THE CREAM OF THE DIARISTS AND MEMOIR WRITERS. THE DIARY AND LETTERS OF MADAME D'ARBLAY (FRANCES BURNEY.)
WITH NOTES BY W. C. WARD, AND PREFACED BY LORD MACAULAY'S ESSAY.
IN THREE VOLUMES. VOL. 1 (1778-1787.)
MADAME D'ARBLAY, by Lord Macaulay — Xiii
1. (1778) MISS BURNEY PUBLISHES HER FIRST NOVEL AND FINDS HERSELF FAMOUS — 59-110 Evelina'.' and the Mystery attending its Publication—A First Visit to Mrs. Thrale and an Introduction to Dr. Johnson—Fanny Burney Interviews her Publisher — Conversation with Mrs. Thrale and Dr. Johnson—Dr. Johnson on some "Ladies" of his Acquaintance—A Learned Man on "Evelina"—Curiosity regarding the Author of "Evelina"—The Members of Dr. Johnson's Household—Anticipated Visit from Mrs. Montagu—Fanny Burney's Introduction to a celebrated "Blue-Stocking"—Dr. Johnson's Compliments and Gross Speeches—Suggested Husbands for Fanny Burney—A Streatham Dinner Party.
2. (1779) THE AUTHOR OF "EVELINA" IN SOCIETY: VISITS BRIGHTON AND TUNBRIDGE WELLS — 111-164 A Queer Adventure—An Evening at Sir Joshua Reynolds's: a Demonstrative "Evelina" Entbusiast—Fanny Burney's Introduction to Sheridan—An Aristocratic Radical of the Last Century—Mr. Murphy, the Dramatist—A Beauty Weeping at Will—Mr. Murphy's concern regarding Fanny Burney's Comedy—A Scene on the Brighton Parade—Mr. Murphy finds the Dialogue charming: a Censorious Lady—A Militia Captain officiates as Barber—"Hearts have at ye all"—Giddy Miss Brown—Sophy Streatfield weeps again to order0- -"Everything a Bore"—Proposed Match between Mr. Seward and the Weeper-atwill—The Fate of "The Witlings"— "Quite what we call," and "Give me leave to tell you"—The Crying Beauty and her Mother—A Bewitching Prodigy—At Brighton: A "Cure."— The jealous Cumberlands—An Amusing Character: His Views on many Subjects, page viii
3. (1780) A SEASON AT BATH: MR. THRALE'S DEATH — 165-201 A Youthful Prodigy—Lord Mulgrave on the "Services"—Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough—The Byrons—"Mr. Henry will be so Mortified"—All the best Families in the Navy—The Lady of Bath Easton—A Fashionable Concert—A Bath Alderman's Raree Show— Flighty Captain Bouchier—A Young and Agreeable Infidel-Ball-room Flirtations—Further Flirtations—Bath Easton and Sceptical Miss W....— -Curiosity about the "Evelina" Set—Alarm at the No Popery Riots—Hasty Departure from Batb—The Gordon Riots—A Suggested Visit to Grub-street —Promotion of Fanny Burney's Brother—The Death of Mr. Thrale.
4. (1781-2) MISS BURNEY EXTENDS THE CIRCLE OF HER ACQUAINTANCE — 202-235 Young Mr. Crutchley ruffles Miss Burney—Miss Burney Sulks on— Too Much of Many Things—A "Poor Wretch of a Painter"—Dr. Johnson in a Rage—The Miserable Host and Melancholy Guest—Two Celebrated Duchesses discussed—Mr. Crutchley is bantered about his Pride—Miss Sopby Streatfield is Commented on—Garrulous Mr. Musgrave—A Parting Shot at Mr. Crutchley—Manager Heliogabalus— Sister Authoresses—A Dinner at Sir joshua's, with Burke and Gibbon—A Letter from Burke to Fanny Burney—Miss Burney sits for her Portrait—General Paoli.
5. (1782-3-4) "CECILIA": A PAEAN OF PRAISE: LAMENTATIONS — 236-288 At Brighton again. "The Famous Miss Burney"—Dr. Johnson Dogmatises—A Cunning Runaway Heiress—Dr. Johnson a Bore—Miss Burney will not be Persuaded to Dance-Dr. Johnson held in general Dread—Miss Monckton's Assembly: Sacques and Ruffles—At Miss Monckton's: "Cecilia" extolled by the "Old Wits," and by Burke—A Writer of Romances—Mrs. Walsingham—Mrs. Siddons—Dr. Johnson's Inmates at Bolt-court—The two Mr. Cambridges Improve upon Acquaintance—Mr. Soame jenyns's Eulogy on "Cecilia"—An Italian Singer's Views of England—Raptures of the 11 Old Wits" over "Cecilia"—Illness and Death of Mr. Crisp—Dr. Johnson attacked by Paralysis—A Pleasant Day with the Cam-
bridges—Dr. Johnson's Heroic Forbearance—"Sweet Bewitching Mrs. Locke"—Mrs. Thrale's Second Marriage—A Happy Home—Lady F.'s Anger at Mrs. Piozzi's Marriage—Dr. Johnson's Failing Health— Dr. Johnson Dying. His Death.
6. (1785-6) MISS BURNEY IS FAVOURABLY NOTICED BY THE KING AND QUEEN — 289-332 Royal Generosity to Mrs. Delany—A Visit to Mrs. Delany—Royal Curiosity about Miss Burney—An Anticipated Royal Interview— Directions for a private encounter with the Royal Family—A Panic—"The King! aunt, the King!"—The King categorically questions Miss Burney—The Queen appears upon the Scene—"Miss Burney plays—but not to acknowledge it"—A Drawing-room during a Fog—Will Miss Burney write any more?—A Musician with a Pioboscis—General Conversation: Royalty departs—The King again: Tea Table Etiquette—George III. on Plays and Players—Literary Talk with the Queen—The Queen on Roman Catholic Superstitions— On being presented—Directions for coughing, sneezing, or moving before the King and Queen—Dr. Burney is Disappointed of a Place—A Visit to Warren Hastings and his Wife—A Proposal from the Queen—Miss Burney accepts the Queen's Offer.
7. (1786) MISS BURNEY ENTERS UPON HER COURT DUTIES — 333-372 The Queen's Summons—A Military Gourmand—A Succession of Visitors—The Tea Table of the Keeper of the Robes—Evening Ceremonial in the Queen's Dressing Room—The Queen's Toilettes— Congratulatory Visits from Court Officials—Inopportune Visitors—Major Price: Adieu Colonel Polier—Miss Burney's routine at Windsor—The Princess Royal—The Court at Kew: A Three Year old Princess—A Drawing-room at St. James's—Absence of State at Kew—Mis Burneys First Evening Out—Casual Callers to be kept off: A New Arrival—The Royal Princesses—Alarming News—The Attempt against the King—Agitation of the Queen and Princesses— A Privilege is Secured—The Queen continues Anxious—Snuff Preparer-in-Chief—A Supper Mystery—Little Princess Amelia's Birthday—The Cipher becomes a Number—Display of Loyalty at little Kew—"Miss Bernar, the Queen will give you a Gown"—A Crowded Drawing-room—The Keeper of the Robes is very much put out. Page x
8. (1786) ROYAL VISIT TO NUNEHAM, OXFORD, AND BLENHEIM —- 373-398 A A job's Comforter—The Journey to Nuneham: Ungracious Reception—A HastyIntroduction to Lady Harcourt—Apparition of the Princesses—From Pillar to Post—"The Equerries Want the Ladies"—Summoned to the Queen—A Check for the Colonel— Thanksgiving Service at Nuneham—Royal Visit to Oxford: Reception by the University—The Royal Family are much Affected—The Presentations: Retiring Backwards—The Colleges Visited: A Stealthy Collation—Retreating from the Royal Presence—Surprised by the Queen—At Nuneham again—A Lively Breakfast Incident. 9. (1786-7) COURT DUTIES AT WINDSOR AND KEW — 399-447 The Mischief-Making Keeper of the Robes—A Terrace Party—A Nervous Reader—Miss Burney Repines at her Position—Madame de Genlis discussed—A Distinguished Astronomer—Effusive Madaine de la Roche—A Dinner Difficulty—An Eccentric Lady—The Wrong Guest Invited—The Princess Royal's Birthday—Arrival of a New Equerry—Custodian of the Queen's Jewel Box—Tea Table Difficulties—An Equerry's Duties and Discomforts—Royal Cautions and Confidences—The Queen tired of Her Gewgaws—A Holiday at last—Tea Room Gambols—A dreadful Mishap—"Is it Permitted?"— The Plump Provost and his Lady—The Equerries Violate the Rules—Mr. Turbulent on Court Routine—An Equerry on the Court Concert—Dr, Herschel's Large Telescope—Illness, and some Reflections it gave rise to. PREFACE.
"The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay," edited by her niece, Mrs. Barrett, were originally published in seven volumes, during the years 1842-1846. The work comprised but a portion of the diary and voluminous correspondence of its gifted writer, for the selection of which Madame D'Arblay, herself in part, and in part Mrs. Barrett, were responsible. From this selection the present one has been made, which, it is believed, will be found to include all the most valuable and interesting passages of the original. We can at least claim for this, the first popular edition of the Diary, that we have scrupulously fulfilled Madame D'Arblay's injunction to her former editor, "that whatever might be effaced or Omitted, nothing should in anywise be altered or added to her records."
