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been with me, and I have dined to-day with Dr. Adams, who seems fond of me.
Lichfield, Oct. 20. 1781. I wrote from Oxford, where I staid two days. On Thursday I went to Birmingham, and was told by Hector that I should not be well so soon as I expected; but that well I should be. Mrs. Careless took me under her care, and told me when I had tea enough. On Friday I came hither, and have escaped the postchaises (1) all the way. Every body here is as kind as I expected; I think Lucy is kinder than ever.
Oct. 27. Poor Lucy's illness has left her very deaf, and, I think, very inarticulate. I can scarcely make her understand me, and she can hardly make me understand her. So here are merry doings. But she seems to like me better than she did. She eats very little, but does not fall away. Mrs. Cobb and Peter Garrick are as you left them. Garrick's legatees at this place are very angry that they receive nothing. Things are not quite right, though we are so far from London. (2)
Ashbourne, Nov. 10. Yesterday I came to Ashbourne, and last night I had very little rest. Dr. Taylor lives on milk, and grows every day better, and is not wholly without hope. Every body inquires after you and Queeney; but whatever [Miss] Burney may think of the celerity of fame, the name of Evelina had never been heard at Lichfield till I brought it. I am afraid my dear townsmen will be mentioned in future days as the last part of this nation that was civilised. But the days of darkness are soon to be at an end. The reading society ordered it to be procured this week.
Nov. 24. I shall leave this place about the beginning of next week, and shall leave every place as fast as I decently can,
pathetic passages of his later works, and particularly in his celebrated "Letter to a Noble Lord." — C.
(1) He means escaped the expense of postchaises, by happening to find places in stage-coaches. C.
(2) Dr. Johnson always controverted the commonplace observation of the superior purity and happiness of country life. C.
till I get back to you, whose kindness is one of my great comforts. I am not well, but have a mind every now and then to think myself better, and I now hope to be better under your
Lichfield, Dec. 3. I am now come back to Lichfield, where I do not intend to stay long enough to receive another letter. I have little todo here but to take leave of Mrs. Aston. I hope not the last leave. But Christians may with more confidence than Sophonisba
"Avremo tosto lungo lungo spazio
Per stare assieme, et sarà forse eterno." (1)
My time passed heavily at Ashbourne; yet I could not easily get away; though Taylor, I sincerely think, was glad to see me go. I have now learned the inconvenience of a winter campaign; but I hope home will make amends for all my foolish sufferings.
Birmingham, Dec. 8. - I am come to this place on my way to London and to Streatham. I hope to be in London on Tuesday or Wednesday, and at Streatham on Thursday, by your kind conveyance. I shall have nothing to relate either wonderful or delightful. But remember that you sent me away, and turned me out into the world, and you must take the chance of finding me better or worse. This you may know at present, that my affection for you is not diminished; and my expectation from you is increased. Do not neglect me, nor relinquish me. Nobody will ever love you better or honour you more than, Madam, yours, &c. SAM. JOHNSON.
LETTER 491. TO RICHARD BEATRIFFE, ESQ
Bolt Court, Feb. 14. 1782.
SIR, Robert Levet, with whom I have been connected by a friendship of many years, died lately at my house. His
(1) [This quotation is from the tragedy of " Sofonisba," by Trissino, one of the earliest Italian tragedians. For an account of the author and tragedy, see Ginguene's Histoire Litteraire d'Italie, tom, vi. p. 4. — MARKLAND.]
death was sudden, and no will has yet been found; I therefore gave notice of his death in the papers, that an heir, if he has any, may appear. He has left very little; but of that little his brother is doubtless heir, and your friend may be perhaps his brother. I have had another application from one who calls himself his brother; and I suppose it is fit that the claimant should give some proofs of his relation. I would gladly know, from the gentleman that thinks himself R. Levet's brother, in what year, and in what parish, R. Levet was born? Where
or how was he educated? What was his early course of life? What were the marks of his person; his stature; the colour of his eyes? Was he marked by the small-pox? Had he any impediment in his speech? What relations had he, and how many are now living? His answer to these questions will show whether he knew him; and he may then proceed to show that he is his brother. He may be sure that nothing shall be hastily wasted or removed. I have not looked into his boxes, but transferred that business to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, of character above suspicion.
