If Mr. Thrale eats but half his usual quantity, he can hardly eat too much. It were better however to have some rule, and some security. Last week I saw flesh but twice, and I think fish once, the rest was pease.
You are afraid, you say, lest I extenuate myself too fast, and are an enemy to Violence, but did you never hear nor read, dear Madam, that every Man has his genius, and that the great rule by which all excellence is attained, and all success procured is, to follow genius, and have you not observed in all our conversations that my genius is always in extremes, that I am very noisy, or very silent; very gloomy, or very merry; very sour or very kind? And would have me cross my genius when it leads me sometimes to voracity and sometimes to abstinence? You know that the oracle said follow your genius. When we get together again but when alas will that be you can manage me, and spare me the solicitude of managing myself.
[p. 2] Poor Miss Owen called on me on Saturday, with that fond and tender application which is natural to misery when it looks to every body for that help which nobody can give. I was melted, and soothed and counselled her as well as I could, and am to visit her tomorrow.
She gave a very honourable account of my dear Queeney, and says of my Master that she thinks his manner and temper more altered than his looks, but of this alteration she could give no particular account and all that she could say ended in this, that he is now sleepy in the morning. I do not wonder at the scantiness of her narration, she is too busy within to turn her eyes abroad.
I am glad that Pepys is come, but hope that resolute temperance will make him unnecessary. I doubt, he can do no good to poor Mr. Scrase.
There is now at Brighthelmston a Girl of the name of Johnson, She is Granddaughter to Mr Strahan; I wish, you could properly take a little notice of her.
I stay at home to work, and yet do not work diligently, nor can tell when I shall have done, nor perhaps does any body but myself wish me to have done, for what can they hope I shall do better? [p. 3] yet I wish the work was over, and I was at liberty. And what would I do if I was at Liberty? Would I go to Mrs Aston and Mrs Porter, and see the old places, and sigh to find that my old friends are gone? Would I recal plans of life which I never brought into practice, and hopes of excellence which I once presumed, and never have attained? Would I compare what I now am with what I once expected to have been? Is it reasonable to wish for suggestions of shame, and opportunities of sorrow?
If you please, Madam, we will have an end of this, and contrive some other wishes. I wish I had you in an Evening, and I wish I had you in a morning, and I wish I could have a little talk, and see a little frolick. For all this I must stay, but life will not stay.
I will end my letter and go to Blackmores life, when I have told you that I am,
Your most humble servant
London. July 10. 1780||