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Title: Fanny Burney - (Madame D'Arblay)
Author: Dobson, (Henry) Austin
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        _ENGLISH MEN OF LETTERS_

                        F A N N Y   B U R N E Y

                    (M A D A M E   D ’ A R B L A Y)


                       A U S T I N   D O B S O N

                    LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

           N I N E T E E N   H U N D R E D   A N D   F O U R

                          First Edition, 1903
                            Reprinted, 1904

           _Copyright in the United States of America, 1903_


The main sources for this memoir of Frances or Fanny Burney,—afterwards
Madame D’Arblay,—in addition to her novels, the literature of the
period, and the works specified in the footnotes, are as follows:—

    1. _Memoirs of Dr. Burney, arranged from his own Manuscript,
    from Family Papers, and from Personal Recollections._ By his
    Daughter, Madame D’Arblay. In Three Volumes. London: Moxon,

    2. _Diary and Letters of Madame D’Arblay_, Author of “Evelina,”
    “Cecilia,” etc. Edited by her Niece. [In Seven Volumes.] London:
    Colburn, 1842-46. [The edition here used is Swan Sonnenschein’s
    four volume issue of 1892.]

    3. _The Early Diary of Frances Burney 1768-1778. With a
    Selection from her Correspondence, and from the Journals of her
    Sisters Susan and Charlotte Burney._ Edited by Annie Raine
    Ellis. In Two Volumes. London: George Bell and Sons, 1889.

I am indebted to the kindness of Archdeacon Burney, Vicar of St. Mark’s,
Surbiton, for access to his unique extra-illustrated copy of the _Diary
and Letters_ of 1842-6, which contains, among other interesting MSS.,
the originals of Mrs. Thrale’s letter mentioned at page 86 of this
volume, and of Burke’s letter mentioned at page 124. Archdeacon Burney
is the possessor of Edward Burney’s portrait of his cousin (page 88); of
the Reynolds portraits of Dr. Burney and Garrick from the Thrale Gallery
(page 94); of a very fine portrait of Dr. Charles Burney by Lawrence;
and of a group by Hudson of Hetty Burney, her husband, Charles Rousseau
Burney, and her husband’s father, Richard Burney of Worcester.

I am also indebted to Mrs. Chappel of East Orchard, Shaftesbury,
granddaughter of Mrs. Barrett, the editor of the _Diary and Letters_,
for valuable information as to Burney relics in her possession.

                                                                 A. D.
    _September 18, 1903_.


                                CHAPTER I
            THE BURNEY FAMILY                               1

                               CHAPTER II
            NO. 1, ST. MARTIN’S STREET                     31

                               CHAPTER III
            THE STORY OF “EVELINA”                         61

                               CHAPTER IV
            THE SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR                          88

                                CHAPTER V
            “CECILIA”—AND AFTER                           117

                               CHAPTER VI
            THE QUEEN’S DRESSER                           145

                               CHAPTER VII
            HALF A LIFETIME                               176

            INDEX                                         207

                              Fanny Burney

                               CHAPTER I
                           THE BURNEY FAMILY

In the second half of the seventeenth century, there lived at the
village of Great Hanwood, four miles from Shrewsbury, a country
gentleman of a good estate, named James Macburney. In later life, he was
land-steward to the Earl of Ashburnham; and he rented or possessed a
house in the Privy Garden at Whitehall. Tradition traces his family to
Scotland, whence it was said to have arrived with James I. However this
may be,—and the point was not regarded as of much importance by his
descendants,—James Macburney married his Shropshire rector’s daughter;
begat a son; and in due time, became a widower. The son—also James
Macburney—was educated at Westminster School under the redoubtable Dr.
Busby. Then, taking to art, he worked as a pupil of the “eminent Face
Painter,” Michael Dahl. About 1697, at the age of nineteen, he ran away
with Rebecca Ellis, an actress in Giffard’s Company, and younger than
himself. Thereupon his irate father disinherited him, and in further
token of his displeasure, took to wife his own cook, by whom he had
another son called Joseph, who, as soon as he arrived at man’s estate,
removed all possible difficulties in regard to the succession by
dissipating the property. Having effected this with much promptitude, he
settled down contentedly as a Norfolk dancing master. Meanwhile, his
elder half-brother,—who, though lacking in discretion, had many
pleasing gifts (he was, in particular, an accomplished
violin-player),—being left, by the death of his actress-wife, with a
numerous family, wedded, for the second time, a beautiful young lady of
Shropshire, Mistress (_i.e._ Miss) Ann Cooper. Miss Cooper was currently
reported to have rejected Wycherley the dramatist, who, it may be
remembered, like the elder Macburney, was desirous of disappointing his
natural heir. Miss Cooper had some money; but James Macburney’s second
marriage increased the number of his children. The youngest members of
his family were twins, Susannah (who died early), and Charles,
afterwards the well-known historian of music, and the father of Fanny
Burney. Like his predecessors, he was born Macburney, but the “Mac” was
subsequently dropped.

Not long after Charles Burney’s birth, which took place on the 12th
April 1726, in Raven Street, Shrewsbury (a name probably derived from
the famous Raven Inn once familiar to Farquhar and “Serjeant Kite”),
James Burney, as we may now call his father, settled at Chester as a
portrait painter, leaving his little son at nurse in Condover, a village
near Shrewsbury. Here, with an affectionate foster mother, Charles
Burney throve apace, until he was transferred to the Chester Grammar
School. At this date his natural gifts were sufficiently manifest to
enable him at a pinch to act as deputy for the Cathedral organist.
Subsequently, he became the pupil of his half-brother, James, the
organist of St. Mary’s Church at Shrewsbury. Then, being again in
Chester when the famous Dr. Augustine Arne was passing through the town
on his return from Ireland to London, he was fortunate enough to be
taken as that master’s apprentice. This was in August 1744, when he was
eighteen, pleasant-mannered, intelligent, very musical, very versatile,
and—as he continued to be through life—an indefatigable worker. From
Arne he did not learn much except to copy music, and to drudge in the
Drury Lane Orchestra, which Arne conducted; and, although he had an
elder brother in London, he was left greatly to his own devices. But his
abilities and personal charm brought him many friends. He was frequently
at the house in Scotland Yard of Arne’s sister, Mrs. Cibber, the
foremost tragic actress of her day; and here he made acquaintance with
many notabilities. Handel was often among the visitors, playing
intricate fugues and overtures with his pudgy fingers upon the
harpsichord; and Garrick, with the wonderful eyes; and Garrick’s surly
old rival, the _bon-vivant_, James Quin; and Mason; and Thomson the poet
of _The Seasons_.

With Arne, Charles Burney would probably have remained, but for a
fortunate accident. At the shop of Jacob Kirkman, the German harpsichord
maker in Broad Street, Golden Square, he met Mr. Fulke Greville, a
descendant of Sidney’s friend, the famous Fulke Greville of Queen
Elizabeth’s days. The Greville of 1746 either possessed, or affected to
possess, many of the attributes of Bramston’s _Man of Taste_:—

           “I would with _Jockeys_ from _Newmarket_ dine,
           And to _Rough-riders_ give my choicest wine . . .
           In _Fig_ the Prize-fighter by day delight,
           And sup with _Colly Cibber_ ev’ry night.”

Like Bramston’s hero, he also dabbled in gardening. But his
accomplishments were not confined to pugilism and field sports. He
danced, fenced, drew, wrote verses, and trifled with metaphysics.
Lastly, he “_had_ an ear.” After the fashion of his day, he had doubted
whether any musician could possibly be a gentleman, but Charles Burney
undeceived him. The result was that Greville paid three hundred pounds
to cancel Burney’s engagement to Arne, and attached his new friend to
his own establishment in the capacity of musical companion. This curious
conjunction, which seems to have included a fair experience of
Greville’s other diversions, did no harm to Charles Burney. On the
contrary, at Greville’s country seat of Wilbury House in Wiltshire, he
met many interesting and some eminent people, who considerably enlarged
his social aptitudes. In 1747, however, his patron married a Miss
Frances Macartney,—the “Flora” of Horace Walpole’s _Beauties_,—making,
in his impatience of the conventional,—or _fogrum_ as it was then
styled,—a perfectly superfluous stolen match. “Mr. Greville”—said the
lady’s matter-of-fact father, when his pardon and blessing were formally
requested—“has chosen to take a wife out of the window, whom he might
just as well have taken out of the door.” Burney gave away the bride;
and after standing proxy for a duke at the baptism of the first
child,[1] would have accompanied the Grevilles to Italy. But at this
juncture he discovered that he, too, had an affair of the heart.
Thereupon Mr. Greville magnanimously released him from his engagement,
and left him to marry the woman of his choice.

