The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay Volume 3
by Madame D'Arblay
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse




VOL. III. (1792-1840.)




Arrival of French Emigrants at juniper Hall—The Doctor's five Daughters—A Visit to Arthur Young—The Duke de Liancourt's abortive Efforts at Rouen—The Duke's Escape to England: "Pot Portere"—Madame de Genlis's hasty Retreat—A Nobleman of the Ancien Regime—Ducal Vivacity and Sadness—Graceful offers of Hospitality—The Emigrants at juniper Hall described—Monsieur d'Arblay—M. de Jaucourt: Madame de Stael—Severe Decrees against the Emigrants—Monsieur Girardin—The Phillipses at juniper Hall—Mystery attending M. de Narbonne's Birth—Revolutionary Societies in Norfolk: Death of Mr. Francis—Departure of Madame de la Chatre—Arrival of M. de la Chatre—English Feeling at the Revolutionary Excesses—Louis XVI's Execution—A Gloomy Club Meeting—Madame de Stael at juniper Hall—Miss Burney's Admiration of Madame de Stael—Failing Resources—The Beginning of the End—"This Enchanting Monsieur d'Arblay"—Talleyrand is found charming—A Proposed Visit to Madame de Stael disapproved of—M. de Lally Tolendal and his Tragedy—Contemplated Dispersion of the French Colony—Madame de Stael's Words of Farewell: M. d'Arblay—Regrets respecting Madame do Stael—M. d'Arblay's Visit to Chesington—The Matrimonial Project is Discussed—Dr. Burney's Objections to the Match—The Marriage takes place—Announcement of the Marriage to a Friend.


The French Clergy Fund: The Toulon Expedition—Madame d'Arblay on her Marriage—Mr. Canning—Talleyrand's Letters of Adieu—M. d'Arblay's Horticultural Pursuits—Mrs. Piozzi—M. d'Arblay as a Gardener—A Novel and a Tragedy—

page vi Hastings's Acquittal: Dr. Burney's Metastasio—Baby d'Arblay—The withdrawn Tragedy—"Camilla"—An Invitation to the Hermitage— Presentation of "Camilla" at Windsor—A Conversation with the Queen—With the Princess Royal and Princess Augusta—A Present from the King and Queen—Curiosity regarding M. d'Arblay—The King approves the Dedication of "Camilla"—A delicious Chat with the Princesses—The King notices M. d'Arblay—The King and Queen on "Camilla"—Anecdote of the Duchess of York—A Visit to Mrs. Boscawen—The Relative Success of Madame d'Arblay's Novels—A Contemplated Cottage—The Princess Royal's first Interview with her Fianc'e—Opinions of the Reviews on "Camilla"—Death of Madame d'Arblay's Stepmother—The French Emigr'es at Norbury—Dr. Burney's depressed state—Covetous of Personal Distinction—Baby d'Arblay again and other Matters.


A Disagreeable journey Home—Burke's Funeral at Beaconsfield— Death of M. d'Arblay's Brother—From Crewe Hall to Chelsea—At Dr. Herschel's—Hospitality under Difficulties—War Taxes: "Camilla" Cottage—Visitors arrive inopportunely-Another Visit to the Royal Family—Interview with the Queen—The King and his Infant Grand-daughter—Admiral Duncan's Victory—The Prince and Princess of Orange—Some Notable Actresses—The Duke of Clarence—Princess Sophia of Gloucester—Indignation against Talleyrand—The d'Arblay Maisonnette—Interview with the Queen and the Princesses—Royal Contributions towards the War— Invitation to the Play—Mrs Schwellenberg's Successor—Madame d'Arblay's Little Boy at Court—His Presentation to the Queen— Mlle. Bachmeister produces a Favourable Impression.


A Visit to Mrs. Chapone—Mrs. Boscawen, Lady Strange, and Mr. Seward—A Mysterious Bank-Note—The new Brother-in-law: a Cordial Professor—Precocious Master Alex—The Page vii

Barbaulds—Princess Amelia at juniper Hall—Death of Mr. Seward— Dr. Burney again visits Dr. Herschel—Dr. Burney and the King— Overwhelmed with the Royal Graciousness—War Rumours—Illness and Death of Mrs. Phillips—A Princess's Condescension—Horticultural Misfortunes—A Withdrawn Comedy—M. d'Arblay's French Property— Home Matters—Contemplated journey to France—M. d'Arblay's Rough Sea Passage—Suggested Abandonment of Camilla Cottage—M. d'Arblay's Proposed Retirement from Military Service—M. d'Arblay's Disappointment—On the eve of Madame d'Arblay's journey to France—In France during the Peace and subsequently— Arrival at Calais—"God save the King!" on French Soil—A Ramble through the Town—Sunday on the Road to Paris—Engagements, Occupations, and Fatigues—Aristocratic Visitors—Anxiety to see the first Consul—At the Opera-bouffe—Difficulties respecting Madame de Stael—Madame de Lafayette—Sight-seeing at the Tuileries—A Good Place is Secured—M. d'Arblay's Military Comrades—Arrival of the Troops—An Important New Acquaintance— Madame c'est mon Mari—Advent of the first Consul—The Parade of Troops—A Scene—With M. d'Arblay's Relatives at joigny—Some joigny Acquaintances—The Influenza in Paris—Rumours of War— "Our little Cell at Passy"—The Prince of Wales eulogized—Dr. Burney at Bath—Affectionate Greetings to Dr. Burney—Dr. Burney's Diploma.


Narrative of Madame d'Arblay's journey to London—Anxiety to see Father and Friends—A Mild Minister of Police—Embarkation Interdicted—A Change of Plan—A New Passport obtained— Commissions for London—Delay at Dunkirk—The MS. of "The Wanderer"—Spanish Prisoners at Dunkirk—Surprised by an Officer of Police—Interrogated at the Police Office—The "Mary Ann" captured off Deal—joy on arriving in England—Young d'Arblay secures a Scholarship—The Queen alarmed by a Mad Woman—Weather Complaints: Proposed Meeting with Lord Lansdowne—A Young Girl's entry to London Society: Madame de Sta'el—Rogers the Poet— Interview with Mr. Wilberforce—Intended Publication of "The Wanderer"—General d'Arblay's wounded Comrades Page viii

—Death of Dr. Burney—Favourable News of M. d'Arblay—"The Wanderer"—Madame d'Arblay's Presentation to Louis XVIII.—At Grillon's Hotel—Grattan the Orator—A Demonstrative Irish Lady- -Inquiries after the Duchess d'Angouleme—Preparations for the Presentations—Arrival of Louis XVIII.—The Presentations to the King—A Flattering Royal Reception—An important Letter Delayed— M. d'Arblay arrives in England—A Brilliant Assemblage—M. d'Arblay enters Louis XVIII.'s Bodyguard.


An Interview with the Duchess of Angouleme—Arrival at the Tuileries—A Mis-apprehension—A Discovery and a Rectification— Conversation on Madame d'Arblay's Escape and M. d'Arblay's Loyalty—The Prince Regent the Duchess's Favourite—Narrative of Madame d'Arblay's Flight from Paris to Brussels—Prevailing Inertia on Bonaparte's return from Elba—Bonaparte's Advance: Contemplated Migration from Paris—General d'Arblay's Military Preparations—Preparations for Flight: Leave-takings—Aristocratic Irritability—The Countess d'Auch's Composure—Rumours of Bonaparte's near approach—Departure from Paris at Night Time—A Halt at Le Bourget—The journey Resumed—A Supper at Amiens with the Prefect—Reception at the Prefecture at Arras—A Cheerful D6jeuner somewhat ruffled—A Loyal Prefect— Emblems of Loyalty at Douay—State of Uncertainty at Orchies—A Mishap on the Road—A kindly offer of Shelter—Alarmed by Polish Lancers—Arrival at Tournay—Futile Efforts to Communicate with M. d'Arblay—Interviews with M. de Chateaubriand.


Sojourn at Brussels—Letters from General d'Arblay—Arrival of General d'Arblay—A Mission entrusted to General d'Arblay—"Rule Britannia!" in the All'ee Verte—General d'Arblay leaves for Luxembourg—An Exchange of visits—The Fete Dieu—The Eccentric Lady Caroline Lamb—A Proposed Royal Corps—Painful Suspense— Inquietude at Brussels—The Black Page ix

Brunswickers—The Opening of the Campaign—News from the Field of Battle—Project for quitting Brussels—Calmly awaiting the Result—Flight to Antwerp determined on—A Check met with—A Captured French General—The Dearth of News—Rumours of the French coming—French Prisoners brought in—News of Waterloo—The Victory declared to be complete—The Wounded and the Prisoners— Hostilities at an end: Te Deum for the Victory—Maternal Advice— About the Great Battle—An Accident befalls General d'Arblay— Madame d'Arblay's Difficulties in rejoining her Husband—A Friendly Reception at Cologne—From Cologne to Coblenz and Treves—Meeting with General d'Arblay—Waiting for Leave to return to France—Departure for Paris—A Chance View of the Emperor of Russia—English Troops in Occupation—Leavetaking: M. de Talleyrand.


