I heart Boswell

I’m about 120 pages into Boswell’s “The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides,” the companion piece to Johnson’s journal of the same trip.  Boswell’s is much more entertaining (and more educational, as I can’t read it far away from the internet due to the need to lookup multiple references to writers of the day and Latin phrases).  However, it’s Boswell’s cheeky yet solicitous attitude that amuses the most.  Almost a month into the trip, after Dr. Johnson has had a quiet evening and goes early to bed, Boswell records:

I was in a cordial humour and promoted a cheerful glass.  The punch was excellent.  Honest Mr. M’Queen observed that I was in high glee, ‘my governour being gone to bed.’ . . . However, nothing but what was good was present, and I pleased myself in thinking that so spirited a man should be well everywhere. [p. 245, Dover Edition,2008]

Sounds like an amusing companion – no wonder Johnson was fond of him.  I’m going to have to try to work in the phrase “promote a cheerful glass” in today’s world – it has such a wonderful ring.

a cheerful glass of Boswell’s excellent punch





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