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must go on sneering like their model- vitiis imitabile. The certificate of the London marriage (now before me) shews that it was solemnised on the 23rd July, by a clergyman named Richard Smith, in the presence of three attesting witnesses. This, and the entries in "Thraliana," prove Baretti's whole story to be false. "Now Baretti was a libeller, and not to be believed except upon compulsion;" meaning, I suppose, without confirmatory evidence strong enough to dispense with his testimony altogether. He was notorious for his black lies. Yet he is believed eagerly, willingly, upon no compulsion, and without any confirmatory evidence at all.
The internal evidence of the improbability of the story has disappeared in the reviewer's paraphrase. Baretti says that at Salisbury "she suddenly declared that a letter she found of great importance demanded her immediate presence in London.
But Johnson did not know the least tittle of this trans
Lord Macaulay's Essays:- There was no want of low minds and bad hearts in the generation which witnessed her (Miss Burney's) first appearance. There was the envious Kenrick and the savage Wolcot; the asp George Steevens and the polecat John Williams. It did not, however, occur to them to search the parish register of Lynn, in order that they might be able to twit a lady with having concealed her age. That truly chivalrous exploit was reserved for a bad writer of our own time, whose spite she had provoked by not furnishing him with materials for a worthless edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, some sheets of which our readers have doubtless seen round parcels of better books." There is reason to believe that the entry Mr. Croker copied was that of the baptism of an elder sister of the same name who died before the birth of the famous Fanny.
action, and he continued to direct his letters to Bath as usual, expressing, no doubt, an immense wonder at her pertinacious silence." So she told her daughters that she was going to London, whilst she deceived Johnson, who was sure to learn the truth from them ; and he was wondering at her pertinacious silence at the very time when he was receiving letters from her, dated Bath! Why, having formally announced her determination to marry Piozzi, she should not give him the meeting in London if she chose, fairly passes my comprehension.
Whilst the reviewer thinks he is strengthening one point, he is palpably weakening another. She would not have been "mortally afraid of the Doctor's coming," if she had already thrown him off and finally broken with him? That she was afraid, and had reason to be so, is quite consistent with my theory, quite inconsistent with Lord Macaulay's and the critic's. Johnson's letter (No. 3) is that of a coarse man who had always been permitted to lecture and dictate with impunity. Her letter (No. 4) is that of a sensitive woman, who, for the first time, resents with firmness and retorts with dignity. The sentences I have printed in italics speak volumes. "Never did I oppose your will, or control your wish, nor can your unmitigated severity itself lessen my regard." There is a shade of submissiveness in her reply, yet, on receiving it, he felt as a falcon might feel if a partridge were to shew fight. Nothing short of habitual deference on her part, and unrepressed indulgence of temper on his, can account for
If he had not been sysflattered, he would have
or excuse his not writing before this unexpected check as he wrote after it. tematically humoured and seen at a glance that he had "no pretence to resent," and have been ready at once to make the best return in his power for "that kindness which soothed twenty years of a life radically wretched." She wrote him a kind and affectionate farewell; and there (so far as we know) ended their correspondence. But in "Thraliana" she sets down:
"Milan, 27th Nov. 1784.-I have got Dr. Johnson's picture here, and expect Miss Thrale's with impatience. I do love them dearly, as ill as they have used me, and always shall. Poor Johnson did not mean to use me ill. He only grew upon indulgence till patience could endure no further."
In a letter to Mr. S. Lysons from Milan, dated December 7th, 1784, which proves that she was not frivolously employed, she says:
"My next letter shall talk of the libraries and botanical gardens, and twenty other clever things here. I wish you a comfortable Christmas, and a happy beginning of the year 1785. Do not neglect Dr. Johnson you will never see any other mortal so wise or so good. I keep his picture in my chamber, and his works on my chimney."
"Forgiveness to the injured doth belong,
But they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong."
What he said of her can only be learned from her
bitter enemies or hollow friends, who have preserved nothing kindly or creditable.
Hawkins states that a letter from Johnson to himself contained these words :-" Poor Thrale! I thought that either her virtue or her vice (meaning her love of her children or her pride) would have saved her from such a marriage. She is now become a subject for her enemies to exult over, and for her friends, if she has any left, to forget or pity."
Madame D'Arblay gives two accounts of the last interview she ever had with Johnson,- on the 25th November, 1784. In the "Diary" she sets down:
"I had seen Miss T. the day before."
"So,' said he, 'did I.'
"Ithen said, 'Do you ever, Sir, hear, from her mother?" "No,' cried he, 6 nor write to her. I drive her quite from my mind. If I meet with one of her letters, I burn it instantly.* I have burnt all I can find. I never speak of her, and I desire never to hear of her name. I drive her, as I said, wholly from my mind.""
In the "Memoirs," describing the same interview, she says:-"We talked then of poor Mrs. Thrale, but only for a moment, for I saw him greatly incensed, and with such severity of displeasure, that I hastened to
* If this was true, it is strange that he did not destroy the letter (No. 4) which gave him so sudden and mortifying a check. Miss Hawkins says in her Memoirs: "It was I who discovered the letter. I carried it to my father; he enclosed and sent it to her, there never having been any intercourse between them." Anything from Hawkins about Streatham and its inmates must therefore have been invention or hearsay.
start another subject, and he solemnly enjoined me to mention that no more."
This was only eighteen days before he died, and he might be excused for being angry at the introduction of any agitating topic. It would stain his memory, not hers, to prove that, belying his recent professions of tenderness and gratitude, he directly or indirectly encouraged her assailants.
"I was tempted to observe," says the author of "Piozziana," "that I thought, as I still do, that Johnson's anger on the event of her second marriage was excited by some feeling of disappointment; and that I suspected he had formed some hope of attaching her to himself. It would be disingenuous on my part to attempt to repeat her answer. I forget it; but the impression on mind is that she did not contradict me." Sir James Fellowes' marginal note on this passage is: "This was an absurd notion, and I can undertake to say it was the last idea that ever entered her head; for when I once alluded to the subject, she ridiculed the idea: she told me she always felt for Johnson the same respect and veneration as for a Pascal."
On the margin of the passage in which Boswell says, "Johnson wishing to unite himself with this rich widow was much talked of, but I believe without foundation," she has written, "I believe so too!!" The report sufficed to bring into play the light artillery
* When Sheridan was accused of making love to Mrs. Siddons, he said he should as soon think of making love to the Archbishop of Canterbury.