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bid a cordial adieu to Lord Mountstuart, who was to set out on that day on his embassy to Turin. We drove on excellently, and reached Lichfield in good time enough that night. The Colonel had heard so preferable a character of the George, that he would not put up at the Three Crowns, so that I did not see our host, Wilkins. We found at the George as good accommodations as we could wish to have, and I fully enjoyed the comfortable thought that I was in Lichfield again. Next morning it rained very hard; and as I had much to do in a little time, I ordered a post-chaise, and between eight and nine sallied forth to make a round of visits. I first went to Mr. Green, hoping to have had him to accompany me to all my other friends, but he was engaged to attend the Bishop of Sodor and Man, who was then lying at Lichfield very ill of the gout. Having taken a hasty glance at the additions to Green's museum, from which it was not so easy to break away, I next went to the Friery, where I at first occasioned some tumult in the ladies, who were not prepared to receive company so early : but my name, which has by wonderful felicity come to be closely associated with yours, soon made all easy; and Mrs. Cobb and Miss Adey re-assumed their seats at the breakfast table, which they had quitted with some precipitation. They received me with the kindness of an old acquaintance; and after we had joined in a cordial chorus to your praise, Mrs. Cobb gave me the high satisfaction of hearing that you said, “Boswell is a man who I believe never left a house without leaving a wish for his return.' And she afterwards added, that she bid
you that if ever I came to Lichfield, she hoped I would take a bed at the Friery. From thence I drove to Peter Garrick's," where I also found a very flattering welcome.
- [This gentleman survived his brother David many years; and died at Lichfield, Dec. 12, 1795, ætat. 86. A. C.]
tell me, my sand
He appeared to me to enjoy his usual cheerfulness; and he very kindly asked me to come when I could, and pass a week with him. From Mr. Garrick's, I went to the Palace to wait on Mr. Seward. I was first entertained by his lady and daughter, he himself being in bed with a cold, according to his valetudinary custom. But he desired to see me, and I found him dressed in his black gown, with a white flannel night-gown above it; so that he looked like a Dominican friar. He was good-humoured and polite ; and under his roof too my reception was very pleasing I then proceeded to Stowhill, and first paid my respects to Mrs. Gastrell, whose conversation I was not willing to quit. But glass was now beginning to run low, as I could not trespass too long on the Colonel's kindness, who obligingly waited for me; so I hastened to Mrs. Aston's,' whom I found much better than I feared I should ; and there I met a brother-in-law of these ladies, who talked much of you,
well too, as it appeared to me. It then only remained to visit Mrs. Lucy Porter, which I did, I really believe, with sincere satisfaction on both sides. I am sure I was glad to see her again; and, as I take her to be very honest, I trust she was glad to see me again; for she expressed herself so, that I could not doubt of her being in earnest.
What a great keystone of kindness, my dear Sir, were you that morning! for we were all held together by our common attachment to you. I cannot say that I ever passed two hours with more self-complacency than I did those two at Lichfield. Let me not entertain any suspicion that this is idle vanity. Will not you confirm me in my persuasion, that he who finds himself so regarded has just reason to be happy?
“We got to Chester about midnight on Tuesday;
A maiden sister of Johnson's favourite, Molly Aston, who married Captain Brodie, of the Navy. M.]
and here again I am in a state of much enjoyment. Colonel Stuart and his officers treat me with all the civility I could wish ; and I play my part admirably. Lætus aliis, sapiens sibi, the classical sentence which you, I imagine, invented the other day, is exemplified in my present existence. The Bishop, to whom I had the honour to be known several years ago, shews me much attention; and I am edified by his conversation. I must not omit to tell you, that his Lordship admires, very highly, your Prefaces to the Poets. I am daily obtaining an extension of agreeable acquaintance, so that I am kept in animated variety; and the study of the place itself, by the assistance of books, and of the Bishop, is sufficient occupation. Chester pleases my fancy, more than any town I ever saw. But I will not enter upon it at all in this letter.
“How long I shall stay here I cannot yet say. I told a very pleasing young lady," niece to one of the Prebendaries, at whose house I saw her, I have come to Chester, Madam, I cannot tell how; and far less can I tell how I am to get away from it. Do not think me . too juvenile.' I beg it of you, my dear Sir, to favour me with a letter while I am here, and add to the happiness of a happy friend, who is ever, with affectionate veneration, most sincerely yours,
“ JAMES BOSWELL."
“If you do not write directly, so as to catch me here, I shall be disappointed. Two lines from you will keep my lamp burning bright.”
" TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. « Dear Sir,
“ Why should you importune me so earnestly to write? Of what importance can it be to hear of dis
* Miss Letitia Barnston.
tant friends, to a man who finds himself welcome wherever he goes, and makes new friends faster than he can want them? If to the delight of such universal kindness of reception, any thing can be added by knowing that
you retain my good-will, you may indulge yourself in the full enjoyment of that small addition.
“I am glad that you made the round of Lichfield with so much success : the oftener you are seen, the more you will be liked. It was pleasing to me to read that Mrs. Aston was so well, and that Lucy Porter was so glad to see you.
“ In the place where you now are, there is much to be observed; and you will easily procure yourself skilful directors. But what will you do to keep away the black dog that worries you at home? If you would, in compliance with your father's advice, inquire into the old tenures and old characters of Scotland, you would certainly open to yourself many striking scenes of the manners of the middle ages. The feudal system, in a country half-barbarous, is naturally productive of great anomalies in civil life. The knowledge of past times is naturally growing less in all cases not of publick record ; and the past time of Scotland is so unlike the present, that it is already difficult for a Scotchman to image the economy of his grandfather. Do not be tardy nor negligent; but gather up eagerly what can yet be found.
“ We have, I think, once talked of another project, a History of the late insurrection in Scotland, with all its incidents. Many falsehoods are passing into un
* I have a valuable collection made by my Father, which, with some additions and illustrations of my own, I intend to publish. I have some hereditary claim to be an Antiquary; not only from my Father, but as being descended, by the mother's side, from the able and learned Sir John Skene, whose merit bids defiance to all the attempts which have been made to lessen his fame.
contradicted history. . Voltaire, who loved a striking story, has told what he could not find to be true.
“You may make collections for either of these projects, or for both, as opportunities occur, and digest your materials at leisure. The great direction which Burton has left to men disordered like you, is this, Be not solitary; be not idle : which I would thus modify; -If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle. “ There is a letter for you, from
“ Your humble servant,
“Sam. Johnson." “London, October 27, 1779."
" TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. “MY DEAR SIR,
Carlisle, Nov. 7, 1779. “That I should importune you to write to me at Chester, is not wonderful, when you consider what an avidity I have for delight; and that the amor of pleasure, like the amor nummi, increases in proportion with the quantity which we possess of it. Your letter, so full of polite kindness and masterly counsel, came like a large treasure upon me, while already glittering with riches. I was quite enchanted at Chester, so that I could with difficulty quit it. But the enchantment was the reverse of that of Circé; for so far was there from being any thing sensual in it, that I was all mind. I do not mean all reason only : for my fancy was kept finely in play. And why not?-If you please I will send you a copy, or an abridgement of my Chester journal, which is truly a log-book of felicity.
“ The Bishop treated me with a kindness which was very flattering. I told him that you regretted you had seen so little of Chester. His Lordship bade me tell you, that he should be glad to shew you more of it.