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destructive of cach other. This prescription exhibits a composition of about
having me in your
“ I suffered you to escape last post without a letter, but you are not to expect such indulgence very often, for I write not so much because I have any thing to say, as because I hope for an answer; and the vacancy of my
life here makes a letter of great value.--I have here little company and little amusement, and thus abandoned to the contemplation of my own miseries, I am sometimes gloomy and depressed; this too I resist as I can, and find opium, I think, useful, but I seldom take more than one grain.Is not this strange weather? Winter absorbed the spring, and now autumn is come before we have had summer. But let not our kindness for each other imitate the inconstancy of the seasons.”
Sept. 2. « Mr. Windham has been here to see me, he came, I think, forty miles out of his way, and staid about a day and a half, perhaps I make the time shorter than it was. Such conversation I shall not have again till I come back to the regions of literature, and there Windham is, inter stellas' Luna minores." He then mentions the effects of certain medicines, as taken, that “ Nature is recovering its original powers, and the functions returning
It is remarkable that so good a Latin fcholar as Johnson, should have been so inattentive to the metre, as by mistake to have written fiellas instead of ignes.
to their proper state. God continue his mercies, and grant me to use them
“ Do you know the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire ? And
Sept. 11. “ I think nothing grows worse, but all rather better, except neep, and that of late has been at its old pranks. Last evening, I felt what I had not known for a long time, an inclination to walk for amusement; I took a short walk, and came back again neither breathless nor fatigued.This has been a gloomy, frigid, ungenial summer, but of late it seems to mend; I hear the heat fometimes mentioned, but I do not feel it,
« Præterea minimus gelido jam in corpore fanguis
Febre calet fola.'
I hope, however, with good help, to find means of supporting a winter at
“ I have now let you alone for a long time, having indeed little
again. Of the hot weather that you mention, we have had in Derbyshire very much, and for myself I seldom feel heat, and suppose that my frigidity is the effect of my distemper, a supposition which naturally leads me to hope that a hotter climate may be useful. But I hope to stand another English winter.”
Lichfield, Sept. 29. “ On one day I had three letters about the airballoon : yours was far the best, and has enabled me to impart to my friends in the country an idea of this species of amusement. In amusement, mere amusement, I am afraid it must end, for I do not find that its course can be directed so as that it should serve any purposes of communication; and it can
give no new intelligence of the state of the air at different heights, till they have ascended above the height of mountains, which they seem never likely to do. I came hither on the 27th. How long I shall stay, I have not determined. My dropsy is gone, and my asthma much remitted, but I have felt myself a little declining these two days, or at least to-day; but such vicissitudes must be expected. One day may be worse than another; but this last month is far better than the former; if the next should be as much better than this, I shall run about the town on my own legs.”
October 6. « The fate of the balloon I do not much lament: to make new balloons is to repeat the jest again. We now know a method of mounting into the air, and, I think, are not likely to know more. The vehicles can serve no use till we can guide them; and they can gratify no curiosity till we mount with them to greater heights than we can reach without, till we rise above the tops of the highest mountains, which we have yet not done. We know the state of the air in all its regions, to the top of Teneriffe, and therefore learn nothing from those who navigate a balloon below the clouds. The first experiment, however, was bold, and deserved applause and reward. But since it has been performed, and its event is known, I had rather now find a medicine that can ease an asthma." October 25.
“ You write to me with a zeal that animates, and a tenderness that melts me. I am not afraid either of a journey to London, or a residence in it. I came down with little fatigue, and am now not weaker. In the smoky atmosphere I was delivered from the dropsy, which I consider as the original and radical disease. The town is my element; there are my friends, there are my books, to which I have not yet bidden farewell, and there are my amusements. Sir Joshua told me long ago, that my vocation was to publick life, and I hope still to keep my station, till God shall bid me Go in peace."