Arrival in England—Alexander d'Arblay: Some old Bath Friends— French Affairs: General d'Arblay's Health—The Escape of Lavalette: The Streatham Portraits—Regarding Husband and Son— Maternal Anxieties—Advantages of Bath: Young d'Arblay's Degree— Playful Reproaches and Sober Counsel—Preparations for leaving Bath—Installed at Ilfracombe—A Captured Spanish Ship—The Spanish Captain's Cook—Ships in Distress—Young d'Arblay's Tutor—General d'Arblay's Ill-health—Particulars of Ilfracombe— Young d'Arblay's Aversion to Study—A Visit from the first Chess Player in England—A Coast Ramble in search of Curiosities— Caught, by the Rising Tide—Efforts to reach a place of safety—A Signal of Distress—Little Diane—Increasing Danger—The Last Wave of the Rising Tide—Arrival of Succour—Meeting between Mother and Son—General d'Arblay's return to England—The Princess Charlotte's Death—The Queen and Princesses at Bath— News arrives of the Princess Charlotte's Death—An old Acquaintance: Serious Illness of General d'Arblay—The General's First Attack: Delusive Hopes—General d'Arblay presented to the Queen—Gloomy Forebodings—Presents from the Queen and Princess Elizabeth—The General receives the Visit of a Priest—The Last Sacrament Administered—Farewell Words of Counsel—The End Arrives. Page x


Mournful Reflections—Visits received and Letters penned—Removal from Bath to London—Death of the Queen: Sketch of her Character- -Madame d'Arblay's Son is Ordained—With some Royal Highnesses— Queen Caroline—Gossip from an Old Friend, and the Reply—More Gossip—Ill-health of the Rev. A. d'Arblay: Dr. Burney's MSS.—A last Gossiping Letter—Death of Mrs. Piozzi—Mrs. Piozzi compared with Madame de Stael—Sister Hetty—Official Duties Temporarily Resumed—The Rev. A. d'Arblay named Lent Preacher—Madame d'Arblay's Health and Occupation—Destroyed Correspondence—The Princess and the Rev. A. d'Arblay—A Visit from Sir Walter Scott—Memoirs of Dr. Burney—Deaths of Hester Burney and Mrs. Locke—Death of the Rev. A. d'Arblay—Death of Madame d'Arblay's sister Charlotte—Illness and Death of Madame d'Arblay.

INDEX—459-480Page 11 SECTION 19. (1792-3)


[The following section must be pronounced, from the historical point of view, one of the most valuable in the " Diary." It gives us authentic glimpses of some of the actors in that great Revolution, "the Death-Birth of a new order," which was getting itself transacted, with such terrible accompaniments, across the channel. The refugees with whom Fanny grew acquainted, and who formed the little colony at juniper Hall, near Dorking, were not the men of the first emigration—princes and nobles who fled their country, like cowards, as soon as they found themselves in danger, and reentered it like traitors, in the van of a foreign invasion. Not such were the inmates of Juniper Hall. These were constitutional monarchists, men who had taken part with the people in the early stage of the Revolution, who had been instrumental in making the Constitution, and who had sought safety in flight only when the Constitution was crushed and the monarchy abolished by the triumph of the extreme party. To the grands seigneurs of the first emigration, these constitutional royalists, were scarcely less detestable than the jacobins themselves.

A few leading facts and dates will perhaps assist the reader to a clearer understanding of the situation. September 1791, the French Assembly, having finished its work of Constitution-making, and the said [Constitution being accepted by the king, retires gracefully, and the new Assembly, constitutionally elected, meets, October 1. But the Constitution, ushered in with such rejoicings, proves a failure. The king has the right to veto the acts of the Assembly, and he exerts that right with a vengeance :—vetoes their most urgent decrees: decree against the emigrant noblesse, plotting, there at Coblenz, the downfall of their country; decree against nonjuring priests, intriguing endlessly against the Constitution. Patriot-Minister Roland remonstrates with his majesty, and the patriotic ministry is forthwith dismissed. Meanwhile distress and

Page 12

disorder are everywhere, and emigration is on the increase Abroad, Austria and Prussia are threatening invasion, and the emigrants at Coblenz are clamorous for war. War with Austria is declared, April 20, 1792; war with Prussia follows three months later; England remaining still neutral. One of our friends of juniper Hall, Madame de Stal's friend, Count Louis de Narbonne, has been constitutional minister of war, but had to retire in March, when the popular ministry—Roland's—came into office. It is evident that the king and the Assembly cannot act together; nay, the king himself feels the impossibility of it, and is already setting his hopes on foreign interference, secretly corresponding with Austria and Prussia. The people of Paris, too, feel the impossibility, and are setting their hopes on something very different. The monarchy must go; jacobins' club(1) and men of the Gironde, afterwards at death- grapple with one another, are now united on this point; they, and not a constitutional government, are the true representatives of Paris and of France.

A year ago, July 1791, the people of Paris, demanding the deposition of the king, were dispersed by General Lafayette with volleys of musketry. But Lafayette's popularity and power are now gone. "The hero of two worlds," as he was called, was little more than a boy when he fought under Washington, in the cause of American independence. Animated by the same love of liberty which had carried him to America, Lafayette took part in the early movements of the French Revolution. In 1789, after the fall of the Bastille, he was commander of the national guard, and one of the most popular men in France. A high-minded man, full of sincerity, of enthusiasm: "Cromwell Grandison," Mirabeau nicknamed him. Devoted to the Constitution, Lafayette was no friend to the extreme party, to the jacobins, with their Danton, their Robespierre. He had striven for liberty, but for liberty and monarchy combined; and the two things were fast becoming irreconcilable. And now, in July 1792, distrusted alike by the Court and the people, Lafayette sits sad at Sedan, in the midst of his army. War has already commenced, with a desultory and unsuccessful attack by the French upon the Austrian Netherlands. But the real struggle is now approaching. Heralded by an insolent proclamation, the Duke of Brunswick is marching from Coblenz with more than a hundred thousand Prussians, Austrians, and emigrants ; and General Lafayette, alas ! appears more bent upon denouncing jacobinism than upon defending the frontier.

The country is indeed in danger. With open hostility advancing from without, doubt and suspicion fermenting within, Paris at last rises in good earnest, August 10, 1792. This is the answer to Brunswick's insolent proclamation. Paris attacks the Tuileries, King Louis and his family taking refuge in the Assembly; captures the Tuileries, not without terrible loss, the brave Swiss guard

Page 13

standing steadfast to their posts, and getting, the greater part of them, massacred. Yielding to the demands of the people, the Assembly passes decrees suspending the king, dismissing the ministers, and convoking a National Convention. This was the work of the famous 10th of August, the birthday of the French Republic. on the 13th August the royal family is sent to the prison of the Temple from whence the king and the queen, unhappy Marie Antoinette, will come forth only to trial and execution. A new patriotic ministry is formed—Rolan again minister of the interior, Danton, the soul of the insurrection, minister of justice; a tribunal is appointed) and the prisons of Paris are filled with persons suspect. Executions follow; but the tribunal makes not quick enough work. Austrians and Prussians are advancing towards Paris; in Paris itself thousands of aristocrats, enemies to their country, are lying hid, ready to join the foreign foes.

In these desperate straits, Paris, at least sansculotte Paris, frenzied and wild for vengeance, falls upon the mad expedient of massacring the prisoners: more than a thousand suspected royalists are slaughtered, after brief improvised Trial or pretence of trial; or even without trial at all. This butchery is known as the "September massacres" (Sept. 2-6, 1792), infamous in history, heartily approved by few, perhaps, even of the more violent Republicans; indignantly denounced by Rowland and the less violent, powerless, nevertheless, to interfere, Paris being "in death-panic, the enemy and gibbets at its door."(2) Sept. 22, the Legislative Assembly having Dissolved, the National Convention holds its first meeting and proclaims the Republic: royalty for ever abolished in France.

Among the feelings, with which the news of these events are received in England, horror predominates. Still the Government takes no decisive step. The English ambassador in Paris, Lord Gower, is indeed recalled, in consequence of the events of August 10, but the French ambassador, Chauvelin, yet remains in London, although unrecognised in an official capacity after the deposition of Louis. War is in the wind, and, although Fox and many members of the opposition earnestly deprecate any hostile interference in the affairs of the Republic, a strong contingent of the Whig party, headed by Burke, is not less earnest in their efforts to make peace with France impossible. Pitt, indeed, is in favour of neutrality, but Pitt is forced to give way at last. Meanwhile, the popular feeling in favour of the royalists is being heightened and extended by the constant influx of French refugees. Thousands of the recalcitrant clergy, especially, with no king's veto now to protect them, are seeking safety, in England. Many adherents of the Constitution, too, ex-members of the Assembly and others, are fleeing hither from a country intolerant of monarchists, even constitutional; establishing themselves at juniper Hall and elsewhere. Among them we note the Duke de Liancourt, whose escape the reader will find related in the following pages; Count de Lally-

Page 14

Tollendal and M. de jaucourt, saved, both, by - good fortune, from the September massacres ; Vicomte de Montmorency, or call him citoyen, who voted for the abolition of titles; ex-minister of war Narbonne, concealed after August 10 by Madame de Stael, and escaping disguised as a servant; and presently, too, Madame de Stael herself; and last, but not least interesting to readers of the Diary, General Alexandre dArblay, whom Fanny will before long fall in love with and marry. One person, too, there is, more noteworthy, or at least more prominent in history, than any of these, whom Fanny meets at Mickleham, whom she dislikes instinctively at first sight, but whose plausible speech and ingratiating manners soon make a convert of her.

This is citizen Talleyrand—Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Prigord, Bishop of Autun. He, too, is now an emigrant, although he came to England in a far different character, as secret ambassador from the Constitutional Government of France ; citizen Chauvelin being the nominal ambassador. On the whole, Talleyrand's diplomacy has not been productive of much good, to himself or others. Back in Paris before the 10th of August, he returned to London in September with a passport from Danton. A questionable man; some think him a jacobin, others a royalist in disguise. And now, while he is in London, there is talk of him in the Convention : citizen Talleyrand, it seems, has professed himself " disposed to serve the king ;" whereupon (December 5, 1792) citizen Talleyrand is decreed accused, and his name is inscribed on the list of emigrants.

We must turn once again to France. At Sedan, in a white heat of indignation on the news of that 10th of August, constitutional (sic) Lafayette emits a proclamation : the Constitution is destroyed, the king a prisoner: let us march for Paris and restore them! There is hope at first, that the army will follow Lafayette, but hope tells a flattering tale : the soldiers, it seems, care more for their country than for the Constitution. Lafayette sees that all is lost ; rides (August 18) for Holland with a few friends, of whom General d'Arblay is one; intends to take passage thence for America, but falls, instead, into the hands of the Austrians, and spends the next few years imprisoned in an Austrian fortress. General d'Arblay, after a few days, is allowed to proceed to England.

