Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/372



me», says Johnson. «Pray, why so? Is it not as fit that I should bring Burney? My master is in his old lunes, and so am I». This asperity of language proves how ticklish Johnson was on the most distant supposition that he grudged expense when necessary; and it clearly foUows from ali this, that my bonny Hester Lynch adds another falsehood to those that precede, when she affirms that her carriage and servants were always at the doctor’s command, who never had, or never would have any occasion for either.

It is then another falsehood, and I begin to sicken at the enumeration, that doctor Johnson «would often not rise till twelve in the morning» [if not later, which is what she means with the word «perhaps»] , and oblige her to make breakfast for him till the beli rung for dinner». As she had i^esolved to break her connection with him as soon as mr. Thrale was no more, for a reason that shall appear anon, she has collected in a few paragraphs ali the accusations she could think of, to account in a plausible manner to the world for her flying from him when that event had taken place; but it is another Constant fact that, during Johnson ’s acquaintance with the Thrale family, he got the habit of rising as early as other folks, nor e ver made mr. Thrale stay a single moment for his breakfast, knowing that his business called him away from the breakfast table about ten o’ clock every morning, except sundays; nor had mr. Thrale quitted the table a minute, but the doctor swallowed his last cup, and madam was at liberty to go about her hens and turkeys, leaving him to chat with me or any body else that happened to be there, or go up in his room, which was more usuai, from whence he did not stir till dinner time; but it is the falsehood of falsehoods to affirm that Johnson «spent much of the time they passed together in blaming or deriding her for wasting so much money, as might have made many families happy».

One would be apt to conclude by these rodomontading words that she had ali her husband’s money at her disposai, and that he gave her full leave to throw it out at every window. But the case was far otherwise; for, besides her being so frugai by