Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/385



dest, stiff and demure. Old Mecci alone looks brisk and cheerful, as he sees his most cordial friend in full possession of an ampie fortune, out of which he is to have fifty pounds a year as long as his soul keeps tight to his body, with a good table and a good apartment to boot. — Halloo ! — cries Mecci — what are we doing, that none will speak? Let us be merry, corpo di Bacco !

Let US drink, let us drink and here is a bumper to the first

cicisbeo, that my lady shall have when in Italy ! — A cicisbeo ! — quoth Piozzi in a tremendous tone, — my wife cares not for cicisbeos, and ne ver shall have one as long as I live. What do you mean with your damned toast? — And vvithout any farther ado walked surlily out of the parlour, stamping and swearing that his wife should never have any cicisbeo. The frighted bride, who never saw him angry before, ran after him. Mr. James took his moiety under his arm, and whipt away; and the thunder-struck giver of unlucky toasts, staring at the unexpected accident, remained alone master of the table and of ali the bottles and glasses on it.

Early the next morning madam sends her maid to Mecci, now irrevocably doomed to everlasting destruction. — Ah, Mecci ! What have you said last night? Mr. Piozzi is in such a rage, that he has sworn a great oath he will see you no more, and you must quit this house this very moment. Here is a couple of guineas to pay your journey back to London; and so, fare you well. — Mecci, who, as a native of Tuscany, knows better Italian than the man of Brescia, and is conscious that there is no bad meaning in the word cicisbeo, attempts an explanation; but madam will have no explanation. — Well — says Mecci, — if I must go, ril go; but, before I go, you will be so good as to settle the affair of the fifty pounds a-year. — What, man! — answers madam; — after having been guilty of so grievous an offence, surely you do not dream of any fifty pounds, do you? But I must teli you more, mr. Mecci. Now that I am married, I must, like a good wife, acquaint my husband with ali my secrets; therefore I must shew him the letter in which you called him stretto and economico; and also the other in which