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will take care to pay. In the mean time tell her that I acknowledge the debt.

“ Be pleased to make my compliments to the ladies. If Mrs. Langton comes to London, she will favour me with a visit, for I am not well enough to go out.”

To Lord Portmore's note, mentioned in the foregoing extract, Johnson returned this answer :


“ Bolt-court, Fleet-street, 13th April, 1784. “ Dr. Johnson acknowledges with great respect the honour of Lord Portmore's notice. He is better than he was ; and will, as his lordship directs, write to Mr. Langton.”


" 5th April, 1784. Sir,-Mr. Hoole has told me with what benevolence you listened to a request which I was almost afraid to make, of leave to a young painter to attend you from time to time in your painting-room, to see your operations, and receive your instructions.

The young man has perhaps good parts, but has been without a regular education. He is my godson, and therefore I interest myself in his progress and success, and shall think myself much favoured if I receive from you a permission to send him.

“My health is, by God's blessing, much restored, but I am not yet allowed by my physicians to go abroad; nor, indeed, do I think myself yet able to endure the weather. I am, sir, your most humble servant,


"The eminent painter, representative of the ancient family of Homfrey (now Humphry) in the west of England; who, as appears from their arms which they have invariably used, have been (as I have seen authenticated by the best authority) one of those among the knights and esquires of honour, who are represented by Holinshed as having issued from the tower of London on coursers apparelled for the justes, accompanied by ladies of honour, leading every one a kright, with a chain of gold, passing through the streets of London into Smith. field, on Sunday, at three o'clock in the afternoon, being the first Sunday after Michaelmas, in the fourteenth year of King Richard the Second.

This family once enjoyed large possessions, but, like others, have lost them in the progress of

ages. Their blood, however, remains to them well ascertained ; and they may hope, in the revolution of events, to recover that rank in society for which, in modern times, fortune seems to be an indispensable requisite.BOSWELL. [Mr. Humphry died in 1810, æt. 68. His “eminence" as a painter was a goodnatured error of Mr. Boswell's.—Ed.]

2 Son of Mfr. Samuel Paterson, eminent for his knowledge of books.Bos. WELL. (See ante, p. 308. ED.)


“ 10th April, 1784. “Sir,—The bearer is my godson, whom I take the liberty of recommending to your kindness; which I hope he will deserve by his respect to your excellence, and his gratitude for your favours. I am, sir, your most humble servant,

“ SAM. Johnson.”



“ 12th April, 1784. “DEAR MADAM,-I am not yet able to wait on you, but I can do your business commodiously enough. You must send me the copy to show the printer. If you will come to tea this afternoon, we will talk together about it. Pray send me word whether you will come. I am, madam, your most humble gervant,

“Sam. JOHNSON.")


“ 31st May, 1784. “SIR,-I am very much obliged by your civilities to my godson, but must beg of you to add to them the favour of

permitting him to see you paint, that he may know how a picture is begun, advanced, and completed.

“ If he may attend you in a few of your operations, I hope he will show that the benefit has been properly conferred, both by his proficiency and his gratitude. At least I shall consider you as enlarging your kindness to, sir, your humble servant,



“ London, Easter-Monday, 12th April, 1784. “ DEAR SIR,—What can be the reason that I hear nothing from you? I hope nothing disables you from writing. What I have seen, and what I have felt, gives me reason to fear every thing. Do not omit giving me the comfort of knowing, that after all my losses, I have yet a friend left.

“I want every comfort. My life is very solitary and very cheerless. Though it has pleased God wonderfully to deliver me from the dropsy, I am yet very weak, and have not passed the door since the 13th of December. I hope for some help from warm weather, which will surely come in time.

“I could not have the consent of the physicians to go to church yesterday ; I therefore received the holy sacrament at home, in the room where I communicated with dear Mrs. Williams, a little before her death. O! my friend, the

approach of death is very dreadful! I am afraid to think on that which I know I cannot avoid. It is vain to look round and round for that help which cannot be had. Yet we hope and hope, and fancy that he who has lived to-day may live to-morrow. But let us learn to derive our hope only from God.

In the mean time, let us be kind to one another. I have no friend now living but you' and Mr. Hector, that was the friend of my youth. Do not neglect, dear sir, yours affectionately,


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Letters, “ London, 15th April, 1784.

vol. ii. Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving another dinner to p. 361. the remainder of the old club. We used to meet weekly about the

year 1750, and we were as cheerful as in former times: only I could not make quite so much noise; for since the paralytick affliction, my voice is sometimes weak.

“Metcalf and Crutchley, without knowing each other, are both members of parliament for Horsham in Sussex. Mr. Cator is chosen for Ipswich.

