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I recollect with admiration an animating blaze of eloquence, which roused every intellectual power in me to the highest pitch, but must have dazzled me so much that my memory could not preserve the substance of his discourse; for the note which I find of it is no more than this:-"He ran over the grand scale of human knowledge; advised me to select some particular branch to excel in, but to acquire a little of every kind." The defect of my minutes will be fully supplied by a long letter upon the subject, which he favoured me with after I had been some time at Utrecht, and which my readers will have the pleasure to peruse in its proper place.

We walked, in the evening, in Greenwich Park. He asked me, I suppose, by way of trying my disposition, "Is not this very fine?"Having no exquisite relish of the beauties of nature, and being more delighted with "the busy hum of men," I answered, "Yes, Sir, but not equal to Fleet-street." JOHNSON: "You are right, Sir."

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I am aware that many of my readers may censure my want of taste. Let me, however, shelter myself under the authority of a very fashionable baronet' in the brilliant world, who, on his attention being called

1 My friend Sir Michael Le Fleming. This gentleman with all his experience of sprightly and elegant life, inherits, with the beautiful family domain, no inconsiderable share of that love of literature, which distinguished his venerable grandfather, the Bishop of Carlisle. He one day observed to me, of Dr. Johnson, in a felicity of phrase, "There is a blunt dignity about hira on every occasion."-BOSWELL.

Sir Michael Le Fleming died of an apoplectic fit, while conversing at the Admiralty with Lord Howick, now Earl Grey, May 19, 1806.-MALONE.


to the fragrance of a May evening in the country, observed, "This may be very well; but for my part, I prefer the smell of a flambeau at the play-house."

We staid so long at Greenwich, that our sail up the river, in our return to London, was by no means so pleasant as in the morning; for the night air was so cold that it made me shiver. I was the more sensible of it from having sat up all the night before recollecting and writing in my journal what I thought worthy of preservation; an exertion which during the first part of my acquaintance with Johnson, I frequently made. I remember having sat up four nights in one week, without being much incommoded in the day-time.

Johnson, whose robust frame was not in the least affected by the cold, scolded me, as if my shivering had been a paltry effeminacy, saying, "Why do you shiver?" Sir William Scott, of the Commons, told me that when he complained of a headache in the post-chaise, as they were travelling together to Scotland, Johnson treated him in the same manner: "At your age, Sir, I had no headache." It is not easy to make allowance for sensations in others, which we ourselves have not at the time. We must all have experienced how very differently we are affected by the complaints of our neighbours, when we are well, and when we are ill. In full health, we can scarcely believe that they suffer much; so faint is the image of pain upon our imagination: when softened by sickness, we readily sympathise with the sufferings of others.

We concluded the day at the Turk's Head coffee-house very socially. He was pleased to listen to a particular account which I gave him of my family, and of its hereditary estate, as to the extent and population of which he asked questions, and made calculations; recommending, at the same time, a liberal kindness to the tenantry, as people over whom the proprietor was placed by Providence. He took delight in hearing my description of the romantic seat of my ancestors. "I must be there, Sir," said he, "and we will live in the old castle; and if there is not a room in it remaining, we will build one." I was highly flattered, but could scarcely indulge a hope that Auchinleck would indeed be honoured by his presence, and celebrated by a description, as it afterwards was, in his "Journey to the Western Islands."

After we had again talked of my setting out for Holland, he said, "I must see thee out of England; I will accompany you to Harwich.” I could not find words to express what I felt upon this unexpected and very great mark of his affectionate regard.

Next day, Sunday, July 3, I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. JOHNSON: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all"

On Tuesday, August 2, (the day of my departure from London having been fixed for the 5th,) Dr. Johnson did me the honour to pass a part of the morning with me at my chambers. He said, "that he always felt an inclination to do nothing." I observed, that it was strange to think that the most indolent man in Britain had written the most laborious work, "The English Dictionary."

I mentioned an imprudent publication by a certain friend of his, at an early period of life, and asked him if he thought it would hurt him. JOHNSON: "No, Sir; not much. It may perhaps be mentioned at an election."

I had now made good my title to be a privileged man, and was carried by him in the evening to drink tea with Miss Williams,' whom, though under the misfortune of having lost her sight, I found to be agreeable

In a paper already referred to a lady who appears to have been well acquainted with Mrs. Williams, thus speaks of her:

"Mrs. Williams was a person extremely interesting. She had an uncommon firmness of

mind, a boundless curiosity, retentive memory, and strong judgment. She had various powers of pleasing. Her personal afflictions and slender fortune she seemed to forget, when she had the power of doing an act of kindness: she was social, cheerful, and active, in a state of body that was truly deplorable. Her regard to Dr. Johnson was formed with such strength of judgment and firm esteem, that her voice never hesitated when she repeated his maxims, or recited his good deeds; though upon many other occasions her want of sight had led her to make so much use of her ear as to affect her speech.