Of the Diary itself it is hardly necessary here to say anything in praise. It has long been acknowledged a classic; it is indubitably the most entertaining, in Some respects the most valuable, work of its kind in the English language, Regarded as a series of pictures of the society of the time, the Diary is unsurpassed for vivid Colouring and truthful delineation. As such alone it would possess a strong claim upon our attention, but how largely is our interest increased, when we find that the figures which fill the most prominent positions in the foreground of these pictures, are those of the most noble, most gifted, and Most distinguished men of the day! To mention but a few
MADAME D'ARBLAY. BY LORD MACAULAY.
Frances Burney was descended from a family which bore the name of Macburney, and which, though probably of Irish origin, had been long settled in Shropshire and was possessed of considerable estates in that county. Unhappily, many years before her birth, the Macburneys began, as if of set purpose and in a spirit of determined rivalry, to expose and ruin themselves. The heir apparent, Mr. James Macburney offended his father by making a runaway rnatch with an actress from Goodman's -fields - The old gentleman could devise no more judicious mode of wreaking vengeance on his undutiful boy than by marrying the cook. The cook gave birth to a son, named Joseph, who succeeded to all the lands of the family, while James was cut off with a shilling. The favourite son, however, was so extravagant that he soon became as poor as his disinherited brother. Both were forced to earn their bread by their labour. Joseph turned dancing-master and settled in Norfolk. James struck off the Mac from the beginning of his name and set up as a portrait painter at Chester. Here he had a son, named Charles, well known as the author of the "History of Music" and as the father of two remarkable children, of a son distinguished by learning and of a daughter still more honourably distinguished by genius.
Charles early showed a taste for that art of which, at a later period, he became the historian. He was apprenticed to a celebrated musician(1) in London, and He applied himself to study with vigour and success. He early found a kind and munificent Patron in Fulk Greville, a highborn and highbred man, who seems to have had in large measure all the accomplishments and all the follies, all the virtues and all the vices, which, a hundred years ago, were considered as making up the character of a fine gentleman. Under such protection, the young artist had every pros- Page xiv
pect of a brilliant career in the capital. But -his health failed. It became necessary for him to retreat from the smoke and river fog of London to the pure air of the coast. He accepted the place of organist at Lynn, and settled at that town with a young lady who had recently become his wife.(2)
At Lynn, in June, 1752, Frances Burney was born.(3) Nothing in her childhood indicated that she would, while still a young woman, have secured for herself an honourable and permanent place among English writers. She was shy and silent. Her brothers and sisters called her a dunce, and not altogether without some show of reason ; for at eight years old she did not know her letters.
In 1760, Mr. Burney quitted Lynn for London, and took a house in Poland-street; a situation which had been fashionable in the reign of Queen Anne, but which, since that time, had been deserted by most of its wealthy and noble inhabitants. He afterwards resided in St. Martin's- street, on the south side of Leicestersquare. His house there is still well known, and will continue to be well known as long as our island retains any trace of civilisation ; for it was the dwelling of Newton, and the square turret which distinguishes it from all the surrounding buildings was Newton's observatory,
Mr. Burney at once obtained as many pupils of the most respectable description as he had time to attend, and was thus enabled to support his family, modestly indeed, and frugally, but in comfort and independence. His professional merit obtained for him the degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Oxford;(4) and his works on subjects connected with art gained for him a place, respectable, though certainly not eminent, among men of letters.
The progress of the mind of Frances Burney, from her ninth to her twenty-fifth year, well deserves to be recorded, When her education had proceeded no further than the hornbook, she lost her mother, and thenceforward she educated herself. Her father appears to have been as bad a father as a very honest, affectionate and sweet-tempered man can well be. He loved his daughter dearly ; but it never seems to have occurred to him that a parent has other duties to perform to children than that of fondling them. It would indeed have been impossible for him to superintend their education himself. His professional engagements occupied him all day. At seven in the morning, he began to attend his pupils, and, when London was full, was sometimes employed in teaching
till eleven at night. He was often forced to carry in his pocket a tin box of sandwiches and a bottle of wine and water, on which he dined in a hackney coach while hurrying from one scholar to another. Two of his daughters he sent to a seminary at Paris; but he imagined that Frances would run some risk of being perverted from the Protestant faith if she were educated in a Catholic country, and he therefore kept her at home. No governess, no teacher of any art or of any language was provided for her. But one of her sisters showed her how to write ; and, before she was fourteen, she began to find pleasure in reading.
it was not, however, by reading that her intellect was formed. Indeed, when her best novels were produced, her knowledge of books was very small. When at the height of her fame, she was unacquainted with the most celebrated works of Voltaire and Moli6re ; and, what seems still more extraordinary, had never heard or seen a line of Churchill, who, when she was a girl, was the most popular of living poets. It is particularly deserving of observation that she appears to have been by no means a novel reader. Her father's library was large, and he had admitted into it so many books which rigid moralists generally exclude that he felt uneasy, as he afterwards owned, when Johnson began to examine the shelves. But in the whole collection there was only a single novel, Fielding's "Amelia."(5)
An education, however, which to most girls would have been useless, but which suited Fanny's mind better than elaborate culture, was in constant progress during her passage from childhood to womanhood. The great book of human nature was turned over before her. Her father's social position was very peculiar. He belonged in fortune and station to the middle class. His daughters seemed to have been suffered to mix freely with those whom butlers and waiting-maids call vulgar. We are told that they were in the habit of playing with the children of a wigmaker who lived in the adjoining house. Yet few nobles could assemble in the most stately mansions of Grosvenor-square or St. James's-square a society so various and so brilliant as was sometimes to be found in Dr. Burney's cabin. His mind, though
not very powerful or capacious, was restlessly active ; and, in the intervals of his professional pursuits, he had contrived to lay up much miscellaneous information. His attainments, the suavity of his temper and the general simplicity of his manners had obtained for him ready admission to the first literary circles. While he was still at Lynn, he had won Johnson's heart by sounding with honest zeal the praises of the "English Dictionary." In London, the two friends met frequently and agreed most harmoniously. One tie, indeed, was wanting to their mutual attachment. Burney loved his own art passionately, and Johnson just knew the bell of St. Clement's church from the organ. Theyhad, however, many topics in common; and on winter nights their conversations were sometimes prolonged till the fire had gone out and the candles had burned away to the wicks. Burney'sadmiration of the powers which had produced "Rasselas" and "The Rambler" bordered on idolatry. He gave a singular proof of this at his first visit to Johnson's ill-furnished garret. The master of the apartment was not at home. The enthusiastic visitor looked about for some relic which he could carry away, but he could see nothing lighter than the chairs and the fireirons. At last he discovered an old broom, tore some bristles from the stump, wrapped them in silver paper, and departed as happy as Louis IX. when the holy nail of St. Denis was found.(6) Johnson, on the other hand, condescended to growl out that Burney was an honest fellow, a man whom it was impossible not to like.
Garrick, too, was a frequent visitor in Poland-street and St. Martin's-street. That wonderful actor loved the society of children, partly from good nature and partly from vanity. The ecstasies of mirth and terror, which his gestures and play of countenance never failed to produce in a nursery, flattered him quite as much as the applause of mature critics. He often exhibited all his powers of mimicry for the amusement of the little Burneys, awed them by shuddering and crouching as if he saw a ghost, scared them by raving like a maniac in St. Luke's, and then at once became an auctioneer, a chimney-sweeper or an old woman, and made them laugh till the tears ran down their cheeks.
But it would be tedious to recount the names of all the men of letters and artists whom Frances Burney had an opportunity of seeing and hearing. Colman, Twining, Harris, Baretti, Hawkesworth, Reynolds, Barry, were among those who occasionally surrounded the tea table and supper tray at her father's modest Page xvii
dwelling. This was not all. The distinction which Dr. Burney had acquired as a musician and as the historian of music, attracted to his house the most eminent musical performers of that age. The greatest Italian singers who visited England regarded him as the dispenser of fame in their art, and exerted themselves to obtain his suffrage. Pacchierotti became his intimate friend. The rapacious Agujari, who sang for nobody else under fifty pounds an air, sang her best for Dr. Burney without a fee; and in the company of Dr. Burney even the haughty and eccentric Gabrielli constrained herself to behave with civility. It was thus in his power to give, with scarcely any expense, concerts equal to those of the aristocracy. On such occasions, the quiet street in which he lived was blocked up by coroneted chariots, and his little drawing-room was crowded with peers, peeresses, ministers and ambassadors. On one evening, of which we happen to have a full account, there were present Lord Mulgrave, Lord Bruce, Lord and Lady Edgecumbe, Lord Barrington from the War office, Lord Sandwich from the Admiralty, Lord Ashburnham, with his gold key dangling from his pocket, and the French ambassador, M. De Guignes, renowned for his fine person and for his success in gallantry. But the great show of the night was the Russian ambassador, Count Orloff, whose gigantic figure was all in a blaze with jewels, and in whose demeanour the untamed ferocity of the Scythian might be discerned through a thin varnish of French Politeness. As he stalked about the small parlour, brushing the ceiling with his toupee, the girls whispered to each other, with mingled admiration and borror, that he was the favoured lover of his august mistress; that be had borne the chief part in the revolution to which she owed her throne; and that his huge hands, now glittering with diamond rings, had given the last squeeze to the windpipe of her unfortunate husband.
With such illustrious guests as these were mingled all the most remarkable specimens of the race of lions, a kind of game which is hunted in London every spring with more than Meltonian ardour and perseverance. Bruce, who had washed down steaks cut from living oxen with water from the fountains of the Nile, came to swagger and talk about his travels. Ornai lisped broken English, and made all the assembled musicians hold their ears by howling Otaheitean love-songs, such as those with which Oberea charmed her Opano.