She was a Miss Esther Sleepe, very attractive and very amiable. Her
mother, although of Huguenot origin, was a Roman Catholic. Esther
herself was a Protestant. She married Charles Burney about 1748, and
they went to live in the City. In 1749, her husband was appointed
organist of St. Dionis Backchurch, which had been rebuilt by Wren after
the Great Fire. Burney’s modest salary was £30 per annum. But he
composed music, and soon found many pupils. When his first child, called
Esther after her mother, was born, is not stated; but the register of
St. Dionis contains record of the birth, in June, 1750, of James Burney,
afterwards an admiral; and, in 1751, of a son Charles, who, apparently,
died early. Before this date, hard work and close application had begun
to tell upon the father of the little family, and he was advised by his
friend Dr. John Armstrong, the author of _The Art of Preserving Health_,
to try living in the country. He accordingly accepted the post of
organist, with a salary of £100 a year, at St. Margaret’s Church, King’s
Lynn, to which place he removed in 1751, his wife joining him some
months later. At King’s Lynn, on the 13th June, 1752, was born his
second daughter, Frances, or Fanny Burney, whose life-story forms the
theme of this volume. The name of Frances came to her from her
godmother, Mrs. Greville; and she was baptized at St. Nicholas, in Ann
Street. At Lynn were born two other children, Susanna, no doubt so named
after her father’s twin sister; and a second Charles, later a famous
Greek scholar, Rector of Deptford, and Chaplain to George III. The date
of Susanna’s birth is not known; but Charles Burney was born in
December, 1757.

At Lynn, in spite of an execrable instrument, and an irresponsive
audience, the new organist’s health speedily improved. His hearers, if
unmusical, were not unfriendly, and his own good qualities helped him as
of yore. “He scarcely ever entered a house upon terms of business,
without leaving it upon those of intimacy.” He gave music lessons in
many of the great Norfolk mansions,—at Houghton (Lord Orford’s), at
Holkham (the home of the Leicesters), at Rainham (General Lord
Townshend’s), and at Felbrigge Park (Mr. Windham’s),—padding along the
sandy crossroads to his destination upon his sure-footed mare “Peggy,”
with a certainty that permitted him to study Tasso or Metastasio in the
saddle, and even to consult a dictionary of his own composing which he
carried in his great-coat pocket. These things, added to correspondence
with the Greville circle, projects for a _History of Music_, increasing
means, and a pleasant home, made Lynn life very tolerable for a season.
But towards 1759 he seems to have wearied a little of his provincial
lot, added to which, friends began to counsel his return to town, and to
protest against his exile among “foggy aldermen.” “Really, among
friends,”—wrote one of them, to whom we shall often refer
hereafter,—“is not settling at Lynn planting your youth, genius, hopes,
fortune, etc., against a north wall? Can you ever expect ripe,
high-flavoured fruit, from such an aspect?” And then the writer went on
to adjure him to transplant his “spare person,” his “pretty mate,” and
his “brats” to the more congenial environment of the capital. He
eventually quitted Lynn in 1760 for London, which he had left about nine
years before.

At this date, he was four and thirty. He set up his tent in Poland
Street, then a rather more favoured place of residence than it is at
present, and having, beyond the Oxford Road (as Oxford Street was then
called), little but open fields and market gardens. Portman Square,
Manchester Square, Russell Square,—of all these not a stone had been
laid.[2] But Poland Street was not without aristocratic occupants. The
Duke of Chandos, Sir Willoughby Aston (with whose daughters the Miss
Burneys went to school at Paris), Lady Augusta Bridges and others were
all distinguished neighbours in this now dingy street—to say nothing of
the Cherokee King, who, when he visited England, actually, to the
delight of the Burney children, took lodgings “almost immediately
opposite.” At Poland Street Charles Burney rapidly became the music
master most in request with the fashionable world. Soon he had not an
hour of the day unoccupied, beginning his rounds as early as seven in
the morning, and finishing them, sometimes, only at eleven at night.
Often he dined in a hackney coach on the contents of a sandwich box and
a flask of sherry and water. But he must still have found time for
original work, since it was at Poland Street that, besides “Sonatas for
the Harpsichord,” he composed in 1763 the setting for Bonnell Thornton’s
Burlesque _Ode on St. Caecilia’s Day_, “adapted to the Antient British
Musick; viz.: the Salt Box, the Jew’s Harp, the Marrow-Bones and
Cleavers, the Hum-Strum or Hurdy-Gurdy,” and the rest, which was
performed at Ranelagh in masks, to the huge delectation of an audience
musical and unmusical, and the amusement of Dr. Johnson.[3] But the
pleasures of increasing popularity were dashed by domestic misfortune.
Mrs. Burney, the “pretty mate” of the last paragraph, having, in the new
home, given birth to a fourth daughter, Charlotte, sickened of
consumption. A visit to the Bristol Hot Wells (Clifton) proved
unavailing; and to the intense grief of her husband and family, she
died, after a brief illness, on the 28th September, 1761. She seems to
have been a most affectionate mother, and sympathised with her husband
in his bookish tastes. With one of his subsequent essays he published a
translation from Maupertuis, which she, naturally an excellent French
scholar, had executed; and her reading of Pope’s _Works_ and the
_Virgil_ of Spence’s friend Christopher Pitt, was one of the memories of
her daughters. But at the time of her death her eldest child was only
twelve, and her youngest a baby.

The little family at Poland Street, thus suddenly left motherless, must
have been an exceptionally interesting one. Esther, or Hetty, the
eldest, is described as extremely beautiful, and possessed of that
fortunate combination, good sense, good humour, and an abundant love of
fun. She was besides remarkably musical, and according to the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_, was wont to astonish her father’s guests, at a
very early age, by her skilful instrumentalism. James, the eldest son,
who, at the age of ten, entered the Navy under Admiral Montagu as a
nominal midshipman, was an unusually bright and manly lad, full of
vivacity and high spirits. When at school in his Norfolk home, he had
been taught by Eugene Aram. He could recall how that “melancholy man”
would pace the playground talking of strange deeds to the elder boys;
and he remembered well the memorable night in August 1758 when

                “Two stern-faced men set out from Lynn,
                  Through the cold and heavy mist,
                And Eugene Aram, walk’d between,
                  With gyves upon his wrist.”[4]

James Burney rose to eminence in his profession,—sailed twice round the
world with Captain Cook, was with him at his death, and lived to be a
fine specimen of the old-time sailor, cheery and humourous, unpolished
externally, but “gentle and humane” at heart. Charles Lamb loved him;
Southey depicts him in his Captainhood as “smoking after supper, and
letting out puffs at one corner of his mouth, and puns at the other”;
and he dropped Hazlitt out of his whist parties, to which he was as
attached as Mrs. Battle, because “W. H.” had affronted him by reviewing
his sister Fanny’s _Wanderer_ severely in the _Edinburgh_. In this brief
biography James Burney cannot often appear hereafter, which must excuse
these anticipations. The third child, Susanna, or, to be exact, Susanna
Elizabeth, was also remarkable for her sweetness and charm. Joseph
Baretti praised her _dolcissima voce_; her knowledge of music was
affirmed to be exact and critical; and her native literary faculty was
as fine, if not as imperative, as that of her sister Frances. Charles,
the second boy, was still in the nursery; and Charlotte was a baby.
Neither of these last can have had much influence on Frances, who with
Esther, Susanna and James made up the little group of clever children
which delighted Charles Burney’s friends, from Garrick to the singer
Pacchieroti. “All! _all! very clever girls_” (James was of course at
sea)—said this observer later in his queer broken English. “Sense and
_witta_ (_sic_) inhabit _here_. . . . All I meet with at Dr. Burney’s
house are superior to other people. I am myself the only _Bestia_ that
enters the house. I am, indeed, _a truly_ Beast”—by which the poor
gentleman in his humility, as Mrs. Ellis suggests, obviously intended no
more than is conveyed by the French _bête_.

In the above enumeration of Charles Burney’s children, Frances has been
intentionally passed over, and to Frances we now turn. Like many other
persons destined to make their mark in this world, she does not seem to
have impressed it greatly at the outset. Neither for beauty nor physique
was she notable in childhood; indeed she was both short and
short-sighted. She was besides extremely shy and silent, as well as
backward in most things. At the age of eight she had not learned to
read, and her sailor brother used often to divert himself by giving her
a book upside down in order to see what she would make of it. Mrs.
Burney’s friends used to call her the “little dunce”; but her shrewder
mother “had no fear of Fanny.” For it was observed, by those who looked
close, that her perceptive faculties were exceedingly acute; that, in a
quiet way, she noticed many things; that she was full of humour and
invention in her play; and that whenever she went with the rest to Mrs.
Garrick’s box at Drury Lane, although she could not read the piece
acted, she was quite capable of mimicking the actors, and even of
putting appropriate speeches into their mouths. These exhibitions,
however, she would only give in the strictest domestic privacy. Before
strangers, she became at once the demure, reserved, and almost sheepish
little person whom it was the custom to designate familiarly as “the old
lady.” An anecdote related by her father illustrates some of these
peculiarities of character. Next door to the Burneys in Poland Street
lived a wig-maker who supplied the voluminous full-bottomed periwigs
then favoured by the gentlemen of the Law. The Burney girls used to play
with the wig-maker’s daughters, and one day the playmates got access to
the wig-magazine. They then proceeded to array themselves in what
Fanny’s later friend Dr. Hawkesworth calls “the honours of the head,”
dancing about in great delight at their ridiculous figures.
Unfortunately one of the ten-guinea flaxen masterpieces soused suddenly
into a garden tub filled with water, and forthwith losing all its
portentous “Gorgon buckle,” was declared by the manufacturer to be
totally spoilt. “He was extremely angry,” says Fanny’s father, “and chid
very severely his own children; when my little daughter, the old lady,
then ten years of age [1762], advancing to him, as I was informed, with
great gravity and composure, sedately says; ‘What signifies talking so
much about an accident? The wig is wet, to be sure; and the wig was a
good wig, to be sure; but it’s of no use to speak of it any more;
because what’s done can’t be undone.’”[5] Dr. Johnson himself could not
have been more oracular, though he would probably have said (as indeed
he does in _Rasselas_)—“What cannot be repaired is not to be