Lafayette gone, the command of the army falls to General Dumouriez. Brunswick with his Prussians and emigrants, Clairfait with his Austrians, are now in France; advancing upon Paris. They take Longwy and Verdun; try to take Thonville and Lille, but cannot; and find Dumouriez and his sansculottes, there in the passes of Argonne, the "Thermopylae of France," an unexpectedly hard nut to crack. In fact, the nut is not to be cracked at all: Dumouriez, " more successful than Leonidas," flings back the invasion; compels the invaders to evacuate France; and in November, assuming the offensive, conquers the whole Austrian Netherlands. Meantime, in the south-east, the war in

Page 15

which the Republic is engaged with the King of Sardinia progresses also favourably, and Savoy and Nice are added to the French territory. Europe may arm, but a people fighting for an ideal is not to be crushed. France has faith in her ideal of liberty and fraternity, questionable or worse though some of the methods are by which she endeavours to realise it. But Danton is right: "il nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace;" and with superb audacity the Republic defies the armed powers of Europe, decrees (November 19) assistance to every nation that will strike a blow for freedom, and cast off its tyrants. A yet more daring act of defiance follows—tragic to all men, unspeakably horrible to Fanny Burney and all friends of monarchy, constitutional or other. In December 1792, poor King Louis is tried before the National Convention, found guilty of "conspiring against liberty;" condemned to death by a majority of votes; in January, executed January 21. It is even as Danton said in one of his all-too gigantic figures 'the coalesced kings threaten us; we hurl at their feet, as gage of battle, the Head of a King."' (3) Louis's kinsman, profligate Philippe Egalit, ci-devant Duc d'Orlans, votes for death; before another year has passed he himself will have perished by the guillotine. In England, war is resolved upon; even Pitt sees not how it can be avoided. January 24, ambassador Chauvelin is ordered to quit England within eight days; Talleyrand remaining yet another year. Spain, too, is arming, and Holland is England's ally. War being inevitable, the Republic determines to be first in the field; declares war on England and Holland, February 1, 1793, and on Spain, March 7.-ED.]


August 1792. Our ambassador is recalled from France Russia has declared war against that wretched kingdom. But it may defy all outward enemies to prove in any degree destructive in comparison with its lawless and barbarous inmates. We shall soon have no authentic accounts from Paris, as no English are expected to remain after the ambassador, and no French will dare to write, in such times of pillage, what may carry them la lanterne.(4)

Page 16

(Mrs. Phillips to Fanny Burney.) Mickleham, September 1792. We shall shortly, I believe, have a little colony of unfortunate (or rather) fortunate, since here they are safe) French noblesse in our neighbourhood. Sunday evening Ravely informed Mr. Locke that two or three families had joined to take Jenkinson's house, juniper Hall, and that another family had taken a small house at Westhamble, which the people very reluctantly let, upon the Christian-like supposition that, being nothing but French papishes, they would never pay. Our dear Mr. Locke, while this was agitating, sent word to the landlord that he would be answerable for the rent ; however, before this message arrived, the family were admitted. The man said they had pleaded very hard indeed, and said, if he did but know the distress they had been in, he would not hesitate.

This house is taken by Madame de Broglie, daughter of the mareschal, who is in the army with the French princes;(5) or, rather, wife to his son, Victor Broglie, till very lately general of one of the French armies, and at present disgraced, and fled nobody knows where. This poor lady came over in an open boat, with a son younger than my Norbury, and was fourteen hours at sea. She has other ladies with her, and gentlemen, and two little girls, who had been sent to England some weeks ago; they are all to lodge in a sort of cottage, containing only a kitchen and parlour on the ground floor.

I long to offer them my house, 'and have been much gratified by finding Mr. Locke immediately determined to visit them; his taking this step will secure them the civilities, at least, of the other neighbours.

At Jenkinson's are-la Marquise de la Chtre, whose husband is with the emigrants; her son; M. de Narbonne, lately ministre de la guerre;(6) M. de Montmorency; Charles or Theodore Lameth; Jaucourt; and one or two more, whose names I have forgotten, are either arrived to-day, or expected. I feel infinitely interested for all these persecuted persons. Pray tell me whatever you hear of M. de Liancourt, etc. Heaven bless you!

Page 17


(Fanny Burney to Dr. Burney.) Halstead, October 2, '92. My dearest padre,-I have just got your direction, in a letter from my mother, and an account that you seem to be in health and spirits; so now I think it high time to let you know a little about some of your daughters, lest you should forget you have any such incumbrances.

In the first place, two of them, Esther and F. B., had a safe and commodious journey hither, in the midst of pattering showers and cloudy skies, making up as well as they could for the deficiencies of the elements by the dulcet recreation of the concord of sweet sounds ; not from tabrets and harps, but from the harmony of hearts with tongues.

In the second place, a third of them, Charlotte F., writes word her caro sposo has continued very tolerably well this last fortnight, and that she still desires to receive my visit according to the first appointment.

In the third place, a fourth of them, Sarah, is living upon French politics and with French fugitives, at Bradfield,(7) where she seems perfectly satisfied with foreign forage.

In the fourth place, Susanna, another of them, sends cheering histories of herself and her tribe, though she concludes them with a sighing ejaculation of "I wish I did not know there was such a country as France !"


Oct. 5.-I left Halstead, and set off, alone, for Bradfield Hall, which was but one stage of nineteen miles distant. Sarah,(9) who was staying with her aunt, Mrs. Young, expected

Page 18

me, and came running out before the chaise stopped at the door, and Mr. Young following, with both hands full of French newspapers. He welcomed me with all his old spirit and impetuosity, exclaiming his house never had been so honoured since its foundation, nor ever could be again, unless I re-visited it in my way back, even though all England came in the meantime!

Do you not know him well, my Susan, by this opening rodomontade?

"But where," cried he, "is Hetty? O that Hetty! Why did you not bring her with you? That wonderful creature! I have half a mind to mount horse, and gallop to Halstead to claim her! What is there there to merit her? What kind of animals have you left her with? Anything capable of understanding her?"

During this we mounted up-stairs, into the dining-room. Here all looked cold and comfortless, and no Mrs. Young appeared. I inquired for her, and heard that her youngest daughter, Miss Patty, had just had a fall from her horse, which had bruised her face, and occasioned much alarm.

The rest of the day we spoke only of French politics. Mr. Young is a severe penitent of his democratic principles, and has lost even all pity for the constituants rvolutionnaires, who had "taken him in" by their doctrines, but cured him by their practice, and who "ought better to have known what they were about before they presumed to enter into action."

Even the Duc de Liancourt,(11) who was then in a small house at Bury, merited, he said, all the personal misfortunes that had befallen him. "I have real obligations to him," he added, "and therefore I am anxious to show him respect, and do him any service, in his present reverse of fortune; but he has brought it all on himself, and, what is worse; on his country."

He wrote him, however, a note to invite him to dinner the next day. The duke wrote an answer, that lamented excessively being engaged to meet Lord Euston, And dine with the Bury aldermen.

Page 19


I must now tell you the history of this poor duke's arriving in England, for it involves a revival of loyalty-an effort to make some amends to his unhappy sovereign for the misery into which he had largely contributed to plunge him; which, with me, has made his peace for ever.

But first I should tell, he was the man who almost compelled the every-way- deluded Louis to sanction the National Assembly by his presence when first it resisted his orders. The queen and all her party were strongly against the measure, and prophesied it would be the ruin of his authority; but the duke, highly ambitious of fame, as Mr. Young describes him, and willing to sacrifice everything to the new systems then pervading all France, suddenly rushed into his closet, upon the privilege of being one of the five or seven pairs de France(12) who have that licence, and, with a strong and forcible eloquence, declared nothing but his concession would save the nation from a civil war; while his entering, unarmed, into the National Assembly, would make him regarded for ever as the father and saviour of his people, and secure him the powerful sovereignty of the grateful hearts of all his subjects.

He succeeded, and the rest is public.

This incident has set all the Coblenz(13) party utterly and for ever against the duke. He had been some time in extreme anguish for the unhappy king, whose ill-treatment on the 20th of June 1792,(14) reached him while commandant at Rouen. He then first began to see, that the monarch or the jacobins must inevitably fall, and he could scarce support the prospect of ultimate danger threatening the former. When the news reached him of the bloody 10th of August, a plan which for some time he had been forming, of gaining over his regiment to the service of the king, was rendered abortive. Yet all his officers except One had promised to join in any enterprise for their insulted master. He had hoped to get the king to

Page 20

Rouen under this protection, as I gather, though this matter has never wholly transpired, But the king could not be persuaded to trust any one. How should he?—especially a revolutionnaire?

No time now was to be lost, and, in his first impetuosity of rage and despair, he instantly summoned his officers and his troops ; and, in the midst of them all, upon the parade or place of assembling, he took off his hat, and called out aloud, "Vive le roi!"

His officers echoed the sound, all but one!—yet not a soldier joined. Again be waved his hat, and louder and louder called out, "Vive le roi!" And then every soldier repeated it after him.

Enchanted with hope, he felt one exulting moment, when this single dissentient officer called out aloud, as soon as the loyal cry was over, "As an officer of the nation I forbid this!—Vive la nation!"

The duke instantly had the man arrested, and retired to his apartment to compose his excess agitation, and consider how to turn this promise of loyalty to the service of his now imprisoned king; but, in a short time, an officer strongly attached to him entered the room hastily, and cried, "Sauvez vous, M. de Liancourt!(15)—be speedy! the jacobin party of Rouen have heard of your indiscretion and a price is this moment set upon your head!"

The duke knew too well with whom he had to act for a moment's hesitation. To serve the king was now impossible, as he had but to appear in order to be massacred. He could only save his own life by flight.


In what manner he effected his escape out of Rouen he has never mentioned. I believe he was assisted by those who, remaining behind, could only be named to be torn in pieces for their humanity. M. Jamard, a French priest, tells me no human being knows when or how he got away, and none suspected him to be gone for two days. He went first to Abbeville there, for two days, he appeared everywhere, walking about in his regimentals, and assuming an air of having nothing to apprehend. This succeeded, as his indiscretion had not yet spread at Abbeville; but, meanwhile, a

Page 21

youth whom he had brought up from a child, and on whose fond regard and respect he could rely, was employed in seeking him the means of passing over to England. This was infinitely difficult, as he was to leave France without any passport.

