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write or not, set your thoughts at rest.
I now write 1775. to tell you that I shall not very soon write again, for a
Ætat. 66. 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. “ September 14, 1775.
“ Sam. Johnson." What he mentions in such light terms as, “ I am to set out to-morrow on another journey,” I soon afterwards discovered was no 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.
“ Sept. 18, 1775, DEAR SIR,
Calais. “ 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 for as much as we cán, I will try to speak a little French; I tried hitherto but little, but I spoke sometimes. If I heard better, I suppose
I should learn faster. I am, Sir,
“ Your humble servant,
“ Sam. Johnson." Where Sir Joshua Reynolds lived.
“ Paris, Oct. 22, 1775.
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. M: Thrale calculates that as we left Streatham on the fifteenth of September, we shall see it again about the fifteenth 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
2 Miss Thrale.
give my love to Francis; and tell my friends that I 1775. am not lost. I am, dear Sir,
Ætat. 66. “ Your affectionate humble, &c.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
W 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 gth instant; I have 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, 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 ' 1 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
1775. different scene have you viewed this autumn, from
that which Ætat. 66.
viewed in autumn 1773! I ever am,
“ Your much obliged and
" TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ 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. 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 publick any thing 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,
3 This alludes to my old feudal principle of preferring male te female succession.
I hope you believe none more warm or sincere, than 1775. those of, dear Sir,
Ætat. 66, “ Your most affectionate, “ November 16, 1775.
• Sam. Johnson.”
" TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD. “ DEAR MADAM,
“ 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, are very splendid and magnificent; and what would please you, there are many very fine pictures; but I do not think their way of life commodious or pleasant.
“ Let me know how your health has been all this while. I hope the fine summer has given you strength sufficient to encounter the winter.
6. Make my compliments to all my friends; and, if your fingers will let you, write to me, or let
your maid write, if it be troublesome to you. dear Madam,
“ Your most affectionate humble servant, • Nov. 16, 1775.
4 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 earlier letters to her have been preserved.
[Since the death of the authour, several of Johnson's letters to Mrs. Lucy Porter, written before 1775, were obligingly communicated by the Rev. Dr. Vyse, to Mr. Malone, and are printed in the present edition, M.]