With the literary and fashionable society which occasionally met under Dr. Burney's roof, Frances can scarcely be said to have mingled.(7) She was not a musician, and could therefore bear no part in the concerts. She was shy almost to awkward-
ness, and she scarcely ever joined in the conversation. The slightest remark from a stranger disconcerted her, and even the old friends of her father who tried to draw her out could seldom extract more than a Yes or a No. Her figure was small, her face not distinguished by beauty. She was therefore suffered to withdraw quietly to the background, and, unobserved herself, to observe all that passed. Her nearest relations were aware that she had good sense, but seem not to have suspected that under her demure and bashful deportment were concealed a fertile invention and a keen sense of the ridiculous. She had not, it is true, an eye for the fine shades of character. But every marked peculiarity instantly caught her notice and remained engraven on her imagination. Thus while still a girl she had laid up such a store of materials for fiction as few of those who mix much in the world are able to accumulate during a long life. She had watched and listened to people of every class, from princes and great officers of state down to artists living in garrets and poets familiar with subterranean cookshops. Hundreds of remarkable persons had passed in review before her, English, French, German, Italian, lords and fiddlers, deans of cathedrals and managers of theatres, travellers leading about newly caught savages, and singing women escorted by deputy husbands.
So strong was the impression made on the mind of Frances by the society which she was in the habit of seeing and hearing, that she began to write little fictitious narratives as soon as she could use her pen with ease, which, as we have said, was not very early. Her sisters were amused by her stories. But Dr. Burney knew nothing of their existence ; and in another quarter her literary propensities met with serious discouragement. When she was fifteen, her father took a second wife.(8) The new Mrs. Burney soon found out that her daughter-in-law was fond of scribbling, and delivered several good-natured lectures on the subject. The advice no doubt was well meant, and might have been given by the most judicious friend ; for at that time, from causes to which we may hereafter advert, nothing could be more disadvantageous to a young lady than to be known as a novel writer. Frances yielded, relinquished her favourite pursuit, and made a bonfire of all her manuscripts.(9) Page xix -MAD
She now hemmed and stitched from breakfast to dinner with scrupulous regularity. But the dinners of that time were early ; and the afternoon was her own. Though she had given up novelwriting, she was still fond of using her pen. She began to keep a diary, and she corresponded largely with a person who seems to have had the chief share in the formation of her mind. This was Samuel Crisp, an old friend of her father. His name, well known, near a century ago, in the most splendid circles of London, has long been forgotten. His history is, however, so interesting and instructive, that it tempts us to venture on a digression. Long before Frances Burney was born, Mr. Crisp had made his entrance into the world, with every advantage. He was well connected and well educated. His face and figure were conspicuously handsome; his manners were polished; his fortune was easy; his character was without stain ; he lived in the best society; he had read much ; he talked well; his taste in literature, music, painting, architecture, sculpture, was held in high esteem. Nothing that the world can give seemed to be wanting to his happiness and respectability, except that he should understand the limits of his powers, and should not throw away distinctions which were within his reach in the pursuit of distinctions which were unattainable. " It is an uncontrolled truth," says Swift, "that no man ever made an ill figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them." Every day brings with it fresh illustrations of this weighty saying ; but the best commentary that we remember is the history of Samuel Crisp. Men like him have their proper place, and it is a most important one, in the Commonwealth of Letters. It is by the judgment of such men that the rank of authors is finally determined. It is neither to the multitude, nor to the few who are gifted with great creative genius, that we are to look for sound critical decisions. The multitude, unacquainted with the best models, are captivated by whatever stuns and dazzles them. They deserted Mrs. Siddons to run after Master Betty; and they now prefer, we have no doubt, Jack Sheppard to Van Artevelde. A man of great original genius, on the other hand, a man who has attained to mastery in some high walk of art, is by no means to be implicitly trusted as a judge of the performances of others. The erroneous decisions pronounced by such men are without number. It is commonly supposed that jealousy makes them unjust. But a more creditable explanation may easily be found. The very excellence of a work shows that some of the faculties of the author have been developed at the expense of the rest - for it is not given to the human intellect to expand itself widely in all directions at once and to be at the same time gigantic and well-proportioned. Whoever becomes pre-eminent in any art, nay, in any style of art, generally does so by devoting himself with intense and exclusive enthusiasm to the pursuit of one kind of excellence. His perception of other Page xx
kinds of excellence is too often impaired. Out of his own department, he blames at random, and is far less to be trusted than the mere connoisseur, who produces nothing, and whose business is only to judge and enjoy. One painter is distinguished by his exquisite finishing. He toils day after day to bring the veins of a cabbage leaf, the folds of a lace veil, the wrinkles of an old woman's face, nearer and nearer to perfection. In the time which he employs on a square foot of canvas, a master of a different order covers the walls of a palace with gods burying giants under mountains, or makes the cupola of a church alive with seraphim and martyrs. The more fervent the passion of each of these artists for his art, the higher the !merit of each in his own line, the more unlikely it is that they will justly appreciate each other. Many persons, who never handled a pencil, probably do far more justice to Michael Angelo than would have been done by Gerard Douw, and far more justice to Gerard Douw than would have been done by Michael Angelo.
It is the same with literature. Thousands, who have no spark of the genius of Dryden or Wordsworth, do to Dryden the justice which has never been done by Wordsworth, and to Wordsworth the justice which, we suspect, would never have been done by Dryden. Gray, Johnson, Richardson, Fielding, are all highly esteemed by the great body of intelligent and well informed men. But Gray could see no merit in "Rasselas," and Johnson could see no merit in "The Bard." Fielding thought Richardson a solemn prig, and Richardson perpetually expressed contempt and disgust for Fielding's lowness.
Mr. Crisp seems, as far as we can judge, to have been a man eminently qualified for the useful office of a connoisseur. His talents and knowledge fitted him to appreciate justly almost every species of intellectual superiority. As an adviser he was inestimable. Nay, he might probably have held a respectable rank as a writer if he would have confined himself to some department of literature in which nothing more than sense, taste, and reading was required. Unhappily, he set his heart on being a great poet, wrote a tragedy in five acts on the death of Virginia, and offered it to Garrick, who was his personal friend. Garrick read, shook his head, and expressed a doubt whether it would be wise in Mr. Crisp to stake a reputation, which stood high, on the success of such a piece. But the author, blinded by self-love, set in motion a machinery such as none could long resist. His intercessors were the most eloquent man and the most lovely woman of that generation. Pitt was induced to read "Virginia" and to pronounce it excellent. Lady Coventry, with fingers which might have furnished a model to sculptors, forced the manuscript into the reluctant hand of the manager; and, in the year 1754, the play was brought forward.
Nothing that skill or friendship could do was omitted. Garrick wrote both prologue and epilogue. The zealous friends of the Page xxi
author filled every box ; and, by their strenuous exertions, the life of the play was prolonged during ten nights. But though there was no clamorous reprobation, it was universally felt that the attempt had failed. When "Virginia" was printed, the pub lic disappointment was even greater than at the representation. The critics, the Monthly Reviewers in particular, fell on plot ,characters, and diction without mercy, but, we fear, not without justice. We have never met with a copy of the play; but if we mayjudge from the lines which are extracted in the "Gentleman's Magazine," and which do not appear to have been malevolently selected, we should say that nothing but the acting of Garrick and the partiality of the audience could have saved so feeble and unnatural a drama from instant damnation. The ambition of the poet was still unsubdued.. When the London season closed, he applied himself vigorously to the work of removing blemishes. He does not seem to have suspected, what we are strongly inclined to suspect, that the whole piece was one blemish, and that the passages which were meant to be fine were, in truth, bursts of that tame extravagance into which writers fall when they set themselves to be sublime and pathetic in spite of nature. He omitted, added, retouched, and flattered himself with hopes of a complete success in the following year; but, in the following year, Garrick showed no disposition to bring the amended tragedy on the stage. Solicitation and remonstrance were tried in vain. Lady Coventry, drooping under that malady which seems ever to select what is loveliest for its prey, could render no assistance. The manager's language was civilly evasive; but his resolution was inflexible. Crisp had committed a great error ; but he had escaped with a very slight penance. His play had not been hooted from the boards. It had, on the contrary, been better received than many very estimable performances have been-than Johnson's "Irene," for example, or Goldsmith's "Good-natured Man." Had Crisp been wise, he would have thought himself happy in having purchased self-knowledge so cheap. He would have relinquished, without vain repinings, the hope of poetical distinction, and would have turned to the many sources of happiness which he still possessed. Had he been, on the other hand, an unfeeling and unblushing dunce, he would have gone on writing scores of bad tragedies in defiance of censure and derision. But he had too much sense to risk a second defeat, yet too little to bear his first defeat like a man. The fatal delusion that he was a great dramatist had taken firm possession of his mind. His failure he attributed to every cause except the true one. He complained of the ill-will of Garrick, who appears to have done everything that ability and zeal could do, and who, from selfish motives, would, of course, have been well pleased if "Virginia" had been as successful as "The Beggar's Opera." Nay, Crisp complained of the languor of the friends whose partiality had given him three Page xxii
benefit nights to which he had no claim. He complained of the injustice of the spectators, when, in truth, he ought to have been grateful for their unexampled patience. He lost his temper and spirits, and became a cynic and a hater of mankind. From London be retired to Hampton, and from Hampton to a solitary and long-deserted mansion, built on a common in one of the wildest tracts of Surrey.(10) No road, not even a sheepwalk, connected his lonely dwelling with the abodes of men. The place of his retreat was strictly concealed from his old associates. In the spring, he sometimes emerged, and was seen at exhibitions and concerts in London. But he soon disappeared and hid himself, with no society but his books, in his dreary hermitage. He survived his failure about thirty years. A new generation sprang up around him. No memory of his bad verses remained among men. His very name was forgotten. How completely the world had lost sight of him will appear from a single circumstance. We looked for his name in a copious Dictionary of Dramatic Authors published while he was still alive, and we found only that Mr. Samuel Crisp, of the Custom-house, had written a play called "Virginia," acted in 1754. To the last, however, the unhappy man continued to brood over the injustice of the manager and the pit, and tried to convince himself and others that he had missed the highest literary honours only because he had omitted some fine passages in compliance with Garrick's judgment. Alas for human nature, that the wounds of vanity should smart and bleed so much longer than the wounds of affection! Few people, we believe, whose nearest friends and relations died in 1754, had any acute feeling of the loss in 1782. Dear sisters, and favourite daughters, and brides snatched away before the honeymoon was passed, had been forgotten, or were remembered only with a tranquil regret. But Samuel Crisp was still mourning for his tragedy, like Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted. "Never," such was his language twenty-eight years after his disaster, "never give up or alter a tittle unless it perfectly coincides with your inward feelings. I can say this to my sorrow and my cost. But mum!" Soon after these words were written, his life—a life which might have been eminently useful and happy—ended in the same gloom in which, during more than a quarter of a century, it had been passed. We have thought it worth while to rescue from oblivion this curious fragment of literary history. It seems to us at once ludicrous, melancholy, and full of instruction.(11)
Crisp was an old and very intimate friend of the Burneys. To them alone was confided the name of the desolate old hall in which he hid himself like a wild beast in a den. For them were reserved such remains of his humanity as had survived the failure of his play. Frances Burney he regarded as his daughter. He called her his Fannikin; and she in return called him her dear Daddy. In truth, he seems to have done much more than her real father for the development of her intellect ; for though he was a bad poet, he was a scholar, a thinker, and an excellent counsellor. He was particularly fond of Dr. Burney's concerts. They had indeed, been commenced at his suggestion, and when he visited London he constantly attended them. But when he grew old, and when gout, brought on partly by mental irritation, confined him to his retreat, he was desirous of having a glimpse of that gay and brilliant world from which he was exiled, and he pressed Fannikin to send him full accounts of her father's evening parties. A few of her letters to him have been published; and it is impossible to read them without discerning in them all the powers which afterwards produced "Evelina" and "Cecilia"; the quickness in catching every odd peculiarity of character and manner; the skill in grouping; the humour, often richly comic, sometimes even farcical.