At this point it becomes necessary to introduce a personage who, for the
future, plays no inconsiderable part in Frances Burney’s biography.
Mention has been made of a friend by whom Charles Burney was advised to
exchange the north wall of Lynn for a more congenial London aspect. This
was one Samuel Crisp, a gentleman twenty years older than Fanny’s
father, who had made his acquaintance when acting as musical companion
to Fulke Greville. Samuel Crisp was a person of some importance in his
day,—a man of taste and fashion, good-looking, well-mannered and
accomplished, having gifts both artistic and musical,—friendly alike
with the Duchess of Portland and Mrs. Montagu,—with Lady Coventry and
Richard Owen Cambridge, with Quin and Garrick. Like many of equal
abilities, he had dabbled in literature; and two years after Fanny’s
birth, Garrick had produced at Drury Lane, not without pressure from the
writer’s aristocratic supporters, a tragedy which Crisp had essayed upon
a subject already treated more than a hundred years before by John
Webster,—the story of Virginia. Crisp’s play cannot be said to have
failed, for it ran for two nights more than Johnson’s _Irene_. But, on
the other hand, it was not a genuine success, although Garrick, besides
supplying an excellent Prologue and Epilogue, himself acted Virginius to
the Virginia of Mrs. Cibber. The truth is, it was dull,—too dull even
to be galvanised into mock vitality by the energy of the manager. No
alterations could thenceforth persuade Garrick to revive it, and the
author was naturally deeply chagrined. In a frame of mind very
unfriendly to humanity in general, he carried his mortification to
Italy. Returning in due course somewhat soothed and restored, he settled
at Hampton, furnishing a house there so lavishly with guests, pictures,
bustos and musical instruments that he speedily began to exhaust his
sources of income. His annoyance at this discovery being aggravated by
gout, in a fit of spleen he sold his villa by the Thames; and
determining to realise Pope’s “the world forgetting, by the world
forgot,” took sanctuary with a friend in a secluded part of the country.

The retreat he selected was at Chessington, or—as it was then
spelled—Chesington Hall, a rambling and ruinous old house between
Kingston and Epsom. At this date, though on high ground, it stood in the
middle of a wild and almost trackless common, which separated it
effectually from the passing stranger. Its owner, Mr. Christopher
Hamilton, was an old friend of Crisp and, since the house was too large
for his means, only too pleased to welcome as an inmate, a companion who
would share his expenses. At Chessington Crisp lived many years, and at
Chessington he was buried. Until he became too infirm, he quitted it
annually for a few weeks every spring, when he repaired to Town to visit
his old haunts, look in at a concert or two, and run through the
principal picture galleries. Lord Macaulay has described him as “hiding
himself like a wild beast in a den,” in consequence of the failure of
his tragedy, which—as we have seen—was rather indulgently received, at
all events on the stage.[6] But Lord Macaulay had not before him all the
information we have at present. Although Crisp rated his tragic powers
too high, and consequently felt his qualified success more acutely, it
is probable that impaired health and reduced means had most to do with
his withdrawal to Chessington; and there is no particular evidence that
his seclusion, though strict, was savage. In one of his periodical
visits to London, he happened upon Burney; came at once to see him at
Poland Street; grew keenly interested in his motherless children, and
thenceforward continued to be the lifelong ally and adviser of the
family. Chessington Hall became a haven of rest for the Burneys,—“a
place of peace, ease, freedom and cheerfulness,” to which, even when it
was later turned into a boarding-house by Miss Hamilton, the father
retired to work at his books, and the children for change of air. As
Crisp grew older, they grew more and more necessary to his existence,
filling the dark passages and tapestried chambers of the old house with
fiddles and harpsichords, dancing, amateur acting, and all the stir and
bustle of their fresh and healthy vitality. Their company must have been
invaluable to a host, contracted, but by no means wedded, to melancholy;
and there is no doubt that in return his experience of the world, his
sterling good sense, and his educated taste were of the greatest service
to them. They brightened and cheered his life; but they also owed not a
little to the personage whom, in brief space, they came to designate
affectionately as “Daddy” Crisp.

For two or three years after Mrs. Burney’s death not much is known of
her husband’s doings. His grief at first was intense; but like many
sensible men, he at once sought to mitigate it by hard work, attempting
among other things a prose translation of Dante’s _Inferno_. In June,
1764, he paid a short visit to Paris in order to place Hetty and Susan
at school there. Fanny was older than Susan, but apart from her general
backwardness, her father seems to have apprehended that her very
emotional character (she had been overpowered with grief at her mother’s
death) might, when on the Continent, perhaps induce her to adopt the
creed of her grandmother, Mrs. Sleepe, to whom she was much attached. In
the French capital, Charles Burney found many friends, and under the
influence of Paris air, Paris clothes, Paris festivities and the
_Comédie Italienne_, began speedily—like Garrick in the same place a
few months afterwards—to recover his spirits, and interest himself once
more in his old pursuits. Either now or later, he set to work upon a
version of Rousseau’s musical _intermède_, the _Devin du Village_, under
the title of _The Cunning Man_.[7] Towards the end of June, he left
Hetty and Susan in the care of a certain Mme. St. Mart. They remained at
Paris for about two years, returning in 1767.

The first diarist of the family appears to have been Susan Burney, who
began her records at the early age of ten. Soon after her return home
she sketched the portraits of her two elder sisters. “The
characteristics of Hetty seem to be wit, generosity, and openness of
heart:—Fanny’s,—sense, sensibility, and bashfulness, and even a degree
of prudery. Her understanding is superior, but her diffidence gives her
a bashfulness before company with whom she is not intimate, which is a
disadvantage to her. My eldest sister shines in conversation, because,
though very modest, she is totally free from any _mauvaise honte_: were
Fanny equally so, I am persuaded she would shine no less. I am afraid
that my eldest sister is too communicative, and that my sister Fanny is
too reserved. They are both charming girls—_des filles comme il y en a
peu_.”[8] The words make one think that the composing of _Caractères_ or
_Portraits_ must have formed part of Mme. St. Mart’s _curriculum_. At
all events they are all we know of Frances Burney at this time, and they
coincide with what we have learned already. Doubtless, during the
absence of her sisters in France, she had been slowly developing. To her
busy father, although he left her much to herself, she was devotedly
attached; and she had grown almost as fond of the adopted parent who had
now become her “guide, philosopher and friend.” When Hetty and Susan
were away, she probably saw a great deal of Mr. Crisp, and in the
beginning of 1766 paid her first visit to the “dear, ever dear
Chesington” which was to figure so frequently in her future journals. It
had been her father’s intention that she and her younger sister
Charlotte should also have the advantage of two years’ schooling at Mme.
St. Mart’s establishment; but the project, first postponed, was
afterwards abandoned in consequence of Mr. Burney’s second marriage.

This took place in October, 1767. The lady, Elizabeth Allen, was the
widow of a wealthy Lynn wine-merchant. She had been the intimate friend
of the late Mrs. Burney, whose death she had deplored almost as much as
Mrs. Burney’s husband. She had three children; but, owing to losses in
her widowhood, apparently possessed nothing but a dower-house in the
churchyard of St. Margaret’s at Lynn. Coming to London for the education
of her eldest daughter, Maria, she renewed her acquaintance with the
Burneys. Handsome, intelligent, well-read, and something of a
blue-stocking to boot, she seems speedily to have inspired in Mr. Burney
an affection as genuine as her own for him. But as her Lynn relatives
were not likely to approve the match, seeing particularly that Mr.
Burney had six children of his own, the marriage took place privately at
St. James’s, Piccadilly; and the newly wedded pair, with the connivance
of the friendly Crisp, spent their honeymoon in a farm-house near
Chessington. Even then, the matter was kept quiet, being only revealed
at last by the misdelivery of a letter. After this, the second Mrs.
Burney took her place definitively as the mistress of the Poland Street
home, and the Lynn dower-house became an additional holiday resort for
the combined family. The children on both sides seem to have been
delighted with an alliance which brought them more intimately together;
and the new mamma increased rather than diminished the literary tone of
the house. “As Mrs. Stephen Allen,” says Mrs. Ellis, “she had held a
sort of _bas bleu_ meeting once a week; as Mrs. Burney, she received men
of letters, or art, almost daily, in an informal way.” One result of the
marriage, as already stated, was that Fanny and Charlotte did not go to
Paris. Charlotte was put to school in Norfolk; and it was arranged that
Susanna should teach Fanny French.

