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sleep in a chair; and when I waked, I found Dr. Brocklesby sitting by me, and fell to talking with him in a such a manner as made me glad, and I hope made me thankful. The Doctor fell to repeating Juvenal's ninth satire; but I let him see that the province was mine. I am to take wine to-night, and hope it will do me good.
London, June 28. 1783. Your letter is just such as I desire, and as from you I hope always to deserve. The black dog (1) I hope always to resist, and in time to drive, though I am deprived of almost all those that used to help me. The neighbourhood is impoverished. I had once Richardson and Lawrence in my reach. Mrs. Allen is dead. My home has lost Levett; a man who took interest in every thing, and therefore ready at conversation. Mrs. Williams is so weak that she can be a companion no longer. When I rise, my breakfast is solitary; the black dog waits to share it. From breakfast to dinner he continues barking, except that Dr. Brocklesby for a little keeps him at a distance. Dinner with a sick woman you may venture to suppose not much better than solitary. After dinner, what remains but to count the clock, and hope for that sleep which I can scarce expect? Night comes at last, and some hours of restlessness and confusion bring me again to a day of solitude. What shall exclude the black dog from an habitation like this? If I were a little richer, I would perhaps take some cheerful female into the house. Last night fresh flies were put to my head, and hindered me from sleeping. To-day I fancy myself incommoded with heat. I have, however, watered the garden both yesterday and to-day, just as I watered the laurels in the island at Streatham.
TO THE SAME.
London, July 3. 1783. Dr. Brocklesby yesterday dismissed the cantharides, and I can now find a soft place upon my pillow. Last night was cool, and I rested well; and this morning I have been a friend at a poetical difficulty. Here is now a glimpse of daylight again; but how near is the evening none can tell, and I will not prognosticate. We all know that from none of us it can be far distant: may none of us know this in vain !
I went, as I took care to boast, on Tuesday to the club, and hear that I was thought to have performed as well as usual. I dined on fish, with the wing of a small turkey-chick; and left roast beef, goose, and venison-pie untouched. I live much on peas, and never had them so good for so long a time in any year that I can remember. Along with your kind letter yesterday came one, likewise very kind, from the Astons at Lichfield; but I do not know whether, as the summer is so far advanced, I shall travel so far; though I am not without hopes that frequent change of air may fortify me against the winter, which has been, in modern phrase, of late years very inimical to, Madam, your, &c.
London, July 8. 1783. Langton and I have talked of passing a little time at Rochester together, till neither knows well how to refuse; though I think he is not eager to take me, and I am not desirous to be taken. His family is numerous, and his house little. I have let him know, for his relief, that I do not mean to burden him more than a week. He is, however, among those who wish me well, and would exert what power he has to do me good.
July 23.—I have been thirteen days at Rochester, and am now just returned. I came back by water in a common boat twenty miles for a shilling; and when I landed at Billingsgate, I carried my budget myself to Cornhill before I could get a
LETTER 504. TO MRS. MONTAGU.
Sept. 22. 1783.
MADAM,―That respect which is always due to beneficence makes it fit that you should be informed, otherwise than by the papers, that, on the 6th of this month, died your pensioner, Anna Williams, of whom it may be truly said that she received your bounty with gratit2de, and enjoyed it with propriety. You perhaps have still her prayers.
You have, Madam, the satisfaction of having alleviated the sufferings of a woman of great merit, both intellectual and moral. Her curiosity was universal, her knowledge was very extensive, and she sustained forty years of misery with steady fortitude. Thirty years and more she had been my companion, and her death has left me very desolate.
That I have not written sooner, you may impute to absence, to ill health, to any thing rather than want of regard to the benefactress of my departed friend. I am, Madam, your most humble servant.
TO MISS REYNOLDS.
Oct. 1. 1783.
