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"TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ. "21st May, 1775. "DEAR SIR,-I have an old amanuensis in great distress 1. I have given what I think I can give, and begged till I cannot tell where to beg again. I put into his hands this morning four guineas. If you could collect three guineas more, it would clear him from his present difficulty. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
"I am not sorry that you read Boswell's journal. Is it not a merry piece? There is much in it about poor me. "Do not buy C- -'s2 Travels; they are duller than T 'g3. W4 is too fond of words, but you may read him. I shall take care that Adair's account of America may be sent you, for I shall have it of my own.
"Beattie has called once to see me. He lives grand at the archbishop's."]
1 [He had written to Mrs. Thrale the day before. 66 Peyton and Macbean are both starving, and I cannot keep them."-Lett. v. i. p. 218. ED.]
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. "27th May, 1775. "DEAR SIR,-I make no doubt but you are now safely lodged in your own habitation, and have told all your adventures to Mrs. Boswell and Miss Veronica. Pray teach Veronica to love me. Bid her not mind mamma.
"Mrs. Thrale has taken cold, and been very much disordered, but I hope is grown well. Mr. Langton went yesterday to Lincolnshire, and has invited Nicolaida 5 to follow him. Beauclerk talks of going to Bath. I am to set out on Monday; so there is nothing but dispersion.
"I have returned Lord Hailes's entertaining sheets, but must stay till I come back for more, because it will be inconvenient to send them after me in my vagrant state. "I promised Mrs. Macaulay 6 that I
["TO MRS. THRALE.
"22d May, 1775. "One thing or other still hinders me, besides, perhaps, what is the great hindrance, that I have no great mind to go. Boswell went away at two this morning. L[ang--ED.] ton] I suppose goes this week. B[oswell] got two-and-forty guineas in fees while he was here. He has, by his wife's persuasion and mine, taken down a present for his mother-in-law.
[Probably Chandler's Travels in Asia Minor.
[Probably "Travels through Spain and Per tugal in 1772 and 1775, by Richard Twiss, Esq." ED.]
• [Probably " Cursory Remarks made in s Tour through some of the Northern Parts of Earope, by Nathaniel Wraxall, jun.”—ED.]
A learned Greek.-BOSWELL. [Mr. Lang. ton was an enthusiast about Greek.-ED.]
6 Wife of the Reverend Mr. Kenneth Macanlay, authour of "The History of St. Kilda."BOSWELL.
would try to serve her son at Oxford. have not forgotten it, nor am unwilling to perform it. If they desire to give him an English education, it should be considered whether they cannot send him for a year or two to an English school. If he comes immediately from Scotland, he can make no figure in our Universities. The schools in the north, I believe, are cheap, and when I was a young man, were eminently good.
"There are two little books published by the Foulis, Telemachus and Collins's Poems, each a shilling; I would be glad to have them.
"Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, though she does not love me. You see what perverse things ladies are, and how little fit to be trusted with feudal estates. When she mends and loves me, there may be more hope of her daughters.
"I will not send compliments to my friends by name, because I would be loth to leave any out in the enumeration. Tell them, as you see them, how well I speak of Scotch politeness, and Scotch hospitality, and Scotch beauty, and of every thing Scotch, but Scotch oat-cakes and Scotch prejudices.
"Let me know the answer of Rasay, and the decision relating to Sir Allan 1. I am, my dearest sir, with great affection, your most obliged and most humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."