“But a sick man's thoughts soon turn back upon himself. I am still very weak, though my appetite is keen, and my digestion potent; and I gratify myself more at table than ever I did at my own cost before. I have now an inclination to luxury which even your table did not excite; for till now my

talk was more about the dishes than my thoughts. I remember you commended me for seeming pleased with my

dinners when you had reduced your table. I am able to tell you with great veracity that I never knew when the reduction began, nor should have known that it was made had not you told me. think and consult to-day what I shall eat to-morrow. This disease will likewise, I hope, be cured. For there are other things--how different !—which ought to predominate in the mind of such a man as I: but in this world the body will have its part; and my hope is, that it shall have no more—my hope, but not my confidence; I have only the timidity of a christian to determine, not the wisdom of a stoick to secure me.”

I now

“ London, 19th April, 1784. “I received this morning your magnificent fish, and in the p 363. afternoon your apology for not sending it. I have invited the Hooles and Miss Burney to dine upon it to-morrow.

| This friend of Johnson's youth survived him somewhat more than three years, having died February 19, 1788.- MALONE.

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Letters, vol. ii.

p. 363.

“ The club which has been lately instituted is at Sam's; and there was I when I was last out of the house. But the people whom I mentioned in my letter are the remnant of a little club? that used to meet in Ivy-lane about three and thirty years ago, out of which we have lost Hawkesworth and Dyer—the rest are yet on this side the grave.”

P. 365.

" London, 21st April, 1784.
I make haste to send you intelligence, which, if I do not
flatter myself, you will not receive without some degree of
pleasure. After a confinement of one hundred and twenty-nine
days, more than the third part of a year, and no inconsiderable
part of human life, I this day returned thanks to God in St.
Clement's church for my recovery ; a recovery, in my seventy-
fifth year, from a distemper which few in the vigour of youth
are known to surmount; a recovery, of which neither myself,
my friends, nor my physicians, had any hope; for though they
flattered me with some continuance of life, they never supposed
that I could cease to be dropsical. The dropsy, however, is
quite vanished; and the asthma so much mitigated, that I
walked to day with a more easy respiration than I have known,
I think, for perhaps two years past. I hope the mercy that
lightens my days will assist me to use them well.

“ The Hooles, Miss Burney, and Mrs. Hall (Wesley's sister),
feasted yesterday with me very cheerfully on your noble salmon.
Mr. Allen could not come, and I sent him a piece, and a great
tail is still left.

“Dr. Brocklesby forbids the club at present, not caring to venture the chillness of the evening; but I purpose to show myself on Saturday at the Academy's feast. I cannot publish my return to the world more effectually; for, as the Frenchman says, tout le monde s'y trouvera.

“For this occasion I ordered some clothes ; and was told by the tailor, that when he brought me a sick dress, he never expected to make me any thing of any other kind. My recovery is indeed wonderful.”

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London, 26th April, 1784.
“On Saturday I showed myself again to the living world at
the Exhibition: much and splendid was the company, but,
like the Doge of Genoa at Paris, I admired nothing but my-

p. 367.


[See ante, vol. i. p. 163.-Ed.]
? [The Exhibition dinner of the Royal Academy.-ED.]

self. I went up all the stairs to the pictures without stopping Letters, to rest or to breathe,

vol. ii.

p. 367.

In all the madness of superfluous health.'

« The Prince of Wales had promised to be there; but when we had waited an hour and a half, sent us word that he could not come.

“ Mrs. Davenant called to pay me a guinea, but I gave two for

you. Whatever reasons you have for frugality, it is not worth while to save a guinea a year by withdrawing it from a public charity • Mr. Howard called on me a few days ago, and

gave me the new edition, much enlarged, of his Account of Prisons. He has been to survey the prisons on the continent; and in Spain he tried to penetrate the dungeons of the Inquisition, but his curiosity was very imperfectly gratified. At Madrid, they shut him quite out; at Valladolid, they showed him some public rooms.”


“ London, 26th April, 1784. “MY DEAR,—I write to you now, to tell you that I am so far recovered that on the 21st I went to church to return thanks, after a confinement of more than four long months.

· My recovery is such as neither myself nor the physicians at all expected, and is such as that very few examples have been known of the like. Join with me, my dear love, in returning thanks to God.

“Dr. Vyse has been with (me) this evening; he tells me that you

likewise have been much disordered, but that you are now better. I hope that we shall sometime have a cheerful interview. In the mean time let us pray for one another. I am, madam, your humble servant, “ SAM. JOHNSON.”




6 Bolt-court, 30th April, 1784. “ DEAR MADAM,-Mr. Allen has looked over the papers, and thinks that one hundred copies will come to five pounds.


[Probably a cousin of Mrs. Thrale's, Hester Lynch Salusbury Cotton, married to Mr. Davenant, who afterwards assumed the name of Corbet, and was created a baronet.—ED.

? [Perhaps Miss Reynolds's “ Essay on Taste.” See ante, p. 3. Mr. Boswell was probably mistaken in saying that it had been printed. -Ed.)

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