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have enjoyed him long, and shall not long be separated from him. He has probably escaped many such pangs as you are now feeling.
Nothing remains, but that with humble confidence we resign ourselves to Almighty Goodness, and fall down, without irreverent murmurs, before the Sovereign Distributor of Good and Evil, with hope that though sorrow endureth for a night, yet joy may come in the morning.
"I have known you, Madam, too long to think that you want any arguments for submission to the Supreme Will; nor can my consolation have any effect, but that of showing that I wish to comfort you. What can be done you must do for yourself. Remember, first, that your child is happy; and then, that he is safe, not only from the ills of this world, but from those more formidable dangers which extend their mischief to eternity. You have brought into the world a rational being; have seen him happy during the little life that has been granted to him; and can have no doubt but that his happiness is now.
"When you have obtained by prayer such tranquillity as nature will admit, force your attention, as you can, upon your accustomed duties and accustomed entertainments. You can do no more for our dear boy, but you must not therefore think less on those whom your attention may make fitter for the place to which he is gone. I am, dearest, dearest Madam, your most affectionate humble servant, 66. "SAM. JOHNSON."
but she would soon things to think of. will forget it first.
I said this loss would be very distressing to Thrale, forget it, as she had so many JOHNSON. "No, Sir, Thrale She has many things that she may think of. He has many things that he must
think of." This was a very just remark upon the different effects of those light pursuits which occupy a vacant and easy mind, and those serious engagements which arrest attention, and keep us from brooding over grief.
He observed of Lord Bute, "It was said of Augustus, that it would have been better for Rome that he had never been born, or had never died. So it would have been better for this nation if Lord Bute had never been minister, or had never resigned."
In the evening we went to the Town-hall, which was converted into a temporary theatre, and saw "Theodosius," with "The Stratford Jubilee." I was happy to see Dr. Johnson sitting in a conspicuous part of the pit, and receiving affectionate homage from all his acquaintance. We were quite gay and merry. I afterwards mentioned to him that I condemned myself for being so, when poor Mr. and Mrs. Thrale were in such distress. JOHNSON. "You are wrong, Sir; twenty years hence Mr. and Mrs. Thrale will not suffer much pain from the death of their son. Now, Sir, you are to consider, that distance of place, as well as distance of time, operates upon the human feelings. I would not have you be gay in the presence of the distressed, because it would shock them; but you may be gay at a distance. Pain for the loss of a friend, or of a relation, whom we love, is occasioned by the want which we feel. In time the vacuity is filled with something else; or sometimes the vacuity closes up of itself."
Mr. Seward and Mr. Pearson (1), another clergyman here, supped with us at our inn, and after they left us, we sat up late as we used to do in London.. Here I shall record some fragments of my friend's conversation during this jaunt.
Marriage, Sir, is much more necessary to a man than to a woman: for he is much less able to supply himself with domestic comforts. You will recollect my saying to some ladies the other day, that I had often wondered why young women should marry, as they have so much more freedom, and so much more attention paid to them while unmarried, than when married. I indeed did not mention the strong reason for their marrying the mechanical reason. BOSWELL. 66 Why, that is a strong one. But does not imagination make it much more important than it is in reality? Is it not, to a certain degree, a delusion in us as well as in women?" JOHNSON. "Why yes, Sir; but it is a delusion that is always beginning again." BOSWELL. "I don't know but there is upon the whole more misery than happiness produced by that passion." JOHNSON. "I don't think so, Sir."
"Never speak of a man in his own presence. It is always indelicate, and may be offensive."
(1) This was the gentleman whose lady inherited Miss Porter's property, and has contributed so many of her manuscripts to this edition. It was to him that Miss Porter addressed, in the presence of Dr. Johnson, that two-edged reproof, which Dr. Johnson repeated to Mrs. Piozzi. Mr. Pearson having opposed Miss Porter in some argument, she was offended, and exclaimed," Mr. Pearson, you are just like Dr. Johnson you contradict every word one speaks." Piozzi, p. 172.
"Questioning is not the mode of conversation (1) among gentlemen. It is assuming a superiority, and it is particularly wrong to question a man concerning himself. There may be parts of his former life which he may not wish to be made known to other persons, or even brought to his own recollection."
"A man should be careful never to tell tales of himself to his own disadvantage. People may be amused and laugh at the time, but they will be`remembered, and brought out against him upon some subsequent occasion.”
"Much may be done if a man puts his whole mind to a particular object. By doing so, Norton (2) has made himself the great lawyer that he is allowed to be."
I mentioned an acquaintance of mine, a sectary, who was a very religious man, who not only attended regularly on public worship with those of his communion, but made a particular study of the Scriptures, and even wrote a commentary on some parts of them, yet was known to be very licentious in indulging himself with women; maintaining that men are to be saved by faith alone, and that the Christian religion had not prescribed any fixed rule
(1) This very just observation explains why the conversation of princes, and of those who ape princes, consists of so large a proportion of questions. The badauds of all nations used to wonder at Buonaparte's active curiosity and desire of knowledge from the multitude of his questions, while in fact he was only "playing at KING."- C.
(2) Sir Fletcher Norton, afterward Speaker of the House of Commons, and in 1782 created Baron Grantly.. M.
for the intercourse between the sexes.
I observed that it was strange how well Scotchmen were known to one another in their own country, though born in very distant counties; for we do not find that the gentlemen of neighbouring counties in England are mutually known to each other. Johnson, with his usual acuteness, at once saw and explained the reason of this: "Why, Sir, you have Edinburgh, where the gentlemen from all your counties meet, and which is not so large but they are all known. There is no such common place of collection in England, except London, where, from its great size and diffusion, many of those who reside in contiguous counties of England may long remain unknown to each other."
On Tuesday, March 26., there came for us an equipage properly suited to a wealthy, well-beneficed clergyman: Dr. Taylor's large roomy post-chaise, drawn by four stout plump horses, and driven by two steady jolly postilions, which conveyed us to Ashbourne; where I found my friend's schoolfellow living upon an establishment perfectly corresponding with his substantial creditable equipage: his house, garden, pleasure-ground, table, in short every thing good, and no scantiness appearing. Every man should form such a plan of living as he can execute completely. Let him not draw an outline wider than he can fill up. I have seen many skeletons of show and magnificence which excite at once ridicule and pity. Dr. Taylor had a good estate of his own, and good preferment in the