How he quitted Abbeville I know not; but he was in another town, near the coast, three days, still waiting for a safe conveyance; and here, finding his danger increased greatly by delay, he went to some common house, without dress or equipage or servants that could betray him, and spent his whole time in bed, under pretence of indisposition, to avoid being seen.

At length his faithful young groom succeeded; and he got, at midnight, into a small boat, with only two men. He had been taken for the King of France by one, who had refused to convey him ; and some friend, who assisted his escape, was forced to get him off, at last, by holding a pistol to the head of his conductor, and protesting he would shoot him through and through, if he made further demur, or spoke aloud. It was dark, and midnight.

Both he and his groom planted themselves in the bottom of the boat, and were covered with fagots, lest any pursuit should ensue : and thus wretchedly they were suffocated till they thought themselves at a safe distance from France. The poor youth then, first looking up, exclaimed, "Ah! nous sommes perdus!(16) they are carrying us back to our own country!" The duke started up; he had the same opinion, but thought opposition vain; he charged him to keep silent and quiet; and after about another league, they found this, at least, a false alarm, owing merely to a thick fog or mist.

At length they landed—at Hastings, I think. The boatman had his money, and they walked on to the nearest public-house. The duke, to seem English, called for "pot portere." It was brought him, and he drank it off in two draughts, his drought being extreme ; and he called for another instantly. That also, without any suspicion or recollection of consequences, was as hastily swallowed; and what ensued he knows not. He was intoxicated, and fell into a profound sleep. His groom helped the people of the house to carry him upstairs and put him to bed. How long he slept he knows not, but he woke in the middle of the night without the smallest consciousness of where he was, or what had happened. '

Page 22

France alone was in his head-France and its horrors, which nothing-not even English porter and intoxication and sleep - could drive away.

He looked round the room with amaze at first, and soon after with consternation. It was so unfurnished, so miserable, so lighted with only one small bit of a candle, that it occurred to him he was in a maison de force(17) '- thither conveyed in his sleep. The stillness of everything confirmed this dreadful idea. He arose, slipped on his clothes, and listened at the door. He heard no sound. He was scarce, yet, I suppose, quite awake, for he took the candle, and determined to make an attempt to escape.

Down-stairs he crept, neither hearing nor making any noise and he found himself in a kitchen ' he looked round, and the brightness of a shelf of pewter plates struck his eye under them were pots and kettles shining and polished. "Ah! "? cried he to himself, "je suis en Angleterre."(18) The recollection came all at once at sight of a cleanliness which, in these articles, he says, is never met with in France.

He did not escape too soon, for his first cousin, the good Duc de la Rochefoucault, another of the first rvolutionnaires, was massacred the next month.(19) The character he has given of this murdered relation is the most affecting, in praise and virtues, that can possibly be heard. k Sarah has heard him till she could not keep the tears from her eyes. They had been lves(20) together, and loved each other as the tenderest brothers.


You will all be as sorry as I was myself to hear that every ill story of la Comtesse de Genlis was confirmed by the duke.

Page 23

She was resident at Bury, when he arrived, with Mlle. Egalit, Pamela, Henrietta Circe, and several others, who appeared in various ways, as artists, gentlemen, domestics, and equals, on various occasions. The history of their way of life is extraordinary, and not very comprehensible, probably owing to the many necessary difficulties which the new 'system of equality produces.(21)

A lady of Bury, a sister of Sir Thomas Gage, had been very much caught by Madame Brulard,(22) who had almost lived at the house of Sir Thomas. Upon the arrival of the duke he was invited to Sir Thomas Gage's immediately; and Miss G, calling upon Madame Brulard, mentioned him, and asked if she knew him?—No, she answered; but she had seen him. This was innocently repeated to the duke, who then, in a transport of rage, broke out with "Elle M'a vu!(23) and is that all?—Does she forget that she has spoke to me? that she has heard me too? " And then he related, that when all was wearing the menacing aspect of anarchy, before it broke out, and before he was ordered to his regiment at Rouen, he had desired an audience of Madame Brulard, for the first time, having been always a friend of Madame d'Orlans, and consequently her enemy. She was unwilling to see him, but he would not be refused. He then told her that France was upon the point of ruin, and that the Duc d'Orlans, who had been its destruction, and "the disgrace of the Revolution," could alone now prevent the impending havoc. He charged her therefore, forcibly and peremptorily, to take in charge a change of measures, and left her with an exhortation which he then flattered himself would have some chance of averting the coming dangers. But quickly -after she quitted France voluntarily, and settled in England. "And can she have forgot all this ?" cried he.

I know not if this was repeated to Madame de Brulard but certain it is she quitted Bury with the utmost expedition, She did not even wait to pay her debts, and left the poor Henrietta Circe behind, as a sort of hostage, to prevent alarm. The creditors, however, finding her actually gone, entered the house, and poor Henrietta was terrified into hysterics. Probably she knew not but they were jacobins, or would act upon jacobin principles. Madame Brulard then

Page 24

sent for her, and remitted money, and proclaimed her intention of returning to Suffolk no more.


The duke accepted the invitation for to-day, and came early, on horseback. He had just been able to get over some two or three of his horses from France. He has since, I hear, been forced to sell them.

Mrs. Young was not able to appear; Mr. Young came to my room door to beg I would waste no time; Sarah and I, therefore, proceeded to the drawing-room. The duke was playing with a favourite dog-the thing probably the most dear to him in England; for it was just brought him over by his faithful groom, whom he had sent back upon business to his son.

He is very tall, and, were his figure less, would be too fat, but all is in proportion. His face, which is very handsome, though not critically so, has rather a haughty expression when left to itself, but becomes soft and spirited in turn, according to whom he speaks, and has great play and variety. His deportment is quite noble, and in a style to announce conscious rank even to the most sedulous equaliser. His carriage is peculiarly upright, and his person uncommonly well made. His manners are such as only admit of comparison with what We have read, not what we have seen; for he has all the air of a man who would wish to lord over men, but to cast himself at the feet of women.

He was in mourning for his barbarously murdered cousin the Duc de la Rochefoucault. His first address was of the highest style. I shall not attempt to recollect his words, but they were most elegantly expressive of his satisfaction in a meeting he had long, he said, desired.

With Sarah he then shook hands. She had been his interpretess here on his arrival, and he seems to have conceived a real kindness for her; an honour of which she is extremely sensible, and with reason.

A little general talk ensued, and he made a point of curing Sarah of being afraid of his dog. He made no secret of thinking it affectation, and never rested till he had conquered it completely. I saw here, in the midst of all that at first so powerfully struck me of dignity, importance, and high-breeding, a true French Polisson; for he called the dog round her, made it jump on her shoulder, and amused himself as,

Page 25

in England, only a schoolboy or a professed fox-hunter would have dreamt of doing.

This, however, recovered me to a little ease, which his compliment had rather overset. Mr. Young hung back, nearly quite silent. Sarah was quiet when reconciled to the dog, or, rather, subdued by the duke; and then, when I thought it completely out of his head, he tranquilly drew a chair next mine, and began a sort of separate conversation, which he suffered nothing to interrupt till we were summoned to dinner.

His subject was 'Cecilia;' and he seemed not to have the smallest idea I could object to discussing it, any more than if it had been the work of another person. I answered all his demands and interrogatories with a degree of openness I have never answered any other upon this topic; but the least hope of beguiling the misery of an migr tames me.

Mr. Young listened with amaze, and all his ears, to the many particulars and elucidations which the duke drew from me; he repeatedly called out he had heard nothing of them before, and rejoiced he was at least present when they were communicated.

This proved, at length, an explanation to the duke himself, that, the moment he understood, made him draw back, saying, "Peut-tre que je suis indiscret?"(24) However, he soon returned to the charge - and when Mr. Young made any more exclamations, he heeded them not: he smiled, indeed, when Sarah also affirmed he had procured accounts she had never heard before; but he has all the air of a man not new to any mark of more than common favour. At length we were called to dinner, during which he spoke of general things.


The French of Mr. Young, at table, was very comic ; he never hesitates for a word, but puts English wherever he is at a loss, with a mock French pronunciation. "Monsieur Duc," as he calls him, laughed once or twice, but clapped him on the back, called him "un brave homme," and gave him instruction as well as encouragement in all his blunders.

When the servants were gone, the duke asked me if anybody might write a letter to the king? I fancy he had some per-

Page 26

sonal idea of this kind. I told him yes, but through the hands of a lord of the bedchamber, or some state officer, or a minister. He seemed pensive, but said no more.

He inquired, however, if I had not read to the queen and seemed to wish to understand my office; but here he was far more circumspect than about 'Cecilia.' He has lived so much in a Court, that he knew exactly how far he might inquire with the most scrupulous punctilio.

I found, however, he had imbibed the jacobin notion that our beloved king was still disordered; for, after some talk upon his illness, and very grave and proper expressions concerning the affliction and terror it produced in the kingdom, he looked at me very fixedly,, and, with an arching brow, said, "Mais, mademoiselle—aprs tout—le roi—est il bien guri?"(25)

I gave him such assurances as he could not doubt, from their simplicity, which resulted from their truth.

Mr. Young would hardly let Sarah and me retreat; however, we promised to meet soon to coffee. I went away full of concern for his injuries, and fuller of amazement at the vivacity with which he bore them.

When at last we met in the drawing-room, I found the duc all altered. Mr. Young had been forced away by business, and was but just returned, and he had therefore been left a few minutes by himself; the effect was visible, and extremely touching. Recollections and sorrow had retaken possession of his mind; and his spirit, his vivacity, his power of rallying were all at an end. He was strolling about the room with an air the most gloomy, and a face that looked enveloped in clouds of sadness and moroseness. There was a fiert almost even fierce in his air and look, as, wrapped in himself, he continued his walk. I felt now an increasing compassion:—what must he not suffer when he ceases to fight with his calamities! Not to disturb him we talked with one another; but he soon shook himself and joined us; though he could not bear to sit down, or stand a moment in a place.