Lichfield, 11th June, 1775
'Lady Smith is settled here at last, and sees company in her new house. I went on Saturday. Poor Lucy Porter has her hand in a bag, so unabled by the gout that she cannot dress herself. I go every day to Stowehill: both the sisters 5 are now at home. I sent Mrs. Aston a 6 Taxation 6, and sent it to nobody else, and Lucy borrowed it. Mrs. Aston, since that, inquired by a messenger when I was expected. I can tell nothing about it,' said Lucy: 'when he is to be here, I suppose she 'll know.' Every body remembers you all. You left a good impression behind you. I hope you
will do the same at [Lewes]. Do not make | passion, but never have I known or expethem speeches. Unusual compliments, to rienced the reality of those virtues, till which there is no stated and prescriptive this joyful morning, when I received the answer, embarrass the feeble who do not honour of your most tender and affectionate know what to say, and disgust the wise, letter with its most welcome contents. Mawho, knowing them to be false, suspect them dam, I may with truth say, I have not words to be hypocritical. to express my gratitude as I ought to a lady, whose bounty has, by an act of benevolence, doubled my income, and whose tender, compassionate assurance has removed the future anxiety of trusting to chance, the terror of which only could have prompted me to stand a public candidate for Mr. Hetherington's bounty. May my sincere and grateful thanks be accepted by you, and may the Author of all good bless and long continue a life, whose shining virtues are so conspicuous and exemplary, is the most ardent prayer of her who is, with the greatest respect, madam, your most devoted, truly obliged, and obedient humble servant, "ANNA WILLIAMS."]
You never told me, and I omitted to inquire, how you were entertained by Boswell's Journal. One would think the man had been hired to be a spy upon me; he was very diligent, and caught opportunities of writing from time to time. You may now conceive yourself tolerably well acquainted with the expedition. Folks want me to go to Italy, but I say you are not for it."
"Lichfield, 13th June, 1775,
"I now write from Mrs. Cobb's, where I have had custard. Nothing considerable has happened since I wrote, only I am sorry to see Miss Porter so bad, and I am not pleased to find that, after a very comfortable intermission, the old flatulence distressed me again last night. The world is full of ups and downs,' as, I think, I told you once before.
“Lichfield is full of box-clubs. The ladies have one for their own sex. They have incorporated themselves under the appellation of the Amicable Society; and pay each twopence a week to the box. Any woman who can produce the weekly twopence is admitted to the society; and when any of the poor subscribers is in want, she has six shillings a week; and, I think, when she dies five pounds are given to her children. Lucy is not one, nor Mrs. Cobb. The subscribers are always quarrelling; and every now and then, a lady, in a fume, withdraws her name; but they are an hundred pounds beforehand.
"Mr. Green has got a cast of Shakspeare, which he holds to be a very exact resemblance.
"There is great lamentation here for the death of Col. Lucy is of opinion that he was wonderfully handsome.
[The following letter, addressed to Dr. Johnson, though it does not belong to his personal history, describes a scene of public amusement, and affords some details concerning the abits of society, which may amuse the reader, and in a work of this nature will hardly be considered as misplaced.]
["MRS. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON.
Lett v. i. p.
"Now for the regatta, of which, Baretti says, the first notion was taken from Venice, where the gon- 247. doliers practise rowing against each other perpetually; and I dare say 'tis good diversion where the weather invites, and the water seduces to such entertainments. Here, however, it was not likely to answer; and I think nobody was pleased.
"Well! Croesus promised a reward, you remember, for him who should produce a new delight; but the prize was never obtained, for nothing that was new proved delightful; and Dr. Goldsmith, three thousand years afterwards, found out that whoever did a new thing did a bad thing, and whoever said a new thing said a false thing. So yestermorning, a flag flying from some conspicuous steeple in Westminster gave notice of the approaching festival, and at noon the managers determined to hold it on that day. In about two hours the wind rose very high, and the river was exceedingly rough; but the lot was cast, and the ladies went on with their dresses. It had been agreed that all should wear white; but the ornaments were left to our own choice. I was afraid of not being fine enough; so I trimmed my white lutestring with silver gauze, and wore black riband intermixed. We had obtained more tickets than I hoped for, though Sir Thomas Robinson 1 gave us [Ante, v. i. p. 173.-ED.]
