Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/341



Among the manj’ who bave reason to be exasperated on account of those letters, I \vill frankly own that I am one; and as such, am resolved to animadvert on certain passages in them that have proved harsh to my feelings, even though I should run the risque of being disapproved for not treating their editor with any great ceremony, as must be the case in ali discussions produced by the necessity of clearing our characters from calumnious assertions. But by what right can «la Piazzi^, as my fiddling countrymen now term her, claim ceremony and respect from any one of the many whom she has offended by her publication, now that, in the great wisdom of her concupiscence, she has degraded herself into the wife of an Italian singing -master? And, as to myself, what respect or ceremony do I owe to an Italian singing-master ’s wife, who treats my name in print with as much freedom as if it were allied to that of the folks at Brescia, who cali her sister, cousin, aunt and niece? Yet there is another circumstance stili, that excludes her from ali claim to my tenderness; and it is that she is fully conscious of my having by heart the long rubric of her sins, and knows that I can teli them ali one by one, without fear of the least contradiction from her conscience: yet she has attacked me with such arrogant temerit}-, as could not be borne by patience itself sitting on the monument of Job, or that of saint Lawrence, who suflfered himsell to be roasted alive without uttering the least complaint.

The follo wing periods penned by the witty madam, and not by Johnson, so wickedly traduce my moral character, that I \vill now hasten to confute their import, and prove that they contain a most infamous calumny. Here I copy the whole paragraph out of one of her letters to doctor Johnson, dated may 3, 1776, from Bath, where, presently after the sudden death of her only son, she thought of retiring for a short time with her cldest daughter. The paragraph runs thus: «How does doctor Taylor do? He was very kind, I remember, when my thunder-storm carne first on. So was count Manucci, so was mrs. Montague, so was every body. The world is not guilty of