Monday, September 13, 2010

By Whatever Vent It Escaped Him

William Cowper, letter to John Newton (August 27, 1785):
I remember a good man at Huntingdon, who, I doubt not, is now with God, and he also kept a Diary. After his death, through the neglect or foolish wantonness of his executors, it came abroad for the amusement of his neighbours. All the town saw it, and all the town found it highly diverting. It contained much more valuable matter than the poor Doctor's Journal seems to do; but it contained also a faithful record of all his deliverances from wind (for he was much troubled with flatulence), by whatever vent it escaped him; together with pious acknowledgments of the mercy.
The "good man at Huntingdon" is a Mr. Jedderel; the "poor Doctor" is Samuel Johnson.

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