Johnson returned to the family bookshop in Lichfield where his father was now seriously ill and soon to die.
He was expected to take over the business but after Oxford he thought that selling books was beneath him.
'I remember once I was disobedient to my father. It wasn't long after I'd returned from Oxford; in truth it was just weeks before he died.
I refused to accompany him to Uttoxeter market where he went regularly to sell books.
He'd asked me for help.
He needed my help, and despite his condition, I withheld it.
Only a few years ago, I desired to atone for this fault, so I went to Uttoxeter, in very bad weather,
I stood for hours bareheaded in the rain, on the very spot where my father's bookstall used to stand.
I stood in contrition, it was my penance, my atonement.
I'm so ashamed.'
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