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names given to them, and why the palest lilac should be called a soupir étouffé.

"Why, Madam,' said he, with wonderful readiness, 'it is called a stifled sigh because it is checked in its progress, and only half a colour.'

"I could not help expressing my amazement at his universal readiness upon all subjects, and Mrs. Thrale said to him,

"Sir, Miss Burney wonders at your patience with such stuff; but I tell her you are used to me, for I believe I torment you with more foolish questions than anybody else dares do.'

"No, Madam,' said he, 'you don't torment me;you teaze me, indeed, sometimes.'

"Ay, so I do, Dr. Johnson, and I wonder you bear with my nonsense.'

"No, Madam, you never talk nonsense; you have as much sense, and more wit, than any woman I know!'

"Oh,' cried Mrs. Thrale, blushing, it is my turn to go under the table this morning, Miss Burney!'

"And yet,' continued the Doctor, with the most comical look, I have known all the wits, from Mrs. Montagu down to Bet Flint!'


"Bet Flint,' cried Mrs. Thrale; 'pray who is she?' "Oh, a fine character, Madam! She was habitually a slut and a drunkard, and occasionally a thief and a harlot.'

"And, for heaven's sake, how came you to know her ?'

“Why, Madam, she figured in the literary world, too! Bet Flint wrote her own life, and called herself Cassandra, and it was in verse. So Bet brought me her verses to correct; but I gave her a half-a-crown, and she liked it as well.'

"And pray what became of her, Sir?'

"Why, Madam, she stole a quilt from the man of the house, and he had her taken up: but Bet Flint had a spirit not to be subdued; so when she found herself obliged to go to jail, she ordered a sedan chair, and bid her footboy walk before her. However, the boy proved refractory, for he was ashamed, though his mistress was not.'

"And did she ever get out of jail again, Sir?'

"Yes, Madam; when she came to her trial, the judge acquitted her. "So now," she said to me, "the quilt is my own, and now I'll make a petticoat of it.”* Oh, I loved Bet Flint!'

"Bless me, Sir!' cried Mrs. Thrale, 'how can all these vagabonds contrive to get at you, of all people?' "Oh the dear creatures!' cried he, laughing heartily, 'I can't but be glad to see them!""


Madame D'Arblay's notes (in her Diary) of the conversation and mode of life at Streatham are full and spirited, and exhibit Johnson in moods and situations in which he was seldom seen by Boswell. The adroitness with which he divided his attentions amongst the ladies, blending approval with instruction, and softening con

* This story is told by Boswell, roy. 8vo. edit. p. 688.

tradiction or reproof by gallantry, gives plausibility to his otherwise paradoxical claim to be considered a polite He obviously knew how to set about it, and (theoretically at least) was no mean proficient in that art of pleasing which attracts


"Rather by deference than compliment,

And wins e'en by a delicate dissent."

Sir Henry Bulwer (in his "France") says that Louis the Fourteenth was entitled to be called a man of genius, if only from the delicate beauty of his compliments. Mrs. Thrale awards the palm of excellence in the same path to Johnson. "Your compliments, Sir, are made seldom, but when they are made, they have an elegance unequalled; but then, when you are angry, who dares make speeches so bitter and so cruel?" "I am sure," she adds, after a semblance of defence on his part, "I have had my share of scolding from you."

* "When the company were retired, we happened to be talking of Dr. Barnard, the provost of Eton, who died about that time; and after a long and just eulogium on his wit, his learning, and goodness of heart-' He was the only man, too,' says Mr. Johnson, quite seriously, 'that did justice to my good breeding; and you may observe that I am well-bred to a degree of needless scrupulosity. No man,' continued he, not observing the amazement of his hearers, no man is so cautious not to interrupt another; no man thinks it so necessary to appear attentive when others are speaking; no man so steadily refuses preference to himself, or so willingly bestows it on another, as I do; nobody holds so strongly as I do the necessity of ceremony, and the ill effects which follow the breach of it: yet people think me rude; but Barnard did me justice.' "-Anecdotes. "I think myself a very polite man."

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Boswell. 1778.

Johnson. "It is true, you have, but you have borne it like an angel, and you have been the better for it." As the discussion proceeds, he accuses her of often provoking him to say severe things by unreasonable commendation; a common mode of acquiring a character for amiability at the expense of one's intimates, who are made to appear uncharitable by being thus constantly placed on the depreciating side.

Some years prior to this period (1778) Mrs. Thrale's mind and character had undergone a succession of the most trying ordeals, and was tempered and improved, without being hardened, by them. In allusion to what she suffered in child-bearing, she said later in life that she had nine times undergone the sentence of a convict, confinement with hard labour. Child after child died at the age when the bereavement is most affecting to a mother. Her husband's health kept her in a constant state of apprehension for his life, and his affairs became embarrassed to the very verge of bankruptcy. So long as they remained prosperous, he insisted on her not meddling with them in any way, and even required her to keep to her drawing-room and leave the conduct of their domestic establishment to the butler and housekeeper. But when (from circumstances detailed in the "Autobiography") his fortune was seriously endangered, he wisely and gladly availed himself of her prudence and energy, and was saved by so doing. I have now before me a collection of autograph letters from her to Mr. Perkins, then manager and afterwards one of the proprietors of

the brewery, from which it appears that she paid the most minute attention to the business, besides undertaking the superintendence of her own hereditary estate in Wales. On September 28, 1773, she writes to Mr. Perkins, who was on a commercial journey:

"Mr. Thrale is still upon his little tour; I opened a letter from you at the counting-house this morning, and am sorry to find you have so much trouble with Grant and his affairs. How glad I shall be to hear that matter is settled at all to your satisfaction. His letter and remittance came while I was there to-day. Careless, of the Blue Posts,' has turned refractory, and applied to Hoare's people, who have sent him in their beer. I called on him to-day, however, and by dint of an unwearied solicitation, (for I kept him at the coach side a full half-hour) I got his order for six butts more as the final trial.”

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Examples of fine ladies pressing tradesmen for their votes with compromising importunity are far from rare, but it would be difficult to find a parallel for Johnson's Hetty doing duty as a commercial traveller. She was simultaneously obliged to anticipate the electioneering exploits of the Duchess of Devonshire and Mrs. Crewe; and in after life, having occasion to pass through Southwark, she expresses her astonishment at no longer recognising a place, every hole and corner of which she had three times visited as a canvasser.

After the death of Mr. Thrale, a friend of Mr. H. Thornton canvassed the borough on behalf of that gentleman. He waited on Mrs. Thrale, who promised her

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