« VorigeDoorgaan »
“That I should have given pain to Rasay, I am sincerely sorry; and am therefore very much pleased that he is no longer uneasy. He still 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 lit rary 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 teils all that is wanted, and, I suppose, all that is known, without laboured splendour of language, or affected subtlety 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,'1 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 yourself in 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 say, that I am, Sir,
“Your affectionate humble servant,
TO THE SAME.
August 30, 1776. “ If in these papers 2 there is little alteration attempted, do not suppose me negligent. I have read them haps ore 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,
1 My “Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," which that lady read in the original manuscript.-Bosweil.
2 Another parcel of Lord Hailes's “ Annals of Scotland."—BOSWELL.
TO THE SAME. “ MY DEAR SIR,
September 14, 1775. “I now write to you, lest in some of your freaks and humours you should aney 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 monly 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.,
1 Where Sir Joshua Roynolds lived. ---Boswell.
JOHNSON ACCOMPANIES MK. AND MRS. THRALE ON A TOUR TO FRANCE-PARIS-
HAT he mentions in such light terms as, “I am to set out to
I less than a tour to France with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. This was the only time in his life that he went upon the Continent.
“ TO MR. ROBERT LEVET. “DEAR SIR,
Calais, Sept. 13, 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, and therefore I write now, though you cannot suppose that I have much to say. You have seen 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 see 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, 1 suppose I should learn faster.
“I am, Sir, your humble servant,
TO THE SAME.
Paris, Oct. 23, 1775. We are still here, commonly very busy in looking about us. We have been to-day at Versailles. You have seen it, and I shall not describe it. We came yesterday from Fontainebleau, where the Court is now. We went to see the King and Queen at dinner, and the Queen was so impressed by Miss, 1 that she sent one of the gentlemen to inquire who she was, I find all true that you have ever told me at Paris. Mr. Thrale is very liberal, and keeps us two coaches, and a very fine table; but I think our cookery very bad. Mrs. Thrale got into a convent of English nuns, and I talked with her through the grate, and I am very kindly used by the English Benedictine friars. But upon the whole I cannot make much acquaintance here; and though the churches, palaces, and some private houses are very magnificent, there is no very great pleasure after having seen many, in seeing more ; at least the pleasure, whatever it be, must some time have an end, and we are beginning to think when we shall come home. Mr. Thrale calculates that as we left Streatham on the 15th of September, we shall see it again about the 15th of November.
“I think I had not been on this side of the sea five days before I found a sensible improvement in my health. I ran a race in the rain this day, and beat Baretti. Baretti is a fine fellow, and speaks French, I think, quite as well as English.
“Make my compliments to Mrs. Williams; and give my love to Francis, and tell my friends that I am not lost.
“ TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
“MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburgh, Oct. 24, 1775. “If I had not been informed that you were at Paris, you should have had a letter from me by the earliest opportunity, announcing the birth of my son, on the 9th instant ; I bave named him Alexander, after my father. I now write, as I suppose your fellow-traveller, Mr. Thrale, will return to London this week, to attend his duty in Parliament, and that you will not stay behind him.
“I send another parcel of Lord Hailes’s ‘Annals.' I have undertaken to solicit you for a favour to him, which he thus requests in a letter to me: 'I intend soon to give you “The Life of Robert Bruce," which you will be pleased to transmit to Dr. Johnson. I wish that you could assist me in a fancy which I have taken, of getting Dr. Johnson to draw a character of Robert Bruce, from the account that I give of that prince. If he finds materials for it in my work,
1 Miss Thrale.--Boswell.
it will be a proof that I have been fortunate in selecting the most striking incidents.'
“I suppose by · The Life of Robert Bruce,' his lordship means that part of his ‘Annals' which relates the history of that prince, and not a separate work.
“Shall we have ' A Journey to Paris' from you in the winter? You will, I hope, at any rate, be kind enough to give me some account of your French travels very soon, for I am very impatient. What a different scene have you viewed this autumn, from that which you viewed in autumn 1773! I ever am, my dear Sir,
Your much obliged and
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. “DEAR SIR,
November 16, 1775. “I am glad that the young laird is born, and an end, as I hope, put to the only difference that you can ever have with Mrs. Boswell.1 I know that she does not love me ; but I intend to persist in wishing her well till I get the better of her.
“Paris is, indeed, a place very different from the Hebrides, but it is to a hasty traveller not so fertile of novelty, nor affords so many opportunities of remark. I cannot pretend to tell the public anything of a place better known to many of my readers than to myself. We can talk of it when we meet:
“I shall go next week to Streatham, from whence I purpose to send a parcel of the History' every post. Concerning the character of Bruce, I can only say, that I do not see any great reason for writing it; but I shall not easily deny what Lord Hailes and you concur in desiring.
“I have been remarkably healthy all the journey, and hope you and your family have known only that trouble and danger which has so happily terminated. Among all the congratulations that you may receive, I hope you believe none more warm or sincere, than those of, dear Sir,
“Your most affectionate,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
“TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD.2 “DEAR MADAM,
November 16, 1775. “This week I came home from Paris. I have brought you a little box, which I thought pretty ; but I know not whether it is properly a snuff-box, or a box for some other use. I will send it, when I can find an opportunity. I have been through the whole journey remarkably well. My fellow-travellers were the same whom you saw at Lichfield, only we took Baretti with us. Paris is not so fine a place as you would expect. The palaces and churches, however,
i This alludes to my old feudal principle of preferring male to female succession.BOSWELL.
2 There can be no doubt that, many years previous to 1775, he corresponded with this lady, who was his step-daughter, but none of his earliest letters to her have been preserved.-BOSWELL.
Since the death of the author, several of Johnson's letters to Mrs. Lucy Porter, written before 1775, were obligingly communicated to me by the Rev. Dr. Vyse, and are printed in the present edition.-MALONE.