Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/367



music for the greater diversion of the by-standers, I will now harp a short while on that her hook oi Anecdotes, and give, as one may say, an allegro and a staccato, after the adagio and the pizzicato, which I have already played on the collection of the doctor’s letters.

So numerous are the cunning misrepresentations and the downright falsehoods disgraceful vo doctor Johnson in that hook of Anecdotes, that no small quantity of paper and patience will be required to rectify and confute them ali. To teli lies is soon done; but to shew that they are such, requires often a pretty long and painful discussion. However, if I do not fatigue my readers, who, as I am flatteringly informed, augment every day prett>- considerably, little will I mind the labour I undergo in the meritorious task of defending the doctor’s memory against the bad effects that his worthless mistress’s attacks and most merciless abuse might produce to his prejudice in some weak and not wellinformed people; and indeed, how can I better employ the leisure of my old age, than in clearing awaj’ that abominable quantity of litter which Hester Lynch has wáth unmatchable eflfronterjaccumulated on the venerable tomb of the best friend I ever had, and of the man who has so well deserved of his countrj-, and of ali civilized countries? The talk will prove long, will prove irksome, prove wearisome, on account of the quantity and feculency of the materials I have to remove; but, as long as any strength is left in this arm (though not cast in the Salusburj’ mould), and as long as I can grasp the iron shovel of criticism, I propose to be very strenuous in this honourable occupation, quite confident, that whoever has been benefited by reading, or even by binding and selling Johnson’s works, will not prove thankless on seeing me bravely toiling in my frightful undertaking; and I swear by the quiet light of this tallow-candle, which kindly assists me in this midnight hour to extend this very lucubration, that I shall not soon desist from my unmercenarj’ labour, nor ever expect for it a greater reward from Johnson’s fellow-countrymen, than some little share of their good-will and some moderate portion of their approbation. Let me now buckle to business and leave off talking.