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is as unsullied as snow, or I should think it unworthy of him who must henceforth protect it.
"I write by the coach the more speedily and effectually to prevent your coming hither. Perhaps by my fame (and I hope it is so) you mean only that celebrity which is a consideration of a much lower kind. I care for that only as it may give pleasure to my husband and his friends.
"Farewell, dear Sir, and accept my best wishes. You have always commanded my esteem, and long enjoyed the fruits of a friendship never infringed by one harsh expression on my part during twenty years of familiar talk. Never did I oppose your will, or control your wish; nor can your unmerited severity itself lessen my regard; but till you have changed your opinion of Mr. Piozzi, let us converse no more.
God bless you."
To Mrs. Piozzi.
"London, July 8, 1784.
"DEAR MADAM,-What you have done, however I may lament it, I have no pretence to resent, as it has not been injurious to me: I therefore breathe out one sigh more of tenderness, perhaps useless, but at least sincere.
"I wish that God may grant you every blessing, that you may be happy in this world for its short continuance, and eternally happy in a better state; and
whatever I can contribute to your happiness I am very ready to repay, for that kindness which soothed twenty years of a life radically wretched.
"Do not think slightly of the advice which I now presume to offer. Prevail upon Mr. Piozzi to settle in England: you may live here with more dignity than in Italy, and with more security; your rank will be higher, and your fortune more under your own eye. I desire not to detail all my reasons, but every argument of prudence and interest is for England, and only some phantoms of imagination seduce you to Italy.
"I am afraid, however, that my counsel is vain, yet I have eased my heart by giving it.
"When Queen Mary took the resolution of sheltering herself in England, the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, attempting to dissuade her, attended on her journey; and when they came to the irremeable stream that separated the two kingdoms, walked by her side into the water, in the middle of which he seized her bridle, and with earnestness proportioned to her danger and his
* Queen Mary left the Scottish for the English coast, on the Firth of Solway, in a fishing-boat. The incident to which Johnson alludes is introduced in "The Abbot;" where the scene is laid on the sea-shore. The unusual though expressive term "irremeable," is defined in his dictionary, "admitting no return." His authority is Dryden's Virgil:
"The keeper dream'd, the chief without delay
The word is a Latin one anglicised:
"Evaditque celer ripam irremeabilis undæ.”
own affection pressed her to return. The Queen went forward.If the parallel reaches thus far, may it go no farther. The tears stand in my eyes.
"I am going into Derbyshire, and hope to be followed by your good wishes, for I am, with great affection,
"Any letters that come for me hither will be sent me."
In a memorandum on this letter, she says:— "I wrote him (No. 6) a very kind and affectionate farewell.”
Before calling attention to the results of this correspondence, I must notice a charge built upon it by the reviewer, with the respectable aid of the foulmouthed and malignant Baretti:
"This letter is now printed for the first time by Mr. Hayward. But he has omitted to notice the light which is thrown on it by Baretti's account of the marriage. That account is given in the European Magazine' for 1788. It is very circumstantial, and too long to transcribe, but the upshot is this: He says that, in order to meet her returning lover, she left Bath with her daughters as for a journey to Brighton; quitted them on some pretence at Salisbury, and posted off to town, deceiving Dr. Johnson, who continued to direct to her at Bath as usual.* In London she kept herself concealed for some days in my parish, and not very
* These words, italicised by the reviewer, contain the pith of the charge, which has no reference to her visit to London six weeks before.
far distant from my own habitation, Street, Middlesex Hospital.'
In a few weeks,' he
adds, she was in a condition personally to resort to Mr. Greenland (her lawyer) to settle preliminaries, then returned to Bath with Piozzi, and there was married.' Now Baretti was a libeller, and not to be believed except upon compulsion; but if he does speak the truth, then the date, Bath, June 30,' of her circular letter, is a mystification; so is the passage in her letter to Johnson of July 4, about sending it by the coach to prevent his coming.' Of course she was mortally afraid of the Doctor's coming, for if he had come he would have found her flown. According to this supposition, she did not return to Bath at all, but remained perdue in London, with her lover, during the whole 'Correspondence.' Is it the true one?
"We cannot but suspect that it is, and that the solution of the whole of this little domestic mystery is to be found in a passage in the Autobiographical Memoir,' vol. i. p. 277. There were two marriages:
"Miss Nicholson went with us to Stonehenge, Wilton, &c., whence I returned to Bath to wait for Piozzi. He was here on the eleventh day after he got Dobson's letter. In twenty-six more we were married in London by the Spanish ambassador's chaplain, and returned hither to be married by Mr. Morgan, of Bath, at St. James's Church, July 25, 1784.'
"Now in order to make this account tally with Baretti's we must allow for a slight exertion of that talent for white lies' on the lady's part, of which her
friends, Johnson included, used half playfully and half in earnest to accuse her. And we are afraid Baretti's story does appear, on the face of it, the more probable of the two. It does seem more likely, since they were to be married in London (of which Baretti knew nothing), that she met Piozzi secretly in London on his arrival, than that she performed the awkward evolutions of returning from Salisbury to Bath to wait for him there, then going to London in company with him to be married, and then back to Bath to be married over again. But if this be so, then the London marriage most likely took place almost immediately on the meeting of the enamoured couple, and while the 'Correspondence' was going on. In which case the words in the Memoir'in twenty-six days,' &c., were apparently intended, by a little bit of feminine adroitness, to appear to apply to this first marriage, of the suddenness of which she may have been ashamed, — while they really apply to the conclusion of the whole affair by the second. Will any one have the Croker-like curiosity to inquire whether any record remains of the dates of marriages celebrated by the Spanish ambassador's chaplain?" *
Why Croker-like curiosity? Was there anything censurable in the curiosity which led an editor to ascertain whether a novel like "Evelina" was written by a girl of eighteen or a woman of twenty-six? But Lord Macaulay sneered at the inquiry †, and his worshippers
* Edinb. Review, No. 230, p. 522.
The following passage is reprinted in the corrected edition of