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lecture you have so very little need of, unless your extreme youth, and uncommon regard, will excuse it. And now, farewel ; make my kindest compliments to your wife, and be happy in proportion as happiness is wished you, by
Dear Sir, &c.
Letter from Dr. Johnson to a Lady refusing a
Request, with some Severity. MADAM, I HOPE you will believe that my delay in an-swering your letter could proceed only from my unwillingness to destroy any hope that you.
had formed. Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain', and expectations improperly indulged, must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation as is dictated, not by reason, but by desire, expectation raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the
expectant; an expectation that requires the cominon course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken. When
your request to me you should have considered, Madam, what you were asking. You ask me to solicit a great man to whom I never spoke, for a young person whom I had never seen, upon a supposition which I had no means of knowing to be true.
There is no reason why, amongst all the great, I should chuse to supplicate the Arch
bishop, nor why among all the possible objects of his bounty, the Archbishop should chuse your son. I know, Madam, how unwillingly conviction is admitted, when interest opposes it; but surely, Madam, you must allow, that there is no reason why, that should be done by me, which every other man may do with equal reason, and which, indeed, no man can do properly, without some very particular relation, both to the Archbishop and to you. If I could help you in this exigence by any proper means, it would give me pleasure ; but this proposal is so very remote from all usual methods, that I cannot comply with it but at the risque of such answer and suspicions, as, I believe, you do not wish me to undergo.
I have seen your son this morning : he seems a pretty youth, and will, perhaps, find some better friend than I can procure him ; but though he should at last miss the university, he may still be wise, useful, and happy:
I am, Madam,
Your most humble Servant.
Dr. Johnson to Mrs. Boswell, thanking her for a
Present. MADAM, THOUGH I am well enough pleased with the taste of sweetmeats, very little of the pleasure , which I received at the arrival of your jar of marmalade arose from eating it. I received it as a token of friendship, as a proof of reconciliation, things much sweeter than sweetmeats ; and
this consideration, I return you, dear madam, my sincerest thanks. By having your kindness, I think
I have a double security for the continuance of Mr. Boswell's, which it is not to be expected that any man can long keep,' when the influence of a lady so highly and so justly valued operates against him. Mr. Boswell will tell you, that I was always faithful to your interest, and always endeavoured to exalt you in his estimation. You must now do the same for me. We must all' help one another, and you must now consider me a's,
Your most obliged
And most humble Servant.
Dr. Johnson to Mrs. Piozzi, on Sickness.
DEAR MADAM, I AM sitting down in no cheerful solitude to write a narrative, which would once have affected you with tenderness and sorrow, but which you will perhaps pass over now with the careless glance of frigid indiiference. For this diminution of regurd, however, I know not whether I ought to blame you, who may have reasons which I cannot know, and I do not blame myself, who have, for a great part of human life, done you what good I could, and have never done
I had been disordered in the usual way, and had been relieved by the usual methods, by opium and cathartics, but hâd rather lessenedomý dose of opium.
ir On Monday the 16th, I sat for my picture, and walked a considerable way with little inconvenience. In the afternoon and evening I felt myself Norht and easy, and began to plan schemes of life Thus I went to bed, and in a short time waked and
sat up, as has been long my custom; when I felt a confusion and indistinctness in my head, which lasted, I suppose, about half a minute; I was alarmed, and prayed God, that however he might aflict any body, he would spare my understanding, This prayer, that I might try the integrity of my faculties, I made in Latin verse. The lines were not very good : I made them easily, and concluded myself to be unimpaired in my faculties,
Soon after, I perceived, that I had suffered a paralytic stroke, and that my speech was taken
I had no pain, and so little dejection in this dreadful state, that I wondered at my own Apathy, and considered, that perhaps death itself, when it should come, would excite less horror than seems now to attend it.
In order to rouse the vocal organs, I took two drams. Wine has been celebrated for the production of eloquence. I put myself into violent motion, and I think repeated it; but all was in vain, I then went to bed, and, strange as it may seem, I think, slept. When I saw light, it was time to contrive what I should do. Though God stopped my speech, he left me my hand; I enjoyed a mercy, which was not granted to my dear friend Lawrence, who now perhaps overlooks me as I am writing, and rejoices that I have what he wanted. My first note was necessarily to my servant, who came in talking, and could not immediately comprehend why he should read what I put into his hands.
I then wrote a card to Mr. Allen, that I might have a discreet friend at hand, to act as occasion should require. In penning this note I had some difficulty, my hand, I knew not how nor why, made wrong letters. I then wrote to Dr. Taylor to come to me, and bring Dr. Heberden, and I went to Dr Brocklesby, who is my neighbour'. My
physicians are very friendly and tery disinterested, and give me great hopes, but you may imagine my situation. I have se far recovered my vocal powers, as to repeat the Lord's prayer with no very imperfect articulation. My memory, I hope, yet reinains as it was ; but such an attack produces solicitude for the safety of every faculty.
How this will be received by you, I know not: I hope you will sympathise with me; but perhaps
My niistress, gracious, mild, and good,
Cries, Is he dumb ? 'Tis time he should. But can this be possible? I hope it cannot. I hope that what, when I could speak, I spoke of you, and to you, will be in a sober and serious hour remembered by you; and surely it cannot be remembered, but with some degree of kindness. [. have loved you with virtuous affection; I have honoured
with sincere èsteem. Leť not all our endearments be forgotten, but let me have, in this great distress, your pity and your prayers. You see I yet turn to you with my complaints as a setsled and unalienable friend ; do not, do not drive me froit you; for I have not deserved either
neg lect or hatred.
To the girls, who do not write often, for Susy has written only once, and Miss Thrale owes me a letter; I earnestly recommend, as their guardian and friend, that they remember their Creator in the days of their youth. : I suppose you may wish to know how my disease is treated by the physicians. They put å blister upon my back, and two from my throat, one on a side. The blister on the back has done little, and those on the throat have not risen. I bullied and bounced (it sticks to our last sand) and compelled the apothecary to make his salve according to the Edinburgh Dispensatory, that it might adhere better. I have two on now of my
ear to my