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tional reward for one without a phoenix. Equally acceptable for its rarity would be a squib on Mrs. Piozzi without a reference to the brewery.
Her manuscript notes on the two volumes of Letters are numerous and important, comprising some curious fragments of autobiography, written on separate sheets of paper and pasted into the volumes opposite to the passages which they expand or explain. They would create an inconvenient break in the narrative if introduced here, and they are reserved for a separate section.
Her next literary labour is thus mentioned in "Thraliana":
"While Piozzi was gone to London I worked at my Travel Book, and wrote it in two months completebut 'tis all to correct and copy over again. While my husband was away I wrote him these lines: he staid just a fortnight:
"I think I've worked exceeding hard
To finish five score pages.
I write you this upon a card,
In hopes you'll pay my wages.
"To shew more kindness, we defy
And quite prefer your company
Then hasten home, oh, haste away!
We then will sing, and dance and play,
She had now taken rank as a popular writer, and thought herself entitled to use corresponding language to her publisher:
Sir, this is a letter of business. I
have finished the book of observations and reflections made in the course of my journey thro' France, Italy, and Germany, and if you have a mind to purchase the MS. I make you the first offer of it. Here, if complaints had any connection with business, I would invent a thousand, and they should be very kind ones too; but it is better to tell you the size and price of the book. My calculations bring it to a thousand pages of letter-press like Dr. Moore's; or you might print it in three small volumes, to go with the Anecdotes.' Be that as it will, the price, at a word (as the advertisers say of their horse), is 500 guineas and twelve copies to give away, though I will not, like them, warrant it free from blemishes. No creature has looked over the papers but Lord Huntingdon, and he likes them exceedingly. Direct your answer here, if you write immediately; if not, send the letter under cover to Mrs. Lewis, London Street, Reading, Berks; and believe me, dear Sir, your faithful humble servant,
"Bennet Street, Bath, Friday, Nov. 14th, 1788."
"H. L. PIOZZI.
Whether these terms were accepted, does not appear; but in Dec. 1789 she published (Cadell and Strahan) "Observations and Reflections made in the course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany," in two volumes octavo of about 400 pages each. As happened to almost everything she did or wrote, this book, which she calls the "Travel-book," was by turns assailed with inveterate hostility and praised with animated zeal. It would seem that sustained calumny had seasoned her against the malevolence of criticism. On the passage in Johnson's letter to T. Warton, "I am little afraid for myself," her comment is: "That is just what I feel when insulted, not about literary though, but social quarrels. The others are not worth a thought." In "Thraliana," Dec. 30th, 1789, she writes: "I think my Observations and Reflexions in Italy, &c., have been, upon the whole, exceedingly well liked, and much read." Walpole writes to Mrs. Carter, June 13th, 1789:
"I do not mean to misemploy much of your time, which I know is always passed in good works, and usefully. You have, therefore, probably not looked into Piozzi's Travels. I, who have been almost six weeks lying on a couch, have gone through them. It was said that Addison might have written his without going out of England. By the excessive vulgarisms so plentiful in these volumes, one might suppose the writer had never stirred out of the parish of St. Giles. Her Latin, French, and Italian, too, are so miserably spelt, that she had better have studied her own language before she floundered into other tongues. Her friends
plead that she piques herself on writing as she talks: methinks, then, she should talk as she would write. There are many indiscretions too in her work of which she will perhaps be told though Baretti is dead."
Miss Seward, much to her credit, repeated to Mrs. Piozzi both the praise and the blame she had expressed to others. On December 21st, 1789, she writes:
"Suffer me now to speak to you of your highly ingenious, instructive, and entertaining publication; yet shall it be with the sincerity of friendship, rather than with the flourish of compliment. No work of the sort I ever read possesses, in an equal degree, the power of placing the reader in the scenes and amongst the people it describes. Wit, knowledge, and imagination illuminate its pages-but the infinite inequality of the style!-Permit me to acknowledge to you what I have acknowledged to others, that it excites my exhaustless wonder, that Mrs. Piozzi, the child of genius, the pupil of Johnson, should pollute, with the vulgarisms of unpolished conversation, her animated pages! — that, while she frequently displays her power of commanding the most chaste and beautiful style imaginable, she should generally use those inelegant, those strange dids, and does, and thoughs, and toos, which produce jerking angles, and stop-short abruptness, fatal at once to the grace and ease of the sentence; -which are, in language, what the rusty black silk handkerchief and the brass ring are upon the beautiful form of the Italian countess she mentions, arrayed in embroidery, and blazing in jewels."
Mrs. Piozzi's theory was that books should be written in the same colloquial and idiomatic language which is employed by cultivated persons in conversation. "Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;" and vulgar she certainly was not, although she sometimes indulged her fondness for familiarity too far. The period was unluckily chosen for carrying such a theory into practice; for Johnson's authority had discountenanced idiomatic writing, whilst many phrases and forms of speech, which would not be endured now, were tolerated in polite society.
The laws of spelling, too, were unfixed or vague, and those of pronunciation, which more or less affect spelling, still more so. "When," said Johnson, "I published the plan of my dictionary, Lord Chesterfield told me that the word great should be pronounced so as to rhyme to state; and Sir William Yonge sent me word that it should be pronounced so as to rhyme to seat, and that none but an Irishman would pronounce it grait. Now here were two men of the highest rank, one the best speaker in the House of Lords, the other the best speaker in the House of Commons, differing entirely." Mrs. Piozzi has written on the margin :-"Sir William was in the right." Two well-known couplets of Pope imply similar changes :
"Dreading e'en fools, by flatterers besieged,
"Here thou, great Anna, whom three realms obey,