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and vanity tickled and gratified, from morn to night, by incessant homage. The two first ingredients are certainly oddly heterogeneous; but Johnson, in religion and politics, in love and in hatred, was composed of such opposite and contradictory materials as

never before met in the human mind. This is the reason why folk are never weary of talking, reading, and writing about a man

4. So various that he seemed to be,

Not one, but all mankind's epitome.'" *

In the teeth of Miss Seward's description of Piozzi, it would be difficult to maintain Lord Macaulay's statement that Mrs. Piozzi “ fell in love with a music-master from Brescia, in whom nobody but herself could see anything to admire ;” and the eloquent passage which succeeds would have been materially impaired by adherence to the facts :

“ She did not conceal her joy when he (Johnson) left Streatham. She never pressed him to return; and if he came unbidden, she received him in a manner which convinced him that he was no longer a welcome guest. He took the very intelligible hints which she gave. He read, for the last time, a chapter of the Greek Testament in the library which had been formed by himself. In a solemn and tender prayer he commended the house and its inmates to the Divine protection, and with emotions which choked his voice and convulsed his powerful frame, left forever that beloved home for the gloomy and desolate house behind Fleet Street, where the few and the evil days which still remained to him were to run out.”

Streatham had been let to Lord Shelburne, and they quitted it together. She never pressed him to return, because she never returned during his lifetime ; for the same reason, he could not have come again as her guest, bidden or unbidden : and instead of leaving Streatham for his gloomy and desolate house behind Fleet Street, he accompanied her, on the wonted footing of an inmate, first to Brighton, where we have seen him making himself particularly disagreeable to her friends, and then to Argyll Street.

* Letters, Vol. II. p. 103.

The brilliant historian proceeds : —

“ Here (Bolt Court) in June, 1783, he had a paralytic stroke, from which however he recovered, and which does not appear to have impaired his intellectual faculties. But other maladies came thick upon him. His asthma tormented him day and night. Dropsical symptoms made their appearance. While sinking under a complication of diseases, he heard that the woman whose friendship had been the chief happiness of sixteen years of his life had married an Italian fiddler; that all London was crying shame upon her; and that the newspapers and magazines were filled with allusions to the Ephesian matron and the two pictures in · Hamlet.' He vehemently said he would try to forget her existence. He never uttered her name. Every memorial of her which met his eye he flung into the fire. She meanwhile fled from the laughter and hisses of her countrymen and countrywomen to a land where she was unknown, hastened across Mount Cenis, and learned, while passing a merry Christmas of concerts and lemonade parties at Milan, that the great man with whose name hers is inseparably associated, had ceased to exist."

In his last letter on her marriage, Johnson admits that he has no pretence to resent it, as it has not been injurious to him, and says :

“ Whatever I can contribute to your happiness I am ever ready to repay, for that kindness which soothed twenty years of a life radically wretched.” If, directly after writing this, he vowed to forget her existence, and flung every memorial of her into the fire, he stands self-convicted of ingratitude and deceit. The only proof that he did anything of the sort is a passage in Madame D'Arblay's diary : “ We talked of poor Mrs. Thrale, but only for a moment ; for I saw him so greatly moved, and with such severity of displeasure, that I hastened to start another subject, and he solemnly enjoined me to mention that no more.” This was towards the end of November, a few weeks before he died, and he might be excused for being angry at the introduction of any agitating topic.

His affection for Mrs. Piozzi was far from being a deep, devoted, or absorbing feeling at any time; and the gloom which settled upon the evening of his days was owing to his infirmities

and his dread of death, not to the loosening of cherished ties, nor to the compelled solitude of a confined dwelling in Bolt Court. The plain matter of fact is that, during the last two years of his life, he was seldom a month together at his own house, unless when the state of his health prevented him from enjoying the hospitality of his friends. When the fatal marriage was announced, he was planning what Boswell calls a jaunt into the country; and in a letter dated Lichfield, Oct. 4, 1784, he says: “I passed the first part of the summer at Oxford (with Dr. Adams); afterwards I went to Lichfield, then to Ashbourne (Dr. Taylor's), and a week ago I returned to Lichfield, then to Ashbourne (Dr. Taylor's), and a week ago I returned to Lichfield.”

In the journal which he kept for Dr. Brocklesby, he writes, Oct. 20: “ The town is my element; there are my friends, there are my books, to which I have not yet bid farewell, and there are my amusements. Sir Joshua told me long ago that

my vocation was to public life ; and I hope still to keep my station, till God shall bid me Go in peace.

