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being wholly free from all oaths, ribaldry and profaneness, make him a man exceedingly comfortable to live with ; while the easiness of his temper and slowness to take offence add greatly to his value as a domestic man. Yet I think his servants do not much love him, and I am not sure that his children have much affection for him ; low people almost all indeed agree to abhor him, as he has none of that officious and cordial manner which is universally required by them, nor any skill to dissemble his dislike of their coarseness. With regard to his wife, though little tender of her person, he is very partial to her understanding; but he is obliging to nobody, and confers a favor less pleasingly than many a man refuses to confer one. This appears to me to be as just a character as can be given of the man with whom I have now lived thirteen years ; and though he is extremely reserved and uncommunicative, yet one must know something of him after so long acquaintance. Johnson has a very great degree of kindness and esteem for him, and says if he would talk more, his manner would be very completely that of a perfect gentleman.
(Here follow Master Pepys' verses addressed to Thrale on his wedding-day, October, 1776.)
People have a strange propensity to making vows on trifling occasions, a trick one would not think of, but I once caught my husband at it, and have since then been suspicious that 't is oftener done than believed. For example: Mr. Thrale and I were driving through E. Grinsted, and found the inn we used to put up at destroyed by fire. He expressed great uneasiness, and I still kept crying, “ Why can we not go to the other inn ? 't is a very good house; here is no difficulty in the case.” All this while Mr. Thrale grew violently impatient, endeavored to bribe the postboy to go on to the next post-town, &c., but in vain ; till, pressed by inquiries and solicitations he could no longer elude, he confessed to me that he had sworn an oath or made a vow, I forget which, seventeen years before, never to set his foot within those doors again, having had some fraud practised on him by a landlord who then kept the house, but had been dead long enough ago. When I heard this all was well; I desired him to sit in the chaise while the horses were changed, and walked into the house myself to get some refreshment the while.
In 1779, June, after his recovery from the first fit of paralysis, she writes : —
His head is as clear as ever ; his spirits indeed are low, but they will mend ; few people live in such a state of preparation for eternity, I think, as my dear master has done since I have been connected with him ; regular in his public and private devotions, constant at the Sacrament, temperate in his appetites, mod
The sacrament, temperante os appentes, un erate in his passions, — he has less to apprehend from a sudden summons than any man I have known who was young and gay, and high in health and fortune like him.
TRANSLATION OF LAURA BASSI'S VERSES.
MESSER CHRISTOFORO, who showed us the Specola at Bologna, and made his short but pathetic eulogium on the lamented Dottoressa, pointed with his finger (I believe he could not speak) to her much-admired and well-known verses on the gate:
“Si tibi pulchra domus, si splendida mensa, — quid inde ?
Si species auri, argenti quoque massa, — quid inde ?
I brought them home, of course, and tried to translate them ; but ventured not the translation out of my sight till now.
26th October, 1815.
TRANSLATION OR IMITATION OF LAURA BASSI'S VERSES.
Thy mansion splendid, and thy service plate,
TRANSLATION OF LAURA BASSI'S VERSES.
Prince, pope, or emperor's thy smiling fate,
A FRIGHTFUL STORY.
HERE (at Florence) our little English coterie printed a book, and called it the “ Florence Miscellany,” — you have seen it at my lodgings, — and here, one day, for a frolic, we betted a wager who could invent the most frightful story, and produce by dinnertime.* The clock struck three, and by five we were to meet again.
Merry brought a very fine one, but Mr. Greatheed burned his, and the following
“ FRAGMENT OF A SCENE NEAR NAPLES”
carried off the palm of victory.
He tore her from the bleeding body of her hushand, and throwing her across his horse, spurred him forward, till even the imaginary noises, which for a while pursued his flight, began to fade away and leave him leisure to reanimate his brutal passion. He alighted in a distant and deserted place, and by the faint light which the new moon afforded some moments ere she sunk below the horizon, examined his companion, and found her - dead. A crowd of horrid images possessed his mind, but that which prevailed was the fear of discovery. He regained his seat, intent upon escape, but the horse trembled, and refused to stir. Ruggiero resolved to lose no time in fruitless contentions with his steed, but fly away as fast as it was possible. He ran for a full hour, then found himself entangled by some unseen substance that hindered him from proceeding.
The mountain, which had for thirty years been silent, then gave a hollow groan. Ruggiero knew not that it was the mountain ; but a column of blue flame shot up from the crater convinced him, while gathering clouds and solemn stillness of the
* A somewhat similar compact or competition produced " Frankenstein" and “ The Vampire."