Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/350



as dolorously as she pleases. To clear me of her wicked charge, it is more than sufficient, as I have already said, that neither doctor Johnson, nor mr. Thrale, nor any body else, thought it worth their attention, nor ever gave me the least information relative to her preposterous bewailings; speaking always on the supposition that her iniquitous letter was really written at Bath on the 3.<^ of march 1776, which is what J cannot but doubt, knovving her malice to me so well as I know.

Let US now drop this discussion, which to the generality will appear something mysterious, and turn to another part of her publication, where no very honourable mention is made of her humble servant.

In a letter to her, dated Ashbourne, july 15, 1775, doctor Johnson has written the following words: «I wish, for my part, that he [mr. Thrale] may return soon, and rescue the fair captives from the tyranny of Baretti. Poor Baretti ! Do not quarrel with hirn. To neglect him a little will be sufficient. He means only to be frank, and manly, and independent, and perhaps, as you say, a little wise. To be frank, he thinks, is to be cynical, and to be independent to be rude. Forgive him, dearest lady, the rather because of his misbehaviour I am afraid he learned part of me. I hope to set him hereafter a better example».

It appears plain from these words that the veracious Hester Lynch had informed the doctor of my having tyrannically treated her daughters under her own nose, of my having made captives of them in her own house, and of my having been cynical and rude to her into the bargain. How I could perform ali these feats without meeting any opposition from a creature so imperious as herself, is what nobody living will ever be able to comprehend; as the subtle signora has artfully again suppressed that letter of her ’s, wherein these heavy charges were made so very clear to the doctor, as to induce him to give her the good advice contained in the above paragraph. But why has she suppressed her own letter? Does this not look as if she made sure, that I might take her up as soon as her collection was published, and convict her that her account of me to the credulous doctor