Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/345



one of her chief characteristics, — see what fools these physicians are! They presume to know better how to manage children than their raothers themselves ! — On my receiving in this odd manner this odd piece of information about madam ’s private doings in her medicai capacity, and hearing to boot such a mad comment on a letter that I thought very wise and very timely, mj- bile suddenly rose to such a degree, that I am sure I uttered my indignation in the most severe terms, and swore that she would soon send the daughter to keep company with the son, if she gave her any more of her damn ’d pills, and not satisfied with this, I informed the daughter of the horrid quality of the physic that her good mamma administered her against the positive order of doctor Jebb, of whose letter I told her the contents, exhorting her to resist the taking of any tin-pills, and assuring her that they would soon destroy her.

My siding in so vehement a manner with doctor Jebb against her absurd expectation, made madam ’s grief presently give way to her fury; and, after a pretty long exchange of very strong words, I suppose she proceeded to write the above paragraph in the above letter to doctor Johnson, supposing that she did actually write it at that time, and not eleven years after, for the noble purpose of injuring me. But, teli me freely, honest reader, was I on so important an occasion to play the sycophant to a woman at once so proud and so absurd, as to teli me without reserve Ihat she utterly despised doctor Jebb ’s knowledge and remonstrances? to a woman, that, to spight him, probably would bave run that instant to the pili-box and forced some part of its contents down her child ’s throat, though energetically warned, that the life of the amiable thing was at stake, had I not deadened her resolution by shewing myself ready to oppose it with ali my power?

Some water-gruel soul may possibly reply, that I ought not to have taken up the matter in so rude and violent a manner, but gently expostulated with madam about the preposterousness of her wild notions, and endeavoured by kind reasoning to bring her over to the opinion of the doctor, considering especially