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turning the abstract into the concrete in such a manner as to degrade or elevate at will. An Italian concert is not a merry meeting; and a lemonade-party, I presume, is a party where (instead of eau-sucrée as at Paris) the refreshment handed about is lemonade: not an enlivening drink at Christmas. In a word, all these graphic details are mere creations of the brain, and the general impression intended to be conveyed by them is false, substantially false; for Mrs. Piozzi never behaved otherwise than kindly and considerately to Johnson at any time.

Her life in Italy has been sketched in her best manner by her own lively pen in the "Autobiography" and what she calls the "Travel Book," to be presently mentioned. Scattered notices of her proceedings occur in her letters to Mr. Lysons, and in the printed correspondence of her cotemporaries.

On the 19th October, 1784, she writes to Mr. Lysons from Turin:

"We are going to Alexandria, Genoa, and Pavia, and then to Milan for the winter, as Mr. Piozzi finds friends everywhere to delay us, and I hate hurry and fatigue; it takes away all one's attention. Lyons was a delightful place to me, and we were so feasted there by my husband's old acquaintances. The Duke and Duchess of Cumberland too paid us a thousand caressing civilities where we met with them, and we had no means of musical parties neither. The Prince of Sisterna came yesterday to visit Mr. Piozzi, and present me with the key of his box at the opera for the time we stay at Turin. Here's

bonour and glory for you! When Miss Thrale hears of it, she will write perhaps; the other two are very kind

and affectionate."

In "Thraliana":

"3rd November, 1784.-Yesterday I received a letter from Mr. Baretti, full of the most flagrant and bitter insults concerning my late marriage with Mr. Piozzi, against whom, however, he can bring no heavier charge than that he disputed on the road with an innkeeper concerning the bill in his last journey to Italy; while he accuses me of murder and fornication in the grossest terms, such as I believe have scarcely ever been used even to his old companions in Newgate, whence he was released to scourge the families which cherished, and bite the hands that have since relieved him. Could I recollect any provocation I ever gave the man, I should be less amazed, but he heard, perhaps, that Johnson had written me a rough letter, and thought he would write me a brutal one: like the Jewish king, who, trying to imitate Solomon without his understanding, said, 'My father whipped you with whips, but I will whip you with scorpions.''

66 Milan, Dec. 7.

"I correspond constantly and copiously with such of my daughters as are willing to answer my letters, and I have at last received one cold scrap from the eldest, which I instantly and tenderly replied to. Mrs. Lewis too, and Miss Nicholson, have had accounts of my health, for I found them disinterested and attached to me: those who led the stream, or watched which

way it ran, that they might follow it, were not, I suppose, desirous of my correspondence, and till they are so, shall not be troubled with it."

Miss Nicholson was the lady left with the daughters, and Mrs. Piozzi could have heard no harm of her from them or others when she wrote thus. The same inference must be drawn from the allusions to this lady at subsequent periods. After stating that she "dined at the minister's o' Tuesday, and he called all the wise men about me with great politeness indeed "-"Once more," she continues, "keep me out of the newspapers if you possibly can: they have given me many a miserable hour, and my enemies many a merry one: but I have not deserved public persecution, and am very happy to live in a place where one is free from unmerited insolence, such as London abounds with.

"Illic credulitas, illic temerarius error.'

God bless you, and may you conquer the many-headed monster which I could never charm to silence." In "Thraliana," she says:

"January, 1785.-I see the English newspapers are full of gross insolence to me: all burst out, as I guessed it would, upon the death of Dr. Johnson. But Mr. Boswell (who I plainly see is the author) should let the dead escape from his malice at least. I feel more shocked at the insults offered to Mr. Thrale's memory than at those cast on Mr. Piozzi's person. My present husband, thank God! is well and happy, and able to defend himself: but dear Mr. Thrale, that had fostered

these cursed wits so long! to be stung by their malice even in the grave, is too cruel:

"Nor church, nor churchyards, from such fops are free.'"*—POPE.

The license of our press is a frequent topic of complaint. But here is a woman who had never placed herself before the public in any way so as to give them a right to discuss her conduct or affairs, not even as an author, made the butt of every description of offensive personality for months, with the tacit encouragement of the first moralist of the age.


January 20th, 1785, she writes from Milan : Minister, Count Wilsick, has shown us many distinctions, and we are visited by the first families in Milan. The Venetian Resident will, however, be soon sent to the court of London, and give a faithful account, as I am sure, to all their obliging inquiries."

In "Thraliana":

"25th Jan., 1785.-I have recovered myself sufficiently to think what will be the consequence to me of Johnson's death, but must wait the event, as all thoughts on the future in this world are vain. Six people have already undertaken to write his life, I hear, of which Sir John Hawkins, Mr. Boswell, Tom Davies, and Dr. Kippis are four. Piozzi says he would have me add to the number, and so I would, but that I think my anecdotes too few, and am afraid of saucy answers if I send to England for others. The saucy answers I should

* Probably misquoted for

"No place is sacred, not the church is free."

Prologue to the Satires.

disregard, but my heart is made vulnerable by my late marriage, and I am certain that, to spite me, they would insult my husband.

"Poor Johnson! I see they will leave nothing untold that I laboured so long to keep secret; and I was so very delicate in trying to conceal his [fancied]* insanity that I retained no proofs of it, or hardly any, nor even mentioned it in these books, lest by my dying first they might be printed and the secret (for such I thought it) discovered. I used to tell him in jest that his biographers would be at a loss concerning some orange-peel he used to keep in his pocket, and many a joke we had about the lives that would be published. Rescue me out of their hands, my dear, and do it yourself, said he; Taylor, Adams, and Hector will furnish you with juvenile anecdotes, and Baretti will give you all the rest that you have not already, for I think Baretti is a lyar only when he speaks of himself. Oh, said I, Baretti told me yesterday that you got by heart six pages of Machiavel's History once, and repeated them thirty years afterwards word for word. Why this is a gross lye, said Johnson, I never read the book at all. Baretti too told me of you (said I) that you once kept sixteen cats in your chamber, and yet they scratched your legs to such a degree, you were forced to use mercurial plaisters for some time after. Why this (replied Johnson) is an unprovoked lye indeed; I thought the fellow would not have broken through divine and human laws thus to make puss his heroine, but I see I was mistaken."

Sic in the MS. See antè, p. 202.

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