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concern? Cator, a rich timber merchant, was afraid of implicating his own credit as a commercial man. Crutchley hated Perkins, and lived upon the verge of a quarrel with him every day while they acted together. Smith cursed the whole business, and wondered what his relation, Mr. Thrale, could mean by leaving him 2001. he said, and such a burden on his back to bear for it. All were well pleased to find themselves secured, and the brewhouse decently, though not very advantageously disposed of, except dear Doctor Johnson, who found some odd delight in signing drafts for hundreds and for thousands, to him a new, and as it appeared delightful, occupation. When all was nearly over, however, I cured his honest heart of its incipient passion for trade, by letting him into some, and only some, of its mysteries. The plant, as it is called, was sold, and I gave God thanks upon Whit Sunday, 1781, for sparing me farther perplexity, though at the cost of a good house, &c.
FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH PIOZZI.
FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH PIOZZI,
"You have got Piozzi again." - Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, Dec. 3, 1781.
Dr. Johnson, mentioning dear Piozzi, has encouraged me to tell how and where our acquaintance began. I was at Brighthelmstone in August 1780, or thereabout, when the rioters at Bath had driven my sick husband and myself and Miss Thrale (Fanny Burney went home to her father) into Sussex for change of place. I had been in the sea early one morning, and was walking with my eldest daughter on the cliff, when, seeing Mr. Piozzi stand at the library door, I accosted him in Italian, and asked him if he would like to give that lady a lesson or two whilst at Brighton, that she might not be losing her time. He replied, coldly, that he was come thither himself merely to recover his voice, which he feared was wholly lost; that he was composing some music, and lived in great retirement; so I took my leave, and we continued our walk, Miss Thrale regretting she had lost such an opportunity; but on our returning home the same day, Mr. Piozzi started out of the shop, begged my pardon for not knowing me before, protested his readiness to do anything to oblige me, and his concern for not being able to contribute to our amusement, but
that I should command everything in his now limited
We parted, and at breakfast the post brought me a letter from the present Madame D'Arblay, saying that her father's friend, Mr. Piozzi, was gone to Brighthelmstone, where she hoped we should meet, for though he had lost his voice, his musical powers were enchanting, and that I should find him a companion likely to lighten the burden of life to me, as he was just a mañ to my natural taste. This letter is existing now, and that was her expression. Mr. Thrale found his performance on the forte-piano so superior to everything then heard in England, and in short took such a fancy to his society, that we were seldom apart, except while Mr. Piozzi was studying to compose the six fine sonatas, that he dedicated to his favourite pupil, Miss Child, afterwards Lady Westmoreland. His voice strengthened by sea-bathing, but never recovered the astonishing powers he brought with him first from Italy. I fancied they would have returned when we went abroad together four years after, but they never did; and he was contented in future to delight, without surprising, his hearers, unless they had indeed taste enough to understand that unrivalled manner of singing, which he as tenor, and Pacchierotti as soprano, had completely to themselves.
Mr. Piozzi was the son of a gentleman of Brescia in Lombardy, who meant him for the Church and educated him accordingly; but he resisted the celibat, escaped from those who would have made him take the vows,
and as his uncle said, "Ah, Gabrieli, thou wilt never get nearer the altar than the organ-loft," so it proved. He ran from the Venetian state to Milan, where Marchese D'Araciel proved his constant friend and protector, and encouraged him in his fancy for trying Paris and London, instead of being a burden to his parents, who had fourteen children, a limited income, and many pecuniary uneasinesses. Whilst here, his fame reached the Queen of France, who sent for him and Sacchini, the great opera composer, and it was when they came back loaded with presents, and honours, and emoluments, that Dr. Johnson congratulated me on having got Piozzi again. Sacchini returned and died at Paris, but Piozzi staid (till I drove him from me), notwithstanding all the offers of the Court of France, when I was living at Bath, "deserted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen."
"You can hardly think how bad I have been whilst you were in all your altitudes at the opera, and all the fine places, and thinking little of me." (Johnson, Dec. 20, 1783; Letters, vol. ii. p. 52.) She replies: "My health, my children, and my fortune, dear Sir, are fast coming to an end, I think—not so my sorrows. Harriet is dead, and Cicely is dying." Her manuscript commentary on these passages is:
"Dear Harriet died of measles, hooping-cough, and strumous swellings in the neck and throat, 1783. Lucy had fallen a sacrifice to the same train of evils; and Cecilia, now Mrs. Mostyn, had her health so shaken after the date of this letter, that it was with the utmost difficulty she recovered. Mr. Piozzi and I had made what we considered as our final parting in London about a month before, when I requested him to tame the newspapers by quitting England, and leave me to endure my debts, my distractions, and the bitter reproaches of my family as I could. He had given up all my letters, promises, &c., into Miss Thrale's hands (now Lady Keith). You laughed when I told you that his expression was: Take it to you your mamma, and make it of her a countess; it shall kill me, I know, but it shall kill her too.' Miss Thrale took the Miss Thrale took the papers, and