Sarah spoke of Madame Brulard, and, in a little malice, to draw him out, said her sister knew her very well. The duc "

Page 27

with eyes of fire at the sound, came up to me: "Comment, mademoiselle! vous avez connu cette coquine de Brulard?"(26) And then he asked me what I had thought of her.

I frankly answered that I had thought her charming; gay, intelligent, well-bred, well-informed, and amiable.

He instantly drew back, as if sorry he had named her so roughly, and looked at Sally for thus surprising him; but I immediately continued that I could now no longer think the same of her, as I could no longer esteem her; but I confessed my surprise had been inexpressible at her duplicity.

'He allowed that, some years ago, she might have a better chance than now of captivation - for the deeper she had immersed in politics, the more she had forfeited of feminine attraction. "Ah!" he cried, " with her talents-her knowledge-her parts-had she been modest, reserved, gentle, what a blessing might she have proved to her country! but she is devoted to intrigue and cabal, and proves its curse." He then spoke with great asperity against all the femmes de lettres now known; he said they were commonly the most disgusting of their sex, in France, by their arrogance, boldness, and mauvais moeurs.


I inquired if Mr. Young had shown him a letter from the Duke of Grafton, which he had let me read in the morning. It was to desire Mr. Young would acquaint him if the Duc de Liancourt was still in Bury, and, if so, to wait upon him, in the Duke of Grafton's name, to solicit him to make Euston his abode while in England, and to tell him that he should have his apartments wholly unmolested, and his time wholly unbroken; that he was sensible, in such a situation of mind, he must covet much quiet and freedom from interruption and impertinence; and he therefore promised that, if he would honour his house with his residence, it should be upon the same terms as if he were in an hotel-that he would never know if he were at home or abroad, or even in town or in the country - and he hoped the Duc de Liancourt would make no more scruple of accepting such an asylum and retreat at his house than he would himself have done of accepting a similar

Page 28

one from the duke in France, if the misfortunes of his own country had driven him to exile.

I was quite in love with the Duke of Grafton for this kindness. The Duc de Liancourt bowed to my question, and seemed much gratified with the invitation; but I see he cannot brook obligation; he would rather live in a garret, and call it his own. He told me, however, with an air of some little pleasure, that he had received just such another letter from Lord Sheffield. I believe both these noblemen had been entertained at Liancourt some years ago.

I inquired after Madame la duchesse, and I had the satisfaction to hear she was safe in Switzerland. The duke told me she had purchased an estate there.

He inquired very particularly after your juniper colony, and M. de Narbonne, but said he most wished to meet with M. d'Arblay, who was a friend and favourite of his eldest son.


[It is hoped that some pages from Mrs. Phillips's journalizing letters to her sister, written at this period, may not be unacceptable , since they give particulars concerning several distinguished actors and sufferers in the French Revolution, and also contain the earliest description of M. d'Arblay.(27))

(Mrs. Philips to Fanny Burney.) Mickleham, November, 1792. It gratifies me very much that I have been able to interest you for our amiable and charming neighbours.

Mrs. Locke had been so kind as to pave the way for my introduction to Madame de la Chtre, and carried me on Friday to juniper Hall, where we found M. de Montmorency, a ci-devant duc,(28) and one who gave some of the first great examples of sacrificing personal interest to what was then considered the public good. I know not whether you will like him the better when I tell you that from him proceeded the motion for the abolition of titles in France; but if you do

Page 29

not, let me, in his excuse, tell you he was scarcely one-and- twenty when an enthusiastic spirit impelled him to this, I believe, ill-judged and mischievous act. My curiosity was greatest to see M. de Jaucourt, because I remembered many lively and spirited speeches made by him during the time of the Assemble Lgislalive, and that he was a warm defender of my favourite hero, M. Lafayette.

Of M. de Narbonne's abilities we could have no doubt from his speeches and letters whilst ministre de la guerre, which post he did not quit till last May.(29) By his own desire, he then joined Lafayette's army, and acted under him; but on the 10th of August, he was involved, with perhaps nearly all the most honourable and worthy of the French nobility, accused as a traitor by the jacobins, and obliged to fly from his country M. d'Argenson was already returned to France, and Madame de Broglie had set out the same day, November 2nd, hoping to escape the decree against the emigrants.(30)

Madame de la Chtre received us with great politeness. She is about thirty-three; an elegant figure, not pretty, but with an animated and expressive countenance; very well read, pleine d'esprit, and, I think, very lively and charming.

A gentleman was with her whom Mrs. Locke had not yet seen, M. d'Arblay. She introduced him, and when he had quitted the room, told us he was adjutant-general to M. Lafayette, marchal de camp, and in short the first in military rank of those who had accompanied that general when he so unfortunately fell into the hands of the Prussians; but, not having been one of the Assemble Constituante, he was allowed, with four others, to proceed into Holland, and there M. de Narbonne wrote to him. "Et comme il l'aime infiniment," said Madame de la Chtre, "il l'a pri de venir vivre avec lui."(31

He had arrived only two days before. He is tall, and a good figure, with an open and manly countenance; about forty, I imagine.

It was past twelve. However, Madame de la Chtre owned

Page 30

she had not breakfasted—ces messieurs were not yet ready. A little man, who looked very triste indeed, in an old- fashioned suit of clothes, with long flaps to a waistcoat embroidered in silks no longer very brilliant, sat in a corner of the room. I could not imagine who he was, but when he spoke was immediately convinced he was no Frenchman. I afterwards heard he had been engaged by M. de Narbonne for a year, to teach him and all the party English. He had had a place in some college in France at the beginning of the Revolution, but was now driven out and destitute. His name is Clarke. He speaks English with an accent tant soit Peu Scotch.

Madame de la Chtre, with great franchise entered into details of her situation and embarrassment, whether she might venture, like Madame de Broglie, to go over to France, in which case she was dans le cas o elle pouvoit toucher sa fortune(32) immediately. She said she could then settle in England, and settle comfortably. M. de la Chtre, it seems, previous to his joining the king's brothers, had settled upon her her whole fortune. She and all her family were great favourers of the original Revolution and even at this moment she declares herself unable to wish the restoration of the old rgime, with its tyranny and corruptions—persecuted and ruined as she and thousands more have been by the unhappy consequences of the Revolution,

M. de Narbonne now came in. He seems forty, rather fat, but would be handsome were it not for a slight cast of one eye. He was this morning in great spirits. Poor man! It was the only time I have ever seen him so. He came up very courteously to me, and begged leave de me faire Sa Cour(33) at Mickleham, to which I graciously assented.

Then came M. de jaucourt, whom I instantly knew by Mr. Locke's description. He is far from handsome, but has a very intelligent countenance, fine teeth, and expressive eyes. I scarce heard a word from him, but liked his appearance exceedingly, and not the less for perceiving his respectful and affectionate manner of attending to Mr. Locke but when Mr. Locke reminded us that Madame de la Chtre had not breakfasted, we took leave, after spending an hour in a manners so pleasant and so interesting that it scarcely appeared ten minutes.


NOV. 7.- —Phillips was at work in the parlour, and I had just stepped into the next room for some papers I wanted, when I heard a man's voice, and presently distinguished these words: "Je ne parle pas trop bien l'Anglois, monsieur."(34) I came forth immediately to relieve Phillips, and then found it was M. d'Arblay.

I received him de bien bon coeur, as courteously as I could. The adjutant of M. Lafayette, and one of those who proved faithful to that excellent general, could not but be interesting to me. I was extremely pleased at ]its coming, and more and more pleased with himself every moment that passed. He seems to me a true militaire, franc et loyal—open as the day; warmly affectionate to his friends; intelligent, ready, and amusing in conversation, with a great share of gait de coeur, and, at the same time, of navet and bonne foi. He was no less flattering to little Fanny than M. de Narbonne had been.

We went up into the drawing-room with him, and met Willy on the stairs, and Norbury capered before us. "Ah, madame," cried M. d'Arblay, "la jolie petite maison que vous avez, et les jolis petits htes!"(35) looking at the children, the drawings, etc. He took Norbury on his lap and played with -him. I asked him if he was not proud of being so kindly noticed by the adjutant-general of M. Lafayette? "Est-ce qu'il sait le nom de M. Lafayette?"(36) said he, smiling. I said he was our hero, and that I was thankful to see at least one of his faithful friends here. I asked if M. Lafayette was allowed to write and receive letters. He said yes, but they were always given to him open.

- Norbury now (still seated on his lap) took courage to whisper him, "Were you, sir, put in prison with M. Lafayette?" "Oui, mon ami," "And—was it quite dark?" I was obliged, laughing, to translate this curious question. M. d'Arblay laughed too: "Non, mon ami," said he, "on nous amis abord dans une assez jolie chambre."(37)

i lamented the hard fate of M. Lafayette, and the rapid and wonderful reverse he had met with, after having been, as he

Page 32

well merited to be, the most popular man in France. This led M. d'Arblay to speak of M. de Narbonne, to whom I found him passionately attached. Upon my mentioning the sacrifices made by the French nobility, and by a great number of them voluntarily, he said no one had made more than M. de Narbonne; that, previous to the Revolution, he had more wealth and more power than almost any except the princes of the blood.

For himself, he mentioned his fortune and his income from his appointments as something immense, but 1 never remember the number of hundred thousand livres, nor can tell what their amount is without some consideration. . . .

The next day Madame de la Chtre was so kind as to send me the French papers, by her son, who made a silent visit of about five minutes.


Friday morning.-I sent Norbury with the French papers, desiring him to give them to M. d'Arblay. He stayed a prodigious while, and at last came back attended by M. de Narbonne, M. de Jaucourt, and M. d'Arblay. M. de Jaucourt is a delightful man—as comic, entertaining, unaffected, unpretending, and good-humoured as dear Mr Twining, only younger, and not quite so black. He is a man likewise of first-rate abilities—M. de Narbonne says, perhaps superior to Vaublanc(38) and of very uncommon firmness and integrity of character.

