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through the instrumentality of M. Corcellet, diffuse all over Europe the glory of his name, he resigns himself to his destiny, and suffers not a tear to flow."
Her case for a separation de corps is thus stated in the "Anecdotes":
"All these exactnesses in a man who was nothing less than exact himself, made him extremely impracticable as an inmate, though most instructive as a companion, and useful as a friend. Mr. Thrale too could sometimes overrule his rigidity, by saying coldly, 'There, there, now we have had enough for one lecture, Dr. Johnson, we will not be upon education any more till after dinner, if you please,'- or some such speech; but when there was nobody to restrain his dislikes, it was extremely difficult to find any body with whom he could converse, without living always on the verge of a quarrel, or of something too like a quarrel to be pleasing. I came into the room, for example, one evening, where he and a gentleman, whose abilities we all respected exceedingly, were sitting; a lady who had walked in two minutes before me had blown 'em both into a flame, by whispering something to Mr. Sd, which he endeavoured to explain away, so as not to affront the Doctor, whose suspicions were all alive. And have a care, Sir,' said he, just as I came in; the old lion will not bear to be tickled.'†
Almanach des Gourmands.
This must be the quarrel between Johnson and Seward at which Miss Streatfield cried. (Antè, p. 116.)
The other was pale with rage, the lady wept at the confusion she had caused, and I could only say with Lady Macbeth,
'So! you've displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting
"Such accidents, however, occurred too often, and I was forced to take advantage of my lost lawsuit, and plead inability of purse to remain longer in London or its vicinage. I had been crossed in my intentions of going abroad, and found it convenient, for every reason of health, peace, and pecuniary circumstances, to retire to Bath, where I knew Mr. Johnson would not follow me, and where I could for that reason command some little portion of time for my own use; a thing impossible while I remained at Streatham or at London, as my hours, carriage, and servants, had long been at his command, who would not rise in the morning till twelve o'clock perhaps, and oblige me to make breakfast for him till the bell rung for dinner, though much displeased if the toilet was neglected, and though much of the time we passed together was spent in blaming or deriding, very justly, my neglect of economy, and waste of that money which might make many families happy. The original reason of our connexion, his particularly disordered health and spirits*, had been long at an end, and he had no other ailments than old. age and general infirmity, which every professor of
These words are underlined in the manuscript.
medicine was ardently zealous and generally attentive to palliate, and to contribute all in their power for the prolongation of a life so valuable.
"Veneration for his virtue, reverence for his talents, delight in his conversation, and habitual endurance of a yoke my husband first put upon me, and of which he contentedly bore his share for sixteen or seventeen years, made me go on so long with Mr. Johnson; but the perpetual confinement I will own to have been terrifying in the first years of our friendship, and irksome in the last, nor could I pretend to support it without help, when my coadjutor was no more. To the assistance we gave him, the shelter our house afforded to his uneasy fancies, and to the pains we took to soothe or repress them, the world perhaps is indebted for the three political pamphlets, the new edition and correction of his Dictionary, and for the Poets' Lives, which he would scarce have lived, I think, and kept his faculties entire, to have written, had not incessant care been exerted at the time of his first coming to be our constant guest in the country; and several times after that, when he found himself particularly oppressed with diseases incident to the most vivid and fervent imaginations. I shall for ever consider it as the greatest honour which could be conferred on any one, to have been the confidential friend of Dr. Johnson's health; and to have in some measure, with Mr. Thrale's assistance, saved from distress at least, if not from worse, a mind great beyond the comprehension of common mortals and
good beyond all hope of imitation from perishable beings."
This was written in Italy in 1785, when, painfully alive to the insults heaped upon her on Johnson's account, she may be excused for dwelling on what she had endured for his sake. But if, as may be inferred from her statement, some of the cordiality shewn him during the palmy days of their intimacy was forced, this rather enhances than lessens the merit of her services, which thus become elevated into sacrifices. The question is not how she uniformly felt, but how she uniformly behaved to him; and the fact of her being obliged to retire to Bath to get out of his way proves that there had been no rupture, no coolness, no serious offence given or taken on either side, up to April, 1783; just one year-and-a-half after the alleged expulsion from Streatham.
There were ample avowable reasons for her retirement, and no suspicion could have crossed Johnson's mind that he was an incumbrance, or he would not have been found at her house by Boswell, as he was found on the 21st March, 1783, when she said "she was going to Bath, and should have been sorry to leave Dr. Johnson before I came." Considering the heartrending struggle in which she was engaged at this time, with the aggravated infliction of an unsympathising and dogmatic friend, the wonder is how she retained her outward placidity at all.
"Sunday Morning, 6th April, 1783. I have been very busy preparing to go to Bath and save my money;
the Welch settlement has been examined and rewritten by Cator's desire in such a manner that a will can revoke it or charge the estate, or anything. I signed my settlement yesterday, and, before I slept, wrote my will, charging the estate with pretty near 3000l. But what signifies it? My daughters deserve no thanks from my tenderness and they want no pecuniary help from my purse
let me provide in some measure, for my dear, my absent Piozzi.-God give me strength to part with him courageously.-I expect him every instant to breakfast with me for the last time.-Gracious Heavens, what words are these! Oh no, for mercy may we but meet again! and without diminished kindness. Oh my love, my love!
"We did meet and part courageously. I persuaded him to bring his old friend Mecci, who goes abroad with him and has long been his confidant, to keep the meeting from being too tender, the separation from being too poignant-his presence was a restraint on our conduct, and a witness of our vows, which we renewed with fervour, and will keep sacred in absence, adversity, and age. When all was over I flew to my dearest, loveliest friend, my Fanny Burney, and poured all my sorrows into her tender bosom."
"Bath, April 14th, 1783.-Here I am, settled in my plan of economy, with three daughters, three maids and a man," &c.
Piozzi left England the night of the 8th May, 1783. "Come, friendly muse! some rhimes discover
With which to meet my dear at Dover,