twenty guineas ; but the casts, when the model is
(1) The friendship between Mr. Welch and him was unbroken. Mr. Welch died not many months before him, and bequeathed him five guineas for a ring, which Johnson received with tenderness, as a kind memorial. His regard was constant for his friend Mr. Welch's daughters; of whom Jane is married to Mr. Nollekens, the statuary, whose merit is too well known to require any praise from me. — B. - See a great deal about Miss Anne in Miss Hawkins's Memoirs. C.
(2) This bust, and the walking-stick mentioned by Boswell, are now in the possession of Mrs. Pearson, of Hill Ridware, near Lichfield. HARWOOD.
made, are of no great price ; whether a guinea, or two guineas, I cannot tell.
" When you complained for want of oysters, I ordered you a barrel weekly for a month ; you sent me word sooner that you had enough, but I did not countermand the rest. If you could not eat them, could you not give them away? When you want any thing send me word. I am very poorly, and have very restless and oppressive nights, but always hope for better. Pray for me. I am, &c. SAM. JOHNSON."
LITTER 314. FROM MR. BOSWELL.
“ Edinburgh, Feb. 26. 1778. “ MY DEAR SIR, — Why I have delayed, for near a month, to thank you for your last affectionate letter, I cannot say; for my mind has been in better health these three weeks than for some years past. I believe I have evaded till I could send you a copy of Lord Hailes's opinion on the negro's cause, which he wishes you to read, and correct any errors that there may be in the language ; for, says he, 'we live in a critical, though not a learned age ; and I seek to screen myself under the shield of Ajax. I communicated to him your apology for keeping the sheets of his ‘Annals' so long. He says, 'I am sorry to see that Dr. Johnson is in a state of languor. Why should a sober Christian, neither an enthusiast nor a fanatic, be very merry or very sad ?' I envy his lordship's comfortable constitution; but well do I know that languor and dejection will afflict the best, however excellent their principles. I am in possession of Lord Hailes's opinion in his own hand-writing, and have had it for some time. My excuse then for procrastination must be, that I wanted to bave it copied ; and I have now put that off so lon that it will be better to bring it with me than send it, as I shall probably get you to look at it sooner when I solicit you in person.
“My wife, who is, I thank God, a good deal better, is much obliged to you for your very polite and courteous offer of your apartment: but if she goes to London, it will be best for her to have lodgings in the more airy vicinity of Hyde-park. I, however, doubt much if í shall be able to prevail with her to accompany me to the metropolis ; for she is so different from you and me, that she dislikes travelling; and she is so anxious about her children, that she thinks she should be unhappy if at a distance from them. She therefore wishes rather to go to some country place in Scotland, where she can have them with her.
“ I purpose being in London about the 20th of next month, as I think it creditable to appear in the house of lords as one of Douglas's counsel, in the great and last competition between Duke Hamilton and him.
“I am sorry poor Mrs. Williams is so ill: though her temper is unpleasant, she has always been polite and obliging to me. I wish many happy years to good Mr. Levett, who, I suppose, holds his usual place at your breakfast-table. (') I ever am, dear Sir, your affectionate servant,
os JAMES BOSWELL,"
(1) Dr. Percy, the Bishop of Dromure, humorously observed, that Levett used to breakfast on the crust of a roll, which Johnson, after tearing out the crum for himself, threw to his humble friend. — B. — Perhaps the word threw is here too strong. Dr. Johnson never treated Levett with contempt; it is clear indeed, from various circumstances, that he had great kindness for him. I have often seen Johnson at breakfast, accompanied, or rather attended, by Levett, who had always the management of the tea-kettle. — M.. Sir J. Hawkins states, that « Dr. Johnson frequently observed that Levett was indebted to him for nothing more than house-room, his share in a penny loaf at breakfast, and now and then a dinner on a Sunday.” — C.
LITTER 315. FROM MR. BOSWELL.
“ Edinburgh, Feb. 28. 1778. “ MY DEAR SIR,- You are at present busy amongst the English poets, preparing, for the public instruction and entertainment, prefaces biographical and critical. It will not, therefore, be out of season to appeal to you for the decision of a controversy which has arisen between a lady and me concerning a passage in Parnell. That poet tells us, that his hermit quitted his cell
to know the world by sight,
I maintain, that there is an inconsistency here ; for as the hermit's notions of the world were formed from the reports both of books and swains, he could not justly be said to know by swains alone. Be pleased to judge between us, and let us have your reasons. ()
“What do you say to · Taxation no Tyranny,' now, after Lord North's declaration, or confession, or whatever else his conciliatory speech should be called ? I never differed from you in politics but upon two points
the Middlesex election, and the taxation of the Americans by the British houses of representatives. There is a charm in the word parliament, so I avoid it. As I am a steady and a warm tory, I regret that the king does not see it to be better for him to receive constitutional supplies from his American subjects by the voice of their own assemblies, where his royal person is repre sented, than through the medium of his British subjects. I am persuaded that the power of the crown, which I wish to increase, would be greater when in contact with
(1) See this subject discussed in a subs May 3. 1779. — M.
ent page, under