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212 SAMUEL JOHNSON

or fix our attention, when by all this expense we know that no good can be produced. Be alone as little as you can ; when you are alone, do not suffer your thoughts to dwell on what you might have done to prevent this disappoint- ment. You perhaps could not have done what you imagine, or might have done it without effect. But even to think in the most reason- able manner, is for the present not so useful as not to think. Remit yourself solemnly into the hands of God, and then turn your mind upon the business and amusements which lie before you. " All is best," says Chene, " as it has been, excepting the errours of our own free will." Burton concludes his long book upon Melancholy with this important precept: " Be not solitary ; be not idle."

November izt6, 1773.

��To Mrs. Thrale

IN a man's letters, you know, Madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast; whatever passes within him is shown undisguised in its natural process ; nothing is inverted, nothing distorted : you see systems in their elements; you discover actions in their motives.

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