Boswell & Johnson

Boswell recounts his introduction to Johnson:

Mr. Davies mentioned my name, and respectfully introduced me to him. I was much agitated; and recollecting his prejudice against the Scotch, of which I had heard much, I said to Davies, “Dont tell where I come from.”—”From Scotland,” cried Davies roguishly. “Mr. Johnson, said I I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.” I am willing to flatter myself that I meant this as light pleasantry to sooth and conciliate him, and not as an humiliating abasement at the expense of my country. But however that might be, this speech was somewhat unlucky; for with that quickness of wit for which he was so remarkable, he seized the expression “come from Scotland,” which I used in the sense of being of that country; and, as if I had said that I had come away from it, or left it, retorted, “That, Sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.”

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