ページの画像
PDF
ePub

bellishment, as falsehood or fiction is too gently called, laughed a good deal at this representation of himself. (“DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE.

Letters, “ 13th October, 1777.

vol. ii. “Though I am still at Ashbourne, I receive your dear letters P. 6. that come to Lichfield, and you continue that direction, for I think to get thither as soon as I can.

* “ I cannot but think on your kindness and my master's. Life has, upon the whole, fallen short, very short, of my early expectation; but the acquisition of such a friendship, at an age when new friendships are seldom acquired, is something better than the general course of things gives man a right to expect. I think on it with great delight.— I am not very apt to be delighted." “ TO MRS. THRALE.

Letters, “Lichfield, 224 October, 1777.

vol. ii. “I am come, at last, to Lichfield, and am really glad that I p. 10 have got away from a place where there was indeed no evil, but very little good. You may, I believe, write once to Lichfield after you receive this, but after that it will be best to direct to London.

“My visit to Stowhill has been paid. I have seen there a collection of misery. Mrs. Aston paralytick, Mrs. Walmsley lame, Mrs. Hervey blind, and I think another lady deaf. Even such is life.

“I hope dear Mrs. Aston is a little better; it is, however, very little. She was, I believe, glad to see me; and to have any body glad to see me is a great pleasure !" « TO MRS. THRALE.

Letters,

“ Lichfield, 29th Oct 1777. vol. ii. “Though after my last letter I might justly claim an interval P. 16. of rest, yet I write again to tell you, that for this turn you will hear but once more from Lichfield. This day is Wednesday -on Saturday I shall write again, and on Monday I shall set out to seek adventures; for you know

None but the brave desert the fair.

1 Mr. Johnson sends his compliments to the ladies at Stowhill, of whom he would have taken a more formal leave, but that he was willing to spare a ceremony which he hopes would have been no pleasure to them, and would have been painful to himself.

Roman senate, as if composed of men sincerely desirous to resolve what they should think best for their country. My friend would allow no such character to the Roman senate; and he maintained that the British parliament was not corrupt, and that there was no occasion to corrupt its members; asserting, that there was hardly ever any question of great importance before parliament, any question in which a man might not very well vote either upon one side or the other. He said there had been none in his time except that respecting America.

We were fatigued by the contest, which was produced by my want of caution; and he was not then in the humour to slide into easy and cheerful talk. It therefore so happened, that we were after an hour or two very willing to separate and go to bed.

On Wednesday, September 24, I went into Dr. Johnson's room before he got up, and finding that the storm of the preceding night was quite laid, I sat down upon his bedside, and he talked with as much readiness and good humour as ever. He recommended to me to plant a considerable part of a large moorish farm which I had purchased, and he made several calculations of the expense and profit; for he delighted in exercising his mind on the science of numbers. He pressed upon me the importance of planting at the first in a very sufficient manner, quoting the saying, In bello non licet bis errare:and adding, “this is equally true in planting.”

I spoke with gratitude of Dr. Taylor's hospitality; and as evidence that it was not on account of his good table alone that Johnson visited him often, I mentioned a little anecdote which had escaped my friend's recollection, and at hearing which repeated, he siniled. One evening, when I was sitting with him, Frank delivered this message: “Sir, Dr. Taylor sends his compliments to you, and begs you will dine with him to-morrow. He has got a hare.” “My compliments,” said Johnson, “and I'll dine with him -hare or rabbit.”

After breakfast I departed, and pursued my journey northwards.

[" TO MRS. THRALE.

“ Ashbourne, 25th Sept. 1777. Letters, “Boswell is gone, and is, I hope, pleased that he has been v. i. p.

384. here; though to look on any thing with pleasure is not very common. He has been gay and good-humoured in his usual way, but we have not agreed upon any other expedition. He had spent more money than he intended, and I supplied him; my deficiencies are again made up by Mr. Thrale’s bill, for which I thank him.”] And again.

[" Ashbourne, 29th Sept. 1777. vol. i. “ Boswell, while he was here, saw Keddlestone and the silk- p. 390. mills, and took Chatsworth in his way home. He says, his wife does not love me quite well yet, though we have made a formal peace. He kept his journal very diligently; but then what was there to journalise? I should be glad to see what he says of .....'. I think I told you that I took him to Ilam ?.']

I took my post-chaise from the Green Man, a very good inn at Ashbourne, the mistress of which, a mighty civil gentlewoman, courtsying very low, presented me with an engraving of the sign of her house; to which she had subjoined, in her own handwriting, an address in such singular simplicity of style, that I have preserved it pasted upon one of the boards of my original Journal at this time, and shall here insert it for the amusement of my readers :

“ M. Killingley's duty waits upon Mr. Boswell, is exceedingly obliged to him for this favour; whenever he comes this

(No doubt Dr. Taylor.—Ep.)
* Printed in the Leiters by mistake Ham. Ed.]

way, hopes for a continuance of the same. Would Mr. Boswell name the house to his extensive acquaintance, it would be a singular favour conferred on one who has it not in her power to make any other return but her most grateful thanks, and sincerest prayers for his happiness in time, and in a blessed eternity.

“ Tuesday morning."

From this meeting at Ashbourne I derived a considerable accession to my Johnsonian store. I communicated my original Journal to Sir William Forbes, in whom I have always placed deserved confidence; and what he wrote to me concerning it is so much to my credit as the biographer of Johnson, that my readers will, I hope, grant me their indulgence for here inserting it: “ It is not once or twice going over it,” says Sir William, “ that will satisfy me; for I find in it a high degree of instruction as well as entertainment; and I derive more benefit from Dr. Johnson's admirable discussions than I should be able to draw from his personal conversation; for I suppose there is not a man in the world to whom he discloses his sentiments so freely as to yourself.”

I cannot omit a curious circumstance which occurred at Edensor-inn, close by Chatsworth, to survey the magnificence of which I had gone a considerable way out of my road to Scotland. The inn was then kept by a very jolly landlord, whose name, I think, was Malton. He happened to mention that “the celebrated Dr. Johnson had been in his house." I inquired who this Dr. Johnson was, that I might hear my host's notion of him. 'Sir,” said he. “ Johnson, the great writer; Oddity, as they call him. He's the greatest writer in England; he writes for the ministry; he has a correspondence abroad, and lets them know what's going on.”

My friend, who had a thorough dependence upon the authenticity of my relation without any em

66

vol. ii.

can.

bellishment, as falsehood or fiction is too gently called, laughed a good deal at this representation of himself. (“DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE.

Letters,

“ 13th October, 1777. “Though I am still at Ashbourne, I receive your dear letters P. 6. that come to Lichfield, and you continue that direction, for I think to get thither as soon as I

* “I cannot but think on your kindness and my master's. Life has, upon the whole, fallen short, very short, of my early expectation; but the acquisition of such a friendship, at an age when new friendships are seldom acquired, is something better than the general course of things gives man a right to expect. I think on it with great delight.-I am not very apt to be delighted.” ** TO MRS. THRALE.

Letters, “Lichfield, 22 October, 1777.

vol. ij. “I am come, at last, to Lichfield, and am really glad that I p. 10, have got away from a place where there was indeed no evil, but very little good. You may, I believe, write once to Lichfield after you receive this, but after that it will be best to direct to London.

“My visit to Stowhill has been paid. I have seen there a collection of misery. Mrs. Aston paralytick, Mrs. Walmsley lame, Mrs. Hervey blind, and I think another lady deaf. Even such is life.

“I hope dear Mrs. Aston is a little better; it is, however, very little. She was, I believe, glad to see me; and to have any body glad to see me is a great pleasure !.” “ TO MRS. THRALE.

Letters, “ Lichfield, 29th Oct. 1777.

vol. ii. • Though after my last letter I might justly claim an interval p. 16. of rest, yet I write again to tell you, that for this turn you will hear but once more from Lichfield. This day is Wednesday -on Saturday I shall write again, and on Monday I shall set out to seek adventures; for

you

know-
None but the brave desert the fair.

1 Mr. Johnson sends his compliments to the ladies at Stowhill, of whom he would have taken a more formal leave, but that he was willing to spare a ceremony which he hopes would have been no pleasure to them, and would have been painful to himself.

« 前へ次へ »