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Peoples and Places
"Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this
city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and
squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts.
It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the
multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together,
that the wonderful immensity of London consists."
77. London; Scotland
Johnson: "The happiness of London is not to be conceived
but by those who have been in it. I will venture to say, there
is more learning and science within the circumference of ten
miles from where we now sit, than in all the rest of the world."
Boswell: "The only disadvantage is the great distance at
which people live from one another." Johnson: "Yes, Sir,
but that is occasioned by the largeness of it, which is the cause
of all the other advantages." Boswell: "Sometimes I have
been in the humour of wishing to retire to a desart."
Johnson: "Sir, you have desart enough in Scotland."
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing
to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;
for there is in London all that life can afford."
"A country gentleman should bring his lady to visit London as
soon as he can, that they may have agreeable topicks for
conversation when they are by themselves."
260. London; Stimulation
I mentioned to him that I had become very weary in a company
where I heard not a single intellectual sentence, except "that a
man who had been settled ten years in Minorca was become a much
inferiour man to what he was in London, because a man's mind
grows narrow in a narrow place." Johnson: "A man's mind
grows narrow in a narrow place, whose mind is enlarged only
because he has lived in a large place: but what is got by books
and thinking is preserved in a narrow place as well as in a large
place. A man cannot know modes of life as well in Minorca as in
London; but he may study mathematicks as well in Minorca."
"By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can
Boswell: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides