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‘is, that he appeared to live like a man that had always 1784. before his eyes the fragility of our present existence, and was therefore, I hope, not unprepared to meet
Ætat. 75. his judge. Your attention, dear Sir, and that of Dr. Heberden, to my health, is extremely kind. I am loth to think that I grow worse ; and cannot fairly prove even to my own partiality, that I grow much better.
August 5. “I return you thanks, dear Sir, for your unwearied attention, both medicinal and friendly, and hope to prove the effect of your care by living to acknowledge it.
August 12. “ Pray be so kind as to have me in your thoughts, and mention my case to others as you have opportunity. I seem to myself neither to gain nor lose strength. I have lately tried inilk, but have yet found no advantage, and am afraid of it merely as a liquid. My appetite is still good, which I know is dear Dr. Heberden's criterion of the vis vitve. As we cannot now see each other, do not omit to write, for yoŲ cannot think with what warmthof expectation I reckon the hours of a post-day.”
August 14. “ I have hitherto sent you only melancholy letters, you will be glad to hear some better account. Yesterday the asthma remitted, perceptibly remitted, and I moved with more ease than I have enjoyed for many weeks. May God continue his mercy.--This account I would not delay, because I ain not a lover of complaints, or complainers, and yet I have since we parted, uttered nothing till now but terrour and sorrow. Write to me, dear Sir.”
August 16. “ Better I hope, and better. My respiration gets more and more ease and liberty. I went to church yesterday, after a very liberal dinner,
without any inconvenience ; it is indeed no long walk, but I never walked it without difficulty, since I came, before. ***** * the intention was only to overpower the seeming vis inertice of the pectoral and pulmonary muscles.-I am favoured with a degree of ease that very much delights me, and do not despair of another race upon the stairs of the Academy.- If I were, however, of a humour to see, or to show the state of my body, on the dark side, I might say,
• Quid te exempta juvat spinis de pluribus una?"
The nights are still sleepless, and the water rises, though it does not rise very fast. Let us, however, rejoice in all the good that we have. The remission of one disease will enable nature to coinbat the rest. -The squills I have not neglected; for I have taken more than a hundred drops a day, and one day took two hundred and fifty, which, according to the popular equivalent of a drop to a grain, is more than half an ounce.—[ thank you, dear Sir, for your attention in ordering the medicines ; your attention to me has never failed. If the virtue of medicines could be enforced by the benevolence of the prescriber, how soon should I be well.”
August 19. “ The relaxation of the asthma still continues, yet I do not trust it wholly to itself, but soothe it now and then with an opiate. I not only perform the perpetual act of respiration with less labour, but I can walk with fewer intervals of rest, and with greater freedom of motion.-I never thought well of Dr. James's compounded medicines; his ingredients appear to me sometimes inefficacious and trifling, and sometimes heterogeneous and destructive
of each other. This prescription exhibits a composi- 1784. tion of about three hundred and thirty grains, in which there are four grains of emetick tartar, and six drops [of] thebaick tincture. He that writes thus şurely writes for show. The basis of his medicine is the gum ammoniacum, which dear Dr. Lawrence used to give, but of which I never saw any effect. We will, if you please, let this medicine alone. The squills have every suffrage, and in the squills we will rest for the present.”
August 21. “ The kindness which you show by having me in your thoughts upon all occasions, will, I hope, always fill my heart with gratitude. Be pleased to return my thanks to Sir George Baker, for the consideration which he has bestowed upon me. Is this the Balloon that has been so long expected, this balloon to which I subscribed, but without payment? it is pity that philosophers have been disappointed, and shame that they have been cheated ; but I know not well how to prevent either. Of this experiment I haveread nothing; where was it exhibited ? and who was the man that ran away with so much money ? -Continue, dear Sir, to write often and more at a time ; for none of your prescriptions operate to their proper uses more certainly than your letters operate as cordials.” · August 26. “I suffered you to escape last post without a letter, but you are not to expect such indulgence very often ; for I write not so much because I have any thing to say, as because I hope for an answer; and the vacancy of my life here makes a letter of great value. I have here little company and little amusement, and thus abandoned to the contemplation of my own miseries, I am something gloomy
1784. and depressed; this too I resist as I can, and find opiEtat. 75, um,
um, I think, useful, but I seldom take more than
Sept. ll. s I think nothing grows worse, but all rather better, except sleep, and that of late has been at its old pranks. Last evening, I felt what I had not known for a long time, an inclination to walk for amusement; I took a short walk, and came back again neither breathless nor fatigued. This has been
6 It is remarkable that so good a Latin scholar as Johnson, should have been so inattentive to the meire, as by mistake to have written stellas instead of igncs.
a gloomy, frigid, ungenial summer, but of late it 1784. seems to mend; I hear the heat sometimes mentioned, but I do not feel it; • Præterea minimus gelido jam in corpore sanguis
Febre calet solá. I hope, however, with good help, to find means of supporting a winter at home, and to hear and tell at the Club what is doing, and what ought to be doing in the world. . I have no company here, and shall naturally come home hungry for conversation,
To wish you, dear Sir, more leisure, would not be kind; but what leisure you have, you must bestow upon me.”
Sept. 16. " I have now let you alone for a long time, having indeed little to say. You charge me somewhat unjustly with luxury. At Chatsworth, you should remember, that I have eaten but once; and the Doctor, with whom I live, follows a milk diet. I grow no fatter, though my stomach, if it be not disturbed by physick, never fails me.--I now grow weary of solitude, and think of removing next week to Lichfield, a place of more society, but otherwise of less convenience. When I am settled, I shall write again. Of the hot weather that you mentioned, we have [not] had in Derbyshire very much, and for myself I seldom feel heat, and suppose that my frigidity is the effect of my distemper; a supposition which naturally leads me to hope that a hotter climate may be useful. But I hope to stand another English winter.
Lichfield, Sept. 29. “ On one day I had three letters about the air balloon: yours was far the best, and has enabled me to impart to my friends in the