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it is, as it must be taken finally away, he that travels on alone will wonder how his esteem could be so little. Do not forget me; you see that I do not forget you. It is pleasing in the silence of solitude to think, that there is one at least, however distant, of whose benevolence there is little doubt, and whom there is yet hope of seeing again.
Of my life, from the time we parted, the history is mournful. The spring of last year deprived me of Thrale, a man whose eye for fifteen years had scarcely been turned upon me but with respect or tenderness; for such another friend, the general course of human things will not suffer man to hope. I passed the summer at Streatham, but there was no Thrale; and having idled
away the summer with a weakly body and neglected mind, I made a journey to Staffordshire on the edge of winter. The season was dreary, I was sickly, and found the friends sickly whom I went to see. After a sorrowful sojourn, I returned to a habitation possessed for the present by two sick women, where my dear old friend, Mr. Levett, to whom, as he used to tell me, I owe your acquaintance, died a few weeks ago, suddenly in his bed; there passed not, I believe, a minute between health and death. At night, at Mrs. Thrale's, as I was musing in my chamber, I thought with uncommon earnestness, that, however I might alter my mode of life, or whithersoever I might remove, I would endeavour to retain Levett about me: in the morning my servant brought me word that Levett was called to another state, a state for which, I think, he was not unprepared, for he was very useful to the poor.
How much soever I valued him, I now wish that I had valued him more 2.
“I have myself been ill more than eight weeks of a disorder, from which, at the expense of about fifty ounces of blood, I hope I am now recovering.
• You, dear sir, have, I hope, a more cheerful scene; you see George fond of his book, and the pretty misses airy and lively, with my own little Jenny equal to the best: and in whatever can contribute to your quiet or pleasure, you have Lady Rothes ready to concur. May whatever you enjoy of
' [In former editions these words are arranged " at night, as at Mrs. Thrale's, I was musing."-E».]
2 Johnson has here expressed a sentiment similar to that contained in one of Shenstone's stanzas, to which, in his life of that poet, he has given high praise :
.6 I prized every hour that went by,
Beyond all that had pleased me before ;
And I grieve that I prized them no more."-J. BOSWELL.
good be increased, and whatever you suffer of evil be diminished. I
am, dear sir, your humble servant, “ SAM. JOHNSON.”
"TO MR. HECTOR, IN BIRMINGHAM 1.
“ London, 21st March, 1782. “ DEAR SIR,—I hope I do not very grossly flatter myself to imagine that you and dear Mrs. Careless 2 will be glad to hear some account of me. I performed the journey to London with very little inconvenience, and came safe to my habitation, where I found nothing but ill health, and, of consequence, very little cheerfulness. I then went to visit a little
into the country, where I got a complaint by a cold which has hung eight weeks upon me, and from which I am, at the expense of fifty ounces of blood, not yet free. I am afraid I must once more owe my recovery to warm weather, which seems to make no advances towards us.
“ Such is my health, which will, I hope, soon grow better. In other respects I have no reason to complain. I know not that I have written any thing more generally commended than the Lives of the Poets; and have found the world willing enough to caress me, if my health had invited me to be in much company; but this season I have been almost wholly employed in nursing myself.
“When summer comes I hope to see you again, and will not put off my visit to the end of the year. I have lived so long in London, that I did not remember the difference of seasons.
“ Your health, when I saw you, was much improved. You will be prudent enough not to put it in danger. I hope, when we meet again, we shall congratulate each other upon fair prospects of longer life; though what are the pleasures of the longest life, when placed in comparison with a happy death ? I am, dear sir, yours most affectionately,
- Sam. JOHNSON.”
66 TO TIIE SAME.
“ Without a date, but supposed to be about this time. “ DEAR SIR,—That you and dear Mrs. Careless should have care or curiosity about my health gives me that pleasure which every man feels from finding himself not forgotten. In age we feel again that love of our native place and our early friends,
1 A part of this letter having been torn off, I have, from the evident meaning, supplied a few words and half words at the ends and beginning of lines. BoswELL. ? (See vol. iii. 347...En.]
which, in the bustle or amusements of middle life, were overborne and suspended. You and I should now naturally cling to one another: we have outlived most of those who could pretend to rival us in each other's kindness. In our walk through life we have dropped our companions, and are now to pick up such as chance
offer us, or to travel on alone. You, indeed, have a sister, with whom you can divide the day : I have no natural friend left; but Providence has been pleased to preserve me from neglect; I have not wanted such alleviations of life as friendship could supply. My health has been, from my twentieth year,
such as had seldom afforded me a single day of ease; but it is at least not worse; and I sometimes make myself believe that it is better. My disorders are, however, still sufficiently oppressive.
“I think of seeing Staffordshire again this autumn, and intend to find my way through Birmingham, where I hope to
and dear Mrs. Careless well. I am, sir, your affectionate friend,
- SAM. JOHNSON.”
[For the latter half of this month of March he kept the following diary.]
“ March 18.—Having been, from the middle of January, distressed by a cold, which made my respiration very laborious, and from which I was but little relieved by being blooded three times; having tried to ease the oppression of my breast by frequent opiates, which kept me waking in the night and drowsy the next day, and subjected me to the tyranny of vain imaginations; having to all this added frequent catharticks, sometimes with mercury, I at last persuaded Dr. Lawrence, on Thursday, March 14, to let me bleed more copiously. Sixteen ounces were taken away, and from that time my breath has been free, and my breast easy. On that day I took little food, and no flesh. On Thursday night I slept with great tranquillity. On the next night (15) I took diacodium, and had a most restless night. Of the next day I remember nothing, but that I rose in the afternoon, and saw Mrs. Lennox and Sheward 1.
