Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/346



that I had no manner of rigbt to interfere. What? no right to interfere when I conceive a child ’s life in danger through the ignorance and superlative pride of a mother? expostulate gently with a creature so infernally conceited, that she makes nothing of doctor Jebb ’s medicai knowledge, and, ruatcaelum, will go impetuously on in her mad career? Little does he know what he says, who talks of gentle expostulation and kind reasoning with Hester Lynch, when she has gotten any idea, however strange, in her head! We shall see by the sequel what Johnson himself got by only offering to expostulate and reason with her about another point of as great importance to her as the welfare of a daughter. The woman, I teli you, may be forced into a measure; but, persuaded! Satan may possibly do it; but I am sure no man would ever succeed in such an attempt ! Give me but time for a few strictures, and I will bring you acquainted with her, much better than you will ever be by your going every concert night to hear her turn Italian stupidity into English wit. However, notwithstanding our hot words, the morning after my rough boutade, madam thought better of it; and well aware that she could not bring me to any terms of accommodation with regard to the tin-pills, resolved for the present on dissembling her rage, carne down to breakfast with some serenity in her looks, talked to me as aflfably as usuai, and entirely made it up with me before dinner by a present of a red morocco memorandum -book, nearly as large as a common visiting-ticket, that she bought on purpose at the great toy-shop in Melsomstreet, for half-a-crown at least. In consequence of her sweet condescension, if you except a bite she gave her under-lip because I did not fly into an extacy of admiration once, that she came home with a great bunch of black cock-feathers in her hat, which I thought an untimely piece of finery so soon after her son ’s death; excepting that bite, I say, we became as good friends as ever, and continued so ali the time we staid at Bath; especially as miss assured me that mamma had given her no tin-pills, and even permitted her to eat at dinner whatever she liked best.