Thrale died on the 4th of April. “On Friday, April 6 (writes Boswell), he (Johnson) carried me to dine at a club which at his desire had been lately formed at the Queen's Arms." In April, 1784, a year and a half after his heart was broken by the alleged expulsion from Streatham, Johnson sends a regular diary of his feelings, and proceedings to Mrs. Thrale. One item

may suffice :

“I received this morning your magnificent fish (ante, p. 67), and in the afternoon your apology for not sending it. I have invited the Hooles and Miss Burney to dine upon it to-morrow."

After another visit to Dr. Adams at Pembroke College, he returned about the middle of November to London, where he died December 13th, 1784. The proximate cause of his death was dropsy; and there is not the smallest sign of its having been acclerated or imbittered by unkindness or neglect.

If he chose to repudiate and denounce one whose kindness had soothed twenty years of a life radically wretched," because she refused to submit to his dictation in a matter of life and death to her and of comparative indifference to him, the severance of the tie was entirely his own act. In a letter to Mr. S. Lysons, from Milan, dated December 7th, 1784, which proves that she was not wasting her time in a concerts and lemonade parties," she says : “My next letter shall talk of the libraries and botanical gardens, and twenty other clever things here. I wish you a comfortable Christmas, and a happy beginning of the year 1785. Do not neglect Dr. Johnson : you will never see any other mortal so wise or so good. I keep his picture in my chamber, and his works on my chimney."

“Forgiveness to the injured doth belong,
But they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong."

The reader will not fail to admire the rhetorical skill with which the banishment from Streatham, the gloomy and desolate home, the marriage with the Italian fiddler, the painful and melancholy death, and the merry Christmas, have been grouped together with the view of giving picturesqueness, impressive unity, and damnatory vigor to the sketch. “ Action, action, action,” says the orator ; “ Effect, effect, effect,” says the historian. Give Archimedes a place to stand on, and he would move the world. Give Talleyrand a line of a man's handwriting, and he would engage to ruin him. Give Lord Macaulay a hint, a fancy, an insulated fact or phrase, a scrap of a journal, or the tag end of a song, and on it, by the abused prerogative of genius, he would construct a theory of national or personal character, which should confer undying glory or inflict indelible disgrace.

Mrs. Piozzi's life in Italy is sketched in her best manner by her own lively pen. Her confidence in Piozzi was amply justified by the result. She was in debt when she married him. Before their return to England, all her pecuniary embarrassments were removed by his judicious economy; although, her income being entirely in his power, nothing would have been easier for him than to make a purse for his family or himself, or to dazzle his countrymen by his splendor.

On February 3d, 1785, Walpole writes from London to Sir Horace Mann at Florence :

“I have very lately been lent a volume of poems composed and printed at Florence, in which another of our ex-heroines, Mrs. Piozzi, has a considerable share ; her associates three of

the English bards who assisted in the little garland which Ramsay the painter sent me. The present is a plump octavo; and if you have not sent me a copy by your nephew, I should be glad if you could get one for me : not for the merit of the verses, which are moderate enough and faint imitations of our good poets; but for a short and sensible and genteel preface by La Piozzi, from whom I have just seen a very clever letter to Mrs. Montagu, to disavow a jackanapes who has lately made a noise here, one Boswell, by Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson. In a day or two we expect another collection by the same Signora.”

Her associates were Greathead, Merry, and Parsons. The volume in question was "The Florence Miscellany." "A copy," says Mr. Lowndes,“ having fallen into the hands of W. Gifford, gave rise to his admirable satire of the · Baviad and Mæviad.""*

In his Journal of the Tour to the Hebrides, Boswell makes Johnson say of Mrs. Montagu's “Essay on Skakespeare:” “ Reynolds is fond of her book, and I wonder at it; for neither I, nor Beauclerc, nor Mrs. Thrale could get through it.” This is what Mrs. Piozzi wrote to disavow, so far as she was personally concerned. The other collection expected from her whilst still in Italy, was her “ Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, during the last Twenty Years of his Life. Printed for T. Cadell in the Strand, 1786."

In her Travels, she says, “I have here (Leghorn) finished that work which chiefly brought me here, the “Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson's Life. It is from this port they take their flight for England whilst we retire for refreshment to the Bagni de Pisa.”

The book attracted much attention in the literary and fashionable circles of London ; and whilst some affected to discover in it the latent signs of wounded vanity and pique, others vehemently impugned its accuracy. Foremost amongst her assailants stood Boswell, who had an obvious motive for depreciating her, and he attempts to destroy her authority, first, by quoting Johnson's supposed imputations on her veracity; and, secondly, by individual instances of her alleged departure from truth.

Thus, Johnson is reported to have said, "It is amazing, Sir,

* The“ Bibliographer's Manual,” p. 534. The Preface (praised by Walpole) is reprinted amongst her literary remains.

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