At the time of her father’s second marriage, Fanny Burney was in her
sixteenth year. Whether she had written much previous to the return of
her sisters from Paris, cannot be affirmed; but it is evident that, with
the advent of the diary-keeping Susanna, her native bias to scribbling
rapidly increased. Every available scrap of paper was covered with
stories and humourous sketches, confided only to the discreet ears of
the younger sister, who laughed and cried over these masterpieces in
secret. But it so chanced that Mrs. Burney the second, with all her
appreciation of the _monde parleur_, was also keenly alive to the
_misères du monde scribe_. Something led her to suspect that the girls
were writing a good deal more than in her opinion was good for them, and
the result was that they were gently but firmly admonished not to spend
too much time in idle crude inventions. Thus, one fine day, it came
about that, in the paved play-court at Poland Street, when her father
was at Chessington and her step-mother at Lynn, the docile Fanny “made
over to a bonfire” all her accumulated stock of prose compositions. In
the Preface to her last novel of _The Wanderer_, where it is added that
Susanna stood weeping by, the date of this holocaust is given as her
fifteenth birthday (June 1767). But as it obviously occurred some time
after her father’s second marriage in October of the same year, her
memory must have deceived her. Among the papers she burned was said to
be an entire work of fiction, to which we shall return.
Luckily,—although by this act she provisionally abjured authorship, and
the discredit supposed to attach in the polite world to female writers
and female writers of novels and romances in particular,—she did not
refrain from journal-keeping. For the date of her first entry in her
_Early Diary_ is May 30 [1768], at which time Mr. Burney’s second
marriage had been publicly acknowledged.

Before dealing with those portions of this chronicle which concern the
present chapter, it is necessary to say something of the proceedings of
the father of the family. In 1769 Mr. Burney, of whom we shall hereafter
speak as “Dr.” Burney, received his Mus. D. degree at Oxford, his
preliminary exercise being an anthem which was performed in the Music
School, where it “was received with universal applause.”[9] The chief
vocalist was one of the Doctor’s pupils, Miss Jenny Barsanti, often
referred to in the _Diary_; and Fanny wrote some congratulatory verses
to her father on his distinction, which, at all events, exhibit a knack
of rhyming. The receipt of his degree appears to have revived all Dr.
Burney’s dormant literary ambitions. In matters connected with his
profession he had always been an industrious note-taker; and he was also
much interested in astronomy. One of the results of this last taste was
an anonymous pamphlet prompted by the comet of 1769, at the close of
which year it was published. To this was appended the translation from
Maupertuis by the first Mrs. Burney, of which mention has been made. The
_Essay on Comets_ attracted no notice; but it served to strengthen its
author’s hand; and he began systematically to look over the
miscellaneous collections he had accumulated towards that _History of
Music_ of which he had dreamed at Lynn. In arranging and transcribing
the mass of material, Fanny fell naturally into the office of amanuensis
and keeper of the records. But these had not long been manipulated
before her father discovered that it would be necessary for him to make
a personal tour in France and Italy,—first, to procure information in
regard to ancient music, and secondly, to ascertain, by ear and eye, the
actual condition of the musical art on the Continent. At Paris he
visited Rousseau and Diderot, both of whom were interested and helpful.
At Ferney he had a chance interview with Voltaire, then seventy-eight
and wasted to a skeleton, but still working ten hours a day, and writing
without spectacles. Discord, rather than harmony, was the topic of this
conversation. The quarrels of authors—Voltaire held—were good for
letters, just as, in a free government, the quarrels of the great and
the clamours of the small were necessary to liberty. The silence of
critics (he said) did not so much prove the age to be correct, as dull.
Dr. Burney had started in June 1770; he did not return until January
1771, when he almost immediately buried himself at Chessington to
prepare his notes and journal for the press. In the following May his
book was printed under the title of _The Present State of Music in
France and Italy; or, the Journal of a Tour through those Countries,
undertaken to collect Materials for a General History of Music_; and it
obtained a considerable success. Copies went to Mason, Hawkesworth,
Garrick, and Crisp, all of whom had aided in its progress. Among its
other readers must have been Johnson, who told Mr. Seward that he had
“that clever dog, Burney” in his eye when, two years later, he wrote his
own _Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland_.[10]

During Dr. Burney’s absence abroad, his wife had found the Poland Street
house too small. She accordingly fixed upon a fresh residence in Queen
Square, Bloomsbury, which was then much more in the country than it is
at present. The new home was at the upper end of the square, which had
been considerately left open by the architect so as to afford a
delightful prospect, across Lamb’s Conduit Fields, of Highgate and
Hampstead, which Miss Burney—we regret to say—spells “Hygate and
Hamstead.” There was also a special interest in the house itself, for it
had once been inhabited by Queen Anne’s printer, Alderman Barber, the
“_Johannes Tonsor_” and “very good and old friend” of Swift; and it was
a fond tradition of the Burney household that the author of _Gulliver’s
Travels_ had often dined with Barber at Queen Square. But the _Journal
to Stella_, when it mentions Barber, invariably refers to him as in the
City; and it is probable that Swift visited him uniformly at his place
of business. In any case, the Queen Square house was “well fitted up,
convenient, and handsome.” Especially was there a closet or playroom up
two pair of stairs where Fanny could retire to compose her Diary, for
which task, during her father’s absence abroad, she had unexpected
opportunities. But she had also another, and more picturesque asylum in
her step-mother’s dower-house at Lynn. At the end of a long side garden
was a “Look Out” or Gazebo, called “The Cabin,” from which ships could
be seen on the Ouse. Here, except when she was driven from it to the
more secluded garden by the profane language of the seafaring
population, she was accustomed to write and dream at her ease.

Dr. Burney’s activity did not permit him to pause long after his first
book. Very soon we hear that he is learning German,—no doubt with a
purpose. In July, 1772, he set out upon a second tour, this time to
collect materials for his history in Germany and the Netherlands. During
his absence, which lasted five months, his family lived mainly at Lynn
and Chessington. In December he returned to England, terminating his
travels by an unique experience. Upon his passage to Dover, in the very
stormy winter of 1772, he was so exhausted by sea-sickness that he fell
asleep in his berth, and was carried back again to Calais. On reaching
Queen Square he had a severe illness, requiring to be carefully nursed
by his family; but, with his customary energy, dictated to his
daughters, from his bed, portions of the new Tour whenever the intervals
of pain permitted him to do so. As soon as he was convalescent, he
hastened off to Chessington, carrying his secretaries with him. The
result of his labours was at press in February, 1773, and was published
in May. It was received even more kindly than its predecessor, and
included detailed _Proposals_ for the forthcoming _General History of
Music_. Not many months after, in consequence of difficulties as to
title, the Queen Square house was given up, and the Burneys moved to
Leicester Fields.

With some account of the next new house, which had, even then, its
history, we may fitly open a fresh chapter. In closing this one,
however, something must be said as to that _Early Diary_ which Fanny
Burney began to keep in May 1768. When, in 1842-6, her _Diary and
Letters_ were edited by her sister Charlotte’s daughter, Mrs. Charlotte
Francis Barrett, an amiable and learned lady who happily combined a
knowledge of Hebrew with a genius for making jelly, it was thought right
to withhold the portions preceding the publication of _Evelina_, as
being “of a more private and personal nature than that which attaches to
the Journal after its writer became universally known.” But in 1889,
this earlier portion also was edited by the late Mrs. Annie Raine Ellis
from the original MSS. which the first writer, in her own words, had
freely “curtailed and erased of what might be mischievous from friendly
or Family Considerations.” One of the explanatory memoranda states, and
another repeats, that the record was begun at the age of fifteen.
Prefixed to the Diary, and “Addressed to a Certain Miss Nobody,” is a
whimsical Introduction, which Mrs. Barrett reproduced in _facsimile_ at
the beginning of the _Diary and Letters_ of 1842-6. This, of course, may
be earlier than the rest, as it is said to be on older paper, and in a
slightly different hand. The Diary that follows, as already stated, was
considerably revised by the writer in her old age; and, as reprinted in
1889, shows numerous omissions. Of the record for 1769, for example,
Mrs. Ellis says, “Much has been cut from the Diary of this year, and it
has many erasures. It appears to have been in two or three _cahiers_,
which all lie now within one quarto sheet of paper, so much are they
shrunk in size.” There are also large excisions in the accounts for 1771
and 1772; and the manuscript everywhere bears token of wholesale
obliterations. Where these are Miss Burney’s own, they are said to be so
effectual that scarcely a word can be read. In future chapters, we shall
take leave to make sundry extracts from the Burney chronicle; but in
this, where only a brief period (1768-73) is in question, we may fairly
confine our citations to a few notes, relating mainly to the diarist and
her method.

In the first lines of her address to Nobody, Miss Burney defines her
purpose. The reason, she says, which induces her to keep a Journal is
that, “when the hour arrives in which time is more nimble than memory,”
she may have some account of her “thoughts, manners, acquaintance and
actions.” Writing in the Cabin at Lynn a little later, she reverts to
this idea. “I cannot express the pleasure I have in writing down my
thoughts, at the very moment—my opinion of people when I first see
them, and how I alter, or how confirm myself in it—and I am much
deceived in my _fore sight_, if I shall not have very great delight in
reading this _living proof_ of my manner of passing my time, my
sentiments, my thoughts of people I know, and a thousand other things in
future—there is something to me very unsatisfactory in passing year
after year, without even a memorandum of what you did, etc.” Presently,
she has her difficulties. Dr. Burney comes upon a fugitive page of this
_chronique intime_, and though he does not forbid the practice, protests
that if he finds it lying about he will post it up in the market place.
Then one of her mother’s friends, Miss Dorothy Young (whom the first
Mrs. Burney on her death-bed had recommended her husband to marry) had
her doubts about this “most dangerous employment.” “Suppose now,” says
Miss Young, “your favourite wish were granted, and you were _to fall in
love_ [it may be noted that Fanny had already confided this tender
aspiration to her pages], and then the object of your passion were to
get sight of some part which related to himself?” Here was an appalling
suggestion, to which Fanny could only reply that she should have to take
a precipitate trip to Rosamond’s Pond in St. James’s Park, then the last
resort of the despairing. It is characteristic of this very early entry
in the Diary, that the conversation is given exactly as if it had been
reported in shorthand. As the record progresses, there are many similar
instances of this practice, which greatly irritated distrustful Mr.
Croker. “I shall recollect as much of the conversation as I can, and
make the parties speak for themselves,” Miss Burney writes of a long
interview with the currish misogynist and Tory, Dr. John Shebbeare. And
then follows a dialogue to which the names of the speakers are prefixed
as they would be in a play.

