Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/380



by a bond. As to what you get by teaching, your living under my roof the remainder of your days as my friend, will be a full and agreeable equivalenti and as to your insignifícant debt, you shall this minute have money enough to pay it off; far, to teli you a secret, not yet to be divulged, Piozzi is to come back from Italy with you in about a year’s time, and we are then immediatelj’^ to be married. But, hark ye, mr. Mecci! As you are now in my service, you must take care, when abroad, that Piozzi gets no mistress; and you shall besides keep a correspondence with me unknown to him, that you may faithfully apprise me of ali his doings; nor do you fail to give me some good advice, if ever you should see that I want any, about my intended marriage.

How I carne to the knowledge of ali these particularities, the sequel will declare. Bref, as they say in France, Piozzi went to Milan with Mecci, and the jolly widow to Bath, from whence she wrote to doctor Johnson letters dolorous indeed. «My health, my children and my fortune», says she in one of them, «are coming fast to an end; not so my sorrows». She had «taken emetics»; she was «afraid of the whooping-cough, as doctor Woodward could witness». She was «worn to a skeleton». In short, she was «weary of living»; though, ali this while, carrying on her doublé correspondence with Piozzi and with Mecci. Her pathetic complaints to doctor Johnson were ali along accompanied with such protestations of unabated «kindness and veneration», as no wonder, if she kept him from ali suspicion of the merry though ts she now entertained. At Bath, be it spoken to her eternai honour, she lived with the strictest frugality. No expense in her table, no gaudiness in her furniture, no encrease of servants, no horses to her coach, no vain parade whatsoever; no, not even a teacher of any art or language to her three daughters, as she was now obliged, in conscience, to maintain the two gentlemen at Milan at the rate ofeight hundred a year, which she remitted very punctually in the due proportion of quarters. No sooner, however, had the two travellers gotten there, but Mecci wrote privately to her.