"He wished Hester [Miss Thrale] to go, and she wished it too, and her father wished; so I would not stand out, though my fears for her health and safety lessened the sure her company always gives. The D'Avenants, then, Mr. Cator, Mr. Evans, Mr. Seward, and ourselves, set about being happy with all our might, and tried for a barge to flutter in altogether. The barges, however, were already full, and we were to be divided and put into separate boats. The water was rough, even seriously so; the time glided away in deliberation of what was to be done; and we resolved, at last, to run to the house of a gentleman in the Temple, of whom we knew nothing but that he was D'Avenant's friend, and look at the race from his windows, then drive away for Ranelagh, in time to see the barges drawn up, and the company disembark. Of the race, however, scarce any thing could be seen for clouds of dust that intercepted one's sight; and we have no balconies to see shows from, as are provided in countries where processions make much of the means of entertainment; so we discomposed our headdresses against each other, by struggling for places in an open window, and then begged pardons with courtesies, which exposed our trains to be trod on, and made us still more out of humour. It was however a real pleasure to look at the crowd of spectators. Every shop was shut; every street deserted; and the tops of all such houses as had any catch of the river swarmed with people, like bees settling on a branch. Here is no exaggeration, upon my honour; even the lamp-irons on Westminster-bridge were converted into seats, while every lighter lying in the Thames bore men up to the topmast-head. This was the true wonder of the day. Baretti says he will show us finer sights when we go to Italy.
none at last; but he gives one such a pro- | me for a long while out of the notion that fusion of words, and bows, and compliments, it was covered with black, till through a telthat I suppose he thinks every thing else escope we espied the animals in motion, superfluous. Mr. Cator was the man for like magnified mites in a bit of old cheese. a real favour at last, whose character is di- Well! from this house in the Temple we rectly opposite, as you know; but if both hasted away to Ranelagh, happy in having are actuated by the spirit of kindness, let us at least convinced a hundred folks we never try at least to love them both. saw before, and perhaps never shall see again, that we had tickets for the regatta, and fine clothes to spoil with the rain, and that we were not come thither like the vulgar plea--in good time!—only to see the boat-race. And now, without one image of Cleopatra's galley or Virgil's games, or one pretext to say how it put us in mind of either, we drove to Ranelagh, and told each other all the way how pretty it would be to look at the ladies disembarking to musick, and walking in procession up to the rotunda. But the night came on; the wind roared; the rain fell; and the barges missing their way, many came up to the wrong stairs. The managers endeavoured to rectify the mistake, and drive them back, that some order might be kept, and some appearance of regularity might be made; but the women were weary and wet, and in no disposition to try for further felicity out of the old common road; so the procession was spoiled: and as to musick, we heard none but screams of the frighted company, as they were tossed about at the moment of getting to shore. Once more, then, all were turned loose to look for pleasure where it could be found. The rotunda was not to be opened till twelve o'clock, when the bell was to call us to sup there; the temporary building was not finished, and the rain would not permit walking in the garden. Calamity, however, vanishes often upon a near approach—does not it?-as well as happiness. We all crowded into the new building, from whence we drove the carpenters, and called for cards, without the help of which, by some fatality, no day dedicated to amusement is ever able to end.
"Queeney said there was no loss of the ornaments intended to decorate Neptune's hall; for she saw no attempt at embellishment, except a few fluttering rags, like those which dangle from a dyer's pole into the
I believe him; but shall we ever see so pop-street; and in that room we sat telling ulous a city as London? so rich a city? so happy a city? I fancy not.
opinions, adventures, &c. till supper was served, which the men said was an execrable one, and I thought should have been finer. Was nothing good, then?' you begin to exclaim; here is desire of saying something where little is to be said, and lamentations are the readiest nonsense my mistress can find to fill her letter with.' No, no; I would commend the concert, the catch singers, for an hour, if you would hear me; the musick was well selected, and admirably executed; nor did the company look much amiss when all the dismal was
'Let bear or elephant be e'er so white, The people sure, the people, are the sight.' "They could not indeed be very attentive to the games, like those Horace talks of, for here was neither panther nor camel; no pretence to draw us together, as I could | find; yet they sat so thick upon the slating of Whitehall, that nobody could persuade
1 [A timber-merchant in the Borough.—ED.]
over, and we walked round Ranelagh a lit- | whole transaction, and need not regret that tle in the old way;-every body being you did not make the tour of the Hebrides." dressed in white was no advantage indeed to the general appearance.