To Mr. Hoole. Ashbourne, Aug. 7. “ Since I was here, I have two little letters from you, and have not had the gratitude to write. But every man is most free with his best friends, because he does not suppose that they can suspect him of intentional incivility.-One reason for my omission is, that
• His love of London continually appears. Once upon reading that line in the curious epitaph quoted in the “ Spectator,"
“ Bom in New England, did in London dic;" he laughed and said, “I do not wonder at this. It would have been ftrange, if born in London, he had died in New England."
being in a place to which you are wholly a stranger, I have no topicks of 1784.
“ I thank you for your affectionate letter. I hope we shall both
your mind; they cannot at all assist it, nor I think regulate its motion.
Sept. 4. “ Your letter was, indeed, long in coming, but it was very welcome. Our acquaintance has now subsisted long, and our recollection of each other involves a great space, and many little occurrences, which melt the thoughts to tenderness. Write to me, therefore, as frequently as you can.--I hear from Dr. Brocklesby and Mr. Ryland, that the Club is not. crouded. I hope we shall enliven it when winter brings us together."
To DR. BURNEY. August 2. « The weather, you know, has not been balmy; I am now reduced to think, and am at last content to talk of the weather. Pride must have a fall}, --I have lost dear Mr. Allen, and wherever I turn, the dead or the dying meet my notice, and force my attention upon misery
3 There was no information for which Dr. Johnson was less grateful than for that which concerned the weather. It was in allusion to his impatience with those who were reduced to keep conversation alive by observations on the weather, that he applied the old proverb to himself. If any one of his intimate acquaintance told him it was hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm, he would stop them, by saying, “ Poh! pohl you are telling us that of which none but men in a mine or a dungeon can be ignorant. Let us bear with patience, or enjoy in quiet, elementary changes, whether for the better or the worse, as they are never secretsa" Burnby.
and mortality. Mrs. Burney's escape from so much danger, and her ease after so much pain, throws, however, some radiance of hope upon the gloomy prospect. May her recovery be perfect, and her continuance long.--I struggle hard for life. I take physick, and take air; my friend's chariot is always ready. We have run this morning twenty-four miles, and could run fortyeight more. But who can run the race with death?"
Sept. 4. [Concerning a private transaction, in which his opinion was asked, and after giving it he makes the following reflections, which are applicable on other occasions.] Nothing deferves more compassion than wrong conduct with good meaning; than lofs or obloquy fuffered by one who, as he is conscious only of good intentions, wonders why he loses that kindness which he wishes to preserve ; and not knowing his own fault, if, as may sometimes happen, nobody will tell him, goes on to offend by his endeavours to please. I am delighted by finding that our opinions are the same. You will do me a real kindness by continuing to write. A post-day has now been long a day of recreation.”
Nov. I. “ Our correspondence paused for want of topicks. I had said what I had to say on the matter proposed to my consideration; and nothing remained but to tell you, that I waked or Nept; that I was more or lefs sick. I drew my thoughts in upon myself, and supposed yours employed upon your book.—That your book has been delayed I am glad, since you have gained
I an opportunity of being more exact.-Of the caution necessary in adjusting narratives there is no end. Some tell what they do not know, that they may not seem ignorant, and others from mere indifference about truth. All truth is not, indeed, of equal importance; but, if little violations are allowed, every violation will in time be thought little ; and a writer should keep himself vigilantly on his guard against the first temptations to negligence or supineness.--I had ceased to write, because respecting you I had no more to say, and respecting myself could say little good. I cannot boast of advancement, and in cases of convalescence it may be said, with few exceptions, non progredi, est regredi. I hope I may be excepted.—My great difficulty was with my sweet Fanny, who, by her artifice of inserting her letter in yours, had given me a precept of frugality which I was not at liberty to neglect; and I know not who were in town under whose cover I could send my letter. I rejoice to hear that you are all so well, and have a delight particularly sympathetick in the recovery of Mrs. Burney.”
To Mr. LANGTON, Aug. 25. “ The kindness of your last letter, and my omission to answer it, begins to give you, even in my opinion, a right to