|The future good (ch10)... and Rasselas... and harmless pleasure
Written by Tom P2
(3/10/2009 9:06 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, JA's reading, penned by Emmeline
Thanks. I hadn't known that Samuel Johnson's moral prose was a particular favourite of JA's, but that leads nicely into a little detail in chapter 10, that I only noticed this time because I've recently read Johnson's 'The history of Rasselas, prince of Abissinia'.
NA ch10> She went home very happy. The morning had answered all her hopes, and the evening of the following day was now the object of expectation, the future good.
Why give two phrases for the same thing? Possibly as an allusion to Rasselas, which also contains the phrase 'future good', and other similar expressions.
Rasselas ch45> Youth is delighted with applause, because it is considered as the earnest of some future good, and because the prospect of life is far extended; ...
Rasselas ch30> “Such,” said Nekayah, “is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change; the change itself is nothing; when we have made it the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted: let me see something to-morrow which I never saw before.”
I also wonder whether the next part of that paragraph from NA ch10 is meant as a humourously trivial reference to this:
"Nay, Sir, harmless pleasure is the highest praise. Pleasure is a word of dubious import ; pleasure is, in general, dangerous, and pernicious to virtue ; to be able, therefore, to furnish pleasure that is harmless, pleasure pure and unalloyed, is as great a power as man can possess."
-- from The Life of Samuel Johnson, by James Boswell et al, published after JA's death, but the quote itself could have been publicly known in her lifetime
Solicitude about gowns and headdress isn't harmless pleasure: it draws one into frivolity! Tut, tut, tut. :-)