Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/381



that he was ver}- unhappy in his situation, because mr. Piozzi was so «close-fisted and economical» («stretto ed economico» were the words) that, though she had promised Piozzi would supply ali his wants during their absence, scarcely could he get out of the man a whole shilling at once, whenever he asked him for money. «To spare me the vexation», added Mecci, «of asking Piozzi too often, he so good, generous lady, to remit him ten pounds a quarter more than you do, with directions to pay them me, by which means you wall make us both perfectly happy». With this reasonable request madam complied without the least hesitation, and the ten pounds each quarter were regularly remitted. But, strange to teli ! Piozzi kept safe to himself that paltrx- addition, and poor Mecci durst not dare to complain to him or to her of the extortion; but lived onwards and onwards in the greatest penurj^ during the whole time they staid away. You now see, reader, that when Hester Lynch talked of «pecuniary circumstances» in her A7iecdotes, as if so narrow, that forced her on her «retirement to Bath», she had, as I told you, «eight hundred and forty pounds» beyond what she absolutely wanted, besides the «eighty pounds» she gave to Mecci to discharge his debt. Poor Thrale, that took such great pains to accumulate money! For whom did he accumulate it!

Mr. Thrale’s whole property was in the interim coUected by the sole active executor, and the widow, now no more «in danger of the whooping-cough», no more «a skeleton», no more «weary of living», began regularly to touch bank-notes in plenty, as her debt of severa! thousand pounds to lady Salusbury was now paid off, and she was now to have three good thousands a year during her life, besides a pretty and unencumbered estate in Wales, to dispose of at her death, as her reason, or her caprice, should direct. Could any sultana wish for a better situation in this sublunary world?

The tedious twelvemonth at last elapsed, and Piozzi who had given out among his singing and fiddling friends, that he should never more return to old England, as he found himself already rich enough to live comfortably in his own country •; Piozzi,