Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/117

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city that gave birth to one of the first characters which this kingdom can boast. We regarded with reverence the house where Dr. Johnson had first drawn his breath, and the great willow-tree planted by the hand of a man who united every moral excellence with every intellectual endowment; the rarest gifts of the mind with the noblest virtues of the heart; who exhibited transcendent mental powers, combined with all the aids of human learning, ever laboriously employed in the defence of religion and the corroboration of virtue. That Johnson's character should be unmixed with foibles, would be vain to expect, since no mortal can be perfect:, or catch those graces which are beyond the reach of humanity; but in appreciating this character, let us recollect, that all these failings leaned to virtue's side, and that they always manifested the excess of a good principle, rather than the presence of a bad one. Of this the following anecdote you will probably consider as an example:

During the last visit which the Doctor made to Lichfield, the friends with whom he was staying, missed him one morning at the breakfast-table; on enquiring after him of the servants, they understood he had set off from Lichfield at a very early hour, without mentioning to any of the family whither he was going. The day passed without