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only made them with so much gentleness towards the parties mentioned, that I could not be distressed in my answers; and even in a short time I found her questions made in so favourable a disposition, that I began secretly to rejoice in them, as the means by which I reaped opportunity of clearing several points that had been darkened by calumny, and of softening others that had been viewed wholly through false lights. To lessen disapprobation of a person, and so precious to me in the opinion of another, so respectable both in rank and virtue, was to me a most soothing task, &c."

This is precisely what many will take the liberty to doubt; or why did she shrink from it, or why did she not afford to others the explanations which proved so successful with the Queen?

The day following (Jan. 10th), her feelings were so worked upon by the harsh aspersions on her friend, that she was forced, she tells us, abruptly to quit the room; leaving not her own (like Sir Peter Teazle) but her friend's character behind her:

"I returned when I could, and the subject was over. When all were gone, Mrs. Schwellenberg said, I have told it Mr. Fisher, that he drove you out from the room, and he says he won't do it no more.'

"She told me next, that in the second volume I also was mentioned. Where she may have heard this I cannot gather, but it has given me a sickness at heart, inexpressible. It is not that I expect severity; for at the time of that correspondence, at all times indeed. previous to the marriage with Piozzi, if Mrs. Thrale

loved not F. B., where shall we find faith in words, or give credit to actions. But her present resentment, however unjustly incurred, of my constant disapprobation of her conduct, may prompt some note, or other mark, to point out her change of sentiment. But let me try to avoid such painful expectations; at least not to dwell upon them. O, little does she know how tenderly at this moment I could run into her arms, so often opened to receive me with a cordiality I believed inalienable. And it was sincere then, I am satisfied; pride, resentment of disapprobation, and consciousness if unjustifiable proceedings - these have now changed her; but if we met, and she saw and believed my faithful regard, how would she again feel all her own return! Well, what a dream I am making!"

The ingrained worldliness of the diarist is ill-concealed by the mask of sensibility. The correspondence that passed between the ladies during their temporary rupture (antè, p. 230) shews that there was nothing to prevent her from flying into her friend's arms, could she have made up her mind to be seen on open terms of affectionate intimacy with one who was repudiated by the Court. In a subsequent conversation with which the Queen honoured her on the subject, she did her best to impress her Majesty with the belief that Mrs. Piozzi's conduct had rendered it impossible for her former friends to allude to her without regret, and she ended by thanking her royal mistress for her forbearance.

"Indeed," cried she, with eyes strongly expressive of the complacency with which she heard me, "I have

always spoken as little as possible upon this affair. I remember but twice that I have named it: once I said to the Bishop of Carlisle that I thought most of these letters had better have been spared the printing; and once to Mr. Langton, at the drawing-room I said, 'Your friend Dr. Johnson, Sir, has had many friends busy to publish his books, and his memoirs, and his meditations, and his thoughts; but I think he wanted one friend more.' What for, Ma'am?' cried he. A friend to suppress them,' I answered.

this is all I ever said about the business.”

And, indeed,

Hannah More's opinion of the Letters is thus expressed in her Memoirs:


They are such as ought to have been written but ought not to have been printed: a few of them are very good: sometimes he is moral, and sometimes he is kind. The imprudence of editors and executors is an additional reason why men of parts should be afraid to die.* Burke said to me the other day, in allusion to the innumerable lives, anecdotes, remains, &c. of this great man, How many maggots have crawled out of that great body!""

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Miss Seward writes to Mrs. Knowles, April, 1788:

"And now what say you to the last publication of your sister wit, Mrs. Piozzi? It is well that she has

In reference to the late Lord Campbell's "Lives of the Lord Chancellors," it was remarked, that, as regards persons who had attained the dignity, the threatened continuation of the work had added a new pang to death. I am assured by the Ex-Chancellor to whom I attributed this joke, that it was made by Sir Charles Wetherell at a dinner at Lincoln's-Inn.

had the good nature to extract almost all the corrosive particles from the old growler's letters. By means of her benevolent chemistry, these effusions of that expansive but gloomy spirit taste more oily and sweet than one could have imagined possible."

The letters contained two or three passages relating to Baretti, which exasperated him to the highest pitch. One was in a letter from Johnson, dated July 15th, 1775:


"The doctor says, that if Mr. Thrale comes so near as Derby without seeing us, it will be a sorry trick. I wish, for my part, that he may return soon, and rescue the fair captives from the tyranny of Bi. Poor Bi! do not quarrel with him; to neglect him a little will be sufficient. He means only to be frank, and manly, and independent, and perhaps, as you say, a little wise. To be frank, he thinks is to be cynical, and to be independent, is to be rude. Forgive him, dearest lady, the rather, because of his misbehaviour, I am afraid he learned part of me. I hope to set him hereafter a better example."

The most galling was in a letter of hers to Dr. Johnson:

"How does Dr. Taylor do? He was very kind I remember when my thunder-storm came first on, so was Count Manucci, so was Mrs. Montagu, so was everybody. The world is not guilty of much general harshness, nor inclined I believe to increase pain which they do not perceive to be deserved.-Baretti alone tried to irritate a wound so very deeply inflicted, and he will find few to approve his cruelty. Your friendship

is our best cordial; continue it to us, dear Sir, and write very soon."

In the margin of the printed copy is written, "Cruel, cruel Baretti." He had twitted her, whilst mourning over a dead child, with having killed it by administering a quack medicine instead of attending to the physician's prescriptions; a charge which he acknowledged and repeated in print. He published three successive papers in "The European Magazine" for 1788, assailing her with the coarsest ribaldry. "I have just read for the first time," writes Miss Seward in June, 1788, "the base, ungentleman-like, unmanly abuse of Mrs. Piozzi by that Italian assassin, Baretti. The whole literary world should unite in publicly reprobating such venomed and foul-mouthed railing." He died soon afterwards, May 5th, 1789, and the notice. of him in the "Gentleman's Magazine" begins: "Mrs. Piozzi has reason to rejoice in the death of Mr. Baretti, for he had a very long memory and malice to relate all he knew." And a good deal that he did not know, into the bargain; as when he prints a pretended conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Thrale about Piozzi, which he afterwards admits to be a gratuitous invention and rhetorical figure of his own, for conveying what is a foolish falsehood on the face of it.

Baretti's death is thus noticed in "Thraliana," 8th May, 1789:

Poor Baretti! I am sincerely Zanga says, 'If I lament thee, He was a manly character,

"Baretti is dead. sorry for him, and as sure thy worth was great.'

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