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(turning to Goldsmith,) I am not quite idle: I made one line t'other day; but I made no more." GOLDSMITH. 'Let us hear it; we'll put a bad one to it." JOHNSON. "No, sir; I have forgot it."

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Such specimens of the easy and playful conversation of the great Dr. Samuel Johnson are, I think, to be prized; as exhibiting the little varieties of a mind so enlarged and so powerful when objects of consequence required its exertions, and as giving us a minute knowledge of his character and modes of thinking.


"DEAR SIR,-What your friends have done, that from your departure till now nothing has been heard of you, none of us are able to inform the rest; but as we are all neglected alike, no one thinks himself entitled to the privilege of complaint.


I should have known nothing of you or of Langton, from the time that dear Miss Langton left us, had not I met Mr. Simpson of Lincoln one day in the street, by whom I was informed that Mr. Langton, your mamma, and yourself had been all ill, but that you were all recovered.

"That sickness should suspend your correspondence, I did not wonder; but hoped that it would be renewed at your recovery.

"Since you will not inform us where you are, or how you live, I know not whether you desire to know any thing of us. However, I will tell you that THE CLUB subsists; but we have the loss of Burke's company since he has been engaged in publick business, in which he has gained more reputation than perhaps any man at his [first] appearance ever gained before. He made two speeches in the house for repealing the stamp act, which were publickly commended by Mr. Pitt, and have filled the town with wonder.

"Burke is a great man by nature, and is expected soon to attain civil greatness. I am grown greater too, for I have maintained the newspapers these many weeks; and what is greater still, I have risen every morning since Newyear's day, at about eight: when I was up, I have indeed done but little; yet it is no slight advancement to obtain, for so many hours more, the consciousness of being.



"I wish you were in my new study; I am now writing the first letter in it. I think it looks very pretty about me. 'Dyer is constant at THE CLUB; Hawkins is remiss; I am not over diligent. Dr. Nugent, Dr. Goldsmith, and Mr. Reynolds are very constant. M. Lye is printing his Saxon and Gothic Dictionary: all THE CLUB subscribes. "You will pay my respects to all my Lincolnshire friends. I am, dear sir,

"March 9, 1766,

"Johnson's-court, Fleet-street."

Most affectionately yours,



"DEAR SIR,-In supposing that I should be more than commonly affected by the death of Peregrine Langton, you were not mistaken; he was one of those whom I loved at once by instinct and by reason. I have seldom indulged more hope of any thing than of being able to improve our acquaintance to friendship. Many a time have I placed myself again at Langton, and imagined the pleasure with which I should walk to Partneys in a summer morning; but this is no longer possible. We must now

e Samuel Dyer, esq. a most learned and ingenious member of the Literary Club, for whose understanding and attainments Dr. Johnson had great respect. He died Sept. 14th, 1772. A more particular account of this gentleman may be found in a note on the Life of Dryden, p. 186, prefixed to the edition of that writer's prose works, in four volumes, 8vo. 1800: where sir John Hawkins's representations are proved to have been most unjust. See his Life of Dr. Johnson, p. 222. 232; see also Prior's Life of Burke.-ED.

f Mr. Langton's uncle.

The place of residence of Mr. Peregrine Langton.

endeavour to preserve what is left us,-his example of piety and economy. I hope you make what enquiries you can, and write down what is told you. The little things which distinguish domestick characters are soon forgotten: if you delay to enquire, you will have no information; if you neglect to write, information will be vain h.

↳ Mr. Langton did not disregard this counsel, but wrote the following account, which he has been pleased to communicate to me.


"The circumstances of Mr. Peregrine Langton were these. He had an annuity for life of two hundred pounds per annum. He resided in a village in Lincolnshire the rent of his house, with two or three small fields, was twentyeight pounds; the county he lived in was not more than moderately cheap his family consisted of a sister, who paid him eighteen pounds annually for her board, and a niece. The servants were two maids, and two men in livery. His common way of living, at his table, was three or four dishes; the appurtenances to his table were neat and handsome; he frequently entertained company at dinner, and then his table was well served, with as many dishes as were usual at the tables of the other gentlemen in the neighbourhood. His own appearance, as to clothes, was genteelly neat and plain. He had always a postchaise, and kept three horses.

