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to send it to-night. If I cannot send it to-night, it will come by the next post.
'Pray, do not omit any thing mentioned in this letter: God bless you for ever and ever.
Jan. 13, 1758''
'I am your dutiful son,
'TO MISS PORTER, AT MRS. JOHNSON'S, IN LICHFIELD. 'MY DEAR MISS,
'I think myself obliged to you beyond all expression of gratitude for your care of my dear mother. God grant it may not be without success. Tell Kitty that I shall never forget her tenderness for her mistress. Whatever you can do, continue to do. My heart is very full.
'I hope you received twelve guineas on Monday. I found a way of sending them by means of the postmaster, after I had written my letter, and hope they came safe. I will send you more in a few days. God bless you all.
'Your weakness afflicts me beyond what I am willing to communicate to you. I do not think you unfit to face death, but I know not how to bear the thought of losing you. Endeavour to do all you [can] for yourself. Eat as much as you can.
'I pray often for you; do you pray for me. I have nothing to add to my
I fear you are too ill for long letters; therefore I will only tell you, you have from me all the regard that can possibly subsist in the heart. I pray God to bless you for evermore, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. 'Let Miss write to me every post, however short. 'I am, dear mother,
'TO MISS PORTER, at Mrs. JOHNSON'S, IN LICHFIELD.
'I will, if it be possible, come down to you. God grant I may yet [find] my dear mother breathing and sensible. Do not tell her, lest I disappoint her. If I miss to write next post, I am on the road.
'I am, my dearest Miss,
'Your most humble servant,
'Jan. 20, 1759.'
On the other side.
'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. 'I am, dear, dear mother, 'Your dutiful son,
'Jan. 20, 1759.'
'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.
'To MISS PORTER.
(The beginning 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 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,
'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 have 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,
'Your affectionate humble servant,
'Feb. 6, 1759.'
1 See ante, p. 80.
'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 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.
'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. 'I am, my dear, your humble servant,
'March 23, 1759.'
'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,
'May 10, 1759.'
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 we thought was not to be found in Newton's edition 5, 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
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.'