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'Jan. 20, 1759.'
'DEAR HONOURED MOTHER',
'Neither your condition nor your character make it fit for me to say much. You have been the best mother, and I believe the best woman in the world. I thank you for your indulgence to me, and beg forgiveness of all that I have done ill, and all that I have omitted to do well. God grant you his Holy Spirit, and receive you to everlasting happiness, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. Lord Jesus receive your spirit. Amen.
On the other side.
'Jan. 23, 1759'.'
'I am, dear, dear mother,
'TO MISS PORTER IN LIchfield.
'You will conceive my sorrow for the loss of my mother, of the best mother. If she were to live again surely I should behave better to her. But she is happy, and what is past is nothing to her; and for me, since I cannot repair my faults to her, I hope repentance will efface them. I return you and all those that have been good to her my sincerest thanks, and pray God to repay you all with infinite advantage. Write to me, and comfort me, dear child. I shall be glad likewise, if Kitty will write to me. I shall send a bill of twenty pounds in a few days, which I thought to have brought to my mother; but God suffered it not. I have not power or composure to say much more. God bless you, and bless us all. 'I am, dear Miss,
'Your affectionate humble servant,
'To MISS PORTER.
(The beginnin, is torn and lost.
'You will forgive me if I am not yet so composed as to give any directions about any thing. But you are wiser and better than I, and I shall be pleased with all that you shall do. It is not of any use for me now to come down; nor can I bear the place. If you want any
This letter was written on the second leaf of the preceding, addressed to Miss Porter. MALONE.
2 Mrs. Johnson probably died on the 20th or 21st January, and was buried on the day this letter was written. MALONE. On the day on which his mother was buried Johnson composed a prayer, as being 'now about to return to the common comforts and business of the world.' Pr. and Med. p. 38. After his wife's death he had allowed forty days to pass before his 'return to life.' See ante, p. 271,
directions, Mr. Howard' will advise you. The twenty pounds I could not get a bill for to-night, but will send it on Saturday. 'I am, my dear, your affectionate servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.'
'Jan. 25, 1759.'
'To MISS PORTER.
'I have no reason to forbear writing, but that it makes my heart heavy, and I had nothing particular to say which might not be delayed to the next post; but had no thoughts of ceasing to correspond with my dear Lucy, the only person now left in the world with whom I think myself connected. There needed not my dear mother's desire, for every heart must lean to somebody, and I have nobody but you; in whom I put all my little affairs with too much confidence to desire you to keep receipts, as you prudently proposed.
'If you and Kitty will keep the house, I think I shall like it best. Kitty may carry on the trade for herself, keeping her own stock apart, and laying aside any money that she receives for any of the goods which her good mistress has left behind her. I do not see, if this scheme be followed, any need of appraising the books. My mother's debts, dear mother, I suppose I may pay with little difficulty; and the little trade may go silently forward. I fancy Kitty can do nothing better; and I shall not want to put her out of a house, where she has lived so long, and with so much virtue. I am very sorry that she is ill, and earnestly hope that she will soon recover; let her know that I have the highest value for her, and would do any thing for her advantage. Let her think of this proposal. I do not see any likelier method by which she may pass the remaining part of her life in quietness and competence.
'You must have what part of the house you please, while you are inclined to stay in it; but I flatter myself with the hope that you and I shall some time pass our days together. I am very solitary and comfortless, but will not invite you to come hither till I can hope of making you live here so as not to dislike your situation. Pray, my dearest, write to me as often as you can.
'I am, dear Madam,
'Feb. 6, 1759.'
'Your affectionate humble servant,
'To MISS PORTER.
'I thought your last letter long in coming; and did not require or expect such an inventory of little things as you have sent me. I could have taken your word for a matter of much greater value. I
1 See ante, p. 94.
am glad that Kitty is better; let her be paid first, as my dear, dear mother ordered, and then let me know at once the sum necessary to discharge her other debts, and I will find it you very soon.
'I beg, my dear, that you would act for me without the least scruple, for I can repose myself very confidently upon your prudence, and hope we shall never have reason to love each other less. I shall take it very kindly if you make it a rule to write to me once at least every week, for I am now very desolate, and am loth to be universally forgotten.
•March 1, 1758.'
