Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/354



Here the mother ’s exultation began to lower, and her forehead began to overspread with a cloud. — But why — said I, — did you eat the slice of the onion, that mamma put into your mouth? — Because — answered she, — when mamma bids me do a thing, I must do it, and quick, or she gives me a good box on the ear; but, to be sure, I would rather eat an appiè than an onion at any time, as I love apples very much, and onions not at ali.

Ye frolicsome sparks of the game, as the song calls you, did you ever happen to behold how an unlucky chambermaid stands confounded when the old-spectacled and prayer-muttering housekeeper unexpectedly catches her in the fact with Will the footman, or Tony the coachman? how low she bends her head leaning against the bed-post, and how awkwardly she strokes the plaits of her rumpled apron? her face tinged ali over with a cherry hue, and her quivering lips unable to utter a single monosyllable, while her recreant gallant takes himself away, and leaves her most unmercifully in the lurch?

Just so remained my sweet Hester Lynch at little Sophy ’s simple speech, which instantaneously defeated a thick squadron of most philosophic ideas, long ordered in battle-array on the vast fíeld of her green imagination! However, like Will or Tony, she button ’d-up the disaster, though it visibly affected her greatly more, than even the other about the pond, and stole herself surlily away from the dining-room, rivetted more and more in that aversion, which, as I have reason to suppose, she began to foster against me a few months before; that is, on a day, when I happened unluckily to prove to her that other countries, besides England, produced oaks; which was another thing she had no idea of, as she had positi vely read somewhere, that no country but hers was blessed with that wonderful tree. Such, ladies and gentlemen, was the general and profound knowledge of mrs. Thrale, after having had a matter of ten years the famed doctor Johnson pinned as it were to her upperpetticoat; by which means she obtained the reputation of a sapient woman, every one giving her the credit of having