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FRAGMENTS OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

[THE following fragments of autobiography, with one exception, are in the shape of notes on the printed volumes of correspondence between Dr. Johnson and herself. They contain little that has not been already told in the Introduction; but they have each an individual interest independently of the facts.]

THE CHARMING S. S.

"So you may set the Streatfield at defiance." Johnson, Oct. 15, 1778; Letters, vol. ii. p. 20.

My dear and ever honoured Doctor Collier was the cause of my making this Miss Streatfield's acquaintance. I had learned from others that he dropped into her hands soon as dismissed from mine; and that he gained rather than lost by the exchange, had long been my secret consolation. She was but fourteen or fifteen when they first met, and he was growing sickly. She did her own way, and her way was to wait on him, who instructed her in Greek, and who obtained from her excess of tenderness for him, what I could not have bestowed. I have heard her say she grudged his old valet the happiness of reaching him a glass of wine,

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and out of her house did he never more make his residence, but died in her arms, and was buried at her expense, the moment she came of age.* All these accounts did I never cease listening to, till I observed my beautiful friend, not contented with her legitimate succession to the heart of Doctor Collier, was endeavouring to supplant me in the esteem of Mr. Thrale, whose good opinion, assailed vainly by Baretti, it was my business and my bounden duty to retain. Miss Thrale, now Lady Keith, was in this case my coadjutor; though she had acted in concert with Baretti, she abhorred this attack of Miss Streatfield, who was very dangerous indeed, both from her beauty and learning. Wit she possessed none of, and was as ignorant as an infant of

"That which before us lies in daily life.”

No wonder Mr. Thrale, whose mind wanted some new object, since he had lost his son, and lost beside the

*The attachment inspired by Dr. Collier in both his pupils resembles that of Stella and Vanessa to Swift, the growth of which is described in the Dean's best poem, "Cadenus and Vanessa":

"I knew by what you said and writ

How dang'rous things were men of wit :
You caution'd me against their charms,
But never gave me equal arms.

Your lessons found the weakest part,
Aim'd at the head, but reach'd the heart."

The Edinburgh Review imagines him to have been Arthur Collier, LL.D., described by the author of "Lives of the Civilians " as an ingenious but unsteady and eccentric man, the confidential law-adviser of the notorious Duchess of Kingston.

pleasure he had taken in his business, before all knowledge of it was shared with myself,-no wonder that he encouraged a sentimental attachment to Sophia Streatfield, who became daily more and more dear to him, and almost necessary. No one who visited us missed seeing his preference of her to me; but she was so amiable and so sweet natured, no one appeared to blame him for the unusual and unrepressed delight he took in her agreeable society. I was exceedingly oppressed by pregnancy, and saw clearly my successor in the fair S. S. as we familiarly called her in the family, of which she now made constantly a part, and stood godmother to my new-born baby, by bringing which I only helped to destroy my own health, and disappoint my husband, who wanted a son. "Why Mr. Thrale is Peregrinus Domi," said Dr. Johnson; "he lives in Clifford Street, I hear, all winter;" and so he did, leaving his carriage at his sister's door in Hanover Square, that no inquirer might hurt his favourite's reputation; which my behaviour likewise tended to preserve from injury, and we lived on together as well as we could. Miss Browne, who sung enchantingly, and had been much abroad; Miss Burney, whose powers of amusement were many and various, were my companions then at Streatham Park, with Doctor Johnson, who wanted me to be living at the Borough, because less inconvenient to him, so he said I passed my winter in Surrey, "feeding my chickens and starving my understanding: " but 1779, and the summer of it was coming, to bring on us a much more serious calamity.

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THRALE'S ILLNESS.

"YOUR account of Mr. Thrale's illness is very terrible." -Johnson, June 14, 1779; Letters, vol. ii. p. 47.

My account of Mr. Thrale's illness had every reason to be terrible. He had slept at Streatham Park, and left it after breakfast, looking as usual.

His sister's husband, Mr. Nesbitt, often mentioned in these Letters and Memoirs, had been dead perhaps a fortnight. He was commercially connected, I knew, with Sir George Colebrook and Sir Something Turner; but that was all I knew-and that was nothing. I knew of nothing between Thrale and them, till after my return from Italy, and was the more perhaps shocked and amazed when, sitting after dinner with Lady Keith and Doctor Burney and his daughter, I believe, my servant Sam opened the drawing-room door with un air effaré, saying: My master is come home, but there is something amiss." I started up, and saw a tall black female figure, who cried, "Don't go into the library, don't go in I say." My rushing by her somewhat rudely was all her prohibition gained: but there sat Mrs. Nesbitt holding her brother's hand, who I perceived knew not a syllable of what was passing. So I called Dr. Burney, begged him to fly in the post-chaise, which was then waiting

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for him, and send me some physician, Sir R. Jebb or Pepys, or if none else could be found, my old accoucheur, Doctor Bromfield of Gerard Street. 'Twas he that came; and, convincing me it was an apoplectic seizure, acted accordingly, while the silly ladies went home quite contented I believe: only Mrs. Nesbitt said she thought he was delirious; and from her companion I learned that he had dined at their house, had seen the will opened, and had dropped as if lifeless from the dinner-table; when, instead of calling help, they called their carriage, and brought him five or six miles out of town in that condition. Would it not much enrage one? From this dreadful situation medical art relieved Mr. Thrale, but the natural disposition to conviviality degenerated into a preternatural desire for food, like Erisicthon of old

"Cibus omnis in illo Causa cibi est; semperque locus inanis edendo."

It was a distressing moment, and the distress increasing perpetually, nor could any one persuade our patient to believe, or at least to acknowledge, he ever had been ill. With a person, the very wretched wreck of what it had been, no one could keep him at home. Dinners and company engrossed all his thoughts, and dear Dr. Johnson encouraged him in them, that he might not appear wise, or predicting his friend's certainly accelerated dissolution.

Death of the baby boy I carried in my bosom, was the natural consequence of the scene described here;

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