Some of the most interesting entries at this date relate to her reading,
and show that, instead of being, as Lord Macaulay supposed,[11] an
infrequent student of novels, her activity in this way was fully equal
to her opportunities. Richardson’s works she must have known intimately,
as she reminds her sister of their early love for him; she reads and
cries over and criticises the _Vicar of Wakefield_; she reads
_Rasselas_, and thinks the style and sentiments inimitable. The subject
however is dreadful. “How terrible is it to be told by a man of his
[Johnson’s] genius and knowledge, in so affectingly probable a manner,
that true, real, happiness is ever unattainable in this world!” The
_Sentimental Journey_,—which was a special favourite with her
step-mother,—she read three times; and, from a reference to “Hobby
Horses,” was probably acquainted with _Tristram Shandy_, or at all
events with its famous eighth chapter. Stranger still, she had not only
read Prévost’s _Doyen de Killérine_ (with which she is delighted), but
that very stimulating work, the _Vie de Marianne_ of Marivaux. Further,
she occasionally quotes much inferior productions, _e.g._ the _Henry and
Frances_ of Mrs. Griffiths, the _Lady Julia Mandeville_ of the
once-popular Mrs. Brooke, and the _Lydia_ of Shebbeare. These are
advanced mainly in answer to Lord Macaulay. But the _Diary_ contains
numerous references to studies of a sterner sort. Among the books she
speaks of reading, are Plutarch’s _Lives_, Pope’s _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_,
Hawkesworth’s _Telemachus_, Hume, Smollett, Smith’s _Thucydides_,
Middleton’s _Cicero_, Hooke’s _Roman_, and Stanyan’s _Grecian
History_,—all of which she professes to go through systematically. Here
is strong meat enough, one would imagine, for a budding Mme.
Roland;—certainly it would be a trying course, in the days when
skipping was unknown, for even that model and methodical student, Miss
Clarissa Harlowe. Moreover it proves plainly that Fanny’s close
attention to braid-stitch, cross-and-change, pinking, pointing,
frilling, and all the other niceties of that needlework which her
step-mother regarded as so important to young persons—did not leave her
without leisure for literature.

To give any detailed summary of the material contained in the first four
years of Miss Burney’s _Diary_ would be impracticable here. There are
several portraits which (like that of Dr. Shebbeare) show that the
writer’s pen is already working willingly and easily in what was to be
her most congenial field. There is a long description of the forgotten
Spanish traveller, Mr. Richard Twiss, a polyglot eccentric of the first
water; there is another of a delightful fop and cousin, Richard Burney,
of Worcester, Junr., the son of Dr. Burney’s elder brother; there is a
picturesque _Journal_, addressed to Susan in 1773, of a visit to
Teignmouth,—or “Tingmouth,” as the writer calls it,—which Mrs. Ellis
fairly characterises as “Fanny’s first book, privately circulated,” and
which contains some lively sketches of rural sports and watering-place
oddities. Some of these descriptions and portraits go off in letters to
“Daddy” Crisp at Chessington, who is delighted, and gives his “dearest
Fannikin” some very seasonable advice, which, in after years, she
unhappily neglected. “If once you set about framing studied letters,
that are to be correct, nicely grammatical, and run in smooth periods, I
shall mind them no otherwise than as newspapers of intelligence. . . .
There is no fault in an epistolary correspondence like stiffness and
study. Dash away whatever comes uppermost; the sudden sallies of
imagination, clap’d down on paper, just as they arise, are worth
folios. . . . Never think of being correct when you write to me.” Not
the least notable of Fanny’s records are the glimpses we get of some of
her father’s friends. One is poor mad Kit Smart, always needy and
out-at-elbows, with whom Burney had grown acquainted at Arne’s, and who
died in 1772 in the King’s Bench Prison. Another, who also died in this
period, is Hawkesworth, whose end, according to Fanny, was certainly
hastened by the attacks made upon him in connection with his subsidised
publication of Cook’s _Voyages_. Garrick more or less pervades the
chronicle, dashing into the house in the most unexpected manner; rushing
away with little Charlotte whom he declares to be the image of _Comedy_
in Reynolds’s picture; acting, grimacing, mimicking, posturing, and
altogether comporting himself in every respect like the excellent friend
and histrion he was. Fanny often sees him play—as Bayes in the
_Rehearsal_; as Richard the Third; as Lear, and as Abel Drugger in the
_Alchemist_. Of “crook’d back’d Richard” she says,—“It is inconceivable
how terribly great he is in this character! I will never see him so
disfigured again; he seemed so truly the monster he performed, that I
felt myself glow with indignation every time I saw him. The applause he
met with, exceeds all belief in the absent. I thought at the end they
would have torn the house down: our seats shook under us.” Of Lear,—“He
was exquisitely great; every idea I had formed of his talents, although
I have ever idolized him, was exceeded.” But she very properly blames
Cibber’s feeble alterations of Shakespeare’s work. As to Abel Drugger,
perhaps Garrick’s greatest part, she says:—“Never could I have imagined
such a metamorphose as I saw; the extreme meanness, the vulgarity, the
low wit, the vacancy of countenance, the appearance of _unlicked nature_
in all his motions.” These are more than the opinions of an “unlessoned
girl,” for they are confirmed to the full by experienced spectators such
as Lichtenberg and Mme. Necker. To Goldsmith, then not far from his end,
there is passing reference. “Dr. Goldsmith”—says the diary in May,
1773,—“has just brought on the stage a new comedy, called, ‘She stoops
to _Conquer_.’ We went to it with Mr. and Mrs. Young; it is very
laughable and comic; but I know not how it is, almost all diversions are
insipid at present to me, except the opera.” There is another mention of
Goldsmith a few pages further on. It relates to his projected
_Dictionary of Arts and Sciences_. Among other contributors, Dr. Burney
was to undertake the article “Musician.” But the plan never got beyond
the prospectus stage. Goldsmith died in the following year, and Dr.
Burney’s paper probably found its ultimate place in his own _History of


[1] This was Fanny Burney’s later friend,—the beautiful Mrs. Crewe of
Reynolds, and the “Amoret” of Sheridan and Charles Fox.

[2] _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832, i. 134.

[3] Dr. Birkbeck Hill’s Boswell’s _Johnson_, 1887, i. 420. In a note
communicated by Burney in 1799 to the third edition of Boswell’s book,
he dates this performance “1769,” when (he says) he resided at Norfolk.
But his memory must have deceived him, for according to the _Annual
Register_ for 1763, the Burlesque was performed at Ranelagh on June 10
in that year, having been previously published as a pamphlet, which is
to be found in the British Museum; and it figures among the new books
for June, 1763, in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_. The point is a trifling
one, only important here because the success of the Ode has been
advanced as one of the things which decided its composer to leave Lynn
for London in 1760.

[4] Admiral Burney’s recollections are referred to in Hood’s “Preface”
to the separate issue of _The Dream of Eugene Aram_ published in 1831,
with William Harvey’s illustrations.

[5] _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832, ii. 170-1.

[6] Crisp’s _Virginia_ was published anonymously by Tonson in 1754 with
a dedication to the writer’s friends, the Earl and Countess of Coventry.

[7] _The Cunning Man_ (_i.e._ fortune-teller or soothsayer) was produced
at Drury Lane in 1766 when Rousseau came to England, but it was coldly
received (_Biographia Dramatica_, 1812, ii. 145).

[8] In Letter LXIV. of _Evelina_, Miss Burney, applying this locution to
Lord Orville, attributes it to Marmontel. The above passage is printed
in the “Introduction” to the _Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. pp. xi-xii.

[9] _Oxford Journal_, 23 June 1769.

[10] Dr. Birkbeck Hill (Boswell’s _Johnson_, 1887, iv. 186 n.) seems,
perhaps not unnaturally, to doubt this, as Burney “writes chiefly of
music.” But it is confirmed by a passage in the _Early Diary_, 1889, i.
212. “He [Baretti] told my father that Dr. Johnson . . . has read both
his Tours with great pleasure, and has pronounced him to be _one of the
first writers of the age_ for travels!” Moreover, in the second Tour,
the author was less chary of personal anecdote. In Edward FitzGerald’s
letters, he draws Carlyle’s attention to some of the very interesting
particulars which the second Tour contains concerning Frederick the
Great (_More Letters of Edward FitzGerald_, 1901, p. 67). But Carlyle,
who quotes the visit to Voltaire from the first Tour, does not mention
the second at all.

