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came like a large treasure upon me, while already glittering with riches. I was quite enchanted at Chester; so that I could with difficulty quit it. But the enchantment was the reverse of that of Circé; for so far was there from being anything sensual in it, that I was all mind. I do not mean all reason only: for my fancy was kept finely in play. And why not?—If you please I will send you a copy, or an abridgment of my Chester journal, which is truly a log-book of felicity.
"The Bishop treated me with a kindness which was very flattering. I told him that you regretted you had seen so little of Chester. His Lordship bade me tell you, that he should be glad to show you more of it. I am proud to find the friendship with which you honour me is known in so many places.
"I arrived here late last night. Our friend the Dean has been gone from hence some months; but I am told at my inn, that he is very populous (popular.) However, I found Mr. Law, the Archdeacon, son to the Bishop, and with him I have breakfasted and dined very agreeably. I got acquainted with him at the assizes here about a year and a half ago; he is a man of great variety of knowledge, uncommon genius, and, I believe, sincere religion. I received the holy sacrament in the Cathedral in the morning, this being the first Sunday in the month; and was at prayers there in the morning. It is divinely cheering to me to think that there is a Cathedral so near Auchinleck; and I now leave Old England in such a state of mind as I am thankful to Gor for granting me.
"The black dog that worries me at home I cannot but dread; yet, as I have been for some time past in a military train, I trust I shall repulse him. To hear from you will animate me like the sound of a trumpet; I therefore hope, that soon after my return to the northern field, I shall receive a few lines from you.
"Colonel Stuart did me the honour to escort me in his carriage to show me Liverpool, and from thence back again to Warrington, where we parted.1 In justice to my valuable wife, I must inform you she wrote to me, that as I was so happy, she would not be so selfish as to wish me to return sooner than business absolutely required my presence. She made my clerk write to me a post or two after to the same purpose, by commission from her; and this day a kind letter from her met me at the Post-office here, acquainting me that she and the little ones were well, and expressing all their wishes for my return home.
"I am, more and more, my dear Sir, your affectionate
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
London, Nov. 13, 1779.
"DEAR SIR, "Your last letter was not only kind but fond. But I wish you to get rid of all intellectual excesses, and neither to exalt your pleasures, nor aggravate
1 His regiment was afterwards ordered to Jamaica, where he accompanied it, and almost lost his life by the climate. This impartial order, I should think a sufficient refutation of the idle rumour that "there was still something behind the throne greater than the throne itself."-BosWELL
your vexations beyond their real and natural state. Why should you not be as happy at Edinburgh as at Chester? In culpa est animus, qui se non effugit usquam. Please yourself with your wife and children, and studies, and practice.
“I have sent a petition,1 from Lucy Porter, with which I leave it to your discretion whether it is proper to comply. Return me her letter, which I have sent, that you may know the whole case, and not be seduced to anything that you may afterwards repent. Miss Doxy perhaps you know to be Mr. Garrick's niece.
"If Dean Percy can be popular at Carlisle, he may be very happy. He has in his disposal two livings, each equal, or almost equal in value to the deanery; he may take one himself, and give the other to his son.
"How near is the Cathedral to Auchinleck, that you are so much delighted with it? It is I suppose, at least an hundred and fifty miles off. However, if you are pleased, it is so far well.
"Let me know what reception you have from your father, and the state of his health. Please him as much as you can, and add no pain to his last years.
"Of our friends here I can recollect nothing to tell you. I have neither seen nor heard of Langton. Beauclerk is just returned from Brighthelmstone, I am told much better. Mr. Thrale and his family are still there; and his health is said to be visibly improved; he has not bathed but hunted.
"At Bolt-court there is much malignity, but of late little open hostility. I have had a cold, but it is gone.
"Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, &c.
"I am, Sir, your humble servant,
On November 22, and December 21, I wrote to him from Edinburgh, giving a very favourable report of the family of Miss Doxy's lover-that after a good deal of inquiry I had discovered the sister of Mr. Francis Stewart, one of his amanuenses when writing his Dictionary; that I had, as desired by him, paid her a guinea for an old pocket-book of her brother's, which he had retained: and that the good woman, who was in very moderate circumstances, but contented and placid, wondered at his scrupulous and liberal honesty, and received the guinea as if sent her by Providence. That I had repeatedly begged of him to keep his promise to send his letter to Lord Chesterfield, and that this memento, like Delenda est Carthago, must be in every letter that I should write to him, till I had obtained my object.
In 1780, the world was kept in impatience for the completion of Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," upon which he was employed so far as his indolence allowed him to labour.
I wrote to him on January 1, and March 13, sending him my notes of Lord Marchmont's information concerning Pope, complaining that I
1 Requesting me to inquire concerning the family of a gentleman who was en paying his addresses to Miss Doxy.-BOSWELL.
had not heard from him for almost four months, though he was two letters in my debt; that I had suffered again from melancholy; hoping that he had been in so much better company (the Poets), that he had not time to think of his distant friends; for if that were the case, I should have some recompense for my uneasiness; that the state of my affairs did not admit of my coming to London this year, and begging he would return me Goldsmith's two poems, with his lines marked.
His friend Dr. Lawrence, having now suffered the greatest affliction to which a man is liable, and which Johnson himself had felt in the most severe manner, Johnson wrote to him in an admirable strain of sympathy and pious consolation.
"TO DR. LAWRENCE.
January 20, 1780.
"At a time when all your friends ought to show their kindness, and with a character which ought to make all that know you your friends, you may wonder that you have yet heard nothing from me.
"I have been hindered by a vexatious cough, for which within these ten days I have been bled once, fasted four or five times, taken physic five times, and opiates, I think six. This day it seems to remit.
