« ElőzőTovább »
account of your French travels very soon, for I am very im. patient. 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 affectionate humble servant,
“ JAMES BOSWELL."
<< TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ 16th November, 1775. “ DEAR SIR,-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, I hope you believe none more warm or sincere than those of, dear sir, your most affectionate,
“ Sam. JOHNSON.”
6 TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD?.
“ 16th November, 1775. “ 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
· 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 stepdaughter, but none of his earlier letters to her have been preserved.-BOSWELL. Since the death of the authour, several of Johnson's letters to Mrs. Lucy Porter, written before 1775, were bligingly communicated to me by the Rev. Dr. Vyse, and are printed in the present edi. tion.-MALONE. [Several others, as has been already stated (ante, vol. i. p. 175), are added to this edition. -ED.]
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.
“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
am, dear madam, your most affectionate humble servant,
6 SAM. JOHNSON.”
6 TO THE SAME.
“ December, 1775. “ DEAR MADAM,--Some weeks ago I wrote to you, to tell you that I was just come home from a ramble, and hoped that I should have heard from you. I am afraid winter has laid hold on your fingers, and hinders you from writing. However, let somebody write, if you cannot, and tell me how you do, and a little of what has happened at Lichfield among our friends. I hope you are all well.
“When I was in France, I thought myself growing young, but am afraid that cold weather will take part of my new vigour
us, however, take care of ourselves, and lose no part of our health by negligence. “I never knew whether
received the Commentary on the New Testament, and the Travels, and the glasses.
“ Do, my dear love, write to me; and do not let us forget each other. This is the season of good wishes, and I wish you all good. I have not lately seen Mr. Porter', nor heard of him. Is he with you ?
“Be pleased to make my compliments to Mrs. Adey, and Mrs. Cobb, and all my friends; and when I can do
any good, let me know. I am, dear madam, yours most affectionately,
- SAM. JOHNSON."
It is to be regretted, that he did not write an account of his travels in France; for as he is reported to have once said, that “ he could write the life of a broomstick ?,” so, notwithstanding so many former
? Son of Mrs. Johnson, by her first husband.-BOSWELL.
? It is probable that the authour's memory here deceived him, and that he was thinking of Stella's remark, that Swift could write finely upon a broomstick. -See Johnson's Life of Swift.-J. BOSWELL.
travellers have exhausted almost every subject for remark in that great kingdom, his very accurate observation, and peculiar vigour of thought and illustration, would have produced a wonderful work. During his visit to it, which lasted but about two months, he wrote notes or minutes of what he saw. He promised to show me them, but I neglected to put him in mind of it; and the greatest part of them has been lost, or perhaps destroyed in a precipitate burning of his papers a few days before his death, which must ever be lamented: one small paper book, however, entitled “ France II.,” has been preserved, and is in my possession. It is a diurnal register of his life and observations, from the 10th of October to the 4th of November, inclusive, being twenty-six days, and shows an extraordinary attention to various minute particulars. Being the only memorial of this tour that remains, my readers, I ain confident, will peruse it with pleasure, though his notes are very short, and evidently written only to assist his own recollection.
Tuesday, 10th October.-We saw the école militaire, in which one hundred and fifty young boys are educated for the army-–They have arms of different sizes, according to the age—flints of wood—The building is very large, but nothing fine except the council-room--The French have large squares in the windows—They make good iron palisades — Their meals are gross
“We visited the Observatory, a large building of a great height—The upper stones of the parapet very
· [Alluding, probably, to the fine grilles so frequent in France. He had, probably, just seen that of the Hôtel des Invalides, which is one of the fincst. Ev.]
2 (The contrary has been the general opinion; and Johnson was certainly a bad judge in that point, if he believed that his own taste was delicate. -Ed.]
large, but not cramped with iron 'The flat on the Tour in
We walked to a small convent of the Fathers of the Oratory-In the reading-desk of the refectory lay the Lives of the Saints.
“ Wednesday, 11th October.-—We went to see Hôtel de Chatlois?, a house not very large, but very elegant - One of the rooms was gilt to a degree that I never saw before—The upper part for servants and their masters was pretty.
“ Thence we went to Mr. Monvil's, a house divided into small apartments, furnished with effeminate and minute elegance—Porphyry.
“ Thence we went to St. Roque's church, which is very large—The lower part of the pillars incrusted with marble—Three chapels behind the high altar; the last a mass of low arches-Altars, I believe, all round.
“ We passed through Place de Vendôme, a fine square, about as big as Hanover-square-Inhabited by the high families—Louis XIV. on horseback in the middle 3.
“Monville is the son of a farmer-general - In the house of Chatlois is a room furnished with japan, fitted up in Europe.
“We dined with Bocage “, the Marquis Blanchetti, and his lady—The sweetmeats taken by the Marchioness Blanchetti, after observing that they
[There was neither iron nor wood originally used in any part of the building. An iron rail was afterwards added to the great stairs.--Ed.]
· [This seems to be a mistake; probably for the Hôtel de Chatelet.-Ed.]
Tour in were dear —Mr. Le Roy, Count Manucci, the abbé, France.
the prior, and Father Wilson, who staid with me, till I took him home in the coach.
6 Bathiani is gone.
“ The French have no laws for the maintenance of their poor—Monk not necessarily a priest-Benedictines rise at four; are at church an hour and half; at church again half an hour before, half an hour after, dinner; and again from half an hour after seven to eight—They may sleep eight hours-Bodily labour wanted in monasteries.
“ The poor taken into hospitals, and miserably kept—Monks in the convent fifteen : accounted poor.
“ Thursday, 12th October.—We went to the Gobelins— Tapestry makes a good picture-imitates flesh exactly-One piece with a gold ground—the birds not exactly coloured—Thence we went to the king's cabinet; very neat, not, perhaps, perfect Gold ore-Candles of the candle-tree-Seeds—Woods -Thence to Gagnier's house, where I saw rooms nine, furnished with a profusion of wealth and elegance which I never had seen before-Vases-Pictures—The dragon china—The lustre said to be of crystal, and to have cost 3,5001.—The whole furniture said to have cost 125,0001.—Damask hangings covered with pictures Porphyry_This house struck me-Then we waited on the ladies to Monville's Captain Irwin with us *_'Spain-County towns all
Johnson seems to suggest, that it would have been better bred not to have eaten what was dear; but the want of good-breeding (if any, which would depend on the context) was in alluding to the dearness, and not in eating what was on the table.--Ed.]
? [Who the abbé was does not appear. The two latter gentlemen were probably members of the English Benedictine convent.–Ed.]
3 [Perhaps Gagny, Intendant des Finances, who had a fine house in the Rue de Varennes.-Ed.]
4 The rest of this paragraph appears to be a minute of what was told by Captain Irwin.--BOSWELL. [And is therefore marked as quotation. -Ed.)