Fanny's propensity to novel-writing had for a time been kept down. It now rose up stronger than ever. The heroes and heroines of the tales which had perished in the flames were still present to the eye of her mind. One favourite story, in particular, haunted her imagination. It was about a certain Caroline Evelyn, a beautiful damsel who made an unfortunate love match and died, leaving an infant daughter. Frances began to image to herself the various scenes, tragic and comic, through which the poor motherless girl, highly connected on one side, meanly connected on the other, might have to pass. A crowd of unreal beings, good and bad, grave and ludicrous, surrounded the pretty, timid young orphan ; a coarse sea captain ; an ugly, insolent fop, blazing in a superb court dress ; another fop, as ugly and as insolent, but lodged on Snow-hill and tricked out in second-hand finery for the Hampstead ball; an old woman,
wrinkles and rouge, flirting her fan with the air of a miss of seventeen and screaming in a dialect made up of vulgar French and vulgar English; a poet, lean and ragged, with a broad Scotch accent. By degrees these shadows acquired stronger and stronger consistence ; the impulse which urged Frances to write became irresistible; and the result was the "History of Evelina."
Then came, naturally enough, a wish, mingled with many fears, to appear before the public ; for, timid as Frances was, and bashful, and altogether unaccustomed to hear her own praises, it is clear that she wanted neither a strong passion for distinction, nor a just confidence in her own powers. Her scheme was to become, if possible, a candidate for fame without running any risk of disgrace. She had not money to bear the expense of printing. It was therefore necessary that some bookseller should be induced to take the risk; and such a bookseller was not readily found. Dodsley refused even to look at the manuscript unless he were intrusted with the name of the author. A publisher in Fleet-street, named Lowndes, was more complaisant. Some correspondence took place between this person and Miss Burney, who took the name of Grafton, and desired that the letters addressed to her might be left at the Orange Coffee-house. But, before the bargain was finally struck, Fanny thought it her duty to obtain her father's consent. She told him that she had written a book, that she wished to have his permission to publish it anonymously, but that she hoped that he would not insist upon seeing it. What followed may serve to illustrate what we meant when we said that Dr. Burney was as bad a father as so goodhearted a man could possibly be. It never seems to have crossed his mind that Fanny was about to take a step on which the whole happiness of her life might depend, a step which might raise her to an honourable eminence or cover her with ridicule and contempt. Several people had already been trusted, and strict concealment was therefore not to be expected. On so grave an occasion, it was surely his duty to give his best counsel to his daughter, to win her confidence, to prevent her from exposing herself if her book were a bad one, and, if it were a good one, to see that the terms which she made with the publisher were likely to be beneficial to her. Instead of this, he only stared, burst out a-laughing, kissed her, gave her leave to do as she liked, and never even asked the name of her work. The contract with Lowndes was speedily concluded. Twenty pounds were given for the copyright, and were accepted by Fanny with delight. Her father's inexcusable neglect of his duty happily caused her no worse evil than the loss of twelve or fifteen hundred pounds.(12)
After many delays, "Evelina" appeared in January, 1778. Page xxv
Poor Fanny was sick with terror, and durst hardly stir out of doors. Some days passed before anything was heard of the book. It had, indeed, nothing but its own merits to push it into public favour. Its author was unknown. The house by which it was published, was not, we believe, held high in estimation. No body of partisans had been engaged to applaud. The better class of readers expected little from a novel about a young lady's entrance into the world. There was, indeed, at that time a disposition among the most respectable people to condemn novels generally: nor was this disposition by any means without excuse; for works of that sort were then almost always silly and very frequently wicked.
Soon, however, the first faint accents of praise began to be heard: The keepers of the circulating libraries reported that everybody was asking for "Evelina," and that some person had guessed Anstey(13) to be the author. Then came a favourable notice in the "London Review"; then another still more favourable in the "Monthly." And now the book found its way to tables which had seldom been polluted by marble-covered volumes. Scholars and statesmen, who contemptuously abandoned the crowd of romances to Miss Lydia Languish and Miss Sukey Saunter, were not ashamed to own that they could not tear themselves away from "Evelina." Fine carriages and rich liveries, not often seen east of Temple-bar, were attracted to the publisher's shop in Fleet-street. Lowndes was daily questioned about the author, but was himself as much in the dark as any of the questioners. The mystery, however, could not remain a mystery long. It was known to brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins: and they were far too proud and too happy to be discreet. Dr. Burney wept over the book in rapture. Daddy Crisp shook his fist at his Fannikin in affectionate anger at not having been admitted to her confidence. The truth was whispered to Mrs. Thrale: and then it began to spread fast.
The book had been admired while it had been ascribed to men of letters long conversant with the world and accustomed to composition. But when it was known that a reserved, silent young woman had produced the best work of fiction that had appeared since' the death of Smollett, the acclamations were redoubled. What she had done was, indeed, extraordinary. But, as usual, various reports improved the story till it became miraculous. "Evelina," it was said, was the work of a girl of seventeen. Incredible as this tale was, it continued to be repeated down to our own time. Frances was too honest to confirm it. Probably she Was too much a woman to contradict it; and it was long before any of her detractors thought of this mode of annoyance. Yet there was no want of low minds and bad hearts in the generation Page Xxvi
which witnessed her first appearance. There was the envious Kenrick and the savage Wolcot, the asp George Steevens and the polecat John Williams. It did not, however, occur to them to search the parish register of Lynn, in order that they might be able to twit a lady with having concealed her age. That truly chivalrous exploit was reserved for a bad writer(14) of our own time, whose spite she had provoked by not furnishing him with materials for a worthless edition of Boswell's "Life of Johnson," some sheets of which our readers have doubtless seen round parcels of better books.
But we must return to our story. The triumph was complete. The timid and obscure girl found herself on the highest pinnacle of fame. Great men, on whom she had gazed at a distance with humble reverence, addressed her with admiration, tempered by the tenderness due to her sex and age. Burke, Windham, Gibbon, Reynolds, Sheridan, were among her most ardent eulogists. Cumberland(15) acknowledged her merit, after his fashion, by biting his lips and wriggling in his chair whenever her name was mentioned. But it was at Streatham that she tasted, in the highest perfection, the sweets of flattery mingled with the sweets of friendship. Mrs. Thrale, then at the height of prosperity and popularity-with gay spirits, quick wit, showy, though superficial, acquirements, pleasing, though not refined, manners, a singularly amiable temper and a loving heart-felt towards Fanny as towards a younger sister. With the Thrales, Johnson was domesticated. He was an old friend of Dr. Burney; but he had probably taken little notice of Dr. Burney's daughters ; and Fanny, we imagine, had never in her life dared to speak to him, unless to ask whether he wanted a nineteenth or a twentieth cup of tea. He was charmed by her tale, and preferred it to the novels of Fielding, to whom, indeed, he had always been grossly unjust. He did not, indeed, carry his partiality so far as to place "Evelina" by the side of "Clarissa" and "Sir Charles Grandison"; yet he said that his little favourite had done enough to have made even Richardson feel uneasy. With Johnson's cordial approbation of the book was mingled a fondness, half gallant, half paternal, for the writer; and this fondness his age and character entitled him to show without restraint. He began by putting her hand to his lips. But he soon clasped her in his huge arms, and immediately implored her to be a good girl. She was his pet, his dear love, his dear little Burney, his little character-monger. At one time, he broke forth in praise of the good taste of her caps. At another time, he insisted on teaching her Latin. That, with all his coarseness and Page xxvii
irritability, he was a man of sterling benevolence, has long been acknowledged. But how gentle and endearing his deportment could be, was not known till the recollections of Madame.D'Arblay were published.
