Henry Thrale, one of the most opulent brewers in the kingdom, a man .of sound and cultivated understanding, rigid principles, and liberal spirit, was married to one of those clever, kind-hearted, engaging, vain, pert young women who are perpetually doing or saying what is not exactly right, but who, do or say what they may, are always agreeable.
Mrs. Thrale rallied him, soothed him, coaxed him, and if she sometimes provoked him by her flippancy, made ample amends by listening to his reproofs with angelic sweetness of temper.
The kind and generous Thrale was no more; and it was soon plain that the old Streatham intimacy could not be maintained upon the same footing.
Mrs Thrale herself confessed that without her husband's assistance she did not feel able to entertain Johnson as a constant inmate of her house.
In September 1782 the place at Streatham was from motives of economy let to Lord Shelburne, and Mrs Thrale took a house at Brighton, whither Johnson accompanied her; they remained for six weeks on the old familiar footing.
In March 1783 Boswell was glad to discover Johnson well looked after and staying with Mrs Thrale in Argyll Street, but in a bad state of health.
Impatience of Johnson's criticisms and infirmities had been steadily growing with Mrs Thrale since 1774.
His wrath was excited in no measured terms against the re-marriage of his old friend Mrs Thrale, the news of which he heard this summer.
Macaulay, it must be noted, exaggerated persistently the poverty of Johnson's pedigree, the squalor of his early married life, the grotesqueness of his entourage in Fleet Street, the decline and fall from complete virtue of Mrs Thrale, the novelty and success of the Dictionary, the complete failure of the Shakespeare and the political tracts.
The chief constituents are Johnson's own Letters and Account of his Life from his Birth to his Eleventh Year (1805), a fragment saved from papers burned in 1784 and not seen by Boswell; the life by his old but not very sympathetic friend and club-fellow, Sir John Hawkins (1787); Mrs Thrale-Piozzi's Anecdotes (1785) and Letters; the Diary and Letters of Fanny Burney (D'Arblay) (1841); the shorter Lives of Arthur Murphy, T.
Broadley's Dr Johnson and Mrs Thrale, 1909), containing, together with new materials and portraits, an essay dealing with Macaulay's treatment of the Johnson-Thrale episodes by T.
He was twice married: in 1787 to Jane Mercer, daughter of Colonel William Mercer of Aldie; and in 1808 to Hester Maria Thrale, who is spoken of as "Queenie" in Boswell's Life of Johnson and Mme.