[11] Lord Macaulay relied upon the fact, mentioned in the Dedication to
_The Wanderer_ (p. xxii), that Dr. Burney’s large library only contained
one novel, Fielding’s _Amelia_. But, as Mrs. Ellis pertinently remarks,
“Novels were brought into the house if they did not abide in it.”

                               CHAPTER II
                       NO. 1, ST. MARTIN’S STREET

No. 1, St. Martin’s Street, now No. 35, to which the Burneys moved early
in 1774, may fairly be described as a house with a history. We say
“now,” since it still exists,—standing to the right at the top of the
little street which opens into Leicester Square from the south; and
having on its left that Orange Street Congregational Church where, in
its Huguenot days, was wont to preach Wesley’s opponent,—the Rev.
Augustus Montague Toplady. The house itself, once red brick, but at
present stuccoed over, is not impressive, save for the distinction
conferred by a Society of Arts tablet which proclaims it to have been
formerly the residence of Newton. Miss Burney, indeed, as her father
supposed, declares that Sir Isaac built it; but this is an error. He
took it in 1710, when he was nearing seventy, and he lived in it until
1725, two years before he died at Kensington. Beyond occasional visits
to the Princess Caroline at Leicester House on the opposite side of the
Fields; and the fact that he superintended the production of two
editions of the _Principia_ during his period of residence, no very
definite traditions belong to his sojourn in St. Martin’s Street. But
Dr. Burney, who valued literary association, had a better reason for
connecting his new house with Swift, than he had for connecting him with
Queen Square. For in Newton’s house in St. Martin’s Street had certainly
dwelt one of Swift’s intimates and Newton’s relatives, the beautiful and
witty Catherine Barton,—the “_jolie nièce_” of Voltaire,—and the
“Super-intendant of his domestick Affairs” to Charles Montagu, Earl of
Halifax, to whom, it is conjectured, she was privately married. After
the death of Halifax in 1715, she became the wife of John Conduitt,
Newton’s successor as Master of the Mint; and, when in town, was
accustomed to reside with her uncle in Leicester Fields. And it is no
great stretch of imagination to assume that, at such times, though Swift
himself was in exile, she was visited by the other old friends who had
clustered around her when she was a Toast of the Kit Cats. The chairs of
Lady Worsley and Lady Betty Germaine must often have waited at the
narrow approach by which the street was then entered from the Fields,
while their mistresses “disputed Whig and Tory” with Mrs. Conduitt, or
were interrupted in a _tête-à-tête_ by Gay and the Duchess of

As regards situation, the change from Queen Square to St. Martin’s
Street was not entirely for the better. It was no small loss to
substitute an “unpleasant site,” “confined air,” and a “shabby immediate
neighbourhood” for the unobstructed view of “Hampstead’s breezy Heath”
which the Bloomsbury home afforded.[13] But in the way of convenience,
and a central position, the difference was great, in addition to which,
compared with its predecessor, the new residence was “large and good.”
It is true that the stairs were so steep and narrow that one of Fulke
Greville’s friends broke his sword in climbing them; but, on the other
hand, most of the rooms were panelled, and one, at least, of the
ceilings “prodigiously painted and ornamented,” not, as the Doctor was
careful to explain, by him, but by previous occupants. The chief glory
of the house, however, was the unpretentious structure at the top, which
passed for Sir Isaac’s observatory. It is perhaps safest to say
“passed,” because, between 1725 and 1774, there must have been other
dwellers in No. 1, St. Martin’s Street, and many things may have
happened. But the Burneys seem to have devoutly believed in the
small-paned, wooden turret, with the leaden roof and tiny fireplace,
which embodied so respectable a tradition. They exhibited it religiously
to their visitors; and one of its new owner’s first acts was to put it
into repair. When, four years later, it was all but whirled away by the
hurricane of 1778, he practically rebuilt it. And it was unquestionably
Fanny’s chosen retreat and _scriptorium_. “His [Newton’s] observatory is
my favourite sitting place, where I can retire to read or write any of
my private fancies or vagaries.” And then follows what—having regard to
some of her previous utterances—is more interesting than
unexpected.[14] “I burnt all up to my fifteenth year—thinking I grew
too old for scribbling nonsense, but as I am less young, I grow, I fear,
less wise, for I cannot any longer resist what I find to be
irresistible, the pleasure of popping down my thoughts from time to time
upon paper.”

Whatever may have been her exact age at the date of the famous
_auto-da-fé_ in the paved court at Poland Street, she must have been
nearing two and twenty when she “popped down” the foregoing passage; and
the moment, taken in connection with the change of scene from Bloomsbury
to Leicester Fields is a favourable one for reviewing the Burney family
circle in 1774-5. Dr. Burney’s second or German Tour, as we know, had
been published in 1773; and in the same year he had been made a Fellow
of the Royal Society. At present, in the intervals of rheumatism, he was
working, with Fanny’s aid, at his _History of Music_. By his second wife
he had two children,—Richard, and Sarah Harriet, the latter of whom
eventually, like her gifted half-sister, became a novelist. But both
Richard and Harriet, at this date, were in the nursery. Esther, or
Hetty, the eldest daughter, had been married for some time to her
cousin, Charles Rousseau Burney, afterwards of Bath, a musician and
former pupil of her father; while Maria Allen, the daughter of Dr.
Burney’s second wife, was married to a Mr. Rishton. James Burney, the
sailor, having sailed with Cook in his second voyage, and been made a
lieutenant, had now returned home. In 1775 he was serving on the North
American Station, when he was recalled to accompany Cook on his third
and fatal expedition. Of the rest, Susan and Charlotte were now grown
up, Charlotte being about fifteen, and Susan some years older. Charles,
after having enjoyed the reputation of being “the sweetest-tempered boy
in the Charterhouse School,” was now, in all probability, pursuing at
Cambridge those studies for which he was eventually to be classed with
Porson and Parr. The only one of the Queen Square frequenters no longer
to be encountered at St. Martin’s Street was “Daddy” Crisp. By this date
he was sixty-eight, and his fits of gout had become so severe, that he
had ceased to make his annual descents upon London from his Surrey
hermitage. But his interest in all that befell his friends at Leicester
Fields remained unabated; and in this he was kept carefully posted up by
his favourite “Fannikin,” who, what with acting as librarian and
amanuensis to her indefatigable father, writing periodical news-letters
of “from six to twelve large quarto pages” to Chessington, and keeping
her own voluminous journal besides—must have been very actively
employed both in the Observatory and out of it. Not without reason can
it have been that she acquired the “murtherous stooping” which her
Mentor deplored, nor was it entirely chargeable to the shortness of
sight which she shared with Charlotte Brontë. It is from her bright and
graphic despatches to Mr. Crisp that we propose to draw most of the
material for this chapter. Often these are repeated in her _Diary_, and
they are also expanded in the _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_ which she wrote in
later years; but they are at their best and freshest in her
letters,—letters which, in many cases, must have been scribbled off
immediately after the occurrence of the events they described. From one
of them it is clear that their writer thought nothing of setting to work
at what would now be considered a very lengthy epistle, when the
entertainment of the evening had come to an end.

The Queen Square circle had already been sufficiently diversified; but
it grew wider and even more varied at Leicester Fields. Some of the
Doctor’s friends were now in his immediate vicinity. The family of Mr.
(afterwards Sir Robert) Strange, the engraver,—old Paris
acquaintances,—were, for the moment, lodging close by. Reynolds, who
had just painted the beautiful Eliza Linley (Mrs. Sheridan) as “St.
Cecilia,” lived only just across the Fields at No. 47; and Garrick, in
the new house recently built for him by the brothers Adam at the
Adelphi, was not too far off to be a frequent looker-in. Another
artistic friend was the sculptor, Joseph Nollekens, whom Burney had met
in Italy. James Barry, the eccentric and pugnacious Irish painter from
Castle Street, then engaged in decorating the Meeting Room of the
Society of Arts with vast designs (in one of which Dr. Burney, in a
queue and tye-wig, figures incongruously among the nymphs of the
Thames),—was also among the familiar faces. But the majority were
naturally persons who were more or less attracted to the Historian of
Music. In this category comes James Harris of Salisbury, “a most
charming old man,”—says Fanny, not only the author of _Hermes_, but a
writer upon Music, and a composer whose pastoral of _Daphnis and
Amaryllis_ had actually been produced at Drury Lane. With him was his
wife, the delightful Mrs. Harris whose gossiping letters to her son, the
first Earl of Malmesbury, are some of the most charming in their kind.
Then there was another new friend, whom the Burney girls grew to love
almost as much as “Daddy” Crisp himself, the Rev. Thomas Twining of
Fordham, near Colchester, afterwards the translator of Aristotle’s
_Treatise on Poetry_. His acquaintance with Dr. Burney had begun over
the _German Tour_, for Twining, too, had meditated a _History of Music_,
which he abandoned in favour of Burney’s. “They were far from young when
they met,”—says Twining’s brother and biographer referring to the new
friends,—“and they could ill afford to lose time.”[15] Besides these,
there were the foreign professionals who regarded the author of the
_Tours_ as the supreme arbiter in matters musical:—the celebrated
_soprano_, Lucrezia Agujari, otherwise the _Bastardini_; the almost
equally celebrated Caterina Gabrielli, and the _Inglesina_, Cecilia
Davies; while the men were represented by the singer and composer,
Rauzzini, who is so much commended in the _German Tour_, by Gasparo
Pacchieroti and others. Finally, there were the “_Lyons_,”—as the
diarist calls them,—the Otaheitan Omai, who had come from the Society
Islands with Lieutenant Burney; and the Abyssinian traveller, James
Bruce of Kinnaird; and last, but by no means largest, for Bruce was six
feet four, the Russian “man-mountain,” Alexis Orloff, who had certainly
helped to strangle his Imperial Master, Peter III., and was also—though
not so surely—the reputed favourite of that terrible Czarina who,
according to Walpole, had even more teeth than the famous Wild Beast of
the Gévaudan. The goings and comings of these, and other notables and
notorieties,—for those mentioned by no means exhaust the list,—must
have been an unexampled school of character to a budding novelist, whose
gift lay especially in seizing upon the peculiarities of human nature,
whose perceptions were at their freshest and keenest, and whose
singularly retentive memory was not yet perplexed and bewildered by too
prolonged an experience of the very variegated patchwork of Eighteenth
Century society.