We have mentioned a few of the most eminent of those who paid their homage to the author of " Evelina." The crowd of inferior admirers would require a catalogue as long as that in the second book of the " Iliad." In that catalogue would be Mrs. Cholmondeley, the sayer of odd things; and Seward, much given to yawning; and Baretti, who slew the man in the Haymarket ; and Paoli, talking broken English; and Langton, taller by the head than any other member of the club; and Lady Millar, who kept a vase wherein fools were wont to put bad verses ; and Jerningham, who wrote verses fit to be put into the vase of Lady Millar; and Dr. Franklin-not, as some have dreamed, the great Pennsylvanian Dr. Franklin, who could not then have paid his respects to Miss Burney without much risk of being hanged, drawn, and quartered, but Dr. Franklin the less.
A'tag ,uEiwv, ort r6aroC yE 6aoc TEXap6vtoC Atag, i1XX,i rOV JLEi&)V.
It would not have been surprising if such success had turned even a strong head and corrupted even a generous and affectionate nature. But in the "Diary," we can find no trace of any feeling inconsistent with a truly modest and amiable disposition. There is, indeed, abundant proof that Frances enjoyed with an intense, though a troubled, joy, the honours which her genius had won ; but it is equally clear that her happiness sprang from the happiness of her father, her sister, and her dear Daddy Crisp. While flattered by the great, the opulent and the learned, while followed along the Steyne at Brighton and the Pantiles at Tunbridge Wells by the gaze of admiring crowds, her heart seems to have been still with the little domestic circle in St. Martin'sstreet. If she recorded with minute diligence all the compliments, delicate and coarse, which she heard wherever she turned, she recorded them for the eyes of two or three persons who had loved her from infancy, who had loved her in obscurity, and to whom her fame gave the purest and most exquisite delight. Nothing can be more unjust than to confound these outpourings of a kind heart, sure of perfect sympathy, with the egotism of a bluestocking who prates to all who come near her about her own novel or her own volume of sonnets.
It was natural that the triumphant issue of Miss Burney's first venture should tempt her to try a second. "Evelina," though it had raised her fame, had added nothing to her fortune. Some of her friends urged her to write for the stage. Johnson promised to give her his advice as to the composition. Murphy, who was supposed to understand the temper of the pit as well as any man
of his time, undertook to instruct her as to stage effect. Sheridan declared that he would accept a play from her without even reading it. Thus encouraged, she wrote a comedy named "The Witlings." Fortunately, it was never acted or printed. We can, we think, easily perceive, from the little which is said on the subject in the "Diary," that "The Witlings" would have been damned, and that Murpby and Sheridan thought so, though they were too polite to say so. Happily Frances had a friend who was not afraid to give her pain. Crisp, wiser for her than he had been for himself, read the manuscript in his lonely retreat and manfully told her that she had failed, and that to remove blemishes here and there would be useless; that the piece had abundance of wit but no interest, that it was bad as a whole ; that it would remind every reader of the "Femmes Savantes," which, strange to say, she had never read, and that she could not sustain so close a comparison with Moli6re. This opinion, in which Dr. Burney concurred, was sent to Frances in what she called "a hissing, groaning, catcalling epistle." But she had too much sense not to know that it was better to be hissed and catcalled by her Daddy than by a whole sea of heads in the pit of Drury-lane theatre ; and she had too good a heart not to be grateful for so rare an act of friendship. She returned an answer which shows how well she deserved to have a judicious, faithful, and affectionate adviser. "I intend," she wrote, "to console myself for your censure by this greatest proof I have received of the sincerity, candour, and, let me add, esteem of my dear daddy. And, as I happen to love myself more than my play, this consolation is not a very trifling one. This, however, seriously I do believe, that when my two daddies put their heads together to concert that hissing, groaning, catcalling epistle they sent me, they felt as sorry for poor little Miss Bayes as she could possibly do for herself. You see I do not attempt to repay your frankness with an air of pretended carelessness. But, though somewhat disconcerted just now, I will promise not to let my vexation live out another day. Adieu, my dear daddy; I won't be mortified and I won't be downed; but I will be proud to find I have, out of my own family, as well as in it, a friend who loves me well enough to speak plain truth to me."
Frances now turned from her dramatic schemes to an undertaking far better suited to her talents. She determined to write a new tale on a plan excellently contrived for the display of the powers in which her superiority to other writers lay. It was, in truth, a grand and various picture gallery, which presented to the eye a long series of men and women, each marked by some strong peculiar feature. There were avarice and prodigality, the pride of blood and the pride of money, morbid restlessness and morbid apathy, frivolous garrulity, supercilious silence, a Democritus to laugh at everything and a Heraclitus to lament over everything. The work proceeded fast, and in twelve months was completed,
It wanted something of the simplicity which had been among the most attractive charms of "Evelina"; but it furnished ample proof that the four years, which had elapsed since "Evelina" appeared, had not been unprofitably spent. Those who saw "Cecilia" in manuscript pronounced it the best novel of the age. Mrs. Thrale laughed and wept over it. Crisp was even vehement in applause, and offered to insure the rapid and complete success of the book for half-a-crown. What Miss Burney received for the copyright is not mentioned in the " Diary "; but we have observed several expressions from which we infer that the sum was considerable. That the sale would be great, nobody could doubt; and Frances now had shrewd and experienced advisers, who would not suffer her to wrong herself. We have been told that the publishers gave her two thousand pounds, and we have no doubt that they might have given a still larger sum without being losers.(16)
"Cecilia" was published in the summer of 1782. The curiosity of the town was intense. We have been informed by persons who remember those days, that no romance of Sir Walter Scott was more impatiently awaited or more eagerly snatched from the counters of the booksellers. High as public expectation was, it was amply satisfied; and "Cecilia" was placed, by general acclamation, among the classical novels of England.
Miss Burney was now thirty. Her youth had been singularly prosperous; but clouds soon began to gather over that clear and radiant dawn. Events deeply painful to a heart so kind as that of Frances followed each other in rapid succession. She was first called upon to attend the deathbed of her best friend, Samuel Crisp. When she returned to St. Martin's-street after performing this melancholy duty, she was appalled by hearing that Johnson had been struck with paralysis, and, not many months Later, she parted from him for the last time with solemn tenderness. He wished to look on her once more; and on the day before his death she long remained in tears on the stairs leading to his bedroom, in the hope that she might be called in to receive his blessing. But he was then sinking fast, and, though he sent her an affectionate message, was unable to see her. But this was not the worst. There are separations far more cruel than those which are made by death. Frances might weep with proud affection for Crisp and Johnson. She had to blush as well as to weep for Mrs. Thrale.
Life, however, still smiled upon her. Domestic happiness, friendship, independence, leisure, letters, all these things were hers; and she flung them all away.
Among the distinguished persons to whom Miss Burney had been introduced, none appears to have stood higher in her regard than Mrs. Delany. This lady was an interesting and venerable
relic of a past age. She was the niece of George Granville, Lord Lansdowne, who, in his youth, exchanged verses and compliments with Edmun Waller, and who was among the first to applaud the opening talents of Pope. She had married Dr. Delany, a man known to his contemporaries as a profound scholar and eloquent preacher, but remembered in our time chiefly as one of that small circle in which the fierce spirit of Swift, tortured by disappointed ambition, by remorse, and by the approaches of madness, sought for amusement and repose. Dr. Delany had long been dead. His widow, nobly descended, eminently accomplished, and retaining, in spite of the infirmities of advanced age, the vigour of her faculties, and the serenity of her temper, enjoyed and deserved the favour of the royal family. She had a pension of three hundred a-year; and a house at Windsor, belonging to the crown, had been fitted up for her accommodation. At this house, the king and queen sometimes called, and found a very natural pleasure in thus catching an occasional glimpse of the private life of English families.
In December, 1785, Miss Burney was on a visit to Mrs. Delany at Windsor. The dinner was over. The old lady was taking a nap. Her grandniece, a little girl of seven, was playing at some Christmas game with the visitors, when the door opened, and a stout gentleman entered unannounced, with a star on his breast, and "What? what? what?" in his mouth. A cry of "The king!" was set up. A general scampering followed. Miss Burney owns that she could not have been more terrified if she had seen a ghost. But Mrs. Delany came forward to pay her duty to her royal friend, and the disturbance was quieted. Frances was then presented, and underwent a long examination and crossexamination about all that she had written, and all that she meant to write. The queen soon made her appearance, and his majesty repeated, for the benefit of his consort, the information which he had extracted from Miss Burney. The good nature of the royal pair might have softened even the authors of the "Probationary Odes,"(17) and could not but be delightful to a young lady who had been brought up a Tory. In a few days the visit was repeated. Miss Burney was more at ease than before. His majesty, instead of seeking for information, condescended to impart it, and passed sentence on many great writers, English and foreign. Voltairehe pronounced a monster. Rousseau he liked rather better. "But was there ever," he cried, " such stuff as great part of Shakspeare? Only one must not say so. But what think you? What? Is there not sad stuff? What? What?"