Such, with the resources I have mentioned, was his way of living, which he did not suffer to employ his whole income: for he had always a sum of money lying by him for any extraordinary expenses that might arise. Some money he put into the stocks; at his death, the sum he had there amounted to one hundred and fifty pounds. He purchased out of his income his household furniture and linen, of which latter he had a very ample store; and, as I am assured by those that had very good means of knowing, not less than the tenth part of his income was set apart for charity at the time of his death, the sum of twenty-five pounds was found, with a direction to be employed in such uses. "He had laid down a plan of living proportioned to his income, and did not practise any extraordinary degree of parsimony, but endeavoured that in his family there should be plenty without waste. As an instance that this was his endeavour, it may be worth while to mention a method he took in regulating a proper allowance of malt liquor to be drunk in his family, that there might not be a deficiency, or any intemperate profusion. On a complaint made, that his allowance of a hogshead in a month was not enough for his own family, he ordered the quantity of a hogshead to be put into bottles, had it locked up from the servants, and distributed out, every day, eight quarts, which is the quantity each day at one hogshead in a month; and told his servants, that if that did not suffice, he would allow them more; but, by this method, it appeared at once that the allowance was much more than sufficient for his small family; and this proved a clear conviction, that could not be answered, and saved all future dispute. He was, in general, very diligently and punctually attended and obeyed by his servants; he was very considerate as to the injunctions he gave, and explained them distinctly: and, at their first coming to his service, steadily

"His art of life certainly deserves to be known and studied. He lived in plenty and elegance upon an income which to many would appear indigent, and to most scanty. How he lived, therefore, every man has an in

exacted a close compliance with them, without any remission: and the servants finding this to be the case, soon grew habitually accustomed to the practice of their business, and then very little further attention was necessary. On extraordinary instances of good behaviour or diligent service, he was not wanting in particular encouragements and presents above their wages: it is remarkable that he would permit their relations to visit them, and stay at his house two or three days at a time.

"The wonder, with most that hear an account of his economy, will be, how he was able, with such an income, to do so much, especially when it is considered that he paid for every thing he had. He had no land, except the two or three small fields which I have said he rented; and, instead of gaining any thing by their produce, I have reason to think he lost by them; however, they furnished him with no farther assistance towards his housekeeping, than grass for his horses, (not hay, for that I know he bought,) and for two cows. Every Monday morning he settled his family accounts, and so kept up a constant attention to the confining his expenses within his income; and to do it more exactly, compared those expenses with a computation he had made, how much that income would afford him every week and day of the year. One of his economical practices was, as soon as any repair was wanting in or about his house, to have it immediately performed. When he had money to spare, he chose to lay in a provision of linen or clothes, or any other necessaries; as then, he said, he could afford it, which he might not be so well able to do when the actual want came; in consequence of which method, he had a considerable supply of necessary articles lying by him, beside what was in use.

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'But the main particular that seems to have enabled him to do so much with his income, was, that he paid for every thing as soon as he had it, except alone what were current accounts, such as rent for his house, and servants' wages; and these he paid at the stated times with the utmost exactness. He gave notice to the tradesmen of the neighbouring market-towns that they should no longer have his custom, if they let any of his servants have any thing without their paying for it. Thus he put it out of his power to commit those imprudences to which those are liable that defer their payments by using their money some other way than where it ought to go. And whatever money he had by him, he knew that it was not demanded elsewhere, but that he might safely employ it as he pleased.

"His example was confined by the sequestered place of his abode, to the observation of few, though his prudence and virtue would have made it valuable to all who could have known it.-These few particulars, which I knew myself, or have obtained from those who lived with him, may afford instruction, and be an incentive to that wise art of living which he so successfully practised.”— BOSWELL.

terest in knowing. His death, I hope, was peaceful; it was surely happy.

"I wish I had written sooner, lest, writing now, I should renew your grief; but I would not forbear saying what I have now said.

"This loss is, I hope, the only misfortune of a family to whom no misfortune at all should happen, if my wishes could avert it. Let me know how you all go on. Has Mr. Langton got him the little horse that I recommended? It would do him good to ride about his estate in fine weather.

"Be pleased to make my compliments to Mrs. Langton, and to dear Miss Langton, and Miss Di, and Miss Juliet, and to every body else.

"THE CLUB holds very well together. Monday is my night. I continue to rise tolerably well, and read more than I did. I hope something will yet come on it. I am, sir,

"Your most affectionate servant,

"Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, "May 10, 1766."


After I had been some time in Scotland, I mentioned to him in a letter that " on my first return to my native country, after some years of absence, I was told of a vast number of my acquaintance who were all gone to the land of forgetfulness, and I found myself like a man stalking over a field of battle, who every moment perceives some one lying dead." I complained of irresolution, and mentioned my having made a vow as a security for good conduct. I wrote to him again without being able to move his indolence: nor did I hear from him till he had received a copy of my inaugural Exercise, or Thesis in Civil Law, which I published at my admission as an advocate, as is the custom in Scotland. He then wrote to me as follows:

iOf his being in the chair of the Literary Club, which at this time met once a week in the evening.-BOSWELL.

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