Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/383



sea, according to the direction of doctor Woodward; but, on their reaching Salisbury, she suddenly declared that a letter she found there of great importance demanded ber immediate presence in London; therefore, «go you on, my girls, to Brighthelmstone, in the coach with the maid, as I must go another way». Said and done in an instant. Without shedding a friendly tear, without giving way to a maternal groan, but brisk and alert as a damsel in her teens, tho’ that was the last time they were ever to be ali four together, she flung herself with a bounce in a post-chaise and hurried away to London to welcome her idolo mio. But doctor Johnson again did not know the least tittle of this new transaction, and he continued to direct his letters to Bath, as usuai, expressing, no doubt, an immense wonder at her pertinacious silence, and possibly imagining that she was gone to meet mr. Thrale in the world above, destroyed at last by her unconquerable grief. In London she kept herself concealed for some daj-s in my very parish, and not far distant from my habitation; and bere my spirit again muttered in my ring while I was reading a chapter in Rabelais; but I would not interrupt my perusal and approach him to my ear. I only informed the active executor of mr. Thrale’s wil! of what I had heard from another quarter, that Piozzi was positively returned from Italy; but as to madam, she might as well bave been hidden in the small-beer celiar of the Mufti’s episcopal palace at Constantinople, instead of the house in Marybone parish. Neither that executor, nor Johnson would I teli of her being concealed in town, as I had not had the happiness of seeing her charming phiz with my own eyes, and love to walk on sure ground, not trusting to reports that may prove idle. From that house in Suffolk-street, Middlesex Hospital, madam directed her operations by means of faithful messengers and agents with such vividness, that in a few weeks she was in a condition personally to resort to mr. Greenland, the lawyer, hand-in-hand with her future spouse; and there she gave intrepidly her whole fortune to him, saving only a poor two hundred a year for herself as pin-money, which mr. Greenland had no small trouble