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Bonny that it was like taking an afternoon walk with a goodnatured Indian. We used to carry her offerings of tobacco, for she was a great smoker, and advised us to try it, if ever we should be troubled with nerves, or “narves," as she pronounced the name of that affliction.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, a celebrated English lexicographer, essayist, critic and poet, born at Lichfield, Sept. 18, 1709 ; died at London, Dec. 13, 1784. His father was a bookseller, who ultimately fell into pecuniary straits, so that the son, who had been entered as a student at Oxford, was obliged to leave the University without taking his degree. He was afflicted with a scrofulous affection, by which both his sight and hearing were seriously impaired. After leaving Oxford he became usher in a grammar-school, and when about twenty-five, endeavored to establish a private school. He, however, was able to get only three pupils, one of whom was David Garrick. In 1737 Johnson and Garrick went together to London. Johnson found employment upon the “Gentleman's Magazine." The next year he wrote his poem of “ London,” modeled upon the Third Satire of Juvenal. In 1740 he commenced to write what purported to be the debates in Parliament, which he kept up for about two years. These speeches were wholly imaginary. Slowly his reputation began to increase; and in 1747 he was engaged by a combination of leading publishers to prepare an English Dictionary. This work occupied him, although not exclusively, for about seven years.
Johnson's principal literary works appeared in the following order: “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” his most important poem, an imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal (1748); “ Irene,” a tragedy; “ The Rambler,” a series of essays published twice a week (1750-1752); “The Adventurer,” to which Johnson furnished twenty-nine papers (1752-1754); the “ English Dictionary (1755), “ The Idler" (1758), containing ninety-one papers by Johnson; “Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia” (1759); “ Tour to the Hebrides," made in company with Boswell (1775); “Lives of the Poets” (1779–1781). He also superintended an edition of Shakspeare for which he wrote Prefaces and Notes (1765).
Boswell's “ Life of Johnson” is made up in great part of specimens of his conversation and oral criticisms upon men, manners, and books; and to this even more than to his formal writings is he indebted for the commanding place which he holds in the literature of the English language.
FROM A LETTER TO HIS FRIEND MR. JOSEPH BARETTI,
AT MILAN. I KNOW my Baretti will not be satisfied with a letter in which I give him no account of myself; yet what account shall I give him? I have not, since the day of our separation, suffered or done anything considerable. The only change in my way of life is, that I have frequented the theater more than in former seasons. But I have gone thither only to escape from myself. We have had many new farces, and the comedy called “The Jealous Wife," — which, though not written with much genius, was yet so well adapted to the stage, and so well exhibited by the actors, that it was crowded for near twenty nights. I am digressing from myself to the play-house; but a barren plan must be filled with episodes. Of myself I have nothing to say, but that I have hitherto lived without the concurrence of my own judgment; yet I continue.to flatter myself that when you return, you will find me mended. I do not wonder that where the monastic life is permitted, every order finds votaries, and every monastery inhabitants. Men will submit to any rule by which they may be exempt from the tyranny of caprice and of chance. They are glad to supply by external authority their own want of constancy and resolution, and court the government of others when long experience has convinced them of their own inability to govern themselves. If I were to visit Italy, my curiosity would be more attracted by convents than by palaces; though I am afraid I should find expectation in both places equally disappointed, and life in both places supported with impatience and quitted with reluctance. That it must be so soon quitted is a powerful remedy against impatience; but what shall free us from reluctance? Those who have endeavored to teach us to die well, have taught few to die willingly; yet I cannot but hope that a good life might end at last in a contented death.
Dr. Johnson's FAREWELL TO HIS MOTHER'S AGED SERVANT.
SUNDAY, October 18, 1767. YESTERDAY, Oct. 17, at about ten in the morning, I took my leave forever of my dear old friend Catherine Chambers, who came to live with my mother about 1724, and has been but