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literal comparison, that he meant now, and tried, to dissipate the solemnity of his concern.

"The hint was taken; his guest started another subHe saw how dis

ject; and this he resumed no more.

tressing was the theme to a hearer whom he ever wished to please, not distress; and he named Mrs. Thrale no more! Common topics took place, till they were rejoined by Dr. Burney, whom then, and indeed always, he likewise spared upon this subject."

After quoting this description at length, Lord Brougham remarks:

"Now Johnson was, perhaps unknown to himself, in love with Mrs. Thrale, but for Miss Burney's thoughtless folly there can be no excuse. And her father, a person of the very same rank and profession with Mr. Piozzi, appears to have adopted the same senseless cant, as if it were less lawful to marry an Italian musician than an English. To be sure, Miss Burney says, that Mrs. Thrale was lineally descended from Adam de Saltsburg, who came over with the Conqueror. But assuredly that worthy, unable to write his name, would have held Dr. Johnson himself in as much contempt as his fortunate rival, and would have regarded his alliance as equally disreputable with the Italian's, could his consent have been asked."*

If the scene took place at all, it must have taken place within a few days after the profession of satisfied and unaltered friendship contained in Johnson's letter of November 13th. His next letter is to Miss Thrale:

* Lives of Men of Letters, &c., vol. ii.

"Nov. 18th, 1783.

"DEAR MISS, -Here is a whole week, and nothing heard from your house. Baretti said what a wicked house it would be, and a wicked house it is. Of you, however, I have no complaint to make, for I owe you a letter. Still I live here by my own self, and have had of late very bad nights; but then I have had a pig to dinner, which Mr. Perkins gave me. Thus life is chequered."

On February 24th, 1784, Dr. Lort writes to Bishop Percy :

"Poor Dr. Johnson has had a very bad winter, attended by Heberden and Brocklesby, who neither of them expected he would have survived the frost: that being gone, he still remains, and I hope will now continue, at least till the next severe one. It has indeed carried off a great many old people."

Johnson to Mrs. Thrale:

"March 10th, 1784.

"Your kind expressions gave me great pleasure; do not reject me from your thoughts. Shall we ever exchange confidence by the fireside again?"

He was so absorbed with his own complaints as to make no allowance for hers. Yet her health was in a very precarious state, and in the autumn of the same year, his complaints of silence and neglect were suspended by the intelligence that her daughter Sophia was lying at death's door. On March 27th, 1784, she


"You tell one of my daughters that you know not with distinctness the cause of my complaints. I believe she who lives with me knows them no better; one very dreadful one is however removed by dear Sophia's recovery. It is kind in you to quarrel no more about expressions which were not meant to offend; but unjust to suppose, I have not lately thought myself dying. Let us, however, take the Prince of Abyssinia's advice, and not add to the other evils of life the bitterness of controversy. If courage is a noble and generous quality, let us exert it to the last, and at the last if faith is a Christian virtue, let us willingly receive and accept that support it will most surely bestow- and do permit me to repeat those words with which I know not why you were displeased: Let us leave behind us the best example that we can.

"All this is not written by a person in high health and happiness, but by a fellow-sufferer, who has more to endure than she can tell, or you can guess; and now let us talk of the Severn salmons, which will be coming in soon; I shall send you one of the finest, and shall be glad to hear that your appetite is good."

Johnson to Mrs. Thrale:

"April 21st, 1784.

"The Hooles, Miss Burney, and Mrs. Hull (Wesley's sister), feasted yesterday with me very cheerfully on your noble salmon. Mr. Allen could not come, and I sent him a piece, and a great tail is still left.”

“April 26th, 1784.

"Mrs. Davenant called to pay me a guinea, but I gave two for you. Whatever reasons you have for frugality, it is not worth while to save a guinea a year by withdrawing it from a public charity."

"Whilst I am writing, the post has brought me your kind letter. Do not think with dejection of your own condition: a little patience will probably give you health it will certainly give you riches, and all the accommodations that riches can procure."

Up to this time she had put an almost killing restraint on her inclinations, and had acted according to Johnson's advice in everything but the final abandonment of Piozzi; yet Boswell reports him as saying, May 16th: "Sir, she has done everything wrong since Thrale's bridle was off her neck."

The next extracts are from "Thraliana":

"Bath, Nov. 30th, 1783.-Sophia will live and do well; I have saved my daughter, perhaps obtained a friend. They are weary of seeing me suffer so, and the eldest beg'd me yesterday not to sacrifice my life to her convenience. She now saw my love of Piozzi was incurable, she said. Absence had no effect on it, and my health was going so fast she found that I should soon be useless either to her or him. It was the hand of God and irresistible, she added, and begged me not to endure any longer such unnecessary misery.

"So now we may be happy if we will, and now I

trust some [(sic) query "no?"] other cross accident will start up to torment us; I wrote my lover word that he might come and fetch me, but the Alps are covered with snow, and if his prudence is not greater than his affection my life will yet be lost, for

it depends on his safety. Should he come at my call,

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and meet with any misfortune on the road
death, with accumulated agonies, would end me.
Heaven avert such insupportable distress!"

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"Dec. 1783.-My dearest Piozzi's Miss Chanon is in distress. I will send her 10l.

Perhaps he loved her;

perhaps she loved him; perhaps both; yet I have and will have confidence in his honour. I will not suffer love or jealousy to narrow a heart devoted to him. He would assist her if he were in England, and she shall not suffer for his absence, tho' I do. She and her father have reported many things to my prejudice; she will be ashamed of herself when she sees me forgive and assist her. O Lord, give me grace so to return good for evil as to obtain thy gracious favour who died to procure the salvation of thy professed enemies. "Tis a good Xmas work!"

"Bath, Jan. 27th, 1784.-On this day twelvemonths

.. oh dreadfullest of all days to me! did I send for my Piozzi and tell him we must part. The sight of my countenance terrified Dr. Pepys, to whom I went into the parlour for a moment, and the sight of the agonies I endured in the week following would have affected anything but interest, avarice, and pride personified, .. with such, however, I had to deal, so my sorrows

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