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compliance with the wishes of his physician, he had taken even a small quantity of wine. I readily assented to any objections he might have to nourishment of that kind; and observing that milk was the only nourishment I intended, flattered myself that I had succeeded in my endeavours, when he recurred to his general refusal, and “begged that there might be an end of it.” I then said, that I hoped he would forgive my earnestness, or something to that effect, when he replied eagerly, that from me nothing could be necessary by way of apology; adding, with great fervour, in words which I shall, I hope, never forget, “God bless you, my dear Windham, through Jesus Christ ;” and concluding with a wish “ that we might [share] in some humble portion of that happiness which God might finally vouchsafe to repentant sinners.” These were the last words I ever heard him speak. I hurried out of the room with tears in my eyes, and more affected than I had been on any former occasion.
December 13. - In the morning meant to have met Mr. Cruikshanks in Bolt Court; but while I was deliberating about going, was sent for by Mr. Burke.
Went to Bolt Court about half-past three, found that Dr. Johnson had been almost constantly asleep since nine in the morning, and heard from Mr. Desmoulins what passed in the night. He had compelled Frank to give him a lancet, and had besides concealed in the bed a pair of scissors, and with one or the other of them had scarified himself in three places, two of them in the leg. On Mr. Desmoulins making a difficulty in giving him the lancet, he said, “Don't, if you have any scruple ; but I will Frank :” and on Mr. Desmoulins attempting afterwards to prevent Frank from giving it to him, and at last to restrain his hand, he grew very outrageous, so as to call Frank scoundrel, and to threaten Mr. Desmoulins that he would stab him (); he then made the three incisions
(1) [See antè, p. 148. The reader will judge whether Boswell's or Hawkins's account of this transaction is the juster ; but that more importance may not be given to it than it deserves, it must be recollected, that Johnson fancied that his attendants were treating him with a timid leniency, merely to spare him pain, a notion which irritated, at once, his love of life, his animal courage, and his high moral principle. We have already seen (antè, No. 232.) that when in health he had said, “ Whoever & afraid of any thing is a scoundrel;" and now, in the same
compel above mentioned, two of which were not unskilfully made; but one of those in the leg was a deep and ugly wound, from which they suppose him to have lost at least eight ounces of blood.
Upon Dr. Heberden expressing his fears about the scarification, Dr. Johnson told him he was timidorum timidissimus. A few days before his death, talking with Dr. Brocklesby, he said, “Now will you ascribe my death to my having taken eight grains of squills, when you recommended only three. Dr. Heberden, to my having opened my left foot, when nature was pointing out the discharge in the right.” The conversation was introduced by his quoting some lines, to the same purpose, from Swift's verses on his own death. (')
It was within the same period, if I understood Dr. Brocklesby right, that he enjoined him, as an honest man and a physician, to inform him how long he thought he had to live. Dr. Brocklesby inquired, in return, whether he had firmness to bear the answer. Upon his replying that he had, and Dr. Brocklesby limiting the time to a few weeks, he said, “that he then would trouble himself no more with medicine or medical advice :" and to this resolution he pretty much adhered.
In a conversation about what was practicable in medicine or surgery, he quoted, to the surprise of his physicians, the opinion of Marchetti for an operation of extracting (I think) part of the kidney. He recommended for an account of China, Sir John Mandeville's Travels. Holyday's Notes on Juvenal he thought so highly of as to have employed himself for some time in translating them into Latin.
feeling, and the same words, he censures the cowardly, as he thought them, apprehensions of his attendants. It might be wished that in such circumstances he had spoken and acted with less impatience; but let us not forget the excuses which may be drawn from the natural infirmity of his temper, exasperated by the peevishness of a long and painful disease. -- C.] (1)
[" The doctors, tender of their fame,
Wisely on one lay all the blame :
He insisted on the doctrine of an expiatory sacrifice as the condition without which there was no Christianity ; and urged in support the belief entertained in all ages, and by all nations, barbarous as well as polite. He recommended to Dr. Brocklesby also, Clarke's Sermons, and repeated to him the passage which he had spoken of to me.
