Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/355



plunged ten thousand fathoms deep in the great ocean of literature, by the assistance of her celebrated conductor.

Not a few more similar instances could I easily bring forth of the astonishing wit, or amazing stupidity, cali it what you like best, of this female Aristotle, the chiefest wonder of her day within the bills of mortality, and as far as the penny-post is allowed to go. But I am not willing, for the present, to digress any further from my principal subject, that is from doctor Johnson ’s nasty paragraph, desirous as I am of washing myself clean from the rascally charge that induced him to pen it. This, however, I must add, by way of corollary, that, from the two adventures of the pond and the oaion, anj’ tyrannical mother may easily comprehend, that the tender-hearted Hester Lynch possessed a very wise method of her own in the education of her offsprings: and so far was her not tyrannical power established over her little-ones, that they submitted with readiness, and even with apparent alacrity, to chew and swallow any thing e ver so repugnant to their palates, rather than expose themselves to the blows of her Salusbury-fist, as she herself called her beautiful hand; and you must know en passant that the same hand, or Salusbury-fist, is of such a stoutness and size, as would not disgrace an Humphreys or Mendoza, a coal-heaver of the Thames, or a porter of the custom-house. And of this peculiarity in her structure, the lords and the squires that frequent her monday-concerts may easily convince themselves by ocular inspection. Indeed, indeed, the tremendousness of the Salusbur>’-fist is such, that no wonder if it always caused a great palpitation of heart to the poor little creatures, exposed to the hourly danger of feeling its weight, on the smallest deviation from her despotic injunctions. Nor must any body be at ali surprised, if the happy owner of that intimidating pestle knew so little as she did with regard to the intellects of her Uttle girls, as the hugeness and heaviness of that same mallet, which, like the enormous gauntlet seen on the staircase of the Castle of Otranto, was rendered stili more frightful by the shrill tone of her «voice, when she fell in a passion; so that the combined