DEAR MADAM, I am very ill indeed, and to my former illness is superadded the gout. I am now without shoes, and I have been lately almost motionless. To my other afflictions is added solitude. Mrs. Williams, a companion of thirty years, is gone. It is a comfort to me to have you near me. I am, dear Madam, &c.
LETTER 506. TO MRS. THRALE.
London, Oct. 6. 1783.
I yet sit without shoes, with my foot upon a pillow; but my pain and weakness are much abated, and I am no longer crawling upon two sticks. To the gout my mind is reconciled by another letter from Mr. Mudge, in which he vehemently urges the excision, and tells me that the gout will secure me from every thing paralytic: if this be true, I am ready to say
to the arthritic pains, Deh! venite ogne di, durate un anno. (1) My physician in ordinary is Dr. Brocklesby, who comes almost every day; my surgeon, in Mr. Pott's absence, is Mr. Cruikshank, the present reader in Dr. Hunter's school. Neither of them, however, do much more than look and talk. The general health of my body is as good as you have ever known it — almost as good as I can remember. The carriage which you supposed made rough by my weakness was the common Salisbury stage, high hung, and driven to Salisbury in a day. I was not fatigued.
Mr. Pott has been out of town; but I expect to see him soon, and will then tell you something of the main affair, of which there seems now to be a better prospect. This afternoon I have given [tea] to Mrs. Cholmondeley, Mrs. Wray, Lady Sheffield's relation, Mr. Kindersley, the describer of Indian manners, and another anonymous lady. As Mrs. Williams received a pension from Mrs. Montagu, it was fit to notify her death. The account has brought me a letter not only civil but tender; so hope peace is proclaimed. London, Oct. 9. 1783. Two nights ago Mr. Burke sat with me a long time. He seems much pleased with his journey. We had both seen Stonehenge this summer for the first time. I told him that the view had enabled me to confute two opinions which have been advanced about it. One, that the materials are not natural stones, but an artificial composition hardened by time. This notion is as old as Camden's time; and has this strong argument to support it, that stone of that species is nowhere to be found. The other opinion, advanced by Dr. Charlton, is, that it was erected by the Danes.
Mr. Bowles made me observe, that the transverse stones were fixed on the perpendicular supporters by a knob formed on the top of the upright stone, which entered into a hollow cut in the crossing stone. This is a proof that the enormous edifice was raised by a people who had not yet the knowledge of mortar; which cannot be supposed of the Danes, who
came hither in ships, and were not ignorant certainly of the arts of life. This proves also the stones not to be factitious; for they that could mould such durable masses could do much more than make mortar, and could have continued the transverse from the upright part with the same paste.
You have doubtless seen Stonehenge; and if you have not, I should think it a hard task to made an adequate description. It is, in my opinion, to be referred to the earliest habitation of the island, as a druidical monument of, at least, two thousand years; probably the most ancient work of man upon the island. Salisbury cathedral and its neighbour Stonehenge are two eminent monuments of art and rudeness, and may show the first essay and the last perfection in architecture.
London, Nov. 13. 1783. Since you have written to me with the attention and tenderness of ancient time (1), your letters give me a great part of the pleasure which a life of solitude admits. You will never bestow any share of your good-will on one who deserves better. Those that have loved longest love best. A sudden blaze of kindness may by a single blast of coldness be extinguished; but that fondness which length of time has connected with many circumstances and occasions, though it may for a while be depressed by disgust or resentment, with or without a cause, is hourly revived by accidental recollection. To those that have lived long together, every thing heard and every thing seen recalls some pleasure communicated or some benefit conferred, some petty quarrel or some slight endearment. Esteem of great powers, or amiable qualities newly discovered, may embroider a day or a week, but a friendship of twenty years is interwoven with the texture of life. A friend may be often found and lost; but an old friend never can be found, and nature has provided that he cannot easily be lost. You seem
(1) This is the first letter in which we perceive a serious coldness towards Mrs. Thrale; but it is clear that it had existed some time prior to this date, though not perhaps so long as Mr. Boswell supposed.