Imatges de pÓgina
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all its dominions, than if the rays of regal bounty' (1) were to shine' upon America through that dense and troubled body, a modern British parliament. But, enough of this subject; for your bourne upon it still sounds awful -I ever am, &c.

LETTER 316.

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in my mind's ears.' JAMES BOSWELL."

TO MRS. MONTAGU.

"March 5. 1778.

"MADAM,—And so you are alarmed, naughty lady? You might know that I was ill enough when Mr. Thrale brought you my excuse. Could you think that I missed the honour of being at (your) table for any slight reason? But you (have) too many to miss any one of us, and I am (proud) to be remembered at last. much better. A little cough (still) remains which will not confine me. To houses (like yours) of great delicacy I am not willing to bring it.

I am

"Now, dear Madam, we must talk of business. Poor Davies, the bankrupt bookseller, is soliciting his friends to collect a small sum for the repurchase of part of his household stuff. Several of them gave him five guineas. It would be an honour to him to owe part of his relief to Mrs. Montagu.

"Let me thank you, Madam, once more for your inquiry; you have, perhaps, among your numerous train not one that values a kind word or a kind look more than, Madam, yours, &c. SAM. JOHNSON."

LETTER 317. TO MRS. MONTAGU.

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MADAM,

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"March 6. 1778.

I hope Davies (2), who does not want wit, does not want gratitude, and then he will be almost as

(1) Alluding to a line in his "Vanity of Human Wishes," describing Cardinal Wolsey in a state of elevation: —

"Through him the rays of regal bounty shine."

(2) Tom Davies, the bankrupt bookseller, in whose behalf he

thankful for the bill as I am for the letter that enclosed it.

"If I do not lose, what I hope always to keep, my reverence for transcendent merit, I shall continue to be with unalterable fidelity, Madam, your &c.

"SAM. JOHNSON."

LETTER 318. FROM MR. BOSWELL.

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"MY DEAR SIR, - The alarm of your late illness distressed me but a few hours; for on the evening of the day that it reached me, I found it contradicted in The London Chronicle,' which I could depend upon as authentic concerning you, Mr. Strahan being the printer of it. I did not see the paper in which the approaching extinction of a bright luminary' was announced. Sir William Forbes told me of it; and he says he saw me so uneasy, that he did not give me the report in such strong terms as he read it. He afterwards sent me a letter from Mr. Langton to him, which relieved me much. I am, however, not quite easy, as I have not heard from you; and now I shall not have that comfort before I see you, for I set out for London to-morrow before the post comes in. I hope to be with you on Wednesday morning: and I ever am, with the highest veneration, my dear Sir, your most obliged, faithful, and affectionate humble servant,

"JAMES BOSWELL."

more than once appealed to the charity of Mrs. Montague. -C

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CHAPTER II.

1778.

Inmates of Bolt Court.-Tom Davies.-Counsel at the Bar of the House of Commons.

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Thomas à Kempis. Uses of a Diary.- Strict Adherence to Truth.- John Wesley. Alcibiades's Dog.— EmiParliamentary Eloquence. Place HuntIrish Language. — Thicknesse's "Travels." - Honesty. - Temptation. - Dr. Kennedy's TraShooting a Highwayman. Mr. Dunning. Laxity of Narration. Mrs. Montagu. Harris of Salisbury.-- Definition. — Wine-drinking. Pleasure. Goldsmith. Charles the Fifth. Best English Sermons. Scotland." – Absenteeism. on Swift."

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- Contentment.

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Seeing

-Delany's "Observations

On Wednesday, March 18., I arrived in London, and was informed by good Mr. Francis, that his master was better, and was gone to Mr. Thrale's at Streatham, to which place I wrote to him, begging to know when he would be in town. He was not expected for some time; but next day, having called on Dr. Taylor, in Dean's-yard, Westminster I found him there, and was told he had come to town for a few hours. He met me with his usual kindness, but instantly returned to the writing of something on which he was employed when I came in, and on which he seemed much intent. Finding

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him thus engaged, I made my visit very short, and had no more of his conversation, except his express ing a serious regret that a friend of ours [Mr. Langton] was living at too much expense, considering how poor an appearance he made: "If," said he, a man has splendour from his expense, if he spends his money in pride or in pleasure, he has value; but if he lets others spend it for him, which. is most commonly the case, he has no advantage from it."

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On Friday, March 20., I found him at his own house, sitting with Mrs. Williams, and was informed that the room formerly allotted to me was now appropriated to a charitable purpose; Mrs. Desmoulins (1), and, I think, her daughter, and & Miss Carmichael, being all lodged in it. Such was his humanity, and such his generosity, that Mrs. Desmoulins herself told me he allowed her half a guinea a week. Let it be remembered, that this was above a twelfth part of his pension. (2)

His liberality, indeed, was at all periods of his

(1) Daughter of Dr. Swinfen, Johnson's godfather, and widow of Mr. Desmoulins, a writing-master.

(2) The dissensions that the many odd inhabitants of his house chose to live constantly in, distressed and mortified him exceedingly. He really was sometimes afraid of going home, because he was so sure to be met at the door with numberless complaints; and he used to lament pathetically to me, and to Mr. Sastres, the Italian master, who was much his favourite, that they made his life miserable from the impossibility he found of making theirs happy, when every favour he bestowed on one was wormwood to the rest. If, however, I ventured to blame their ingratitude, and condemn their conduct, he would instantly set about softening the one and justifying the other; and finished commonly by telling me, that I knew not how to make allow ances for situations I never experienced. Prozzi,

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life very remarkable. Mr. Howard, of Lichfield, at whose father's house Johnson had in his early years been kindly received, told me, that when he was a boy at the Charterhouse, his father wrote to him to go and pay a visit to Mr. Samuel Johnson, which he accordingly did, and found him in an upper room, of poor appearance. Johnson received him with much courteousness, and talked a great deal to him, as to a schoolboy, of the course of his education, and other particulars. When he afterwards came to know and understand the high character of this great man, he recollected his condescension with wonder. He added, that when he was going away, Mr. Johnson presented him with half a guinea; and this, said Mr. Howard, was at a time when he probably had not another.

We retired from Mrs. Williams to another room. Tom Davies soon after joined us. He had now unfortunately failed in his circumstances, and was much indebted to Dr. Johnson's kindness for obtaining for him many alleviations of his distress. After he went away, Johnson blamed his folly in quitting the stage, by which he and his wife got five hundred pounds a year. I said, I believed it was owing to Churchill's attack upon him, "He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bone." JOHNSON. "I believe so too, Sir. But what a man is he who is to be driven from the stage by a line? Another line would have driven him from his shop!"

I told him that I was engaged as counsel at the bar of these of commons to oppose a road-bill

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