Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/373



nature, as not to give even a Christmas-box to any of her servants, though ever so old in the familj-, she could not bave squandered any money bad sbe ever been so prodigally inclined, because mr. Thrgle, not at ali of a liberal disposition bimself, as bis last will undeniably proves, from the day of bis marriage to that of bis deatb, allowed ber only a dr>- bundred pounds a-year for her pins, and at the year’s end she was obliged to beg very hard of bim to pay off the few pett>’ debts sbe bad contracted during the twelve montbs, which scarce ever amounted to another bundred. How then, wben limited to so scanty a pittance, could sbe waste what would bave made happy «many families»; and, of course, how could the doctor «blame and deride her» for profusion? True it is, that, besides her pinmoney, she had to herself the income of the Welsh estate inherited by sir Thomas Salusbur\’*s deatb, wbich jdelded several bundreds yearly. But not a penny would sbe ever touch of it during mr. Thrale’s life; and the moment the money was remitted from Wales, it flew into the stocks, that on some future day she migbt buy back, as sbe said, the lands round that estate wbich her father bad sold during bis lifetime. That considerable . augmentation of her riches, left by mr. Tbrale entirelj’ to ber disposai, so far from enlarging ber narrow^ heart, made ber more stingy than ever, as it was from the very year sbe bad it, that she refused her domestics, male and female, their customary Christmas-box.

Why then, and to what purpose did our signora string up so many lies in so small a compass, and what occult motive could induce her to asperse so disbonestly the memory of ber admirer? Account for tbis odd phenomenon in the wide bemispbere of absurdity and malignity, good sir, and let us into the secret at once, if sbe had any remote motive for acting in tbis iniquitous manner. Corning, coming, says the waiter, and so say I; but I must now talee a pinch of snuff, and will then teli you the whole bistor>’ ab ovo, if you do promise that you will not budge nor breathe until I bave told it ali. Nota bene: bere mr. Baretti takes a large pinch of rappee and then goes on in tbese words.