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TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
I have an old amanuensis in great distress. I have given what I think I can give, and begged till I cannot tell where to beg again. 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,
May 21, 1775.
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
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 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 that I would try to serve her son at Oxford. I 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 loath 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. I am, my dearest Sir, with great affection,
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.' 1 told him that you said you were well rewarded by the entertainment which you had in reading them.
There has been a numerous flight of Hebrideans in Edinburgh this Mr. Dosummer, whom I have been happy to entertain at my house. nald Macqueen and Lord Monboddo supped with me one evening. They joined in controverting your proposition, that the Gaelick of the Highlands and Isles of Scotland was not written till of late.
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.”
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
I am returned from the annual ramble into the middle counties, Having seen nothing I had not seen before, I have nothing to relațe. Time has 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 not this the state of life? But, if we confess 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 place is useful; and I hope that your residence at Auchinleck will have many good effects.
That I should have given pain to Rasay, I am sincerely sorry; and He still am therefore very much pleased that he is no longer uneasy. thinks that I have represented him as personally giving up the Chieftainship, I meant only that it was no longer contested between the two houses, and supposed it settled, perhaps, by the cession of some remote generation, in the house of Dunvegan. I am sorry the advertisement was not continued for three or four times in the paper.
That Lord Monboddo and Mr. Macqueen should controvert a position contrary to the imaginary interest of literary or national prejudice, might be easily imagined; but of a standing fact there ought to be no controversy; if there are men with tails, catch an homo caudatus; if there was
writing of old in the Highlands or Hebrides, in the Erse language, produce the manuscripts. Where men write they will write to one another, and some of their letters, in families studious of their ancestry, will be kept. In Wales there are many manuscripts.
I have now three parcels of Lord Hailes's history, which I purpose to return all the next week: that his respect for my little observations should keep his work in suspense, makes one of the evils of my journey. It is, in our language, I think, a new mode of history which tells all that is wanted, and, I suppose, all that is known, without laboured splendour of language, or affected subtility of conjecture. The exactness of his dates raises my wonder. He seems to have the closeness of Henault without his constraint.
Mrs. Thrale was so entertained with your 'Journal' that she almost read herself blind. She has a great regard for you.
Of Mrs. Boswell, though she knows in her heart that she does not love me, I am always glad to hear any good, and hope that she and the little dear ladies will have neither sickness nor any other affliction. But she knows that she does not care what becomes of me, and for that she may be sure that I think her very much to blame,
Never, my dear Sir, do you take it into your head to think that I do not love you; you may settle yourselfin full confidence both of my love and my esteem. I love you as a kind man, I value you as a worthy man, and hope in time to reverence you as a man of exemplary piety. I hold you, as Hamlet has it in my heart of hearts,' and therefore, it is little to I am, say, that Sir, Your affectionate Humble servant,
London, August 27, 1775.
TO THE SAME.
If in these papers there is little alteration attempted, do not suppose me negligent. I have read them perhaps more closely than the rest; but I find nothing worthy of an objection.
Write to me soon, and write often, and tell me all your honest heart. I am, Sir, Your's affectionately,
August 30, 1775.
TO THE SAME.
MY DEAR SIR,
I now write to you, lest in some of your freaks and humours you should fancy yourself neglected. Such fancies I must entreat you never
to admit, at least never to indulge; for my regard for you is so radicated and fixed, that it is become part of my mind, and cannot be effaced but by some cause uncommonly violent; therefore, whether I write or not, set your thoughts at rest. I now write to tell you that I shall not very soon write again, for I am to set out to-morrow on another journey.
Your friends are all well at Streatham, and in Leicester-fields. Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, if she is in good humour with me. I am, Sir, &c. SAM. JOHNSON,
September 14, 1775.
What he mentions in such light terins as, I am to set out to-morrow on another journey,' I soon afterwards discovered was no less than a tour to Frauce with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. This was the only time in his life that he went upon the Continent.
TO MR. ROBERT LEVET.
Calais. Sept. 18, 1775.
We are here in France, after a very pleasing passage of no more than six hours. I know not when I shall write again, aud therefore I write now, though you cannot suppose that I have much to say. You have seeu France yourself. From this place we are going to Rouen, and from Rouen to Paris, where Mr. Thrale designs to stay about five or six weeks. We have a regular recommendation to the English resident, so we shall not be taken for vagabonds. We think to go one way and return another, and for as much as we can, I will try to speak a little French; I tried hitherto but little, but I spoke sometimes. If I heard better, I suppose I should learn faster.
We are still here, commonly very busy in looking about us. have been to-day at Versailles. You have seen it, and I shall not describe it. We came yesterday from Fontainbleau, where the Court is now. We went to see the King and Queen at dinner, and the Queen was so impressed by Miss, that she sent one of the Gentlemen to enquire who she was. I find all true that you have ever told me at Paris. Mr. Thrale