"The loss, dear Sir, which you have lately suffered, I felt many years ago, and know, therefore, how much has been taken from you, and how little help can be had from consolation. He that outlives a wife whom he has loved,sees himself disjointed from the only mind that has the same hopes, and fears, and interest; from the only companion with whom he has shared much good or evil; and with whom he could set his mind at liberty, to retrace the past or anticipate the future. The continuity of being is lacerated; the settled course of sentiment and action is stopped and life stands suspended and motionless, till it is driven by external causes into a new channel. But the time of suspense is dreadful.
"Our first recourse, in this distressed solitude, is, perhaps for want of habitual piety, to a gloomy acquiescence in necessity. Of two mortal beings, one must lose the other; but surely there is a higher and better comfort to be drawn from the consideration of that Providence which watches over all, and a belief that the living and the dead are equally in the hands of God, who will reunite those whom he has separated; or who sees that it is best not to reunite.
"I am, dear Sir,
"Your most affectionate and most humble servant,
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
April 8, 1780.
"Well, I had resolved to send you the Chesterfield letter; but I will write once again without it. Never impose tasks upon mortals. To require two things is the way to have them both undone.
"For the difficulties which you mention in your affairs I am sorry; but difficulty is now very general: it is not therefore less grievous, for there is less hope of help. I pretend not to give you advice, not knowing the state of your affairs; and general counsels about prudence and frugality would do you little good. You are, however, in the right not to increase your own perplexity by a journey hither; and I hope that by staying at home you will please your father.
"Poor dear Beauclerk-nec, ut soles, dabis joca. His wit and his folly, his acuteness and maliciousness, his merriment and reasoning, are now over. Such another will not often be found among mankind. He directed himself to be buried by the side of his mother-an instance of tenderness which I hardly expected. He has left his children to the care of Lady Di, and if she dies, of Mr. Langton, and of Mr. Leicester, his relation, and a man of good character. His library has been offered for sale to the Russian Ambassador.2
"Dr. Percy, notwithstanding all the noise of the newspapers, has had no literary loss.3 Clothes and moveables were burnt to the value of about £100; but his papers, and I think his books, were all preserved.
"Poor Mr. Thrale has been in extreme danger from an apoplectical disorder, and recovered, beyond the expectation of his physicians; he is now at Bath, that his mind may be quiet, and Mrs. Thrale and Miss are with him.
"Having told you what has happened to your friends, let me say something to you of yourself. You are always complaining of melancholy, and I conclude from those complaints that you are fond of it. No man talks of that which he is desirous to conceal, and every man desires to conceal that of which he is ashamed. Do not pretend to deny it; manifestum habemus furem; make it an invariable and obligatory law to yourself, never to mention your own mental diseases; if you are never to speak of them you will think on them but little, and if you think little of them, they will molest you rarely. When you talk of them, it is plain that you want either praise or pity; for praise there is no room, and pity will do you no good; therefore, from this hour speak no more, think no more, about them.
LADY DIANA BEAUCLERK.
"Your transaction with Mrs. Stewart gave me great satisfaction; I am much obliged to you for your attention. Do not lose sight of her; your countenance may be of great credit, and of consequence of great advantage to her. The
1 The Hon. Topham Beauclerk died March 11, 1780.-MALONE.
Mr. Beauclerk's library was sold by public auction in April and May, 1781, for £5011.MALONE.
3 By a fire in Northumberland House, where he had an apartment, in which I have passed many an agreeable hour.-BOSWELL.
memory of her brother is yet fresh in my mind; he was an ingenious and worthy man.
"Please to make my compliments to your lady and to the young ladies. I should like to see them, pretty loves. I am, dear Sir, yours affectionately, "SAM. JOHNSON."
Mrs. Thrale being now at Bath with her husband, the correspondence between Johnson and her was carried on briskly. I shall present my readers with one of her original letters to him at this time, which will amuse them probably more than those well-written but studied epistles which she has inserted in her collection, because it exhibits the easy vivacity of their literary intercourse. It is also of value as a key to Johnson's answer, which she has printed by itself, and of which I shall subjoin extracts.
"MRS. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON.
Bath, Friday, April 28. "I had a very kind letter from you yesterday, dear Sir, with a most circumstantial date. You took trouble with my circulating letter, Mr. Evans writes me word, and I thank you sincerely for so doing: one might do mischief else not being on the spot.
Yesterday's evening was passed at Mrs. Montagu's: there was Mr. Melmoth; I do not like him though, nor he me; it was expected we should
have pleased each other; he is, however, just Tory enough to hate the Bishop of Peterborough for Whiggism, and Whig enough to abhor you for Toryism.
"Mrs. Montagu flattered him finely; so he had a good afternoon on't. This evening we spend at a concert. Poor Queeney's sore eyes have just released her; she had a long confinement, and could neither read nor write, so my master treated her very good-naturedly with the visits of a young woman in this town, a tailor's daughter, who professes music, and teaches so as to give six lessons a day to ladies, at five and threepence a lesson. Miss Burney says, she is a great performer; and I respect the wench for getting her living so prettily;
she is very modest and pretty-mannered, and not seventeen years old.
Mr. Wm. Melmoth is known in literary history as the translator of the Letters of Cicero and Pliny, and as the author of "Fitzosborne's Letters." He died in 1799, aged 89.-ED. 2 Dr. John Hinchliffe.-BOSWELL.
3 A kind of nick-name given to Mrs. Thrale's eldest daughter, whose name being Esther she might be assimilated to a Queen.-BoswELL. 4 Mr. Thrale.-BOSWELL.