Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/369

for such a journey. So fond of his idea was mr. Thrale, that, no longer than two days before he died, he solicited me for the hundredth time to make myself ready to go with him, which I was absolutely resolved against, not only because I joined in opinion with his wife and the doctor on this point, but likewise because I had not forgotten the trouble I had when with him in France, the chief mover of too large a caravan, most members of which had a good proportion of wants and whims; and also because I recollected the poor amends made me for that trouble. That the wife crossed the husband, and not the contrary, may easily be seen by turning to one of her own Letters, voi. ii, p. i8i, wherein she says to Johnson, and alluding to mr. Thrale’s bad state of health, that «whoever is sick is surely safest at home; and bave we not mortifications enough already [adds she with g^eat energy], without going where one might be amused in order to be miserable? Oh, no; let us be miserable in the old places !» And the doctor tells her in answer: «mr. Thrale’s expedition in foreign parts you will not encourage, and you need not make any great efforts to oppose it» . Do not these words of the doctor imply with glaring evidence, that she herself was averse to go abroad, and making «great efforts» to oppose her husband’s intended «expedition»? And the desire mr. Thrale had «to see Italy before he died», as he phrased it, was far from being a suddén whim. He had gone to Paris merely to shorten his journey to the other side the Alps, that the visiting that town and its environs might not take much from the second journey, to which he intended to consecrate a full year; and madam as well as Johnson were very warm in that scheme; but mr. Thrale, soon after the sudden death of his only son, became subject to fits, and madam was gradually changing her mind, she can best teli why; and these two causes, joining together, occasioned her to make «great efforts» to protract the expedition which at last was not effected. However, her assertion that she «had been crossed in her intention of going abroad» was a false assertion, and thrown upon paper at Florence, merely to make her English readers take it as a collateral