Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/364



One of the points on which my friend and I most widely differed and most frequently disputed, especially during the seven or eight last years of his hfe, was certainly that of his mistress’s excellence, or no excellence; and every body knows that his mistress, as he emphatically called her, was my pretty Hester Lynch, alias mrs. Thrale, aUas la Piazzi . Whether it was, that, before he knew her, he never had any domesticity with any woman surrounded with that splendour with which fortune artificially invests human beings, and that the radiance of opulence, which rendered her effulgent at that time, dazzled him at once so forcibly, as to keep him ever after blind to the merits of ali those more deserving females who successively fell in his way; or rather, that the bent of his loft>^ mind kept him constantly from the dose inspection of those minute parts which consti tute individuals, after having rioted in the higher pleasure of expanding his contemplations over the totality of human nature; the fact is that, while I calmly and frigidly looked upon Hester Lynch, and conceived her to be nothing more than a common mortai in point of brains as well as body, and nearly as unimproveable in one as in the other, there were no fine words, no elegant phrases, no splendid and sublime expressions in the doctor’s fine, elegant, splendid and sublime way of speaking, but what he would too often employ to give her the most brilliant hue and the rotundest prominence; heaping upon her commendation after commendation, even some times a very few minutes after having driven her into an adjoining room with an austere rebuke, on his detecting some paltry untruth or other that she had uttered in his hearing. Fibbing only out of the question, Hester Lynch was peerless among the well-bred and the graceful, peerless among the elegant and the nice, peerless among the benevolent and the munificent, peerless among the judicious and the prudent, peerless in sincere friendship, peerless in conjugal attachment, peerless in ma ternal affection, peerless in wit, peerless in learning, peerless

oh, there never was an end of her peerless peerlessness ! So far did the fascinated doctor push his immoderate-enconiums,