"Mrs. Williams was blind before she was acquainted with Dr. Johnson.-She had many resources, though none very great. With the Miss Wilkinsons she generally passed a part of the year, and received from them presents, and from the first who died, a legacy of clothes and money. The last of them, Mrs. Jane, left her an annual rent; but from the blundering manner of the will, I fear she never reaped the benefit of it. The lady left money to erect an hospital for ancient maids: but the number she had allotted, being too great for the donation, the Doctor (Johnson) said, it would be better to expunge the word maintain, and put in to starve such a number of old maids. They asked him what name should be given it? he replied, 'Let it be called JENNY'S WHIM,' the name of a well-known tavern near Chelsea, in former days.



"Lady Phillips made her a small annual allowance, and some other Welsh ladies, to all of whom she was related. Mrs. Montague, on the death of Mr. Montague, settled upon her (by deed), ten pounds per annum.-As near as I can calculate, Mrs. Williams had about thirty-five or forty pounds a year. The furniture she used in her apartment in Dr. Johnson's house was her own; her expenses were small, tea and bread and butter being at least half of her nourishment. Sometimes she had a servant or charwoman to do the ruder offices of the house; but she was herself active and industrious. I have frequently seen her at work. Upon remarking one day her facility in moving about the house, searching into drawers, and finding books without the help of sight, 'Believe me,' said she, 'persons who cannot do those common offices without sight, did but little while they enjoyed that blessing.' Scanty circumstances, bad health, and blindness, are surely a sufficient apology for her being sometimes impatient: her natural disposition was good, friendly, and humane."-MALONE.

in conversation, for she had a variety of literature, and expressed herself well; but her peculiar value was the intimacy in which she had long lived with Johnson, by which she was well acquainted with his habits, and knew how to lead him on to talk.

After tea he carried me to what he called his walk, which was a long narrow paved court in the neighbourhood,1 overshadowed by some trees There we sauntered a considerable time, and I complained to him that my love of London and of his company was such, that I shrunk almost from the thought of going away even to travel, which is generally so much desired by young men. He roused me by manly and spirited conversation. He advised me, when settled in any place abroad, to study with an eagerness after knowledge, and to apply to Greek an hour every day; and when I was moving about, to read diligently the great book of mankind.

On Wednesday, August 3, we had our last social evening at the Turk's Head coffee-house, before my setting out for foreign parts. I had the misfortune, before we parted, to irritate him unintentionally. I mentioned to him how common it was in the world to tell absurd stories of him, and to ascribe to him very strange sayings. JOHNSON: "What do they make me say, Sir?" BOSWELL: "Why, Sir, as an instance very strange indeed," laughing heartily as I spoke, "David Hume told me, you said that you would stand before a battery of cannon to restore the Convocation to its full powers." Little did I apprehend that he had actually said this: but I was soon convinced of my error; for, with a determined look he thundered out, "And would I not, Sir? Shall the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland have its General Assembly, and the Church of England be denied its Convocation?" He was walking up and down the room while I told him the anecdote; but, when he uttered this explosion of high-church zeal he had come close to my chair, and his eyes flashed with indignation. I bowed to the storm, and diverted the force of it, by leading him to expatiate on the influence which religion derived from maintaining the church with great external respectability.

I must not omit to mention that he this year wrote "The Life of Ascham," and the Dedication to the Earl of Shaftesbury,+ prefixed to the edition of that writer's English works, published by Mr. Bennet.

1 This was probably the court running off from the eastern corner of Gough-square, towards Shoe-lane. There are still two trees to be seen in the line, and there were probably many more at the time Boswell speaks of.-ED.


CHAPTER XIV.-1762-1765.


ON Friday, August 5, we set out early in the morning in the Ha wich stage-coach. A fat elderly gentlewoman, and a young Dute aman, seemed the most inclined among us to conversation. At the inv. where we dined, the gentlewoman said that she had done her best to educate her children; and, particularly, that she had never suffered them to be a moment idle. JOHNSON: "I wish, Madam, you would educate me too; for I have been an idle fellow all my life." "I am sure, Sir," said she, "you have not been idle." JOHNSON: "Nay, madam, it is very true and that gentleman there, (pointing to me,) has been idle. He was idle at Edinburgh. His father sent him to Glasgow, where he continued to be idle. He then came to London, where he has been very idle; and now he is going to Utrecht, where he will be as idle as ever”, I asked him privately how he could expose me se, JOHNSON: "Pok

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