Among the first visits to St. Martin’s Street that Fanny chronicles is
one from that “most entertaining of mortals, Mr. Garrick.” He arrived,
as usual, very early in the morning, marching straight into the study
where Dr. Burney, “surrounded by books and papers innumerable,” was
having his hair dressed. Fanny was making breakfast; Charlotte reading
the paper. Nobody else was a-stir. “My father,”—says Miss Burney,—“was
beginning a laughing sort of apology for his litters, and so forth, but
Mr. Garrick interrupted him with ‘Aye now; do be in a little confusion;
it will make things comfortable!’” He then began to look gravely at the
hairdresser. (Dr. Burney, it may be stated in parenthesis wore his own
hair,—a crop so bushy and luxuriant that Frances Reynolds persisted in
regarding it as artificial.) “He (Garrick) was himself in a most odious
scratch-wig, which nobody but himself could dare to be seen in. He put
on a look in the Abel Drugger style of _envy_ and sadness, as he
examined the hairdresser’s progress; and, when he had done, he turned to
him with a dejected face, and said, ‘Pray Sir, could you touch up _this_
a little?’ taking hold of his own frightful scratch.” At which the
hairdresser only grinned, and left the room. But Garrick continued his
proceedings in the same mirthful spirit. He made enquiries as to the
progress of the _History of Music_, protesting that he was only waiting
to blow the trumpet of Fame, which he forthwith proceeded to do with a
stick, after the fashion of a Raree-Show-man. “Here is the only true
History, Gentlemen; please to buy, please to buy. Sir, I shall blow it
in the very ear of yon scurvy magistrate”—by whom he meant Sir John
Hawkins of Twickenham, whom Horace Walpole had incited to a rival
performance. His final exploit, after mimicking the Spanish traveller,
Twiss, and Dr. Arne, Burney’s old master, was to give a dramatic
rendering of an interview he had recently had with Johnson,—not yet
personally known to the young ladies. Johnson had asked Garrick to lend
him a book, and Johnson’s carelessness about books was notorious.
“‘David, will you lend me Petra[r]ca?’ ‘Yes, Sir.’ ‘David, you sigh.’
‘Sir, you shall have it.’ Accordingly, the book, finely bound, was sent,
but scarce had he received it, when uttering a Latin ejaculation (which
Mr. Garrick repeated) in a fit of enthusiasm,—over his head goes poor
Petra[r]ca,—Russia leather and all!”[16] After this the mercurial actor
bustled off to give breakfast to Boswell, promising to come soon, and
plague them again. By the Burney household Garrick was idolised; but
Miss Burney hints that where he was not on cordial terms, he could
contrive to make himself extremely disagreeable.

Other early visitors were Bruce, the already mentioned Abyssinian
traveller, and the Otaheitan Omai. We will take the traveller first. At
this time he had been twelve years abroad, four of which had been spent
in unexplored parts of Africa. “His figure is almost gigantic! he is the
tallest man I ever saw,” writes Fanny,—who adds elsewhere that he
almost frightened Mr. Twining. “I cannot say I was charmed with him; for
he seems rather arrogant, and to have so large a share of good opinion
of himself, as to have nothing left for the rest of the world but
contempt. Yet his self-approbation is not that of a _fop_; on the
contrary, he is a very manly character, and looks so dauntless and
intrepid, so that I believe he could never in his life know what fear
meant.” Despite his hauteur, Bruce seems to have taken to the Burneys.
He liked music, and he lodged in Leicester Fields, so he came often to
their social evenings. He even favoured the Doctor with two drawings, a
Theban harp and an Abyssinian lyre, which were copied for the _History
of Music_. The latter instrument prompted some rather obvious gibes
about Abyssinian _liars_ from Walpole and Selwyn. Bruce, as Johnson
said, was “not a distinct relater,” added to which his large, imperious
and rather swaggering manner prejudiced people against his stories, and
had the effect of delaying his account of his exploits until a few years
before his death in 1794. One of his last appearances at St. Martin’s
Street was in 1776, when he stayed to supper “which, you know, with us,
is nothing but a permission to sit over a table for chat, and roast
potatoes, or apples.” But “his Abyssinian Majesty,” as Fanny calls him,
neither discoursed on this occasion upon the Abyssinian lyre, nor the
merits of raw beef-steaks as a diet. He only told a long and rather
stupid story of a practical joke at a masquerade.

Omiah, Omai, Omy, or familiarly, Jack,—the other “_lyon_ of
_lyons_”—came to St. Martin’s Street upon the invitation of James
Burney, whose sister gives detailed accounts of his visits. At the time
of the first, the Society Islander, of whom, in his native state, there
is a portrait in Cook’s _Voyages_, can only have been a few months in
England. But although he had not learned English, he had already
acquired all the externals of a fine gentleman. He arrived betimes,
after a preliminary note in due form, arrayed splendidly in a Court suit
of Manchester velvet lined with white satin, a bag, laced ruffles (on
his tattooed hands), and a very handsome sword which had been given him
by King George the Third. Though not handsome, he was tall and well
proportioned. “He makes _remarkable_ good bows—not for _him_ but for
_anybody_, however long under a Dancing Master’s care,” writes Miss
Burney. “Indeed he seems to shame Education, for his manners are so
extremely graceful, and he is so polite, attentive, and easy, that you
would have thought he came from some Foreign Court,”—a sentiment which
seems later to have prompted a comparison between the lamentable failure
of Lord Chesterfield’s precepts to make of Philip Stanhope anything but
a “pedantic booby,” and the exemplary rapidity with which Otaheitan
Omiah had contrived to “cultivate the Graces.” Miss Burney saw Omiah
again before he returned to Ulietea. Upon this occasion, he obliged the
company with “a song of his own country,” which, from his subsequent
analysis, must have comprised the entire _scenario_ of a comic opera.
But his audience were too musical, and it was not a success. “So queer,
wild, strange a _rumbling of sounds_ never did I before hear, and very
contentedly can I go to the grave, if I never do again. His [Omiah’s]
_song_ is the only thing that is _savage_ about him.”[17]

But it is time—looking to the limitations of our space—to turn from
the specific to the general, and give some account of the St. Martin’s
Street musical evenings. Already at Poland Street and Queen Square these
entertainments had been the rule; and at Newton’s house, with the
Doctor’s increasing popularity, they attained their greatest importance.
Moreover, they found, as they had not before found, their faithful
chronicler in Daddy Crisp’s correspondent. The chief performers on
ordinary occasions seem to have been Esther Burney and her husband,
their _pièce de résistance_ being Müthel’s Duet for two harpsichords.
Another famous harpsichord player was the Baroness Deiden, the wife of
the Danish Ambassador, whose reputation is said to have been European.
But the “peacock’s brains” of the record was certainly the Agujari, and
Miss Burney’s enthusiasm overflows. Carestini, Farinelli, Senesino, all
Mr. Crisp’s old idols,—’twas to these only that the _Bastardini_ could
be compared. And she seems certainly to have done her best. She arrived
for tea before seven, stayed till twelve, sang almost all the time,
permitted her hearers to encore nearly every song, and sang moreover in
twenty different styles, minuets, cantabiles, church-music, bravuras and
even that popular Vauxhall _misère_, the rondeau, growing at last so
excited over an _aria parlante_ from the _Didone Abbandonata_ (“_Son
Regina, e sono Amante_”) that “she acted it throughout with great spirit
and feeling.” This was pretty well for the lady whom Macaulay qualifies
as the “rapacious” Agujari, apparently because, at this date, she was
earning fifty pounds a song—which she thoroughly deserved, since people
went to hear her and no one else—at the Oxford Street Pantheon.[18] But
she had an exceedingly appreciative audience, limited by her own request
to the Burney family; she was tired of singing at concerts, book in
hand, “_comme une petite écolière_,” and most of all, she was anxious to
give the Historian of Music, who was also all-powerful in matters
operatic, a taste of her real quality. It does not appear that she ever
repeated her performances at St. Martin’s Street, so that it would be
inaccurate to represent her as figuring habitually and gratuitously at
the Burney “conversations.”