The account Mr. Batt gave of the National Assembly last summer agrees perfectly with that of M. de Jaucourt, who had the misfortune to be one of the deputies, and who, upon some great occasion in support of the king and constitution, found only twenty-four members who had courage to support him, though a far more considerable number gave him secretly their good wishes and prayers. It was on this that he regarded all hope of justice and order as lost, and that he gave in sa dmission(39) from the Assembly. In a few days he was seized, and sans forme de proces(40) having lost his inviolability as a

Page 33

member, thrown into the prison of the Abbaye, where, had it not been for the very extraordinary and admirable exertions of Madame de Stael (M. Necker's daughter, and the Swedish ambassador's wife), he would infallibly have been massacred.

I must here tell you that this lady, who was at that time seven months gone with child, was indefatigable in her efforts to save every one she knew from this dreadful massacre. She walked daily (for carriages were not allowed to pass in the streets) to the H6tel de Ville, and was frequently shut up for five hours together with the horrible wretches that composed the Comit de Surveillance, by whom these murders were directed; and by her eloquence, and the consideration demanded by her rank and her talents, she obtained the deliverance of above twenty unfortunate prisoners, some of whom she knew but slightly. . . .

Madame de la Chtre and M. de Jaucourt have since told me that M. de Narbonne and M. d'Arblay had been treated with singular ingratitude by the king, whom they nevertheless still loved as well as forgave. They likewise say he wished to get rid of M. de Narbonne from the ministry, because he could not trust him with his projects of contre revolution.

M. d'Arblay was the officer on guard at the Tuileries the night on which the king, etc., escaped to Varennes,(41) and ran great risk of being denounced, and perhaps massacred, though he had been kept in the most perfect ignorance of the king's intention.


The next Sunday, November 18th, Augusta and Amelia came to me after church, very much grieved at the inhuman decrees just passed in the Convention, including as emigrants, with those who have taken arms against their country, all who have quitted it since last July; and adjudging their estates to confiscation, and their persons to death should they return to France.

" Ma'am," said Mr. Clarke, " it reduces this family to nothing : all they can hope is, by the help of their parents and friends, to get together wherewithal to purchase a cottage in America, and live as they can."

Page 34

I was more shocked and affected by this account than I could very easily tell you. To complete the tragedy, M. de Narbonne had determined to write an offer—a request rather—to be allowed to appear as a witness in behalf of the king, upon his trial ; and M. d'Arblay had declared he would do the same, and share the fate of his friend, whatever it might be.


On Tuesday, the 20th, I called to condole with our friends on these new misfortunes. Madame de la Chtre received me with politeness, and even cordiality: she told me she was a little recovered from the first shock—that she should hope to gather together a small dbris of her fortune, but never enough to settle in England—that, in short, her parti tait pris(42)—that she must go to America. It went to my heart to hear her say so. Presently came in M. Girardin. He is son to the Marquis de Girardin d'Ermenonville, the friend of Rousseau, whose last days were passed, and whose remains are deposited, in his domain. This M. Girardin was a pupil of Rousseau; he was a member of the Legislative Assembly, and an able opponent of the jacobins.

It was to him that M. Merlin, aprs bien de gestes menaans,(43) had held a pistol, in the midst of the Assembly. His father was a mad republican, and never satisfied with the rational spirit of patriotism that animated M. Girardin; who, witnessing the distress of all the friends he most esteemed and honoured, and being himself in personal danger from the enmity of the jacobins, had, as soon as the Assemble Lgislative broke up, quitted Paris, I believe, firmly determined never to re-enter it under the present rgime.

I was prepossessed very much in favour of this gentleman, from his conduct in the late Assembly and all we had heard of him. I confess I had not represented him to myself as a great, fat, heavy-looking man, with the manners of a somewhat hard and morose Englishman: he is between thirty and forty, I imagine; he had been riding as far as to the cottage Mr. Malthouse had mentioned to him—l'asile de jean Jacques(44)—and said it was very near this place (it is at the foot of Leith Hill, Mr. Locke has since told me).

They then talked over the newspapers which were come

Page 35

that morning. M. de St. just,(45) who made a most fierce speech for the trial and condemnation of the king, they said had before only been known by little madrigals, romances, and heures tendres, published in the 'Almanac des Muses.' "A cette heure," said M. de jaucourt, laughing, "c'est un fier republicain."(46)


Nov. 27.-Phillips and I determined at about half-past one to walk to "junipre" together. M. d'Arblay received us at the door, and showed the most flattering degree of pleasure at our arrival. We found with Madame de la Chtre another French gentleman, M. Sicard, who was also an officer of M. de Lafayette's.

M. de Narbonne said he hoped we would be sociable, and dine with them now and then. Madame de la Chtre made a speech to the same effect, "Et quel jour, par exemple," said M. de Narbonne, "feroit wieux qu'aujourd'hui?"(47) Madame de la Chtre took my hand instantly, to press in the most pleasing and gratifying manner imaginable this proposal; and before I had time to answer, M. d'Arblay, snatching up his hat, declared he would run and fetch the children.

I was obliged to entreat Phillips to bring him back, and entreated him to entendre raison.(48) . . . I pleaded their late hour of dinner, our having no carriage, and my disuse to the night air at this time of the year; but M. de Narbonne said their cabriolet (they have no other carriage) should take us home, and that there was a top to it, and Madame de la Chtre declared she would cover me well with shawls, etc. . . . M. d'Arblay scampered off for the little ones, whom all insisted upon having, and Phillips accompanied him, as it wanted I believe almost four hours to their dinner time. . . . Page 36

Then my dress: Oh, it was parfaite, and would give them all the courage to remain as they were, sans toilette: in short, nothing was omitted to render us comfortable and at our ease, and I have seldom passed a more pleasant day—never, I may fairly say, with such new acquaintance. I was only sorry M. de jaucourt did not make one of the party.


Whilst M. d'Arblay and Phillips were gone, Madame de la Chtre told me they had that morning received M. Necker's "Dfense du Roi," and if I liked it that M. de Narbonne would read it out to us.(49) You may conceive my answer. It is a most eloquent production, and was read by M. de Narbonne with beaucoup d'me. Towards the end it is excessively touching, and his emotion was very evident, and would have struck and interested me had I felt no respect for his character before.

I must now tell you the secret of his birth, which, however, is, I conceive, no great secret even in London, as Phillips heard it at Sir Joseph Banks's. Madame Victoire, daughter of Louis XV., was in her youth known to be attached to the Comte de Narbonne, father of our M. de Narbonne. The consequence of this attachment was such as to oblige her to a temporary retirement, under the pretence of indisposition during which time la Comtesse de Narbonne, who was one of her attendants, not only concealed her own chagrin, but was the means of preserving her husband from a dangerous situation, and the princess from disgrace. She declared herself with child, and, in short, arranged all so well as to seem the mother of her husband's son ; though the truth was immediately suspected, and rumoured about the Court, and Madame de la Chtre told me, was known and familiarly spoken of by all her friends, except in the presence of

Page 37

Narbonne, to whom no one would certainly venture to hint it. His father is dead, but la Comtesse de Narbonne, his reputed mother, lives, and is still an attendant on Madame Victoire, at Rome. M. de Narbonne's wife is likewise with her, and he himself was the person fixed on by Mesdames to accompany them when they quitted France for Italy. An infant daughter was left by him at Paris, who is still there with some of his family, and whom he expressed an earnest wish to. bring over, though the late decree may perhaps render his doing so impossible. He has another daughter, of six years old, who is with her mother at Rome, and whom he told me the pope had condescended to embrace. He mentioned his mother once (meaning la Comtesse de Narbonne) with great respect and affection.


(Fanny Burney to Mrs. Philips.) Aylsham, Norfolk, November 27, '92. My dearest Susanna's details of the French colony at juniper are truly interesting. I hope I may gather from them that M. de Narbonne, at least, has been able to realise some property here. I wish much to hear that poor Madame de Broglie has been permitted to join her husband.

Who is this M. Malouet(50) who has the singular courage and feeling to offer to plead the cause of a fallen monarch in the midst of his ferocious accusers? And how ventures M. de Chauvelin to transmit such a proposal? I wish your French neighbours could give some account of this. I hear that the son for whom the Duc de Liancourt has been trembling, has been reduced to subscribe to all jacobin lengths, to save his life, and retain a little property. What seasons are these for dissolving all delicacy of internal honour!

I am truly amazed, and half alarmed, to find this county with little revolution societies, which transmit their notions of Page 38

things to the larger committee at Norwich, which communicates the whole to the reformists of London. I am told there is scarce a village in Norfolk free from these meetings. . . .

My good and brilliant champion in days of old, Mr. Windham, has never been in Norfolk since I have entered it. He had a call to Bulstrode, to the installation of the Duke of Portland, just as I arrived, and he has been engaged there and at Oxford ever since. I regret missing him at Holkham: I bad no chance of him anywhere else, as I have been so situated, from the melancholy circumstances of poor Mr. Francis's illness, that I have been unable to make acquaintance where he visits.

(Miss Burney's second visit at Aylsham proved a very mournful one. Soon after her arrival, Mr. Francis, her brother-in-law, was seized with an apoplectic fit, which terminated in his death; and Miss Burney remained with her widowed sister, soothing and assisting her, till the close of the year, when she accompanied the bereaved family to London.]


(Mrs. Philips to Fanny Burney.) December 16, '92. . . .. Everything that is most shocking may, I fear, be expected for the unfortunate King of France, his queen, and perhaps all that belong to him. M. d'Arblay said it would indeed scarce have been possible to hope that M. de Narbonne could have escaped with life, had the sauf-conduit requested been granted him, for attending as a witness at the king's trial. . . .

M. de Narbonne had heard nothing new from France, but mentioned, with great concern, the indiscretion of the king, in having kept all his letters since the Revolution; that the papers lately discovered in the Tuileries would bring ruin and death on hundreds of his friends ; and that almost every one in that number "s'y trouvoient compliqus"(51) some way or other. A decree of accusation had been lanc against M. Talleyrand, not for anything found from himself, but because M. de Laporte, long since executed, and from whom, of course, no renseignemens or explanations of any kind could Page 39

be gained, had written to the king that l'Eveque d'Autun(52) was well disposed to serve him. Can there be injustice more flagrant?

