We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I will post a series of random quotes from Boswell'sLondon Journalfor a while, on Sundays. As was commented on the publication of these journals:
"Boswell was the most charming companion in the world, and London becomes his dining-room and his playground, his club and his confessional. No celebrant of the London world can ignore his book."-Peter Ackroyd, from the introduction; Praise for the earlier edition: "The journal is admirably edited and annotated."-W. H. Auden, New Yorker
A friend told him "Mr. Boswell, you are the vainest man I have ever met, and yet it is impossible for me not to love you." Mr. Boswell - Jamie - is an easy person to like. His honesty about himself shines through. He is 22 at this time, journaling about his second move from Edinburgh to London in search of a cushy commission in the Footguards (which he was never able to obtain despite his extensive networking efforts).
Much of these journals documents his daily life, which is mainly social - and centered on meals. Breakfast with these friends, dinner with other friends, see a play with others, then maybe a late supper with others, perhaps after a bit of whoring, which he describes in some detail including an assessment of his performance. He is quite open about preferring "genteel" ladies for his "amorous adventures" because he lives on a tight budget and prefers not to pay.
He is a devout Anglican. He takes long walks every day, usually discussing politics or literature with friends. The great David Garrick befriends him, and, towards the end of these journals, Boswell meets Samuel Johnson. Johnson, of course, finds the young fellow to be a delightful companion. Boswell is always puzzled about why people like him so much and seek out his company, viewing himself as shallow and dull. He worries about his social presentation, especially his tendency to lose his reserve and dignity (which he constantly does). He also has recurrent incapacitating bouts of depression.
This bit is from December 11, 1762:
I drank coffee at Macfarlane's. Erskine and he got into a dispute about the Peace and each told his antagonist that he was speaking arrant nonsense. They were seriously hot. I was much diverted at Captain Andrew's being so, who does not enter the least into common notions, and does not care a farthing whether there be peace or war or confusion in Europe, provided he and his own agreeable circle be safe and happy.
I must own that I am much of that way of thinking. I cannot help it. I see too far into the system of things to be much in earnest. I consider mankind in general, and therefore cannot take a part in their quarrels when divided into certain states and nations. I can see that after a war is over and a great quantity of cold and hunger and want of sleep endured by mortals, things are upon the whole just as they were. I can see that Great People, those that manage the fate of kingdoms, are just such beings as myself: have their hours of discontent and are not a bit happier. This being the case, I am rather passive than active in life. It is difficult to make my feeling clearly understood. I may say, I act passively. That is, not with my whole heart, and thinking this or that of real consequence, but because so and so things are established and I must submit.
Meditating calmly and finding myself situated in this sublunary system, I do not know well what to make of it. I do not rightly understand it. Guardian Angel: "Stop. How should you? God has formed men with very limited capacities." True. But still I cannot help enquiring and thinking.
Image: Boswell in his 40s. Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1785