Strahan, and think I do myself honour, when I tell you that I read them with tears; but tears are neither to YOU nor to ME of any further use, when once the tribute of nature has been paid. The business of life summons us away from useless grief, and calls us to the exercise of those virtues of which we are lamenting our deprivation.
BOSWELL. See ante, i. 398. The Reverend Mr. Strahan took care to have it preserved, and has inserted it in Prayers and Meditations, p. 216. See ante, iii. 433. The counterpart of Johnson's end and of one striking part of his character may be found in Mr. Fearing in The Pilgrim's Progress, part ii. "Mr. Fearing was," said Honesty, "a very zealous man.
That his love for his wife was of the most ardent kind, and, during the long period of fifty years, was unimpaired by the lapse of time, is evident from various passages in the series of his Prayers and Meditations, published by the Reverend Mr. Strahan, as well as from other memorials, two of which I select, as strongly marking the tenderness and sensibility of his mind. 'March 28, 1753.
As Strahan disappeared in the winding of the avenue a sudden and terrible thought occurred to Mrs. Merwyn. She glanced at her son, who had walked to the farther end of the piazza, and stood for a moment with his back towards her. His manly proportions made her realize, as she had never done before, that he had attained his majority, that he was his own master.
I was alone in the wizard Forman's chamber, and bending over a stranger record than had ever excited my infant wonder, or, in later years, provoked my sceptic smile. The Manuscript was written in a small and peculiar handwriting, which, though evidently by the same person whose letter to Strahan I had read, was, whether from haste or some imperfection in the ink, much more hard to decipher.
The following letter, of which a fac-simile is given at the beginning of vol. iii. of Dr. Franklin's Memoirs, ed. 1818, tells of 'a difference' between the famous printer of Philadelphia and the King's Printer of London. 'Philada., July 5, 1775. 'Mr. Strahan, 'You are a Member of Parliament, and one of that Majority which has doomed my Country to Destruction.
"He has scarcely mentioned the fact that he was not well;" and there was an accent of reproach in the young girl's tones. "I understand Strahan better than I once did, perhaps because better able to understand him," was Merwyn's quiet reply. "He is a brave, generous fellow, and, no doubt, wished to save you from anxiety. There has been no chance for him to say very much to me."
She became also a very good friend to Strahan, and entertained a secret admiration for him, well hidden, however, by a brusque, yet delicate raillery. But Strahan believed that the romance of his life was over, and he eventually joined his regiment with some reckless hopes of "stopping a bullet" as he phrased it.
For an intellectual and social career London certainly had advantages over Philadelphia. Mr. Strahan, the well-known publisher of those days, whom Franklin used affectionately to call Straney, became his close friend, and was very insistent with him that he should leave the provinces and take up a permanent residence in England.
One thing is not so evident, and it indicates a rather one-sided condition of affairs. I could not prevent my thoughts from visiting you often to-day before I came myself, but I fear that among your June-day occupations there has not been one thought of me." She had only time to say, sotto voce, "Girls don't tell everything," when the maid announced, from the door, "Mr. Strahan."