'I am, dear sweet,
'I beg your pardon for having so long omitted to write. One thing or other has put me off. I have this day moved my things and you are now to direct to me at Staple Inn, London. I hope, my dear, you are well, and Kitty mends. I wish her success in her trade. I am going to publish a little story book [Rasselas], which I will send you when it is out. Write to me, my dearest girl, for I am always glad to hear from you.
'Your affectionate servant,
'May 10, 1759.'
'TO MISS PORTER.
'I am, my dear, your humble servant,
'To MISS PORTER.
'I am almost ashamed to tell you that all your letters came safe, and that I have been always very well, but hindered, I hardly know how, from writing. I sent, last week, some of my works, one for you, one for your aunt Hunter, who was with my poor dear mother when she died, one for Mr. Howard, and one for Kitty.
'I beg you, my dear, to write often to me, and tell me how you like my little book.
'I am, dear love, your affectionate humble servant,
JOHNSON AT CAMBRIDGE.
The following is the full extract of Dr. Sharp's letter giving an account of Johnson's visit to Cambridge in 1765 :
'Camb. Mar. 1, 1765.
'As to Johnson, you will be surprised to hear that I have had him in the chair in which I am now writing. He has ascended my aërial citadel. He came down on a Saturday evening, with a Mr. Beauclerk, who has a friend at Trinity. Caliban, you may be sure, was not roused from his lair before next day noon, and his breakfast probably kept him till night. I saw nothing of him, nor was he heard of by any one, till Monday afternoon, when I was sent for home to two gentlemen unknown. In conversation I made a strange faux pas about Burnaby Greene's poem, in which Johnson is drawn at full length'. He drank his large potations of tea with me, interrupted by many an indignant contradiction, and many a noble sentiment. He had on a better wig than usual, but, one whose curls were not, like Sir Cloudesly's', formed for 'eternal buckle '.' Our conversation was chiefly on books, you may be sure. He was much pleased with a small Milton of mine, published in the author's lifetime, and with the Greek epigram on his own effigy, of its being the picture, not of him, but of a bad painter. There are many manuscript stanzas, for aught I know, in Milton's own handwriting, and several interlined hints and fragments. We were puzzled about one of the sonnets, which
1 Burnaby Greene had just published The Laureat, a poem, in which Johnson is abused. It is in the February list of books in the Gent. Mag. for 1765.
2 Sir Cloudesly Shovel's monument is thus mentioned by Addison in The Spectator, No. 26:-'It has very often given me great offence; instead of the brave rough English Admiral, which was the distinguishing character of that plain gallant man, he is represented on his tomb by the figure of a beau, dressed in a long periwig, and reposing himself upon velvet cushions under a canopy of state.'
'That live-long wig, which Gorgon's self might own,
Pope's Moral Essays, iii. 295. • Milton's Epigram is in his Sylvarum Liber, and is entitled In Effigiei ejus Sculptorem.
we thought was not to be found in Newton's edition', and differed from all the printed ones. But Johnson cried, "No, no!" repeated the whole sonnet instantly, memoriter, and shewed it us in Newton's book. After which he learnedly harangued on sonnet-writing, and its different numbers. He tells me he will come hither again quickly, and is promised "an habitation in Emanuel College"." He went back to town next morning; but as it began to be known that he was in the university, several persons got into his company the last evening at Trinity, where, about twelve, he began to be very great; stripped poor Mrs. Macaulay to the very skin, then gave her for his toast, and drank her in two bumpers.' (Gent. Mag. for 1785, p. 173.)
JOHNSON'S LETTER TO DR. LELAND.
'TO THE REV. DR. LELAND.
'Among the names subscribed to the degree which I have had the honour of receiving from the university of Dublin, I find none of which I have any personal knowledge but those of Dr. Andrews and yourself.
'Men can be estimated by those who know them not, only as they are represented by those who know them; and therefore I flatter myself that I owe much of the pleasure which this distinction gives me to your concurrence with Dr. Andrews in recommending me to the learned society.
'Having desired the Provost to return my general thanks to the University, I beg that you, sir, will accept my particular and immediate acknowledgements.
'I am, Sir,
'Your most obedient and most humble servant,
London, Oct. 17, 1765.'
'Johnson's acquaintance, Bishop Newton (post, June 3, 1784), published an
edition of Milton.
"It was no doubt by the Master of Emanuel College, his friend Dr. Farmer (ante, p. 426), that Johnson was promised 'an habitation' there.