Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/347



But, though matters were so soon and so happily made up between madam and me, the letter to doctor Johnson with the vengeful paragraph in it was already dispatched, if \ve credit the publication that now exhibits it. Had she an answer to that letter? Sure, she must have had one, as Johnson could not have heard with apathical frigiditá’ a charge of cruelty brought by his divine mistress against his friend; and it is rationallj- to be supposed that he could not have helped taking the most serious notice of it, had he received her letter. Yet we do not find the doctor ’s answer in that same publication, and have not the least hint of any rebuff to me either from him or from mr. Thrale, to whom Johnson would have shewn her letter, had he been convinced in his own mind that the charge was a just one. Let now the woman account for her suppressing the doctor ’s answer, and say what she has to say in support of that paragraph, which I cali awickedcalumny. Doubtless, doctor Johnson must have desired her to specify the particulars of my savage cruelty to her, or we must think him a very sorr>’ correspondent to his dearest dearest madam.

— Ay, ay — she may reply, — I have no answer from Johnson to produce, as we left Bath soon after your acts of cruelt>’ to me, and went back side by side in the same coach that had carried us there.

Be it even so, shuffling madam! But stili, how did it come to pass that, on our arrivai at your house, the cruel Baretti heard not a single word about his cruelty to you, though the charge had gone before in black and white? How came it to pass that the sharp-fanged savage continued with you, with your husband, with Johnson, on the usuai friendly footing for several months after our return from Bath? Account, my prett>-, in some plausible manner for such strange peculiarities, and, above ali, for the hundred pounds which, soon after that return, mr. Thrale made me a present of, for my having, as he said, brought back in good health and spirits both the mother and the daughterl

Well, signora Piozzi! I have now told in my own way the reason that, I think, induced you to write your iniquitous

G. B/> RETTI, Prefazioni e polemiche. 22