The next day Frances enjoyed the privilege of listening to some equally valuable criticism uttered by the queen touching Goethe , Page xxxi
And Klopstock, and might have learned an important lesson of economy from the mode in which her majesty's library had been formed. "1 picked the book up on a stall," said the queen. "Oh, it is amazing what good books there are on stalls!" Mrs. Delany, who seems to have understood from these words that her majesty was in the habit of exploring the booths of Moorfields and Holywell-street in person, could not suppress an exclamation of surprise. "Why," said the queen, "I don't pick them up myself. I have a servant very clever; and if they are not to be had at the booksellers, they are not for me more than for another." Miss Burney describes this conversation as delightful; and, indeed, we cannot wonder that, with her literary tastes, she should be delighted at hearing in how magnificent a manner the greatest lady in the land encouraged literature.
The truth is, that Frances was fascinated by the condescending kindness of the two great personages to whom she had been presented. Her father was even more infatuated than herself. The result was a step of which we cannot think with patience, but recorded as it is with all its consequences in these volumes deserves at least this praise, that it has furnished a most impressive warning.
A German lady of the name of Haggerdorn, one of the keepers of the queen's robes, retired about this time, and her majesty offered the vacant post to Miss Burney. When we consider that Miss Burney was decidedly the most popular writer of fictitious narrative then living, that competence, if not opulence, was within her reach, and that she was more than usually happy in her domestic circle, and when we compare the sacrifice which she was invited to make with the remuneration which was held out to her, we are divided between laughter and indignation.
What was demanded of her was that she should consent to be almost as completely separated from her family and friends as if she had gone to Calcutta, and almost as close a prisoner as if she had been sent to gaol for a libel; that with talents which had instructed and delighted the highest living minds, she should now be employed only in mixing snuff and sticking pins; that she should be summoned by a waiting-woman's bell to a waiting-woman's duties; that she should pass her whole life under the restraints of a paltry etiquette, should sometimes fast till she was ready to swoon with hunger, should sometimes stand till her knees have way with fatigue; that she should not dare to speak or move without considering how her mistress might like her words and gestures. Instead of those distinguished men and women, the flower of all political parties, with whom she had been in the habit of mixing on terms of equal friendship, she was to have for her perpetual companion the chief keeper of the robes, an old hag from Germany, of mean understanding, of insolent manners, and of temper which, naturally savage, had now been exasperated by disease. Now and then, indeed, poor Frances might console her- Page xxxii
self for the loss of Burke's and Windham's society by joining in the "celestial colloquy sublime" of his majesty's equerries.
And what was the consideration for which she was to sell herself to this slavery? A peerage in her own right? A pension of two thousand a-year for life? A seventy-four for her brother in the navy? A deanery for her brother in the church? Not so. The price at which she was valued was her board, her lodging, the attendance of a man-servant, and two hundred pounds a-year.
The man who, even when hard pressed by hunger, sells his birthright for a mess of pottage, is unwise. But what shall we say of him who parts with his birthright and does not get even the pottage in return ? It is not necessary to inquire whether opulence be an adequate compensation for the sacrifice of bodily and mental freedom ; for Frances Burney paid for leave to be a prisoner and a menial. It was evidently understood as one of the terms of her engagement, that, while she was a member of the royal household, she was not to appear before the public as an author; and, even had there been no such understanding, her avocations were such as left her no leisure for any considerable intellectual effort. That her place was incompatible with her literary pursuits was indeed frankly acknowledged by the king when she resigned. "She had given up," he said, "five years of her pen." That during those five years she might, without painful exertion, without any exertion that would not have been a pleasure, have earned enough to buy an annuity for life much larger than the precarious salary which she received at Court, is quite certain. The same income, too, which in St. Martin'sstreet would have afforded her every comfort, must have been found scanty at St. James's. We cannot venture to speak confidently of the price of millinery and jewellery; but we are greatly deceived if a lady, who had to attend Queen Charlotte on many public occasions, could possibly save a farthing out of a salary of two hundred a-year. The principle of the arrangement was, in short, simply this, that Frances Burney should become a slave, and should be rewarded by being made a beggar.
With what object their majesties brought her to their palace, we must own ourselves unable to conceive. Their object could not be to encourage her literary exertions; for they took her from a situation in which it was almost certain that she would write and put her into a situation in which it was impossible for her to write. Their object could not be to promote her pecuniary interest for they took her from a situation where she was likely to becom rich, and put her into a situation in which she could not but continue poor. Their object could not be to obtain an eminentl useful waiting-maid; for it is clear that, though Miss Burney was the only woman of her time who could have described the death of Harrel,(18) thousands might have been found more expert in tying
ribbons and filling snuff-boxes. To grant her a pension on the civil list would have been an act of judicious liberality honourable to the Court. If this was impracticable, the next best thing was to let her alone. That the king and queen meant her nothing but kindness, we do not in the least doubt. But their kindness was the kindness of persons raised high above the mass of mankind, accustomed to be addressed with profound deference, accustomed to see all who approach them mortified by their coldness and elated by their smiles. They fancied that to be noticed by them, to be near them, to serve them, was in itself a kind of happiness ; and that Frances Burney ought to be full of gratitude for being permitted to purchase, by the surrender of health, wealth, freedom, domestic affection and literary fame, the privilege of standing behind a royal chair and holding a pair of royal gloves.
And who can blame them ? Who can wonder that princes should be under such a delusion when they are encouraged in it by the very persons who suffer from it most cruelly ? Was it to be expected that George III. and Queen Charlotte should understand the interest of Frances Burney better, or promote it with more zeal, than herself and her father ? No deception was practised. The conditions of the house of bondage were set forth with all simplicity. The hook was presented without a bait ; the net was spread in sight of the bird, and the naked hook was greedily swallowed, and the silly bird made haste to entangle herself in the net.
It is not strange indeed that an invitation to Court should have caused a fluttering in the bosom of an inexperienced woman. But it was the duty of the parent to watch over the child, and to show her, that on one side were only infantine vanities and chimerical hopes, on the other, liberty, peace of mind, affluence, social enjoyments, honourable distinctions. Strange to say, the only hesitation was on the part of Frances. Dr. Burney was transported out of himself with delight. Not such are the raptures of a Circassian father who has sold his pretty daughter well to a Turkish slave merchant. Yet Dr. Burney was an amiable man a man of good abilities, a man who had seen much of the world. But he seems to have thought that going to Court was like going to heaven ; that to see princes and princesses was a kind of beatific vision ; that the exquisite felicity enjoyed by royal persons Was not confined to themselves, but was communicated by some mysterious efflux or reflection to all who were suffered to stand at their toilettes or to bear their trains. He overruled all his daughter's objections, and himself escorted her to prison. The door closed. The key was turned. She, looking back with tender regret on all she had left, and forward with anxiety and terror to the new life On which she was entering, was unable to speak or stand; and he went on his way homeward rejoicing in her marvellous prosperity.
And now began a slavery of five years, of five years taken from the best part of life, and wasted in menial drudgery or in recrea- Page XXXiV
tions duller than menial drudgery, under galling restraints and amidst unfriendly or uninteresting companions. The history of an ordinary day was this: Miss Burney had to rise and dress herself early, that she might be ready to answer the royal bell, which rang at half after seven. Till about eight she attended in the queen's dressing-room, and had the honour of lacing her august mistress's stays, and of putting on the hoop, gown, and neckhandkerchief. The morning was chiefly spent in rummaging drawers, and laying fine clothes in their proper places. Then the queen was to be powdered and dressed for the day. Twice a week her majesty's hair was curled and craped; and this operation appears to have added a full hour to the business of the toilette. It was generally three before Miss Burney was at liberty. Then she had two hours at her own disposal. To these hours we owe great Part of her "Diary." At five she had to attend her colleague, Madame Schwellenberg, a hateful old toadeater, as illiterate as a chambermaid, as proud as a Whole German Chapter, rude, peevish, unable to bear solitude, unable to conduct herself with common decency in society. With this delightful associate, Frances Burney had to dine and pass the evening. The pair generally remained together from five to eleven, and often had no other company the whole time, except during the hour from eight to nine, when the equerries came to tea. If poor Frances attempted to escape to her own apartment, and to forget her wretchedness over a book, the execrable old woman railed and stormed, and complained that she was neglected. Yet, When Frances stayed, she was constantly assailed with insolent reproaches. Literary fame was, in the eyes of the German crone, a blemish, a proof that the person -who enjoyed it was meanly born, and out of the pale of good society. All her scanty stock of broken English was employed to express the contempt with 'which she regarded the author of "Evelina" and "Cecilia." Frances detested cards, and indeed knew nothing about them; but she soon found that the least miserable Way of passing an evening with Madame Schwellenberg Was at the card-table, and consented, with patient sadness, to give hours which might have called forth the laughter and tears of many generations to the king of clubs and the knave of spades. Between eleven and twelve, the bell rang again. Miss Burney had to pass twenty minutes or half an hour in undressing the queen, and was then at liberty to retire and to dream that she was chatting with her brother by the quiet hearth in St, Martin's- street, that she was the centre of an admiring assembly at Mrs. Crewe's, that Burke was calling her the first woman of the age, or that Dilly was giving her a cheque for two thousand guineas.
Men, we must suppose, are less patient than women ; for we are utterly at a loss to conceive how any human being could endure such a life while there remained a vacant garret in Grub-street, a crossing in want of a sweeper, a parish workhouse or a parish Page xxxv
vault. And it was for such a life that Frances Burney had given up liberty and peace, a happy fireside, attached friends, a -wide and splendid circle of acquaintance, intellectual pursuits, in which she was qualified to excel, and the sure hope of what to her would have been affluence.
