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VOL. II. 26





"THE circumstances," says Sir James Fellowes, “under which she was induced to write them, were purely accidental. During the last fifty years of her life, she had made a collection of pocket-books, in which it was her constant practice to write down her conversations and anecdotes, as well as her remarks upon the recent publications. They were tied together and carefully preserved; and on one occasion Mrs. Piozzi, pointing to them, observed to me: These you will one day have to look over with Salusbury (my co-executor), together with the Thraliana;' I have never had courage to open them, but to your honour and joint care I shall leave them.' These memoranda would no doubt form a literary curiosity. At the time the conversation took place at Bath on this interesting topic, I urged Mrs. Piozzi to write down some reminiscences of her own times, and some of those amusing anecdotes I had heard her relate, and which had never been published, adding to my request, the value they would be to posterity and the obligation conferred upon myself. It

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was her nature to be grateful for any trifling act of Kindness, and as I had the good fortune to possess her friendship and favourable opinion, she indulged my curiosity to learn her history by presenting me with this sketch of her life (oh, she wrote expressly for me), as the strongest proof (she observed) of her confidence and esteem. These are the facts connected with the 'Autobiographical Memoirs.""

The author of "Piozziana" says: "I called on her one day, and at an early hour by her desire; when she showed me a heap of what are termed pocket-books, and said she was sorely embarrassed upon a point, upon which she condescended to say she would take my advice. You see in that collection,' she continued, 'a diary of mine of more than fifty years of my life. I have scarcely omitted anything which occurred to me during the time I have mentioned. My books contain the conversation of every person of almost every class with whom I have had intercourse; my remarks on what was said; downright facts and scandalous on dits; personal portraits and anecdotes of the characters concerned; criticisms on the publications and authors of the day, &c. Now I am approaching the grave, and am agitated by doubts as to what I should do whether to burn my manuscripts or leave them to futurity. Thus far my decision is to destroy my papers. Shall I or shall I not?' I took the freedom of saying, 'By no means do an act which done cannot be amended; keep your papers safe from prying eyes, and at least trust them to the discretion of survivors.'"

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The heap of pocket-books must have been a very large heap, for a diary so kept would require at least one a-week. "Thraliana," now in the possession of the Rev. G. A. Salusbury (the eldest son of Sir John Salusbury), is contained in six books, of about 300 pages each, and extends over thirty-two years and a half. The first entry is in these words: "It is many years since Doctor Samuel Johnson advised me to get a little book and write in it all the little anecdotes which might come to my knowledge, all the observations I might make or hear, all the verses never likely to be published, and, in fine, everything that struck me at the time. Mr. Thrale has now treated me with a repository, and provided it with the pompous title of Thraliana.' I must en


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Ideavour to fill it with nonsense new and old. - 15th September, 1776." The last: "30th March, 1809.Everything most dreaded has ensued. over, and my second husband's death is the last thing recorded in my first husband's present. Cruel Death!"

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