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has that fellow,' it was a nobleman of whom we were speaking, at length obtained a certainty of three meals a day, and for that certainty, like his brother dog in the fable, he will get his neck galled for life with a collar.'" The nobleman was Lord Sandys.
"He recommended, on something like the same principle, that when one person meant to serve another, he should not go about it slily, or, as we say, underhand, out of a false idea of delicacy, to surprise one's friend with an unexpected favour; which, ten to one,' says he, 'fails to oblige your acquaintance, who had some reasons against such a mode of obligation, which you might have known but for that superfluous cunning which you think an elegance. Oh! never be seduced by such silly pretences,' continued he; if a wench wants a good gown, do not give her a fine smellingbottle, because that is more delicate: as I once knew a lady lend the key of her library to a poor scribbling dependant, as if she took the woman for an ostrich that could digest iron."" This lady was Mrs. Montagu.
"I mentioned two friends who were particularly fond of looking at themselves in a glass-They do not surprise me at all by so doing,' said Johnson: 'they see reflected in that glass, men who have risen from almost the lowest situations in life; one to enormous riches, the other to everything this world can give-rank, fame, and fortune. They see, likewise, men who have merited their advancement by the exertion and improvement of those talents which God had given them; and I see not why they should avoid the mirror." The one, she
writes, was Mr. Cator, the other, Wedderburne. other great lawyer and very ugly man, Dunning, Lord Ashburton, was remarkable for the same peculiarity, and had his walls covered with looking-glasses. His personal vanity was excessive; and his boast that a celebrated courtesan had died with one of his letters in her hand, provoked one of Wilkes's happiest repartees.
Opposite a passage descriptive of Johnson's conversation she has written: "We used to say to one another familiarly at Streatham Park, Come, let us go into the library, and make Johnson speak Ramblers.""
Dr. Lort writes to Bishop Percy:
"December 16th, 1786.
"I had a letter lately from Mrs. Piozzi, dated Vienna, November 4, in which she says that, after visiting Prague and Dresden, she shall return home by Brussels, whither I have written to her; and I imagine she will be in London early in the new year. Miss Thrale is at her own house at Brighthelmstone, accompanied by a very respectable companion, an officer's widow, recommended to her as such.* There is a new life of Johnson published by a Dr. Towers, a Dissenting minister and Dr. Kippis's associate in the Biographia Britannica, for which work I take it for granted this life is to be hashed up again when the letter 'J' takes its turn. There is nothing new in it; and the author gives Johnson and his biographers all fair play, except when he treats of
* The Hon. Mrs. Murray, afterwards Mrs. Aust.
his political opinions and pamphlets. I was glad to hear that Johnson confessed to Dr. Fordyce, a little before his death, that he had offended both God and man by his pride of understanding.* Sir John Hawkins' Life of him is also finished, and will be published with the works in February next. From all these I suppose Boswell will borrow largely to make up his quarto life; --and so our modern authors proceed, preying on one another, and complaining sorely of each other."
"March 8th, 1787.
"I had a letter lately from Mrs. Piozzi from Brussels, intimating that she should soon be in England, and I expect every day to hear of her arrival. I do not believe that she purchased a marquisate abroad; but it is said, with some probability, that she will here get the King's license, or an act of Parliament, to change her name to Salusbury, her maiden name. Sir John Hawkins, I am told, bears hard upon her in his 'Life of Johnson.""
"March 21st, 1787.
"Mr. and Mrs. Piozzi are arrived at an hotel in Pall Mall, and are about to take a house in Hanover Square; they were with me last Saturday evening, when I asked some of her friends to meet her; she looks very well, and seems in good spirits; told me she had been that morning at the bank to get 'Johnson's Correspondence' amongst other papers, which she means forthwith to commit to the press. There is a bookseller has printed
* He used very different language to Langton.
two supplementary volumes to Hawkins' eleven, consisting almost wholly of the Lilliputian Speeches.' Hawkins has printed a Review of the Sublime and Beautiful' as Johnson's, which Murphy says was his."
"March 13th, 1787.
"Mrs. Piozzi and her caro sposo seem very happy here at a good house in Hanover Square, where I am invited to a rout next week, the first I believe she has attempted, and then will be seen who of her old acquaintance continue such. She is now printing Johnson's Letters in 2 vols. octavo, with some of her own; but if they are not ready before the recess they will not be published till next winter. Poor Sir John Hawkins, I am told, is pulled all to pieces in the Review." Sir John was treated according to his deserts, and did not escape whipping. One of the severest castigations was inflicted by Porson.
Before mentioning her next publication, I will show from "Thraliana" her state of mind when about to start for England, and her impressions of things and people on her return :
"1786. It has always been my maxim never to influence the inclination of another: Mr. Thrale, in consequence, lived with me seventeen and a half years, during which time I tried but twice to persuade him to do anything, and but once, and that in vain, to let anything alone. Even my daughters, as soon as they could reason, were always allowed, and even encouraged, by me to reason their own way, and not suffer their
respect or affection for me to mislead their judgment. Let us keep the mind clear if we can from prejudices, or truth will never be found at all. The worst part of this disinterested scheme is, that other people are not of my mind, and if I resolve not to use my lawful influence to make my children love me, the lookers-on will soon use their unlawful influence to make them hate me: if I scrupulously avoid persuading my husband to become a Lutheran or be of the English church, the Romanists will be diligent to teach him all the narrowness and bitterness of their own unfeeling sect, and soon persuade him that it is not delicacy but weakness makes me desist from the combat. Well! let me do right, and leave the consequences in His hand who alone sees every action's motive and the true cause of every effect: let me endeavour to please God, and to have only my own faults and follies, not those of another, to answer for."
"1787, May 1st. - It was not wrong to come home after all, but very right. The Italians would have said we were afraid to face England, and the English would have said we were confined abroad in prisons or convents or some stuff. I find Mr. Smith (one of our daughter's guardians) told that poor baby Cecilia a fine staring tale how my husband locked me up at Milan and fed me on bread and water, to make the child hate Mr. Piozzi. Good God! What infamous proceeding was this! My husband never saw the fellow, so could not have provoked him."
* "Clear your mind of cant." - JOHNSON.