There is nothing new under the sun. The last great master of Attic eloquence and Attic wit has left us a forcible and touching description of the misery of a man of letters, who, lulled by hopes similar to those of Frances, had entered the service of one of the magnates of Rome. "Unhappy that I am," cries the victim of his own childish ambition: "would nothing content me but that I must leave mine old pursuits and mine old companions, and the life which was without care, and the sleep which had no limit save mine own pleasure, and the walks which I was free to take where I listed, and fling myself into the lowest pit of a dungeon like this? And, O God! for what? Is this the bait which enticed me? Was there no way by which I might have enjoyed in freedom comforts even greater than those which I now earn by servitude? Like a lion which has been made so tame that men may lead him about by a thread, I am dragged up and down, with broken and humbled spirit, at the beels of those to whom, in my own domain, I should have been an object of awe and wonder. And, worst of all, I feel that here I gain no credit, that here I give no pleasure. The talents and accomplishments, which charmed a far different circle, are here out of place. I am rude in the arts of palaces, and can ill bear comparison with those whose calling from their youth up has been to flatter and to sue. Have I, then, two lives, that, after I have wasted one in the service of others, there may yet remain to me a second, which I may live unto myself?"
Now and then, indeed, events occurred which disturbed the ,wretched monotony of Francis Burney's life. The Court moved from Kew to Windsor, and from Windsor back to Kew. One dull colonel went out of waiting, and another dull colonel came into waiting. An impertinent servant made a blunder about tea, and caused a misunderstanding between the gentlemen and the ladies. A half-witted French Protestant minister talked oddly about conjugal fidelity. An unlucky member of the household mentioned a passage in the " Morning Herald " reflecting on the queen ; and forthwith Madame Schwellenberg, began to storm in bad English, and told him that he had made her "what you call perspire!"
A more important occurrence was the royal visit to Oxford. Miss Burney went in the queen's train to Nuneham, was utterly neglected there in the crowd, and could with difficulty find a ,servant to show the way to her bedroom or a hairdresser to arrange her curls. She had the honour of entering Oxford in the last of a long string of carriages which formed the royal procession, of walking after the queen all day through refectories and chapels and of standing, half dead with fatigue and hunqer,
while her august mistress was seated at an excellent cold collation. At Magdalene college, Frances was left for a moment in a parlour, where she sank down on a chair. A good-natured equerry saw that she was exhausted, and shared with her some apricots and bread which he had wisely put into his pockets. At that moment the door opened; the queen entered; the wearied attendants sprang up ; the bread and fruit were hastily concealed. "I found," says poor Miss Burney, "that our appetites were to be supposed annihilated at the same moment that our strength was to be invincible."
Yet Oxford, seen even under such disadvantages, " revived in her," to use her own words, a "consciousness to pleasure which had long lain nearly dormant." She forgot, during one moment, that she was a waiting-maid, and felt as a woman of true genius might be expected to feel amidst venerable remains of antiquity, beautiful works of art, vast repositories of knowledge, and memorials of the illustrious dead. Had she still been what she was before her father induced her to take the most fatal step of her life, we can easily imagine what pleasure she would have derived from a visit to the noblest of English cities. She might, indeed, have been forced to ride in a hack chaise, and might not have worn so fine a gown of Chambery gauze as that in which she tottered after the royal party; but with what delight would she have then paced the cloisters of Magdalene, compared the antique gloom of Merton with the splendour of Christchurch, and looked down from the dome of the Radcliffe library on the magnificent sea of turrets and battlements below! How gladly should learned men have laid aside for a few hours Pindar's "Odes" and Aristotle's "Ethics," to escort the author of "Cecilia" from college to college! What neat little banquets would she have found set out in their monastic cells! With what eagerness would pictures, medals, and illuminated missals have been brought forth from the most mysterious cabinets for her amusement! How much she would have had to hear and to tell about Johnson, as she walked over Pembroke, and about Reynolds, in the antechapel of New college. But these indulgences were not for one who had sold herself into bondage.
About eighteen months after the visit to Oxford, another event diversified the wearisome life which Frances led at Court. Warren Hastings was brought to the bar of the House of Peers. The queen and princesses were present when the trial commenced, and Miss Burney was permitted to attend. During the subsequent proceedings, a day rule for the same purpose was occasionally granted to her; for the queen took the strongest interest in the trial, and, when she could not go herself to Westminster-hall, liked to receive a report of what passed from a person who had singular powers of observation, and who was, moreover, personally acquainted with some of the most distinguished managers. The portion of the "Diary" which relates to this celebrated proceed-
ing is lively and Picturesque. Yet we read it, we own, with pain; for it seems to us to prove that the fine understanding of Frances Burney was beginning to feel the pernicious influence of a mode of life which is as incompatible with health of mind as the air of the Pomptine marshes with health of body. From the first day, she espouses the cause of Hastings with a presumptuous vehemence and acrimony quite inconsistent with the modesty and suavity of her ordinary deportment. She shudders when Burke enters the Hall at the head of the Commons. She pronounces him the cruel oppressor of an innocent man. She is at a loss to conceive how the managers can look at the defendant and not blush. Windham comes to her from the managers' box, to offer her refreshment. "But," says she, "I could not break bread with him." Then again, she exclaims, "Ah, Mr. Windham, how come you ever engaged in so cruel, so unjust a cause?" "Mr. Burke saw me," she says, "and he bowed with the most marked civility of manner." This, be it observed, was just after his opening speech, a speech which had produced a mighty effect, and which certainly, no other orator that ever lived could have made. "My curtsy," she continues, "was the most ungrateful, distant and cold; I could not do otherwise; so hurt I felt to see him the head of such a cause." Now, not only had Burke treated her with constant kindness, but the very last act which he performed on the day on which he was turned out of the Pay office, about four years before this trial, was to make Dr. Burney organist of Chelsea hospital. When, at the Westminster election, Dr. Burney was divided between his gratitude for this favour and his Tory opinions, Burke in the noblest manner disclaimed all right to exact a sacrifice of principle. "You have little or no obligations to me," he wrote; "but if you had as many as I really wish it were in my power, as it is certainly in my desire, to lay on you, I hope you do not think me capable of conferring them in order to subject your mind or your affairs to a painful and mischievous servitude." Was this a man to be uncivilly treated by a daughter of Dr. Burney because she chose to differ from him respecting a vast and most complicated question which he had studied deeply guring many years and which she had never studied at all? It Is clear, from Miss Burney's own statement, that when she behaved so unkindly to Mr. Burke, she did not even know of what Hastings was accused. One thing, however, she must have known, that Burke had been able to convince a House of Commons, bitterly prejudiced against him, that the charges were well founded, and that Pitt and Dundas had concurred with Fox and Sheridan in supporting the impeachment. Surely a woman Of far inferior abilities to Miss Burney might have been expected to see that this never could have happened unless there had been a strong case against the late Governor-general. And there was, as all reasonable men now admit, a strong case against him. That there were great public services to be set off against his great
crimes is perfectly true. But his services and his crimes were equally unknown to the lady who so confidently asserted his perfect innocence, and imputed to his accusers—that is to say, to all the greatest men of all parties in the state-not merely error, but gross injustice and barbarity.
She had, it is true, occasionally seen Mr. Hastings, and had found his manners and conversation agreeable. But surely she could not be so weak as to infer from the gentleness of his deportment in a drawing-room that he was incapable of committing a great state crime under the influence of ambition and revenge. A silly Miss, fresh from a boarding- school, might fall into such a mistake ; but the woman who had drawn the character of Mr. Monckton(19) should have known better.
The truth is that she had been too long at Court. She was sinking into a slavery worse than that of the body. The iron was beginning to enter into the soul. Accustomed during many months to watch the eye of a mistress, to receive with boundless gratitude the slightest mark of royal condescension, to feel wretched at every symptom of royal displeasure, to associate only with spirits long tamed and broken in, she was degeneratin- into something fit for her place. Queen Charlotte was a violent partisan of Hastings, had received presents from him, and had so far departed from the severity of her virtue as to lend her countenance to his wife, whose conduct had certainly been as reprehensible as that of any of the frail beauties who were then rigidly excluded from the English Court. The king, it was well known, took the same side. To the king and queen, all the members of the household looked submissively for guidance. The impeachment, therefore, was an atrocious persecution ; the managers were rascals ; the defendant was the most deserving and the worst used man in the kingdom. This was the cant of the whole palace, from gold stick in waiting down to the tabledeckers and yeomen of the silver scullery; and Miss Burney canted like the rest, though in livelier tones and with less bitter feelings.
The account which she has given of the king's illness contains much excellent narrative and description, and will, we think, be more valued by the historians of a future age than any equal portion of Pepys' or Evelyn's " Diaries." That account shows also how affectionate and compassionate her nature was, But it shows also, we must say, that her way of life was rapidly impairing her powers of reasoning and her sense of justice. We do not mean to discuss, in this place, the question whether the views of Mr. Pitt or those of 'Mr. Fox respecting the regency were the more correct. It is, indeed, quite needless to discuss that question ; for the censure of Miss Burney falls alike on Pitt and Fox, on majority and minority. She is angry with the House of Commons for presuming to inquire whether the king was mad or
not and whether there was a chance of his recovering his senses. "melancholy day," she writes; "news bad both at home and abroad. At home the dear unhappy king still worse ; abroad new examinations voted of the physicians. Good heavens! what an insult does this seem from Parliamentary power, to investigate and bring forth to the world every circumstance of such a malady as is ever held sacred to secrecy in the most private families! How indignant we all feel here, no words can say." It is proper to observe that the motion which roused the indignation at Kew was made by Mr. Pitt himself, and that if withstood by Mr. Pitt, it would certainly have been rejected. We see therefore, that the loyalty of the minister, who was then generally regarded as the most heroic champion of his prince, was lukewarm indeed when compared with the boiling zeal which filled the pages of the backstairs and the women of the bedchamber. Of the Regency bill, Pitt's own bill, Miss Burney speaks with horror. "I shuddered," she says, "to hear it named." And again, "Oh, how dreadful will be the day when that unhappy bill takes place ! I cannot approve the plan of it." The truth is that Mr. Pitt, whether a wise and upright statesman or not, was a statesman, and, whatever motives he might have for imposing restrictions on the regent, felt that in some way or other there must be some provision made for the execution of some part of the kingly office, or that no government would be left in the country. But this was a matter of which the household never thought. It never occurred, as far as we can see, to the exons and keepers of the robes that it was necessary that there should be somewhere or other a power in the state to pass laws, to observe order, to pardon criminals, to fill up offices, to negotiate with foreign governments, to command the army and navy. Nay, these enlightened politicians, and Miss Burney among the rest, seem to have thought that any person who considered the subject with reference to the public interest showed himself to be a bad-hearted man. Nobody wonders at this in a gentleman usher, but it is melancholy to see genius sinking into such debasement.
