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passion reste." For this very reason, I repeat, his affection for Mrs. Piozzi was not a deep, devoted, or absorbing feeling at any time; and the gloom which settled upon the evening of his days was owing to his infirmities and his dread of death, not to the loosening of cherished ties, nor to the compelled solitude of a confined dwelling in Bolt Court. The plain matter of fact is that, during the last two years of his life, he was seldom a month together at his own house, unless when the state of his health prevented him from enjoying the hospitality of his friends. When the fatal marriage was announced, he was planning what Boswell calls a jaunt into the country; and in a letter dated Lichfield, Oct. 4, 1784, he says: "I passed the first part of the summer at Oxford (with Dr. Adams); afterwards I went to Lichfield, then to Ashbourne (Dr. Taylor's), and a week ago I returned to Lichfield."

In the journal which he kept for Dr. Brocklesby, he writes, Oct. 20: "The town is my element; there are my friends, there are my books to which I have not yet bid farewell, and there are my amusements. Sir Joshua told me long ago that my vocation was to public life; and I hope still to keep my station, till God shall bid me Go in peace." Boswell reports him saying about this time, "Sir, I look upon every day to be lost when I do not make a new acquaintance."

After another visit to Dr. Adams, at Pembroke College, he returned on the 16th Nov. to London, where he died on the 13th Dec. 1784. The proximate cause of his death was dropsy; and there is not the smallest

sign of its having been accelerated or embittered by unkindness or neglect.

Whoever has accompanied me thus far will be fully qualified to form an independent opinion of Lord Macaulay's dashing summary of Mrs. Piozzi's imputed illtreatment of Johnson:

"Johnson was now in his seventy-second year. The infirmities of age were coming fast upon him. That inevitable event of which he never thought without horror was brought near to him; and his whole life was darkened by the shadow of death. He had often to pay the cruel price of longevity. Every year he lost what could never be replaced. The strange dependants to whom he had given shelter, and to whom, in spite of their faults, he was strongly attached by habit, dropped off one by one; and, in the silence of his home, he regretted even the noise of their scolding matches. The kind and generous Thrale was no more; and it would have been well if his wife had been laid beside him. But she survived to be the laughing-stock of those who had envied her, and to draw from the eyes of the old man who had loved her beyond any thing in the world, tears far more bitter than he would have shed over her grave.

"With some estimable, and many agreeable qualities, she was not made to be independent. The control of a mind more steadfast than her own was necessary to her respectability. While she was restrained by her husband, a man of sense and firmness, indulgent to her taste in trifles, but always the undisputed master

of his house, her worst offences had been impertinent jokes, white lies, and short fits of pettishness ending in sunny good humour. But he was gone; and she was left an opulent widow of forty, with strong sensibility, volatile fancy, and slender judgment. She soon fell in love with a music-master from Brescia, in whom nobody but herself could discover anything to admire. Her pride, and perhaps some better feelings, struggled hard against this degrading passion. But the struggle irritated her nerves, soured her temper, and at length endangered her health. Conscious that her choice was one which Johnson could not approve, she became desirous to escape from his inspection. Her manner towards him changed. She was sometimes cold and sometimes petulant. She did not conceal her joy when he left Streatham: she never pressed him to return; and, if he came unbidden, she received him in a manner which convinced him that he was no longer a welcome guest. He took the very intelligible hints which she gave. He read, for the last time, a chapter of the Greek Testament in the library which had been formed by himself. In a solemn and tender prayer he commended the house and its inmates to the Divine protection, and, with emotions which choked his voice and convulsed his powerful frame, left for ever that beloved home for the gloomy and desolate house behind Fleet Street, where the few and evil days which still remained to him were to run out.


'Here, in June 1783, he had a paralytic stroke, from which, however, he recovered, and which does not ap

pear to have at all impaired his intellectual faculties. But other maladies came thick upon him. His asthma tormented him day and night. Dropsical symptoms made their appearance. While sinking under a complication of diseases, he heard that the woman whose friendship had been the chief happiness of sixteen years of his life, had married an Italian fiddler; that all London was crying shame upon her; and that the newspapers and magazines were filled with allusions to the Ephesian matron and the two pictures in Hamlet. He vehemently said that he would try to forget her existence. He never uttered her name. Every memorial of her which met his eye he flung into the fire. She meanwhile fled from the laughter and hisses of her countrymen and countrywomen to a land where she was unknown, hastened across Mount Cenis, and learned, while passing a merry Christmas of concerts and lemonade-parties at Milan, that the great man with whose name hers is inseparably associated, had ceased to exist."*

"Splendid recklessness," is the happy expression used by the "Saturday Review" in characterising this account of the alleged rupture with its consequences; and no reader will fail to admire the rhetorical skill with which the expulsion from Streatham with its library formed by himself, the chapter in the Greek testament, the gloomy and desolate home, the music

"Encyclopædia Britannica," last edition. The Essay on Johnson is reprinted in the first volume of Lord Macaulay's "Miscellaneous Writings."

master in whom nobody but herself could see anything to admire, the few and evil days, the emotions. that convulsed the frame, the painful and melancholy death, and the merry Christmas of concerts and lemonade parties, have been grouped together with the view of giving picturesqueness, impressive unity, and damnatory vigour to the sketch. "Action, action, action," says the orator; "effect, effect, effect," says the historian. Give Archimedes a place to stand on, and he would move the world. Give Fouché a line of a man's handwriting, and he would engage to ruin him. Give Lord Macaulay the semblance of an authority, an insulated fact or phrase, a scrap of a journal, or the tag end of a song, and on it, by the abused prerogative of genius, he would construct a theory of national or personal character, which should confer undying glory or inflict indelible disgrace.

Johnson was never driven or expelled from Mrs. Piozzi's house or family: if very intelligible hints were given, they certainly were not taken; the library was not formed by him; the Testament may or may not have been Greek; his powerful frame shook with no convulsions but what may have been occasioned by the unripe grapes and hard peaches; he did not leave Streatham for his gloomy and desolate house behind Fleet Street; the few and evil days (two years, nine weeks) did not run out in that house; the music-master was generally admired and esteemed; and the merry Christmas of concerts and lemonade-parties is simply another sample of the brilliant historian's mode of

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