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From the engraving in the Coinmon Room of University College.
Boswell's Fonnson, Vol. III. To face p. 245.
(See also vol. iv. . 421
Boswell fond of his melancholy.
is now at Bath, that his mind may be quiet, and Mrs. Thrale and Miss are with him.
‘Having told you what has happened to your friends, let me say something to you of yourself. You are always complaining of melancholy, and I conclude from those complaints that you are fond of it. No man talks of that which he is desirous to conceal, and every man desires to conceal that of which he is ashamed". Do not pretend to deny it; manifestum habemus furem; make it an invariable and obligatory law to yourself, never to mention your own mental diseases; if you are never to speak of them, you will think on them but little, and if you think little of them, they will molest you rarely. When you talk of them, it is plain that you want either praise or pity; for praise there is no room, and pity will do you no good; therefore, from this hour speak no more, think no more, about them.
'Your transaction with Mrs. Stewart gave me great satisfaction; I am much obliged to you for your attention. Do not lose sight of her; your countenance may be of great credit, and of consequence of great advantage to her. The memory of her brother is yet fresh in my mind; he was an ingenious and worthy man.
*Please to make my compliments to your lady, and to the young ladies. I should like to see them, pretty loves.
'I am, dear Sir,
‘SAM. JOHNSON.' April 8, 1780.
Mrs. Thrale being now at Bath with her husband, the correspondence between Johnson and her was carried on briskly. I shall present my readers with one of her original letters to him at this time, which will amuse them probably more than those well-written but studied epistles which she has inserted in her collection, because it exhibits the easy vivacity of their literary intercourse. It is also of value as a key to Johnson's answer, which she has printed by itself, and of which I shall subjoin extracts.
“Mrs. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON. 'I had a very kind letter from you yesterday, dear Sir, with a most circumstantial date? You took trouble with my circulating
i See post, iv. 31.
2 In 1768, on his birthday, Johnson recorded, 'This day it came into my
mind to write the history of my
letter, himself. He seems intolerably selfi An Address to the Electors of sufficient-appears to look upon himSouthwark. Ib. p. 106. See post, self as the first man in Bath, and p. 440.
One of Mrs. Thrale's original letters. [A.D. 1780.
letter", Mr. Evans writes me word, and I thank you sincerely for so doing : one might do mischief else not being on the spot.
“Yesterday's evening was passed at Mrs. Montagu's: there was Mr. Melmoth”; I do not like him though, nor he me; it was expected we should have pleased each other; he is, however, just Tory enough to hate the Bishop of Peterborough for Whiggism, and Whig enough to abhor you for Toryism.
Mrs. Montagu flattered him finely; so he had a good afternoon on't. This evening we spend at a concert. Poor Queeney's* sore eyes have just released her; she had a long confinement, and could neither read nor write, so my masters treated her very good-naturedly with the visits of a young woman in this town, a taylor's daughter, who professes musick, and teaches so as to give six lessons a day to ladies, at five and threepence a lesson. Miss Burney says she is a great performer; and I respect the wench for getting her living so prettily; she is very modest and pretty-mannered, and not seventeen years old.
You live in a fine whirl indeed; if I did not write regularly you would half forget me, and that would be very wrong, for I felt my regard for you in my face last night, when the criticisms were going on.
“This morning it was all connoisseurship; we went to see some pictures painted by a gentleman-artist, Mr. Taylor, of this place; my master makes one, every where, and has got a good dawling companion to ride with him now. ** *** **. He looks well enough, but I have no notion of health for a man whose mouth cannot be
‘London, April 25, 1780,' and added, she spoke herself, and so she har
now there is a date ; look at it. angued away. Meanwhile Mr. Mel. Piozzi Letters, ii. 109. In his reply moth, the Pliny Melmoth, as he is he wrote :—'London, May 1, 1780. called, was of the party, and seemed Mark that-you did not put the year to think nobody half so great as to your last.' Ib. p. 112.
has a proud conceit in look and 2 The author of the Fitzosborne manner, mighty forbidding. Mme. Letters (post, May 5, 1784, note). D'Arblay's Diary, i. 348. Miss Burney thus describes this 3 Dr. John Hinchliffe. BOSWELL evening :-'We were appointed to 4 A kind of nick-name given to meet the Bishop of Chester at Mrs. Mrs. Thrale's eldest daughter, whose Montagu's. This proved a very name being Esther, she might be gloomy kind of grandeur; the Bishop assimilated to a Queen. BOSWELL waited for Mrs. Thrale to speak, 5 Mr. Thrale. BOSWELL. Mrs. Thrale for the Bishop ; so In Johnson's Dictionary is neither neither of them spoke at all. Mrs. dawling nor dawdling. He uses Montagu cared not a fig, as long as dawdle, post, June 3, 1781.