M. Talleyrand, it seems, had proposed returning, and hoped to settle his affairs in France in person, but now he must be content with life ; and as for his property (save what he may chance to have in other countries), he must certainly lose all.

Monday, December 17, In the morning, Mr. and Mrs. Locke called, and with them came Madame de la Chtre, to take leave.

She now told us, perfectly in confidence, that Madame de Broglie had found a friend in the Mayor of Boulogne, that she was lodged at his house, and that she could answer for her (Madame de la Chtre) being received by him as well as she could desire (all this must be secret, as this good mayor, if accused of harbouring or befriending des migrs, would no doubt pay for it with his life). Madame de la Chtre said, all her friends who had ventured upon writing to her entreated her not to lose the present moment to return, as, the three months allowed for the return of those excepted in the decree once past, all hope would be lost for ever. Madame de Broglie, who is her cousin, was most excessively urgent to her to lose not an instant in returning, and had declared there would be no danger. Madame de la Chtre was put in spirits by this account, and the hope of becoming not destitute of everything; and I tried to hope without fearing for her, and, indeed, most sincerely offer up my petitions for her safety.

Heaven prosper her! Her courage and spirits are wonderful. M. de Narbonne seemed, however, full of apprehensions for her. M. de Jaucourt seemed to have better hopes ; he, even he, has now thoughts of returning, or rather his generosity compels him to think of it. His father has represented to him that his sister's fortune must suffer unless he appears in France again - and although he had resisted every other consideration, on this he has given way.


Friday, December 21st, we dined at Norbury Park, and met our French friends: M. d'Arblay came in to coffee before the other gentlemen. We had been talking of Madame de la Page 40

Chattre, and conjecturing conjectures about her sposo: we were all curious, and all inclined to imagine him old, ugly, proud, aristocratic, -a kind of ancient and formal courtier ; so we questioned M. d'Arblay, acknowledging our curiosity, and that we wished to know, enfin, if M. de la Chtre was "digne d'etre poux d'une personne si aimable et si charmante que Madame de la Chtre."(53) He looked very drolly, scarce able to meet our eyes; but at last, as he is la franchise mme, he answered, "M. de la Chtre est un bon homme—parfaitement bon homme: au reste, il est brusque comme un cheval de carrosse."(54)

We were in the midst of our coffee when St. jean came forward to M. de Narbonne, and said somebody wanted to speak to him. He went out of the room; in two minutes he returned, followed by a gentleman in a great-coat, whom we had never seen, and whom he introduced immediately to Mrs. Locke by the name of M. de la Chtre. The appearance of M. de la Chtre was something like a coup de thatre; for, despite our curiosity, I had no idea we should ever see him, thinking that nothing could detach him from the service of the French princes.

His abord and behaviour answered extremely well the idea M. d'Arblay had given us of him, who in the word brusque rather meant unpolished in manners than harsh in character. He is quite old enough to be father to Madame de la Chtre, and, had he been presented to us as such, all our wonder would have been to see so little elegance in the parent of such a woman.

After the first introduction was over, he turned his back to the fire, and began sans faon, a most confidential discourse with M. de Narbonne. They had not met since the beginning of the Revolution, and, having been of very different parties, it was curious and pleasant to see them now, in their mutual misfortunes, meet en bons amis. They rallied each other sur leurs disgraces very good-humouredly and comically; and though poor M. de la Chtre had missed his wife by only one day, and his son by a few hours, nothing seemed to give him de phumeur.(55) He gave the account of his disastrous journey since he had quitted. the princes, who are themselves reduced Page 41

to great distress, and were unable to pay him his arrears: he said he could not get a sou from France, nor had done for two years. All the money he had, with his papers and clothes, were contained in a little box, with which he had embarked in a small boat—I could not hear whence : but the weather was tempestuous, and he, with nearly all the passengers, landed, and walked to the nearest town, leaving his box and two faithful servants (who had never, he said, quitted him since he had left France) in the boat: he had scarce been an hour at the auberge (56) when news was brought that the boat had sunk,

At this, M. de Narbonne threw himself back on his seat, exclaiming against the hard fate which pursued all ses malheureux amis!(57) "Mais attendez donc," cried the good humoured M. de la Chtre, "Je n'ai pas encore fini: on nous a assur que personne n'a pri et que mme tout ce qu'il y avait sur le bteau a t sauv!'(58) He said, however, that being now in danger of falling into the hands of the French, he dared not stop for his box or servants; but, leaving a note of directions behind him, he proceeded incognito, and at length got on board a packet-boat for England, in which though he found several of his countrymen and old acquaintance, he dared not discover himself till they were en pleine mer.(59) He went on gaily enough, laughing at ses amis les constitutionnaires,(60) and M. de Narbonne, with much more wit, and not less good humour, retorting back his raillery on the parti de Brunswick.. . .

M. de la Chtre mentioned the quinzaine(61) in which the princes' army had been paid up, as the most wretched he had ever known. Of 22,000 men who formed the army of the emigrants, 16,000 were gentlemen,-men of family and fortune: all of whom were now, with their families, destitute. He mentioned two of these who had engaged themselves lately in some orchestra, where they played first and second flute. The princes, he said, had been twice arrested for debt in different places—that they were now so reduced that they dined, themselves, the Comte d'Artois, children, tutors, etc.—eight or nine persons in all—upon one single dish.

Page 42


(Fanny Burney to Mrs. Locke.) Chelsea, December 20, '92. ..... God keep us all safe and quiet! All now wears a fair aspect; but I am told Mr. Windham says we are not yet out of the wood though we see the path through it. There must be no relaxation. The Pretended friends of the people, pretended or misguided, wait but the stilling of the present ferment of loyalty to come forth. Mr. Grey has said so in the House. Mr. Fox attended the St. George's meeting, after keeping back to the last, and was nobody there!

The accounts from France are thrilling. Poor M. d'Arblay's speech should be translated, and read to all English imitators of French reformers. What a picture of the now reformed! Mr. Burke's description of the martyred Duc de la Rochefoucault should be read also by all the few really pure promoters of new systems. New systems, I fear, in states, are always dangerous, if not wicked. Grievance by grievance, wrong by wrong, must only be assailed, and breathing time allowed to old prejudices, and old habits, between all that is done. . . .

I had fancied the letters brought for the King of France's trial were forgeries. One of them, certainly, to M. Bouill, had its answer dated before it was written. If any have been found, others will be added, to serve any evil purposes. Still, however, I hope the king and his family will be saved. I cannot but believe it, from all I can put together. If the worst of the jacobins hear that Fox has called him an "unfortunate monarch,"- -that Sheridan has said "his execution would be an act of injustice,"—and Grey, "that we ought to have spared that one blast to their glories by earlier negotiation and an ambassador,"—surely the worst of these wretches will not risk losing their only abettors and palliators in this kingdom? I mean publicly; they have privately and individually their abettors and palliators in abundance still, wonderful as that is.

I am glad M. d'Arblay has joined the set at "Junipre." What miserable work is this duelling, which I hear of among the emigrants, after such hair-breadth 'scapes for life and existence!—to attack one another on the very spot they seek for refuge from attacks! It seems a sort of profanation of safety. Page 43


(Fanny Burney to Dr. Burney.) Norbury Park, January 28, '93. My dearest padre,-I have been wholly without spirit for writing, reading, working, or even walking or conversing, ever since the first day of my arrival. The dreadful tragedy(62) acted in France has entirely absorbed me. Except the period of the illness of our own inestimable king, 1 have never been so overcome with grief and dismay, for any but personal and family calamities. O what a tragedy! how implacable its villainy, and how severe its sorrows! You know, my dearest father, how little I had believed such a catastrophe possible: with all the guilt and all the daring already shown, I had still thought this a height of enormity impracticable. And, indeed, without military law throughout the wretched city, it had still not been perpetrated. Good heaven!- -what must have been the sufferings of the few unhardened in crimes who inhabit that city of horrors!—if I, an English person, have been so deeply afflicted, that even this sweet house and society—even my Susan and her lovely children—have been incapable to give me any species of pleasure, or keep me from a desponding low-spiritedness, what must be the feelings of all but the culprits in France?

M. de Narbonne and M. d'Arblay have been almost annihilated : they are for ever repining that they are French, and, though two of the most accomplished and elegant men I ever saw, they break our hearts with the humiliation they feel for their guiltless birth in that guilty country!

We are all here expecting war every day. This dear family has deferred its town journey till next Wednesday. I have not been at all at Mickleham, nor yet settled whether to return to town with the Lockes, or to pay my promised visit there first, All has been so dismal, so wretched, that I have scarce ceased to regret our living at such times, and not either Sooner or later. These immediate French sufferers here interest us, and these alone have been able to interest me at all. We hear of a very bad tumult in Ireland, and near Captain Phillips's property: Mr. Brabazon writes word it is very serious.

Page 44

Heaven guard us from insurrections! What must be the feelings at the queen's house? how acute, and how indignant!


(-Dr. Burney to Fanny Burney and Mrs. Phillips.) Chelsea College, January 31, 1793. . . . At the Club,(63) on Tuesday, the fullest I ever knew, consisting of fifteen members, fourteen seemed all of one mind, and full of reflections on the late transaction in France ; but, when about half the company was assembled, who should come in but Charles Fox! There were already three or four bishops arrived, hardly one of whom could look at him, I believe, without horror, After the first bow and cold salutation, the conversation stood still for several minutes. During dinner Mr Windham, and Burke, jun., came in, who were obliged to sit at a side table. All were boutonns,(64) and not a word of the martyred king or politics of any kind was mentioned; and though the company was chiefly composed of the most eloquent and loquacious men in the kingdom, the conversation was the dullest and most uninteresting I ever remember at this or any such large meeting. Mr Windham and Fox, civil-young Burke and he never spoke. The Bishop of Peterborough as sulky as the d—l; the Bishop of Salisbury, more a man of the world, very cheerful; the Bishop of Dromore(65) frightened as much as a barn-door fowl at the sight of a fox; Bishop Marlow preserved his usual pleasant countenance. Steevens in the chair; the Duke of Leeds on his right, and Fox on his left, said not a word. Lords Ossory and Lucan, formerly much attached, seemed silent and sulky.


