Tuesday, November 26, 2019


A Plan

Archibald Stewart, letter to James Boswell (September 7, 1763), in Frederick A. Pottle, ed., Boswell in Holland, 1763-1764 (London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1952), pp. 20-21:
As you have often told me that in the most trifling incidents of life you are unwilling to determine without advice, I think it my duty as your sincere friend to lay the following plan before you for your way of living at Utrecht.—Supposing you were to follow Dempster's advice to make no more sallies into the streets, you ought to rise generally about eight o'clock or a little before it. So soon as you have huddled on your clothes, open your chamber window and throw your head out, keeping your mouth wide open in order to feast upon the fresh air. In this posture remain for near the space of a quarter of an hour. Then proceed to bodily exercise by dancing and capering about your room for near twenty-five minutes. After spending forty minutes in this manner, devour about a Scotch pint of porridge and milk (if to be got) for breakfast; after which turn up Erskine and study him with attention, considering that every sentence of his you make yourself master of will add at least a year to your father's life and may come to immortalize your own. For recreation read a chapter now and then of the Great Man or honest Spec. Your tongue and p———k are the only two members I have not instructed you how to exercise. The former of these you must satisfy by half an hour's vociferation at your servant, forenoon and afternoon. As to the latter, I believe he requires very little exercise, as he seldom or ever of late has been seen to move at all.

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