Talk:James Boswell

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  • I do not recollect having had any other valuable principle impressed upon me by my father except a strict regard for truth, which he impressed upon my mind by a hearty beating at an early age when I lied, and then talking of the dishonour of lying.
  • Oh Samuel, that you remember not your greatest triumph! Two fine birds, ripe for the plucking. How you clipped their heads; how they sated your enormous appetite!
  • For my own part I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed: and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.
  • We bade adieu to each other affectionately in the carriage. When he had got down upon the foot pavement he called out 'Fare you well'; and without looking back, sprung away with a kind of pathetic briskness, if I may use that expression, which seemed to indicate a struggle to conceal uneasiness, and impressed me with a foreboding of our long, long separation.
    • On his last meeting with Johnson.
  • Samuel Johnson: In England we wouldn't think of eating oats. We only feed them to Horses.
    Boswell: "Well, maybe that's why in England you have better horses, and in Scotland we have better men".
    • Conversation in response to Johnson criticising Boswell for the latter's Scottish habit of eating oats for breakfast.

As I heard it, the response was "Perhaps that is why Scotland is known for the quality of its men and England for the quality of its horses."

And I believe the reference is a footnote in Eric Linklater's superlative "The Survival of Scotland".