While airing one day with Dr. Brocklesby, in passing and returning by St. Pancras church, he fell into prayer, and mentioned, upon Dr. Brocklesby's inquiring why the Catholics chose that for their burying place, that some Catholics in Queen Elizabeth's time, had been burnt there. (') Upon Dr. Brocklesby's asking him whether he did not feel the warmth of the sun, he quoted from Juvenal
“ Præterea minimus gelido jam in corpore sanguis
Febre calet solā.” () December 13. - Forty-five minutes past ten P.M. -While writing the preceding articles – I received the fatal account, so long dreaded, that Dr. Johnson was no more !
May those prayers which he incessantly poured from a heart fraught with the deepest devotion, find their acceptance with Him to whom they were addressed; which piety, so humble and so fervent, may seem to promise !
(1) [The reader will be aware that other causes have been assigned for this preference; but I learn, from unquestionable authority, that it rests upon no foundation, and that mere prejudice exists amongst the Roman Catholics in favour of this church, as is the case with respect to other places of burial in various parts of the kingdom. — MARKLAND.] (2) [" Add that a fever only warms his veins,
And thaws the little blood that yet remains."- Gifford.)
ANECDOTES AND REMARKS,
BY HANNAH MORE. (')
451. Introduction to Johnson. HANNAH MORE visited London in 1773 or 1774, in company with two of her sisters. The desire she had long felt to see Dr. Johnson was speedily gratified. Her first introduction to him took place at the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who prepared her, as he handed her up stairs, for the possibility of his being in one of his moods of sadness and silence. She was surprised at his coming to meet her as she entered the room, with good humour in his countenance, and a macaw of Sir Joshua's on his hand; and still more at his assisting her with a verse from a Morning Hymn, which she had written at the desire of Sir James Stonehouse. In the same pleasant humour he continued the whole of the evening.
452. Visit to Bolt Court. The most amiable and obliging of women, Miss Reynolds, ordered the coach to take us to Dr. Johnson's. The conversation turned upon a new work of his, just going to the press (the Journey to the Hebrides), and his old friend Richardson. Mrs. Williams, the blind poet, who lives with him, was introduced to us. She is engaging in her manners; her conversation lively and entertaining.
(1) From the very interesting Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs. Hannah More, by William Roberts, Esq.
Not finding Johnson in his little parlour when we came in, Hannah seated herself in his great chair, hoping to catch a little ray of his genius : when he heard it he laughed heartily, and told her it was a chair in which he never sat. He said it reminded him of Boswell and himself when they stopped a night at the spot (as they imagined) where the Weird Sisters appeared to Macbeth : the idea so worked upon their enthusiasm, that it quite deprived them of rest ; however, they learned, the next morning, to their mortification, that they had been deceived, and were quite in another part of the country. 453. “ Sir Eldred of the Bower.” -“ The Bleeding
Rock." Johnson, full of wisdom and piety, was this evening very communicative. To enjoy Dr. Johnson perfectly, one must have him to one's self, as he seldom cares to speak in mixed parties. Our tea was not over till nine ; we then fell upon “Sir Eldred :” he read both poems through, suggested some little alterations in the first, and did me the honour to write one whole stanza (); but in the “Rock,” he has not altered a word. Though only a tea visit, he stayed with us till twelve.
454. Garrick and Johnson. My petite assemblée came at seven.
The dramatis personæ were Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Garrick, and Miss Reynolds ; my beaux were Dr. Johnson, Dean Tucker, and last, but not least in our love, David Garrick. You know that wherever Johnson is, the confinement to the teatable is rather a durable situation. However, my ears were open, though my tongue was locked, and they all stayed till near eleven. Garrick was the
Garrick was the very soul of the company, and I never saw Johnson in such perfect goodhumour. We have often heard that one can never properly enjoy the company of these two unless they are together. There is great truth in this remark; for after the Dean and Mrs. Boscawen (who were the only strangers) were
(1) The stanza beginning, “My scorn has oft, &c."