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should promise little. Begin your new course of life with the least show, and the least expense possible: you may at pleasure increase both, but you cannot easily diminish them. Do not think your estate your own, while any man can call upon you for money which you cannot pay:
: therefore, begin with timorous parsimony. Let it be your first care not to be in any man's debt.
“When the thoughts are extended to a future state, the present life seems hardly worthy of all those principles of conduct and maxims of prudence which one generation of men has transmitted to another ; but upon a closer view, when it is perceived how much evil is produced and how much good is impeded by embarrassment and distress, and how little room the expedients of poverty leave for the exercise of virtue, it grows manifest that the boundless importance of the next life enforces some attention to the interests of this.
“ Be kind to the old servants, and secure the kindness of the agents and factors. Do not disgust them by asperity, or unwelcome gaiety, or apparent suspicion. From them you must learn the real state of your affairs, the characters of your tenants, and the value of your lands.
“Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell. I think her expectations from air and exercise are the best that she can form. I hope she will live long and happily.
“I forgot whether I told you that Rasay has been here. We dined cheerfully together. I entertained lately a young gentleman from Corrichatachin. “I received your letters only this morning. I am, dear sir,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
In answer to my next letter, I received one from him, dissuading me from hastening to him as I had proposed. What is proper for publication is the following paragraph, equally just and tender:
“One expense, however, I would not have
let nothing be omitted that can preserve Mrs. Boswell, though it should be necessary to transplant her for a time into a softer climate. She is the prop and stay of your
life. How much must your children suffer by losing her !"
My wife was now so much convinced of his sin-
cere friendship for me, and regard for her, that without any suggestion on my part, she wrote him a very polite and grateful letter.
“ DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. BOSWELL.
“ London, 7th September, 1782. “DEAR LADY,—I have not often received so much pleasure as from your invitation to Auchinleck. The journey thither and back is, indeed, too great for the latter part of the year ; but if my
health were fully recovered, I would suffer no little heat and cold, nor a wet or a rough road, to keep me from you.
I am, indeed, not without hope of seeing Auchinleck again ; but to make it a pleasant place I must see its lady well, and brisk, and airy. For my sake, there re, among many greater reasons, take care, dear madam, of your health, spare no expense, and want no attendance that can procure ease or preserve it. Be very careful to keep your mind quiet ; and do not think it too much to give an account of your recovery to, madam, yours, &c.
- SAM. JOHNSON.”
[In the autumn of this year he accompanied Mrs. Thrale to Brighthelmstone, where, having got a little French print of some people skating, with these lines written under
“ Sur un mince chrystal l'hyver conduit leurs pas :
Le précipice est sous la glace.
Glissez, mortels ; n'appuyez pas ~"
she begged translations from every body. Dr. Johnson gave her this:
« O’er ice the rapid skaiter fies,
With sport above and death below :
Thus lightly touch and quickly go."]
[The following letters' prove how constant and zealous was his friendship for Mr. Lowe.
[Communicated by J. H. Markland, esq.-Ed.]
" TO MR. LOWE.
“ 22d October, 1782. “SIR,-I congratulate you on the good that has befallen you. I always told you that it would come. I would not, however, have
you flatter yourself too soon with punctuality. You must not expect the other half year at Christmas. You may use the money as your needs require; but save what you can.
“ You must undoubtedly write a letter of thanks to your benefactor in your own name. I have put something on the other side. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
“ TO LORD SOUTHWELL.
MS. “ MY LORD,—The allowance which you are pleased to make me, I received on the
by Mr. Paget. Of the joy which it brought your lordship cannot judge, because you cannot imagine my distress. It was long since I had known a morning without solicitude for noon, or lain down at night without foreseeing with terror the distresses of the morning. My debts were small but many; my creditors were poor, and therefore troublesome. Of this misery your lordship’s bounty has given me an intermission. May your lordship live long to do much good, and to do for many what you have done for, my lord, your lordship’s, &c.
« M. Lowe."]
“ TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ London, 7th December, 1782. “ DEAR SIR,- Having passed almost this whole year in a succession of disorders, I went in October to Brighthelmstone, whither I came in a state of so much weakness, that I rested four times in walking between the inn and the lodging. By physick and abstinence I grew better, and am now reasonably easy, though at a great distance from health. I am afraid, however, that health begins, after seventy, and long before, to have a meaning different from that which it had at thirty. But it is culpable to murmur at the established order of the creation, as it is vain to oppose it. He that lives must grow old; and he that would rather grow old than die has God to thank for the infirmities of old age.
“ At your long silence I am rather angry. You do not, since now you are the head of your house, think it worth your while to try whether you or your friend can live longer without writing ; nor suspect, after so many years of friendship,
that when I do not write to you I forget you. Put all such
I suppose, begins now to be settled; your expenses are adjusted to your revenue, and all your people in their proper places. Resolve not to be poor. Whatever
you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness: it certainly destroys liberty; and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.
“ Let me know the history of your life since your accession to your estate ;-how many houses, how many cows, how much land in your own hand, and what bargains you make with your tenants.
· Lives of the Poets' they have printed a new edition in octavo, I hear, of three thousand. Did I give a set to Lord Hailes ? If I did not, I will do it out of these. What did
you make of all your copy ?
“ Mrs. Thrale and the three misses are now, for the winter, in Argyll-street. Sir Joshua Reynolds has been out of order, but is well again; and I am, dear sir, your affectionate humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
66 TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
“ Edinburgh, 20th Dec. 1782. “DEAR SIR,-I was made happy by your kind letter, which gave us the agreeable hopes of seeing you in Scotland again.
“ I am much flattered by the concern you are pleased to take in my recovery. I am better, and hope to have it in my power to convince you by my attention, of how much consequence I esteem your
health to the world and to myself. I remain, sir, with grateful respect, your obliged and obedient servant,
" MARGARET BOSWELL.”
The death of Mr. Thrale had made a very material alteration with respect to Johnson's reception in that family. The manly authority of the husband no longer curbed the lively exuberance of the lady; and as her vanity had been fully gratified, by having the Colossus of Literature attached to her for many years, she gradually became less assiduous to please
him. Whether her attachment to him was already divided by another object, I am unable to ascertain ; but it is plain that Johnson's penetration was alive to her neglect or forced attention ; for on the 6th of October this year we find him making a “parting use of the library” at Streatham, and pronouncing a prayer which he composed on leaving Mr. Thrale's family.
“Almighty God, Father of all mercy, help me by thy grace, Prayers that I may, with humble and sincere thankfulness, remember & Med. the comforts and conveniences which I have enjoyed at this place; and that I may resign them with holy submission, equally trusting in thy protection when thou givest and when thou takest away. Have mercy upon me, O Lord ! have mercy upon me!
“ To thy fatherly protection, O Lord, I commend this family. Bless, guide, and defend them, that they may so pass through this world, as finally to enjoy in thy presence everlasting happiness, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.”
One cannot read this prayer without some emotions not very favourable to the lady whose conduct occasioned it.
The next day, October 7, he made the following memorandum :
“ 7th October. Prayers “I was called early. I packed up my bundles, and used the & Med. foregoing prayer, with my morning devotions somewhat, I think, enlarged. Being earlier than the family, I read St. Paul's farewell in the Acts, and then read fortuitously in the Gospels, which was my parting use of the library.”
And in one of his memorandum-books I find, “Sunday, went to church at Streatham. Templo valedixi cum osculo."
*[Mr. Boswell's dislike of Mrs. Thrale has led him here into a series of blunders and misrepresentations. Dr. Johnson meant nothing of what Mr. Boswell attributes to him-hie makes a parting use of the library-makes a vale. diction to the church, and pronounces a prayer on quitting “a place where he had enjoyed so much comfort,” not because Mrs. Thrale made him less welcome there, but because she, and he with her, were leaving Streatham We shall see by and by, that when Mr. Boswell came to town, six months after this, he found his friend domiciliated in Mrs. Thrale's new residence in Argyll-street.-ED.)