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Quotation by Samuel Johnson
I would advise you Sir, to study algebra, if you are not already an adept in it: your head would be less muddy, and you will leave off tormenting your neighbours about paper and packthread, while we all live together in a world that is bursting with sin and sorrow.
Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Johnsonian Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. 301 (1897). Quoted in Hester Piozzi, Anecdotes of Samuel Johnson (1786).
remark to a warehouse packer. Mrs. Piozzi also recorded that "when Mr. Johnson felt his fancy, or fancied he felt it, disordered, his constant recurrence was to the study of arithmetic."
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