The Life of Johnson
1771, AETAT. 62.]--
'To SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, IN LEICESTER-FIELDS.
'DEAR SIR,--When I came to Lichfield, I found that my portrait had been much visited,
and much admired. Every man has a lurking wish to appear considerable in his native
place; and I was pleased with the dignity conferred by such a testimony of your regard.
'Be pleased, therefore, to accept the thanks of, Sir, your most obliged and most humble
'Ashbourn in Derbyshire,
July 17, 1771.'
'Compliments to Miss Reynolds.'
In his religious record of this year, we observe that he was better than usual, both in body
and mind, and better satisfied with the regularity of his conduct. But he is still 'trying his
ways' too rigorously. He charges himself with not rising early enough; yet he mentions
what was surely a sufficient excuse for this, supposing it to be a duty seriously required,
as he all his life appears to have thought it. 'One great hindrance is want of rest; my
nocturnal complaints grow less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to repair
the deficiencies of the night.' Alas! how hard would it be if this indulgence were to be
imputed to a sick man as a crime. In his retrospect on the following Easter-Eve, he says,
'When I review the last year, I am able to recollect so little done, that shame and sorrow,
though perhaps too weakly, come upon me.'
In 1772 he was altogether quiescent as an authour; but it will be found from the various
evidences which I shall bring together that his mind was acute, lively, and vigorous.
'To James Boswell, Esq.
'DEAR SIR,--That you are coming so soon to town I am very glad; and still more glad
that you are coming as an advocate. I think nothing more likely to make your life pass
happily away, than that consciousness of your own value, which eminence in your
profession will certainly confer. If I can give you any collateral help, I hope you do not
suspect that it will be wanting. My kindness for you has neither the merit of singular
virtue, nor the reproach of singular prejudice. Whether to love you be right or wrong, I
have many on my side: Mrs. Thrale loves you, and Mrs. Williams loves you, and what