Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/378



abating the correspondence with Johnson, who gave her almost every day a consolatory epistle, as we find in the collection. Was she, while at Streatham, visited openly or privately by the dear brother? Some say yes, and some say no. Be that as it will, some busy body or other gave some hints in the pubhc papers, that she was ; and of this horrid insult she complained to doctor Johnson, as appears by the following Vv^ords in one of her Letiers, p. 233, voi. 11. «The newspapers would spoil my few comforts that are left, if they could; but you teli me, that’s only because I have the reputation, whether true or false, of being a wit forsooth». In spight however of the consolation aflforded her by the commiserating doctor, she resolved at last to retire to Bath with three of her daughters, and send the son of Martha out of the way, to put an end to the hints that spoil t her few remaining comforts; and those hints in the public papers were, to be sure, one of the motives which brought her to take that resolution; yet she had another stili more cogent; which was that she had now firmly determined to put an end to the farce of the brother and sister, and to marry that same Piozzi in very good earnest, let Johnson and other such idle and dogmatical fellows say what they chose.

Had she divulged at once that noble determination of hers soon after mr. Thrale’s demise, there would have been some danger of the executors throwing up the executorship, ali unwilling to undergo any labour for Piozzi ’s advantage, rather than for that of their late friend ’s widow and daughters, and madam apprehended, with reason, that they ali would have resigned their task to the Chancery, which in ali probability might have retarded the sale of the brewery, and protracted of course her touching the three thousand pounds a year, which she was to have as soon as mr. Thrale’s leavings were ali Consolidated. Her determination irrevocably fixed of marrying again, she imparted the joyful tidings to sweet Piozzi ; but apprised him at the same time, that, for fear of a remora in her affairs, it was absolutely necessary for him to disappear at once, and go to Italy for about a twelvemonth; then to return and tie