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at worst, and died, as he lived, less like a Christian than a philosopher, refusing all spiritual or corporeal assistance, both which he considered useless to him, and perhaps they were so. He paid his debts, called in some single acquaintance, told him he was dying, and drove away that Panada conversation which friends think proper to administer at sick-bedsides with becoming steadiness, bid him write his brothers word that he was dead, and gently desired a woman who waited to leave him quite alone. No interested attendants watching for ill-deserved legacies, no harpy relatives clung round the couch of Baretti. He died!
"And art thou dead? so is my enmity:
"Baretti's papers-manuscripts I mean-have been all burnt by his executors without examination, they tell me. So great was his character as a mischief-maker, that Vincent and Fendall saw no nearer way to safety than that hasty and compendious one. Many people think 'tis a good thing for me, but as I never trusted the man, I see little harm he could have done me."
In the fury of his onslaught Baretti forgot that he was strengthening her case against Johnson, of whom he says: "His austere reprimand, and unrestrained upbraidings, when face to face with her, always delighted Mr. Thrale and were approved even by her children. Harry,' said his father to her son, are you listening to what the doctor and mamma are talking about?' 'Yes, papa.' And quoth Mr. Thrale, 'What
are they saying?' They are disputing, and mamma. has just such a chance with Dr. Johnson as Presto (a little dog) would have were he to fight Dash (a big one)."" He adds that she left the room in a huff to the amusement of the party. If scenes like this were frequent, no wonder the "yoke" became unendurable.
Baretti was obliged to admit that, when Johnson died, they were not on speaking terms. His explanation is that Johnson irritated him by an allusion to his being beaten by Omai, the Sandwich Islander, at chess. Mrs. Piozzi's marginal note on Omai is: "When Omai played at chess and at backgammon with Baretti, everybody admired at the savage's good breeding and at the European's impatient spirit."
Amongst her papers was the following sketch of his character, written for "The World" newspaper.
"Mr. Conductor.-Let not the death of Baretti pass unnoticed by The World,' seeing that Baretti was a wit if not a scholar: and had for five-and-thirty years at least lived in a foreign country, whose language he so made himself completely master of, that he could satirise its inhabitants in their own tongue, better than they knew how to defend themselves; and often pleased, without ever praising man or woman in book or conversation. Long supported by the private bounty of friends, he rather delighted to insult than flatter; he at length obtained competence from a public he esteemed not; and died, refusing that assistance he considered as useless-leaving no debts (but those of gratitude) undis
charged; and expressing neither regret of the past, nor fear of the future, I believe. Strong in his prejudices, haughty and independent in his spirit, cruel in his anger, even when unprovoked; vindictive to excess, if he through misconception supposed himself even slightly injured, pertinacious in his attacks, invincible in his aversions: the description of Menelaus in 'Homer's Iliad,' as rendered by Pope, exactly suits the character of Baretti:
"So burns the vengeful Hornet, soul all o'er,
Untamed, untired, he turns, attacks, and stings." "
In reference to this article, she remarks in "Thraliana":
"There seems to be a language now appropriated to the newspapers, and a very wretched and unmeaning language it is. Yet a certain set of expressions are so necessary to please the diurnal readers, that when Johnson and I drew up an advertisement for charity once, I remember the people altered our expressions and substituted their own, with good effect too. The other day I sent a Character of Baretti to The World,' and read it two mornings after more altered than improved in my mind: but no matter: they will talk of wielding a language, and of barbarous infamy,- sad stuff, to be sure, but such is the taste of the times. They altered even my quotation from Pope; but that was too impudent."
The comparison of Baretti to the hornet was truer
than she anticipated: animamque in vulnere ponit. Internal evidence leads almost irresistibly to the conclusion that he was the author or prompter of “The Sentimental Mother: a Comedy in Five Acts. The Legacy of an Old Friend, and his Last Moral Lesson' to Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale, now Mrs. Hester Lynch Piozzi. London: Printed for James Ridgeway, York Street, St. James's Square, 1789. Price three shillings." The principal dramatis persone are Mr. Timothy Tunskull (Thrale), Lady Fantasma Tunskull, two Misses Tunskull, and Signor Squalici.
Lady Fantasma is vain, affected, silly, and amorous to excess. Not satisfied with Squalici as her established gallant, she makes compromising advances to her daughter's lover on his way to a tête-à-tête with the young lady, who takes her wonted place on his knee with his arm round her waist. Squalici is also a domestic spy, and in league with the mother to cheat the daughters of their patrimony. Mr. Tunskull is a respectable and complacent nonentity.
The dialogue is seasoned with the same malicious insinuations which mark Baretti's letters in the "European Magazine;" without the saving clause with which shame or fear induced him to qualify them, namely, that no breach of chastity was suspected or believed. It is difficult to imagine who else would have thought of reverting to Thrale's establishment eight years after it had been broken up by death; and in one of his papers in the "European Magazine," he holds out a threat that she might find herself the sub
ject of a play: "Who knows but some one of our modern dramatic geniusses may hereafter entertain the public with a laughable comedy in five long acts, entitled, with singular propriety, the Scientific Mother'?" Mrs. Piozzi had some-how contracted a belief, to which she alludes more than once with unfeigned alarm, that Mr. Samuel Lysons had formed a collection of all the libels and caricatures of which she was the subject on the occasion of her marriage. His collections have been carefully examined, and the sole semblance of warrant for her fears is an album or scrap-book containing numerous extracts from the reviews and newspapers, relating to her books. The only caricature preserved in it is the celebrated one by Sayers entitled "Johnson's Ghost." The ghost, a flattering likeness of the doctor, addresses a pretty woman seated at a writing table:
"When Streatham spread its pleasant board,
And as I feasted, prosed.
Good things I said, good things I eat,
"If obligations still I owed,
You sold each item to the crowd,
I suffered by the tale.
For God's sake, Madam, let me rest,
No longer vex your quondam guest,
I'll pay you for your ale."
When a prize was offered for the best address on the rebuilding of Drury Lane, Sheridan proposed an addi