"We returned safe nome about five or six o'clock: a new scene to Hester, who behaved sweetly, and had no fears in the crowd, but prodigious surprise in finding it broad day when we came out. I might have wondered too, for few people have frequented publick places less than myself; and for the first six years after my marriage, as you know, I never set my foot in any theatre or place of entertainment at all. What most amazed me about this regatta, however, was the mixture of company, when tickets were so difficult to obtain. Somebody talked at Ranelagh of two ladies that were drowned; but I have no doubt that was a dream."]
"O quid habes illius, illius Quæ spirabat amores Quæ me surpuerat mihi.' HOR. Od. 13. 1. 4. He returned to town about the end of August.]
After my return to Scotland, I wrote three letters to him, from which I extract the following passages:
"I have seen Lord Hailes since I came down. He thinks it wonderful that you are pleased to take so much pains in revising his Annals.' I told him that you said you were well rewarded by the entertainment which you had in reading them."
[In the last days of June, he removed to Ashbourne; and his letters thence contain the usual routine of his country "There has been a numerous flight of observations, with one or two more charac- Hebrideans in Edinburgh this summer, teristic circumstances. He was very anx-whom I have been happy to entertain at ious that an old horse of Mrs. Thrale's my house. Mr. Donald Macqueen 1 and should not be sold to hard work, or, as he Lord Monboddo supped with me one evencalled it, degraded, for five pounds, and was ing. They joined in controverting your willing to have borne the expense of main- proposition. that the Gaëlick of the Hightaining the poor animal. lands and Isles of Scotland was not written till of late."
For his friend Baretti, of some point of whose conduct Mrs. Thrale had complained, he intercedes with that lady in a tone of modest propriety:
"DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE.
Letters, "Poor Baretti! do not quarrel 271 P with him; to neglect him a little will be sufficient. He means only to be frank, and manly, and independent, and perhaps, as you say, a little wise. To be frank, he thinks, is to be cynical, and to be independent to be rude. Forgive him, dearest lady, the rather because of his misbehaviour; I am afraid he has learned part of me. I hope to set him hereafter a better example."
"Lichfield, July , 1775. "I have passed one day at Birmingham with my old friend Hector-there's a name! and his sister, an old love. My mistress is grown much older than my friend.
"DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE.
"You and [Baretti] are friends again. My dear mistress has the quality of being easily reconciled, and not easily offended. Kindness is a good thing in itself; and there are few things that are worthy of anger, and still fewer that can justify malignity.
"I am glad you read Boswell's Journal. You are now sufficiently informed of the
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. "London, Aug. 27, 1775. "DEAR SIR,-I am returned from the annual ramble into the middle counties. Having seen nothing I had not seen before I have nothing to relate. Time nas left that part of the island few antiquities; and commerce has left the people no singularities. I was glad to go abroad, and, perhaps, glad to come home; which is in other words, I was, I am afraid, weary of being at home, and weary of being abroad. Is
This coolness soon ended, as the not this the state of life? But, if we connext letter informs us:
fess this weariness, let us not lament it; for all the wise and all the good say, that we may cure it.
For the black fumes which rise in your mind, I can prescribe nothing but that you disperse them by honest business or innocent pleasure, and by reading, sometimes easy and sometimes serious. Change of
"My mind has been somewhat dark this summer. I have need of your warming and vivifying rays; and I hope I shall have them frequently. I am going to pass some time with my father at Auchinleck."
1 The very learned minister in the Isle of Sky. whom both Dr. Johnson and I have mentioned with regard.-BOSWELL. [See ante, vol. i. p. 877.—ED.]