Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/377



most laughable part of this adventure was that a female relation of Hester Lynch suffered her own imagination to grow so hot about that brotherhood, that she affirmed and asseverated as how Piozzi was quite the picture of mrs. Thrale’s father; and in confirmation of her remark appeaied to a portrait of his, which she had in her own possession. Think how energetic must have been the terms used by the eloquent Hester, to make her own aunt fancy a resemblance between a father and a son, who was no more his son than the present pope of Rome, or the pickled salmon I ate this day at dinner ! What the cogitations of that lady must now be, I cannot guess, as I don’t even know whether she is stili alive or not; but the words of Hester, as I said, must doubtlessly have been verj^ energetic. Energetic or feeble, Piozzi was now, probably unknown to himself, the true brother of mrs. Thrale, and went in and out of her house with as much ease and freedom as of his own. But, to what purpose was this fiction contrived, as it proved at last a mere fiction? To no other purpose, say I, but that madam might innocently enjoy the pleasing converse of a man so ver}’^ pleasing, as he is universally acknowledged to be; and should any silly and wicked body take it into his head to comment diversely upon the ingenious fable of his present sweet sigíwra, let him be told in my name, that he must be, and is, a ver>’ silly and a very wicked commentator.

The brotherhood and the sisterhood thus ascertained and established, mr. Thrale, if I remember well, died in the beginning of aprii 1781, in Grosvenor-square, and his widow, taking her eldest daughter with her, ran to Brighthelmston that very day; but not long after she came back to Streatham, as I find in a letter dated the 14.^’’ of that month, that Johnson «wondered she came back so soon». But she h.ad probably considered of what he had told her on the i2.’hof that same month, that «there is no wisdom in useless and hopeless sorrow»; therefore she left Brighthelmstone a fortnight after mr. Thrale was gone. At Streatham she lived in as much soHtude as she pleased, and had as much of her time «for her own use» as she could wish.