Quotes on Hot Air
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366. Hot Air; Scotland
"He that travels in the Highlands may easily saturate his soul with intelligence, if he will acquiesce in the first account. The highlander gives to every question an answer so prompt and peremptory, that skepticism itself is dared into silence, and the mind sinks before the bold reporter in unresisting credulity; but, if a second question be ventured, it breaks the enchantment; for it is immediately discovered, that what was told so confidently was told at hazard, and that such fearlessness of assertion was either the sport of negligence, or the refuge of ignorance."
Johnson: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

1,513. Hot Air
Boswell. "Have not they vexed yourself a little, Sir? Have not you been vexed by all the turbulence of this reign, and by that absurd vote of the House of Commons, 'That the influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished'?" Johnson. "Sir, I have never slept an hour less, nor eat an ounce less meat. I would have knocked the factious dogs on the head, to be sure; but I was not vexed." Boswell. "I declare, Sir, upon my honour, I did imagine I was vexed, and took a pride in it; but it was, perhaps, cant; for I own I neither ate less, nor slept less." Johnson. "My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do: you may say to a man, 'Sir, I am your most humble servant. You are not his most humble servant. You may say, 'These are sad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times." You don't mind the times. You tell a man, "I am sorry you had such bad weather the last day of your journey, and were so much wet." You don't care six-pence whether he was wet or dry. You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society; but don't think foolishly."
Boswell: Life

1,855. Hot Air; Mortality
On Sunday, April 12, I found him at home before dinner; Dr. Dodd's poem entitled Thoughts in Prison was lying upon his table. This appearing to me an extraordinary effort by a man who was in Newgate for a capital crime, I was desirous to hear Johnson's opinion of it: to my surpize, he told me he had not read a line of it. I took up the book and read a passage to him. JOHNSON. "Pretty well, if you are previously disposed to like them." I read another passage, with which he was better pleased. He then took the book into his own hands, and having looked at the prayer at the end of it, he said, "What evidence is there that this was composed the night before he suffered? I do not believe it." He then read aloud where he prays for the King, &c. and observed, "Sir, do you think that a man the night before he is to be hanged cares for the succession of a royal family?— Though, he may have composed this prayer, then. A man who has been canting all his life, may cant to the last.— And yet a man who has been refused a pardon after so much petitioning, would hardly be praying thus fervently for the King."
Boswell: Life of Johnson

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