“Sunday 17.-I lay late, and had only palfrey to dinner. I read part of Waller's Directory, a pious rational book ; but in any except a very regular life difficult to practise.
“ It occurred to me, that though my time might pass unem
(Mr. W. Seward.- ED.)
ployed, no more should pass uncounted, and this has been Prayers written to-day, in consequence of that thought. I read a Greek & Med. chapter, prayed with Francis, which I now do commonly, and explained to him the Lord's Prayer, in which I find connexion not observed, I think, by the expositors. I made punch for myself and my servants, by which, in the night, I thought both my breast and imagination disordered.
“ March 18.-I rose late, looked a little into books. Saw Miss Reynolds and Miss Thrale, and Nicolaida?; afterwards Dr. Hunter 2 came for his catalogue. I then dined on tea, &c.; then read over part of Dr. Lawrence's book · De Temperamentis,' which seems to have been written with a troubled mind.
“ My mind has been for some time much disturbed. The peace of God be with me.
“I hope to-morrow to finish Lawrence, and to write to Mrs. Aston, and to Lucy.
“19.—I rose late. I was visited by Mrs. Thrale, Mr. Cotton, and Mr. Crofts 3. I took Lawrence's paper in hand, but was chill; having fasted yesterday, I was hungry, and dined freely, then slept a little, and drank tea; then took candles, and wrote to Aston and Lucy, then went on with Lawrence, of which little remains. I prayed with Francis.
“ Mens sedatior, laus Deo,
« To-morrow Shaw 4 comes. I think to finish Lawrence, and write to Langton.
“ Poor Lawrence has almost lost the sense of hearing; and I have lost the conversation of a learned, intelligent, and communicative companion, and a friend whom long familiarity has much endeared. Lawrence is one of the best men whom I have known.
“ Nostrum omnium miserere Deus.
“20.-Shaw came; I finished reading Lawrence. I dined liberally. Wrote a long letter to Langton, and designed to read, but was hindered by Strahan. The ministry is dissolved. I prayed with Francis, and gave thanks.
“ To-morrow-To Mrs. Thrale-To write to Hector— To Dr. Taylor.
' [A learned Greek; a friend of Mr. Langton._ED.] ? [The catalogue referred to was probably that of the ancient coins in Dr. Hunter's museum, which was published in the ensuing year, with a classical dedication to the queen, which perhaps Dr. Johnson revised.-Ed.]
3 [Probably Mr. Herbert Croft, who had supplied him with a life of Young. See sub 24th Dec. 1783.-ED.]
4 [Probably the editor of the Gaelick Dictionary, who about this period was warmly engaged in the Ossian controversy, and as he took Dr. Johnson's part, probably received some assistance from him.-Ed.]
Prayers & Med.
“ 21.- I went to Mrs. Thrale. Mr. Cox and Paradise met me at the door, and went with me in the coach. Paradise's Loss'. In the evening wrote to Hector. At night there were eleven visitants. Conversation with Mr. Cox. When I waked I saw the penthouses covered with snow.
“22.- I spent the time idly. Mens turbata. In the afternoon it snowed. At night I wrote to Taylor about the pot, and to Hamilton about the Federa?.
“23.- I came home, and found that Desmoulins had, while I was away, been in bed. Letters from Langton and Boswell. I promised L[ennox] six guineas.
“ 24.–Sunday. I rose not early. Visitors, Allen, Davis, Windham, Dr. Horsley. Dinner at Strahan’s. Came home and chatted with Williams, and read Romans ix. in Greek.
“ To-morrow begin again to read the Bible; put rooms in order ; copy L[ennox's] letter. At night I read 11 p. and something more, of the Bible, in fifty-five minutes.
“ 26.—Tuesday. I copied L[ennox's] letter. Then wrote to Mrs. Thrale. Cox visited me. I sent home Dr. Lawrence's papers, with notes. I gave [Mrs.] D[esmoulins] a guinea, and found her a gown.
“ 27.-Wednesday. At Harley-street. Bad nights--in the evening Dr. Bromfield and his family—Merlin's steelyard given me.
28.—Thursday. I came home. Sold Rymer for Davies; wrote to Boswell. Visitors, Dr. Percy, Mr. Crofts. I have, in ten days, written to [Mrs.] Aston, Lucy, Hector, Langton, Boswell; perhaps to all by whom
letters are desired. - The weather, which now begins to be warm, gives me great help. I have hardly been at church this year; certainly not since the 15th of January. My cough and difficulty of breath would not permit it.
“This is the day on which, in 1752, dear Tetty died. I have now uttered a prayer of repentance and contrition; perhaps Tetty knows that I prayed for her. Perhaps Tetty is now praying for me. Gold help me. Thou, God, art merciful, hear my prayers, and enable me to trust in Thee.
[This probably refers to some property in Virginia which Mr. Paradise possessed in right of his wife, and which had been confiscated. See Jefferson's Letters, where he advocates Paradise's claims as being a whig and friend to American independence.-Ep.7
? [A set of Rymer which he was charitably endeavouring to sell for Davis, probably to Mr. Gerard Hamilton; and this was, perhaps, the occasion which made Mr. Hamilton say that he once asked him for 501, for a charitable purpose.-Ed.)