Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/342



much general harshness, nor inclined, I believe, te increase pain, which they do not perceive to be deserved. Baretti alone tried to irritate a wound so very deeply inflicted, and he will find few to approve his cruelty».

How this woman could be so dishonest as to speak of me in such terms and to accuse me so audaciously of a savage inclination to encrease the affliction of the afflicted, without specifying how and in what manner 1 displayed that savageness, is what I should not be able to comprehend, had I not frequently bestowed my attention upon the tortuosities of her disposition, and with much greater attention than ever doctor Johnson would be at the trouble of bestowing. But, that I may not digress from the matter in hand, the only motive she ever had, in my opinion, for writing that beastly paragraph, was what I am going to relate.

On the coming-on of her thunder-storm, by which she means the sudden death of her son, count Manucci, ayoung nobleman from Florence, who was then on his travels, happening that fatai morning to be at her house, and fully sensible of the attachment I then had to the Thrale family, hurried his servant to me with the dreadful news.

Not an instant did I delay to run from Titchfíeld-street, Marybone, to the Borough, to assist the count in administering comfort to the wretched parents; and there, as you may well imagine, was I witness to a scene of woe not often visible, though we live in a world replete with woeful scenes. Mr. Thrale, both his hands in his waistcoat pockets, sat on an arm-chair in a corner of the room with his body so stiffly erect, and with such a ghastly smile in his face, as was quite horrid to behold. Count Manucci and a female servant, both as pale as ashes, and as if panting for breath, were evidently spent with keeping madam from going frantic (and well she might) every time she recovered from her fainting-fíts, that followed each other in a very quick succession. It matters not whether doctor Taylor and mrs. Montague went to her succour in that distress, as her paragraph seems to import, by joining their names to that of