(Fanny Burney to Dr. Burney.) Norbury Park, Monday, February 4, '93. . . . Madame de Stael, daughter of M. Necker, is now at the head of the colony of French noblesse, established near

Page 45

Mickleham. She is one of the first women I have ever met with for abilities and extraordinary intellect. She has just received, by a private letter, many particulars not yet made public, and which the Commune and Commissaries of the Temple had ordered should be suppressed. It has been exacted by those cautious men of blood that nothing should be printed that could attendrir le peuple.(66)

Among other circumstances, this letter relates that the poor little dauphin supplicated the monsters who came with the decree of death to his unhappy father, that they would carry him to the Convention, and the forty-eight Sections of Paris, and suffer him to beg his father's life. This touching request was probably suggested to him by his miserable mother or aunt....

M. de Narbonne has been quite ill with the grief of this last enormity: and M. d'Arblay is now indisposed. This latter is one of the most delightful characters I have ever met, for openness, probity, intellectual knowledge, and unhackneyed manners.

(Madame de Stael to Fanny BUrney.(67)) Written from juniper Hall, Dorking, Surrey, 1793. When I learned to read English I begun by milton, to know all or renounce at all in once. I follow the same system in writing my first English letter to Miss burney; after such an enterprize nothing can affright me. I feel for her so tender a friendship that it melts my admiration, inspires my heart with hope of her indulgence, and impresses me with the idea that in a tongue even unknown I could express sentiments so deeply felt.

my servant will return for a french answer. I intreat miss burney to correct the words but to preserve the sense of that card.

best compliments to my dear protectress, Madame Phillipe.

(Madame de Stael to Fanny Burney.) Your card in french, my dear, has already something of Your grace in writing English : it is cecilia translated. my !. '

Page 46

only correction is to fill the interruptions of some sentences, and I put in them kindnesses for me. I do not consult my master to write to you; a fault more or less is nothing in such an occasion. What may be the perfect grammar of Mr. Clarke, it cannot establish any sort of equality between you and I. then I will trust with my heart alone to supply the deficiency. let us speak upon a grave subject: do I see you that morning? What news from Captain phillip? when do you come spend a large week in that house? every question requires an exact answer; a good, also. my happiness depends on it, and I have for pledge your honour.

good morrow and farewell.

pray madame phillips, recollecting all her knowledge in french, to explain that card to you.

(Madame de Stael to Fanny Burney.) January, 1793. tell me, my dear, if this day is a charming one, if it must be a sweet epoch in my life?—do you come to dine here with your lovely sister, and do you stay night and day till our sad separation? I rejoice me with that hope during this week do not deceive my heart. I hope that card very clear, mais, pour plus de certitude, je vous dis en franois que votre chambre, la maison, les habitants de juniper, tout est prt recevoir la premire femme d'angleterre.(68) Janvier.


(Fanny Burney to Dr. Burney.) Mickleham, February 29, 1793 Have you not begun, dearest sir, to give me up as a lost sheep? Susanna's temporary widowhood, however, has tempted me on, and spelled me with a spell I know not how to break. It is long, long since we have passed any time so completely together; her three lovely children only knit us the closer. The widowhood, however, we expect now quickly to expire, and I had projected my return to my dearest father

Page 47

for Wednesday next, which would complete my fortnight here but some circumstances are intervening that incline me to postpone it another week. Madame de Stal, daughter of M. Necker, and wife of the Swedish ambassador to France, is now head of the little French colony in this neighbourhood. M. de Stael, her husband, is at present suspended in his embassy, but not recalled and it is yet uncertain whether the regent Duke of Sudermania will send him to Paris, during the present horrible Convention, or order him home. He is now in Holland, waiting for commands. Madame de Stal, however, was unsafe in Paris, though an ambassadress, from the resentment owed her by the commune, for having received and protected in her house various destined victims of the 10th August and of the 2nd September. She was even once stopped in her carriage, which they called aristocratic, because of its arms and ornaments, and threatened to be murdered, and only saved by one of the worst wretches of the Convention, Tallien, who feared provoking a war with Sweden, from such an offence to the wife of its ambassador. She was obliged to have this same Tallien to accompany her, to save her from massacre, for some miles from Paris, when compelled to quit it.

She is a woman of the first abilities, I think, I have ever seen; she is more in the style of Mrs. Thrale than of any other celebrated character, but she has infinitely more depth, and seems an even profound politician and metaphysician. She has suffered us to hear some of her works in MS., which are truly wonderful, for powers both of thinking and expression. She adores her father, but is much alarmed at having had no news from him since he has heard of the massacre of the martyred Louis; and who can wonder it should have overpowered him?

Ever since her arrival she has been pressing me to spend some time with her before I return to town. She wanted Susan and me to pass a month with her, but, finding that impossible, she bestowed all her entreaties upon me alone, and they are grown so urgent, upon my preparation for departing, and acquainting her my furlough of absence was over, that she not only insisted upon my writing to you, and telling why I deferred my return, but declares she will also write herself, to ask your permission for the visit. She exactly resembles Mrs. Thrale in the ardour and warmth of her temper and partialities. I find her impossible to resist, and therefore, if your answer to Page 48

her is such as I conclude it must be, I shall wait upon her for a week. She is only a short walk from hence, at juniper Hall.


There can be nothing imagined more charming, more fascinating, than this colony ; between their sufferings and their argrmens they occupy us almost wholly. M. de Narbonne, alas, has no thousand pounds a year! he got over only four thousand pounds at the beginning, from a most splendid fortune; and, little foreseeing how all has turned out, he has lived, we fear, upon the principal ; for he says, if all remittance is withdrawn, on account of the war, he shall soon be as ruined as those companions of his misfortunes with whom as yet he has shared his little all. He bears the highest character for goodness, parts, sweetness of manners, and ready wit. You could not keep your heart from him if you saw him only for . half an hour. He has not yet recovered from the black blow of the king's death, but he is better, and less jaundiced ; and he has had a letter which, I hear, has comforted him, though at first it was almost heart-breaking, informing him of the unabated regard for him of the truly saint-like Louis. This is communicated in a letter from M. de Malesherbes.(69)


M. d'Arblay is one of the most singularly interesting characters that can ever have been formed. He has a sincerity, a frankness, an ingenuous openness of nature, that I had been unjust enough to think could not belong to a Frenchman. With all this, which is his military portion, he is passionately fond of literature, a most delicate critic in his own language, welt versed in both Italian and German, and a very elegant

Page 49

poet. He has just undertaken to become my French master for pronunciation, and he gives me long daily lessons in reading. Pray expect wonderful improvements! In return, I hear him in English; and for his theme, this evening he has been writing an English address " Mr. Burney," (ie. M. le Docteur), joining in Madame de Stael's request.

I hope your last club was more congenial? M. de Talleyrand insists on conveying this letter for you. He has been on a visit here, and returns again on Wednesday. He is a man of admirable conversation, quick, terse, fin, and yet deep, to the extreme of those four words. They are a marvellous set for excess of agreeability.


(Fanny Burney to Mrs. Locke.) Mickleham. Your kind letter, my beloved Fredy, was most thankfully received, and we rejoice the house and situation promise so much local comfort; but I quite fear with you that even the bas bleu will not recompense the loss of the "Junipre" society. It is, indeed, of incontestable superiority. But you must burn this confession, or my poor effigy will blaze for it. I must tell you a little of our proceedings, as they all relate to these people of a thousand.

M. d'Arblay came from the melancholy sight of departing Norbury to Mickleham, and with an air the most triste, and a sound of voice quite dejected, as I learn from Susanna for I was in my heroics, and could not appear till the last half hour. A headache prevented my waiting upon Madame de Stal that day, and obliged me to retreat soon after nine o'clock in the evening, and my douce compagne would not let me retreat alone. We had only robed ourselves in looser drapery, when a violent ringing at the door startled us; we listened, and heard the voice of M. d'Arblay, and Jerry answering, "They're gone to bed." "Comment? What?" cried he: "C'est impossible! what you say?" Jerry then, to show his new education in this new colony, said "Alle couche!" It rained furiously, and we were quite grieved, but there was no help. He left a book for "Mlle. Burnet," and word that Madame de Stael could not come on account of the bad weather. M. Ferdinand was with him and has bewailed the disaster Page 50

and M. Sicard says he accompanied them till he was quite wet through his redingote; but this enchanting M. d'Arblay will murmur at nothing.

The next day they all came, just as we had dined, for a morning visit,—Madame de Stael, M. Talleyrand, M. Sicard, and M. d'Arblay; the latter then made "insistance" upon commencing my "master of the language," and I think he will be almost as good a one as the little don.(70)

M. de Talleyrand opened, at last, with infinite wit and capacity. Madame de Stael whispered me, "How do you like him?" "Not very much," I answered, "but I do not know him." "Oh, I assure you," cried she, "he is the best of the men."

I was happy not to agree ; but I have no time for such minute detail till we meet. She read the noble tragedy of "Tancrde,"(71) till she blinded us all round. She is the most charming person, to use her own phrase, "that never I saw." . .

We called yesterday upon Madame de Stael, and sat with her until three o'clock, only the little don being present. She was delightful; yet I see much uneasiness hanging over the whole party, from the terror that the war may stop all remittances. Heaven forbid!


(Fanny Burney to Mrs locke.) Thursday, Mickleham. I have no heart not to write, and no time to write. I have been scholaring all day, and mastering too : for our lessons are mutual, and more entertaining than can easily be conceived. My master of the language says he dreams of how much more solemnly he shall write to charming Mrs. Locke after a little more practice. Madame de Stael has written me two English notes, quite beautiful in ideas, and not very reprehensible in idiom. But English has nothing to do with elegance such as theirs—at least, little and rarely. I am always exposing myself to the wrath of John Bull, when this cterie come in competition; It is inconceivable what a convert M. de Talleyrand has made of me; I think him now one of the first members, and one of the most charming, of this exquisite set: Susanna is as completely a proselyte, Page 51

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse