Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/371



ladies, as soon as their will is intimateci: therefore let us take the liberty to register this down as a sixth falsehood.

Yet, «while she remained at Streatham or at London, her carriage and servants» were not entirely at her «command» , but at Johnson’s. What a light-hearted coxcomb was that same doctor, who wanted to parade on the Streatham road, or in the London streets, in a fair lady’s coach ! What insufferable indiscretion in him to deprive a poor mourning dame of her own carriage, and thus force her in spite of her teeth to stay at home, moping and muttering prayers, and, what increases his crime, without a servant about her to solace her solitude by reaching her some book of sermons, or Watts’ Improvement of the mind\ But, in the name of goodness, did she not teli us, p. 245 of the Anecdotes, that the doctor «wanted as little as the goda, and required less attendance, sick or well, than she ever saw any human creature»? It is a fact not to he denied, that when at Streatham, or in the Borough, Johnson wanted nothing else from her servants, than to be shaved once in three da3’S, as he was almost beardless; and as for her carriage, never once during the whole time of their acquaintance did he borrow, much less «command», it for any purposeofhis own. Either she in her’s, or mr. Thrale in his, took him from town to Streatham without the least inconvenience to either; and he was brought back generally on saturdays by mr. Thrale, who repaired every day to the Borough about his affairs presently after breakfast. When Johnson went to them or from them in town, he constantly made use of a hackney, and would have been gjeatly offended had madam ever offered to order her horses out of the stable on his sole account. True it is that Johnson was not lavish of his money when he began to have any to save; but he scorned to be considered as oversaving it; and of this we have a pretty lively proof, p. 38, voi. 11 of his Letters, where he rebukes mr. Thrale for wishing to have him brought to Brighthelmston by doctor Burney, that he might not be at the expence of a post-chaise, or of the stage-coach which he would have preferred for the sake of economj’. «Burney is to bring