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over Horace yesterday, to look for the expression tenui fronte*, in vindication of my assertion to Johnson that low foreheads were classical, when the 8th Ode of the First Book of Horace struck me so, I could not help imitating it while the scandal was warm in my mind:
"He's sick indeed! and very sick,
For if it is not all a trick
You'd better look about ye.
Dear Lady Mary, prythee tell
Nor sun nor dust can he abide,
The steed we saw him mount ill.
Why the full opera should he shun?
But tenuis is small or narrow rather than low. One of Fielding's beauties, Sophia Western, has a low forehead: another, Fanny, a high one.
Note by Mrs. T.: "Fonthill, the seat of young Beckford. They set him o' horseback, and he tumbled off."
Why is it worse than viper's sting,
Forbear his house, nor haunt his bed
With that strange wig and fearful head,
We o'er his voice again may doze,
When, cover'd warm with women's clothes,
He acts a young Achilles.""
"1st February, 1782.-Here is Mr. Johnson ill, very ill indeed, and-I do not see what ails him; 'tis repelled gout, I fear, fallen on the lungs and breath of course. What shall we do for him? If I lose him, I am more than undone; friend, father, guardian, confident! God give me health and patience. What shall I do?"
"Harley Street, 13th April, 1782.-When I took off my mourning, the watchers watched me very exactly, but they whose hands were mightiest have found nothing: so I shall leave the town, I hope, in a good disposition towards me, though I am sullen enough with the town for fancying me such an amorous idiot that I am dying to enjoy every filthy fellow. God knows how distant such dispositions are from the heart and constitution of H. L. T. Lord Loughboro', Sir Richard Jebb, Mr. Piozzi, Mr. Selwyn, Dr. Johnson, every man that comes to the house, is put in the papers
for me to marry. In good time, I wrote to-day to beg the Morning Herald' would say no more about me, good or bad."
"Streatham, 17th April, 1782.-I am returned to Streatham, pretty well in health and very sound in heart, notwithstanding the watchers and the wagerlayers, who think more of the charms of their sex by half than I who know them better. Love and friendship are distinct things, and I would go through fire to serve many a man whom nothing less than fire would force me to go to bed to. Somebody mentioned my going to be married t'other day, and Johnson was joking about it. I suppose, Sir, said I, they think they are doing me honour with these imaginary matches, when, perhaps the man does not exist who would do me. honour by marrying me! This, indeed, was said in the wild and insolent spirit of Baretti, yet 'tis nearer the truth than one would think for. A woman of passable person, ancient family, respectable character, uncommon talents, and three thousand a year, has a right to think herself any man's equal, and has nothing to seek but return of affection from whatever partner she pitches on. To marry for love would therefore be rational in me, who want no advancement of birth or fortune, and till I am in love, I will not marry, nor perhaps then."
"22nd August, 1782.- An event of no small consequence to our little family must here be recorded in the 'Thraliana.' After having long intended to go to Italy for pleasure, we are now settling to go thither for con
The establishment of expense here at Streatham is more than my income will answer; my lawsuit with Lady Salusbury turns out worse in the event and infinitely more costly than I could have dreamed on; 8000l. is supposed necessary to the payment of it, and how am I to raise 8000l.? My trees will (after all my expectations from them) fetch but 4000l., the money lent Perkins on his bond 1600l., the Hertfordshire copyholds may perhaps be worth 1000l., and where is the rest to spring from? I must go abroad and save money. To show Italy to my girls, and be showed it by Piozzi, has long been my dearest wish, but to leave Mr. Johnson shocked me, and to take him appeared impossible. His recovery, however, from an illness we all thought dangerous, gave me courage to speak to him on the subject, and this day (after having been let blood) I mustered up resolution to tell him the necessity of changing a way of life I had long been displeased with. I added that I had mentioned the matter to my eldest daughter, whose prudence and solid judgment, unbiassed by passion, is unequalled, as far as my experience has reached; that she approved the scheme, and meant to partake it, though of an age when she might be supposed to form connections here in England-attachments of the tenderest nature; that she declared herself free and resolved to follow my fortunes, though perfectly aware temptations might arise to prevent me from ever returning-a circumstance she even mentioned herself.
"Mr. Johnson thought well of the project, and wished
me to put it early in execution: seemed less concerned at parting with me than I wished him thought his pupil Miss Thrale quite right in forbearing to marry young, and seemed to entertain no doubt of living to see us return rich and happy in two or three years' time. He told Hester in my absence that he would not go with me if I asked him. See the importance of a person to himself. I fancied Mr. Johnson could not have existed without me, forsooth, as we have now lived together for above eighteen years. I have so fondled him in sickness and in health. Not a bit of it. He feels nothing in parting with me, nothing in the least; but thinks it a prudent scheme, and goes to his books as usual. This is philosophy and truth; he always said he hated a feeler.
"The persecution I endure from men too who want to marry me - in good time—is another reason for my desiring to be gone. I wish to marry none of them, and Sir Philip's teazing me completed my mortification; to see that one can rely on nobody! The expences of this house, however, which are quite past my power to check, is the true and rational cause of our departure. In Italy we shall live with twice the respect and at half the expence we do here; the language is familiar to me and I love the Italians; I take with me all I love in the world except my two baby daughters, who will be left safe at school; and since Mr. Johnson cares nothing for the loss of my personal friendship and company, there is no danger of any body else breaking their hearts, My sweet Burney