Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

are, together with the Culex and Ceiris, in Scaliger's Appendix ad Virgilium. The rest I never heard the name of before.

I am highly pleased with your account of the gentleman and lady with whom you lodge; such characters have sufficient attractions to draw me towards them; you are lucky to light upon them in the casual commerce of life.

Continue, dear Sir, to write to me; and let me hear any thing or nothing, as the chance of the day may be. I am, Sir, your, &c.

[blocks in formation]

Ashbourne, Sept. 16. 1784. DEAR SIR, What you have told me of your landlord and his lady at Brompton has made them such favourites, that I am not sorry to hear how you are turned out of your lodgings, because the good is greater to them than the evil is to you.

The death of dear Mr. Allen gave me pain. When after some time of absence I visit a town, I find my friends dead; when I leave a place, I am followed with intelligence, that the friend whom I hope to meet at my return is swallowed in the grave. This is a gloomy scene; but let us learn from it to prepare for our own removal. Allen is gone; Sastres and Johnson are hasting after him; may we be both as well prepared!

I again wish your next specimen success. Paymistress can hardly be said without a preface (it may be expressed by a word perhaps not in use, pay mistress).

The club is, it seems, totally deserted; but as the forfeits go on, the house does not suffer; and all clubs, I suppose, are unattended in the summer. We shall, I hope, meet in winter, and be cheerful.

After this week, do not write to me till you hear again from me, for I know not well where I shall be; I have grown weary of the solitude of this place, and think of removal. I am, Sir, your, &c.

LETTER 519.

[ocr errors]

Lichfield, Oct. 20. 178.

SIR, You have abundance of naughty tricks; is this your way of writing to a poor sick friend twice a week? Post comes after post, and brings no letter from Mr. Sastres. If you know any thing, write and tell it; if you know nothing, write and say that you know nothing.

What comes of the specimen? If the booksellers want a specimen, in which a keen critic can spy no faults, they must wait for another generation. Had not the Crusca faults? Did not the academicians of France commit many faults? It is enough that a dictionary is better than others of the same kind. A perfect performance of any kind is not to be expected, and certainly not a perfect dictionary.

Mrs. Desmoulines never writes, and I know not how things go on at home; tell me, dear Sir, what you can.

If Mr. Seward be in town, tell me his direction, for I ought to write to him.

I am very weak, and have had bad nights. I am, dear Sir, your, &c.

LETTER 520. TO THE SAME.

[ocr errors]

TO THE SAME.

Lichfield, Nov. 1. 1784.

DEAR SIR,I beg you to continue the frequency of your letters; every letter is a cordial; but you must not wonder that I do not answer with exact punctuality. You may always have something to tell: you live among the various orders of mankind, and may make a letter from the exploits, sometimes of the philosopher, and sometimes of the pickpocket. You see some balloons succeed and some miscarry, and a thousand strange and a thousand foolish things. But I see nothing; I must make my letter from what I feel, and what I feel with so little delight, that I cannot love to talk of it.

I am certainly not to come to town, but do not omit to write; for I know not when I shall come, and the loss of a letter is not much. I am, dear Sir, your, &c.

LETTER 521. TO DR. HEBERDEN.

Lichfield, Oct. 13. 1784.

DEAR SIR, Though I doubt not but Dr. Brocklesby would communicate to you any incident in the variation of my health which appeared either curious or important, yet I think it time to give you some account of myself.

Not long after the first great efflux of the water, I attained so much vigour of limbs and freedom of breath, that without rest or intermission, I went with Dr. Brocklesby to the top of the painter's Academy. This was the greatest degree of health that I have obtained, and this, if it could continue, were perhaps sufficient; but my breath soon failed, and my body grew weak.

At Oxford (in June) I was much distressed by shortness of breath, so much that I never attempted to scale the Library: the water gained upon me, but by the use of squills was in a great measure driven away.