During more than two years after the king's recovery, Frances dragged on a miserable existence at the palace. The consolations which had for a time mitigated the wretchedness of servitude were one by one withdrawn. Mrs. Delany, whose society had been a great resource when the Court was at Windsor, was now dead. One of the gentlemen of the royal establishment, Colonel Digby,(20) appears to have been a man of sense, of taste, of some reading, and of prepossessing manners. Agreeable associates were scarce in the prison house, and he and Miss Burney therefore naturally were attached to each other. She owns that she valued him as a friend, and it would not have been strange if his attentions had led her to entertain for him a sentiment warmer
than friendship. He quitted the Court, and married in a way which astonished Miss Burney greatly, and which evidently wounded her feelings and lowered him in her esteem. The palace grew duller and duller; Madame Schwellenberg became more and more savage and insolent; and now the health of poor Frances began to give way; and all who saw her pale face, and emaciated figure and herfeeble walk predicted that her sufferings would soon be over.
Frances uniformly speaks of her royal mistress and of the princesses with respect and affection. The princesses seem to have well'deserved all the praise which is bestowed on them in the "Diary." They were, we doubt not, most amiable women. But "the sweet queen," as she is constantly called in these volumes, is not by any means an object of admiration to us. She had, undoubtedly, sense enough to know what kind of deportment suited her high station, and self-command enough to maintain that deportment invariably. She was, in her intercourse. with Miss Burney, generally gracious and affable, sometimes, when displeased, cold and reserved, but never, under any circumstances, rude, peevish or violent. She knew how to dispense, gracefully and skilfully, those little civilities which, when paid by a sovereign, are prized at many times their intrinsic value; how to pay a compliment; how to lend a book; how to ask after a relation. But she seems to have been utterly regardless of the comfort, the health, the life of her attendants, when her own convenience was concerned. Weak, feverish, hardly able to stand, Frances had still to rise before seven, in order to dress "the sweet queen," and to sit up till midnight, in order to undress "the sweet queen." The indisposition of the handmaid could not, and did not, escape the notice of her royal mistress. But the established doctrine of the Court was that all sickness was to be considered as a pretence until it proved fatal. The only way in which the invalid could clear herself from the suspicion of malingering, as it is called in the army, was to go on lacing and unlacing, till she fell down dead at the royal feet. "This," Miss Burney wrote, when she was suffering cruelly from sickness, watching and labour, "is by no means from hardness of heart; far otherwise. There is no hardness of heart in any one of them but it is prejudice and want of personal experience."
Many strangers sympathised with the bodily and mental sufferings of this distinguished woman. All who saw her saw that her frame was sinking, that her heart was breaking. The last, it should seem, to observe the change was her father. At length, in spite of himself, his eyes were opened. In May, 1790, his daughter had an interview of three hours with him, the only long interview which they had had since he took her to Windsor in 1786. She told him that she was miserable, that she was worn with attendance and want of sleep, that she had no comfort in life, nothing to love, nothing to hope, that her family and friends were to her as though they were not, and were remembered by her as Page xli
men remember the dead. From daybreak to midnight the same killing labour, the same recreations, more hateful than labour itself, followed each other without variety, without any interval of liberty and repose.
The doctor was greatly dejected by this news; but was too good- natured a man not to say that, if she wished to resign, his house and arms were open to her. Still, however, he could not bear to remove her from the Court. His veneration for royalty amounted in truth to idolatry. It can be compared only to the grovelling superstition of those Syrian devotees who made their children pass through the fire to Moloch. When he induced his daughter to accept the place of keeper of the robes, he entertained, as she tells us, a hope that some worldly advantage or other, not set down in the contract of service, would be the result of her connection with the Court. What advantage he expected we do not know, nor did he probably know himself. But, whatever he expected, he certainly got nothing. Miss Burney had been hired for board, lodging and two hundred a-year. Board, lodging and two hundred a-year she had duly received. We have looked carefully through the " Diary" in the hope of finding some trace of those extraordinary benefactions on which the doctor reckoned. But we can discover only a promise, never performed, of a gown:(21) and for this promise Miss Burney was expected to return thanks, such as might have suited the beggar with whom Saint Martin, in the legend, divided his cloak. The experience of four years was, however, insufficient to dispel the illusion which had taken possession of the doctor's mind ; and between the dear father and "the sweet queen" there seemed to be little doubt that some day or other Frances would drop down a corpse. Six months had elapsed since the interview between the parent and the daughter. The resignation was not sent in. The sufferer grew worse and worse. She took bark, but it soon ceased to produce a beneficial effect. She was stimulated with wine ; she was soothed with opium; but in vain. Her breath began to fail. The whisper that she was in a decline spread through the Court. The pains in her side became so severe that she was forced to crawl from the card-table of the old Fury to whom she was tethered three or four times in an evening for the purpose of taking hartshorn. Had she been a negrQslave, a humane planter would have excused her fromwork. But her majesty showed no mercy. Thrice a day the accursed bell still rang ; the queen was still to be dressed for the morning at seven, and to be dressed for the day at noon, and to be undressed at eleven at night.
But there had arisen, in literary and fashionable society, a general feeling of compassion for Miss Burney, and of indignation against both her father and the queen. "Is it possible," said a
great French lady to the doctor "that your daughter is in A situation where she is never allowed a holiday?" HoraceWalpole wrote to Frances to express his sympathy. Boswell, boiling over with good-natured rage, almost forced an entrance into the palace to see her. "My dear ma'am, why do you stay? It won't do, ma'am - you must resign. We can put up with it no longer. Some very violent measures, I assure you, will be taken. We shall address Dr. Burney in a body." Burke and Reynolds, though less noisy, were zealous in the same cause. Windham spoke to Dr. Burney, but found him still irresolute. "I will set the club upon him," cried Windham; "Miss Burney has some very true admirers there, and I am sure they will eagerly assist." Indeed, the Burney family seem to have been apprehensive that some public affront, such as the doctor's unpardonable folly, to use the mildest term had richly deserved, would be put upon'him. The medical men spoke out, and plainly told him that his daughter must resign or die.
At last paternal affection, medical authority, and the voice of all London crying shame, triumphed over Dr. Burney's love of courts. He determined that Frances should write a letter of resignation. It was with difficulty that, though her life was at stake, she mustered spirit to put the paper into the queen's hands. "I could not," so runs the "Diary "summon courage to present my memorial-my heart always failed me from seeing the queen's entire freedom from such an expectation. For though I was frequently so ill in her presence that I could hardly stand, I saw she concluded me, while life remained, inevitably hers."
At last, with a trembling hand, the paper was delivered. Then came the storm. Juno, as in the A_neid, delegated the work of vengeance to Alecto. The queen was calm and gentle, but Madame Schwellenberg raved like a maniac in the incurable ward of Bedlam ! Such insolence! Such ingratitude! Such folly ! Would Miss Burneybring utter destruction on herself and her family ? Would she throw away the inestimable advantages of royal protection ? Would she part with privileges which, once relinquished, could never be regained " It was idle to talk of health and life. If people could not live in the palace, the best thing that could befall them was to die in it. The resignation was not accepted. The language of the medical men became stronger and stronger. Dr. Burney's parental fears were fully roused; and he explicitly declared, in a letter meant to be shown to the queen, that his daughter must retire. The Schwellenberg raged like a wild cat. "A scene almost horrible ensued," says Miss Burney. "She was too much enraged for disguise, and uttered the most furious expressions of indignant contempt at our proceedings. I am sure she would gladly have confined us both in the Bastille, had England such a misery, as a fit place to bring us to ourselves, from a daring so outrageous against imperial wishes." This passage deserves notice, as being the only one in Page xliii
in her "Diary," as far as we have observed, which shows Miss Burney to have been aware that she was a native of a free country, and she could not be pressed for a waiting-maid against her will, that she had just as good a right to live, if she chose, in St.-Martin's-street as Queen Charlotte had to live at St. James's.
The queen promised that, after the next birthday, Miss Burney would be set at liberty. But the promise was ill kept; and her Majesty showed displeasure at being reminded of it. At length Frances was informed that in a fortnight her attendance should Cease. "I heard this," she says, "with a fearful presentiment I should surely never go through another fortnight in so weak and languishing and painful a state of health. . . . As the time of separation approached, the queen's cordiality rather diminished, and traces of internal displeasure appeared sometimes, arising from an opinion I ought rather to have struggled on, live or die, than to quit her. Yet I am sure she saw how poor was my own chance, except by a change in the mode of life, and at least ceased to wonder, though she could not approve." Sweetqueen! What noble candour, to admit that the undutifulness of people who did not think the honour of adjusting her tuckers worth the sacrifice of their own lives, was, though highly criminal, not altogether unnatural!