Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/379



fast the delicious knot of matrimony. Does it not appear perfectly bright by ali this, that Piozzi was not an accomplice in the frolicksome invention of his brotherhood? Without doubt, it does; but on the other band it appears likewise, that the reasons given by her in the paragraphs above copied from her Anecdotes of her retiring to Bath, were not deducted, as she pretended, from her want of «health, peace, and pecuniary circumstances»; but from her laudable desire of restoring a bastard to his due legitimacy, and keeping him no longer in such an opprobrious situation, when in fact he had been as lawfully begotten as herself; and if she kept to herself that laudable desire, and the recompense she intended to bestow upon that long injured man, we must attribute it to her fear of being crossed in some part of her kind and generous intention, either by doctor Johnson, or by some other stili more formidable executor.

But to let Piozzi go to Milan alone, was a very bitter pili to swallow; for it seems that, along with the conjugal flame now suddenly kindled in her chaste bosom, a little pinchful of jealousy was unluckily intermixed. She therefore asked him, «if he had any friend, that she might engagé to go with him, and cheer his journey to such a remote region as Italy»; and he, unwilling to cross her inclination in so criticai and momentous a point, answered that «he had one, called Mecci, as good a man as ever lived, who might possibly accept of such a job, if made worth his undertaking». For Mecci then she sent ipso facto, and made him the proposai . — Madam — said Mecci, — I am sorry I cannot go, as I bave an employment in the city, which brings me fifty pounds a year, by writing letters for a merchant twice a week; and I get another fífty pounds by some scholars, to whom I teach Italian; besides that, I bave a debt ofeighty pounds, having unluckily been bail for a man that turned bankrupt; nor can I in honesty stir from England until I bave intirely discharged that debt, which I hope to do by degrees out of my sparings. — Ali this is nothing at ali — quoth the fiery innamorata. — Your employment is precarious, and I will give you an annuity of fifty pounds, well secured

G. Barktti, Prefazioni e polemiche. 24