In July I went to Lichfield, and performed the journey with very little fatigue in the common vehicle, but found no help from my native air. I then removed to Ashbourne, in Derbyshire, where for some time I was oppressed very heavily by the asthma; and the dropsy had advanced so far, that I could not without great difficulty button me at my knees. (Here are omitted some minute medical details.)

No hydropical humour has been lately visible. The relaxation of my breath has not continued as it was at first, but neither do I breathe with the same angustie and distress as before the remission. The summary of my state is this: I am deprived, by weakness and the asthma, of the power of walking beyond a very short space. I draw my breath with difficulty upon the least effort, but not with suffocation or pain. The dropsy still threatens, but gives way to medicine. The summer has passed without giving me any strength. My appetite is, I think, less keen than it was, but not so abated as that its decline can be observed by any but myself.

Be pleased to think on me sometimes. I am, Sir, &c.
SAM. JOHNSON.

LETTER 522. TO MR. STRAHAN,

Oct. 16. 1784.

DEAR SIR, I have hitherto omitted to give, you that account of myself, which the kindness with which you have treated me gives you a right to expect.

I went away feeble, asthmatical, and dropsical. The asthma has remitted for a time, but is now very troublesome; the weakness still continues, but the dropsy has disappeared; and has twice, in the summer, yielded to medicine. I hope to return with a body somewhat, however little, relieved, and with a mind less dejected.

I hope your dear lady and dear little ones are all well, and all happy; I love them all. I am, dear Sir, your most humble SAM. JOHNSON.

servant,

LETTER 523. TO MR. EDMUND ALLEN. (1)

Pembroke College, Oxford, June 7. 1784.

DEAR SIR, I came hither on Thursday without the least trouble or fatigue, but I do not yet perceive any improvement of my health. My breath is very much obstructed, my legs are very soon tired, and my nights are very restless.

Miss

Boswell went back next day, and is not yet returned. Adams and Miss More are not yet come. How long I shall stay or whither I shall go I cannot yet guess: while I am away I beg that you will sit for me at the Club, and that you will pay Betty Barber five shillings a week. I hope I shall by degrees be better. I am, &c. SAM. JOHNSON.

LETTER 524. TO THE REV. DR. HAMILTON.(2)

Bolt Court, June 4. 1783.

REVEREND SIR, -Be pleased to excuse this application from a stranger in favour of one who has very little ability to

(From the original in the possession of Allan Cunningham, Esq.] Tms and the two following letters, addressed to the Rev. Dr. Harilton, Vicar of St. Martin's in the Fields, are published from the ori

speak for herself.

The unhappy woman who waits on you with this, has been known to me many years. She is the daughter of a clergyman of Leicestershire, who by an unhappy marriage is reduced to solicit a refuge in the workhouse of your parish, to which she has a claim by her husband's settle

ment.

Her case admits of little deliberation; she is turned out of her lodging into the street. What my condition allows me to do for her I have already done, and having no friend, she can have recourse only to the parish. I am, reverend Sir, &c. SAM. JOHNSON.

LETTER 525.

TO THE SAME.

Bolt Court, Feb. 11. 1784. SIR, My physicians endeavour to make me believe that I shall sometime be better qualified to receive visits from men of elegance and civility like yours.

Mrs. Pellè shall wait upon you, and you will judge what will be proper for you to do. I once more return you my thanks, and am, Sir, &c. SAM. JOHNSON.

[ocr errors]

LETTER 526.

TO THE SAME.

Feb. 17. 1784.

that SIR, I am so much disordered that I can only say this is the person whom I recommend to your kindness and SAM. JOHNSON. favour. I am, Sir, &c.

LETTER 527.

TO THE SAME.

June 2. 1784. SIR,You do every thing that is liberal and kind. Mrs. Pellè is a bad manager for herself, but I will employ a more skilful agent, one Mrs. Gardiner, who will wait on you and

ginals, in the possession of his son; who observes, that "they are of no further interest, than as showing the goodness cf Johnson's heart, and the spirit with which he entered into the cause and interests of an indi vidual in distress, when he was almost on the bed of sickness and death himself."

« AnteriorContinua »