LETTER 492. TO MRS. THRALE.
April 26. 1782.
I have been very much out of order since you sent me away; but why should I tell you, who do not care, nor desire to know. I dined with Mr. Paradise on Monday, with the Bishop of St. Asaph yesterday, with the Bishop of Chester I dine to-day, and with the Academy on Saturday, with Mr. Hoole on Monday, and with Mrs. Garrick on Thursday, the 2d of May, and then what care you?—what then? news run that we have taken seventeen French transports; that Langton's lady is lying down with her eighth child, all alive; and Mrs. Carter's Miss Sharpe is going to marry a schoolmaster sixty-two years old.
April 30. 1782. !
I have had a fresh cold, and been very poorly. yesterday at Mr. Hoole's, where were Miss Reynolds and many others. I am going to the club. Since Mrs. Garrick's invitation I have a letter from Miss More, to engage me for the evening. I have an appointment to Miss Monkton, and another with Lady Sheffield at Mrs. Wray's. Two days ago Mr. Cumberland had his third night, which, after all expenses, put into his own pocket five pounds. He has lost his plume.
Mrs. Sheridan refused to sing, at the Duchess of Devonshire's request, a song to the Prince of Wales. They pay for the Drury Lane Theatre neither principal nor interest; and poor Garrick's funeral expenses are yet unpaid, though the undertaker is broken. Could you have a better purveyor for But I wish I was at Streatham.
a little scandal?
TO THE SAME.
London, June 4. 1782.
Wisely was it said by him who said it first, that this world is all ups and downs. You know, dearest lady, that when I pressed your hand at parting, I was rather down. When I came hither, I ate my dinner well; but was so harassed by the cough, that Mr. Strahan said, it was an extremity which he could not have believed "without the sensible and true avouch" of his own observation. I was indeed almost sinking under it, when Mrs. Williams happened to cry out that such a cough should be stilled by opium or any means. I took yesterday half an ounce of bark, and knew not whether opium would counteract it; but remembering no prohibition in the medical books, and knowing that to quiet the cough with opium was one of Lawrence's last orders, I took two grains, which gave me not sleep indeed, but rest, and that rest has given me strength and courage.
This morning to my bed-side came dear Sir Richard [Jebb]. I told him of the opium, and he approved it, and told me, if I
went to Oxford, which he rather advised, that I should strengthen the constitution by the bark, tame the cough with opium, keep the body open, and support myself by liberal nutriment. As to the journey I know not that it will be ne
- desine mollium tandem querularum.
Sunday, June 8. 1782.
- I have this day taken a passage
to Oxford for Monday not to frisk, as you express it with very unfeeling irony, but to catch at the hopes of better health. The change of place may do something. To leave the house where so much has been suffered affords some pleasure.
Oxford, June 12. 1782. - I find no particular salubrity in this air; my respiration is very laborious; my appetite is good, and my sleep commonly long and quiet; but a very little motion disables me. I dine to-day with Dr. Adams, and tomorrow with Dr. Wetherel. Yesterday Dr. Edwards invited some men from Exeter College, whom I liked very well. These variations of company help the mind, though they can. not do much for the body. But the body receives some help from a cheerful mind.
Oxford, June 17. 1782. Oxford has done, I think, what for the present it can do, and I am going slily to take a place in the coach for Wednesday, and you or my sweet Queeny will fetch me on Thursday, and see what you can make of me. To-day I am going to dine with Dr. Wheeler, and to-morrow Dr. Edwards has invited Miss Adams and Miss More. terday I went with Dr. Edwards to his living. He has really done all that he cbuld do for my relief or entertainment, and really drives me away by doing too much.
LETTER 495. TO MR. NICHOLS.
Jan. 10. 1783.
SIR, I am much obliged by your kind communication of your account of Hinckley. (') I know Mr. Carte is one of
(1) For this work Dr. Johnson had contributed several hints towards the Life of Anthony Blackwall, to whom, when very young, he had been some time an usher at Market Bosworth school. Blackwall died in April, 1730, before Johnson was one and twenty. NICHOLS.