One of the next things which Fanny recounts to Mr. Crisp is the
production, at the Opera House in the Haymarket, of that very _Didone_
of Metastasio from which Agujari had borrowed her _aria parlante_. But
the _diva_ upon this occasion (Saturday, Nov. 11, 1775) was Caterina
Gabrielli, who seems to have behaved with all her traditional caprice.
The Burney family, who occupied the front row of the first gallery, are
terribly divided as to her merits. “She was most _impertinently_ easy,”
says Fanny, “visibly took no pains, and never in the least exerted
herself.” Elsewhere she writes, “Her voice is feeble, but sweetly toned.
She has great powers of execution; but—she is no Agujari!” And
thereupon, in the contest and confusion of opinion, the writer turns to
a little concert that has just taken place in St. Martin’s Street, “at
which _assisted_ a most superb party of company.” It originated in the
desire of Dr. King, sometime chaplain to the British factory at St.
Petersburg, that the famous Prince Orloff,[19] before he left England,
should hear Hetty and her husband in Müthel’s duet. Both in her _Diary_
and Letters, Fanny has treated this exceptional entertainment at
considerable length; and she subsequently “embroidered” the record in
the Memoirs of her father. We shall depend, by preference, upon her
account to Mr. Crisp. After introducing the guests as they arrive:—Dr.
Ogle, the musical Dean of Winchester; Dr. King, who announces
consequentially that the Prince, having dined at Lord Buckingham’s, is
coming as soon as he has been to Lady Harrington’s rout; the _virtuosa_,
Lady Edgecumbe (“all condescension, _repartee_ (_and yet_) good
humour”); Mr. Charles Boone, the fine gentleman who broke his sword in
the staircase; Mrs. Brudenel; Mr. Anthony Chamier—all of whose
conversation turns upon the Gabrielli and her performance of the evening
before,—one of the _rat, tat, tats_ with which the diarist diversifies
her narrative, announces M. le Baron de Demidoff, thin, long-nosed, with
a most _triste_ and foreign countenance. M. de Demidoff travels with the
Prince, whose _avant-coureur_ he is. He brings the gratifying
intelligence that His Highness is detained at Lady Harrington’s, but may
be expected with the least possible delay. Then follow Mr. Harris of
Salisbury, Lord Bruce, a younger brother of the Duke of Montague (who
has been to St. Martin’s _Lane_ by mistake)—and so forth. At last—like
Charlemagne after his Paladins—appears Prince Orloff, accompanied by
General Bawr, a Hessian, stern, martial, who has seen service in the
Turkish war. And here we most willingly surrender the pen to Miss
Burney. “The Prince is another Mr. Bruce, being immensely tall and stout
in proportion. He is a handsome and magnificent figure. His dress was
very superb. Besides a blue Garter he had a star of diamonds of
prodigious brilliancy; he had likewise a _shoulder knot_ of the same
_precious jewels_, and a picture of the Empress hung from his neck,
which was set round with diamonds of such magnitude and lustre that,
when near the candle, they were too dazzling for the eye. His jewels,
Dr. King says, are valued at above £100,000. He was extremely gracious
and polite, and appears to be _addicted to pleasantry_. He speaks very
little English but knows French perfectly. He was received by my father
in the drawing-room. The library, where the music was, was so crowded,
he only shewed himself at the door, where he bowed to Mr. Chamier, who
had met with him elsewhere.”

The Müthel duet, which had been postponed for the Prince’s arrival, was
then played with prodigious applause, relaxing even the “sorrowful
countenance” of the Baron de Demidoff, who clapped his snuff box
rapturously, calling out in broken English, “_Dis is so pretty as ever I
heard in my life!_” Lord Bruce, turning to Prince Orloff, told him the
performers were man and wife. His Highness seemed surprised, and walking
up to Mrs. Burney, made her many compliments; and, expressing his wonder
that two such executants should chance to be united, added “_Mais, qu’a
produit tant d’Harmonie?_” To this Hetty, in a flutter, could find no
fitter reply than “_Rien, Monseigneur, que trois enfants_,”—that being
the extent of her family,—an artless and unexpected answer at which
Monseigneur laughs immoderately, and, being “addicted to pleasantry,”
retails freely to those about him, with many “droll comments and
observations” on Mrs. Burney’s words. “When the room was a good deal
_thinned_”—Fanny goes on—“Mr. Harris told me he wished some of _the
ladies_ would express a desire of seeing the _Empress’s picture_ nearer.
‘I, you know,’ said he, ‘as a _man_, cannot, but my old eyes can’t see
it at a distance.’” [The truth was, Mr. Harris wished to be able to
compare Orloff’s picture of Catherine II. with his son James’s (Lord
Malmesbury’s) portrait of the King of Spain.] “I went up to Dr. King,
and made the request to him. He hesitated some time, but afterwards
_hinted_ the demand to General Bawr, who boldly made it to the Prince.
His Highness laughed, and with great good humour, desired the General to
untie the picture from his neck, and present it to us; and he was very
facetious upon the occasion, desiring to know if we wanted anything
else? and saying that if they pleased, _the ladies_ might _strip him
entirely_! Not very elegant, methinks, his pleasantry! When we got it
there was hardly any looking at the Empress for the glare of the
diamonds. Their size is almost incredible. One of them, I am sure, was
as big as a _nut-meg_ at _least_. When we were all satisfied it was
returned, and the Prince most graciously made a bow to, and received a
curtsie from, everyone who looked at it.”[20]

In the remainder of Fanny’s letters to Mr. Crisp, she gives an account
of a further concert arising out of the famous duet. This time the
principal guest was the Count (afterwards the Duke) de Guines, the
French Ambassador, who was not only a _virtuoso_ of the first order, but
an accomplished flute-player, who had the reputation of having dared to
beard that other distinguished performer on the same instrument,
Frederick the Great. His Majesty had said to him impatiently and
impertinently—“_Je vous prie, qu’est-ce que fait votre maître quand il
ne peut pas chasser De Guisnes?_” The Count—a typical aristocrat of the
pre-Revolution days—shrugged his shoulders, and made answer, “_Il est
vrai, Sire, que mon maître n’a pas le bonheur de savoir jouer de la
flûte_,”[21] a retort more dexterous than deserved, since Frederick,
whom Dr. Burney had listened to at Potsdam, was not by any means a mere
amateur. Lady Edgecumbe had talked so much to M. de Guines about the
duet, that he expressed a great desire to hear it, and a second concert
had to be arranged. The company convened on this occasion included Lord
Ashburnham, “Groom of the Stole, and First Lord of the Bedchamber,” the
Baron and Baroness Deiden, Lord Barrington, Lord Sandwich (“Jemmy
Twitcher,” to wit), and Signor Venanzio Rauzzini, the “pius Æneas” to
the Dido of Gabrielli. Rauzzini was vainly implored to indulge the
company with a _Rondeau de sa façon_—_i.e._ from his own _Piramo e
Tisbe_; but he pleaded the professional cold. Fanny is enchanted with
the young Roman’s appearance. “He looked like an angel,” she writes.
“Nothing can be more beautiful than this youth. He has the complection
of our Dick,—the very finest white and red I ever saw: his eyes are the
sweetest in the world, at once soft and spirited: all his features are
animated and _charming_.” “‘_Avez vous une Assemblée chez vous tous les
Dimanches_,’[22] cried he, to my father. ‘_Je viendrai une autre fois
quand je pourrai chanter!_’ Only think how we were _let down_! ‘_Une
autre fois!_’ cried Hetty; ‘_Une autre fois!_’ echoed Susette; ‘_Une
autre fois!_’ still more pathetically echoed your humble servant.” But
he contributed his quota to the gossip about the Gabrielli; and when the
oft-told story was repeated as to the extraordinary ceremonial parade
she observed in quitting the Opera House on Saturdays, with first a
running footman to clear the way, then her sister, then herself, then a
page for her train, then another footman, and then a man out of livery
to carry her lap-dog in her muff,—Rauzzini interjected, “_Et puis, une
autre pour un singe, et un autre pour un perroquet!_” As to “Mrs.
Gabrielle” (for so she styled herself on her Golden Square doorplate),
it is manifest that her reputation for whim had created considerable
prejudice against her. But in the _History of Music_ Dr. Burney, who
knew her intimately, is much milder in his expressions than the more
excitable members of his family. He says that despite her low origin
(she was the daughter of a Cardinal’s cook at Rome), she had
extraordinary grace and dignity of gesture. She was, moreover he
declared, the most intelligent and best bred _virtuosa_ with whom he
ever conversed, speaking like a well-educated woman, who had seen the
world, not only on music, but on other subjects. “In youth,” he writes,
“her beauty and caprice had occasioned an universal delirium among her
young countrymen, and there were still remains of both sufficiently
powerful, while she was in England, to render credible their former

That Fanny’s detailed despatches delighted her correspondent at
Chessington, is only to be expected. “You have produc’d such an
illustrious assembly of Princes, and generals, and lords, and ladies,
and wits, and pictures, and diamonds, and shoulder-knots, that I feel
myself shrink into nothing at the idea of them,—nay, you yourself that
made one among them, seem to be a little dazzled at their glare.” And
then Mr. Crisp rallies her upon her evident admiration of the “beautiful
Rauzzini.” In another letter there is a significant sentence. “You have
learned from that R[_ogue_] your father (by so long serving as
amanuensis, I suppose) to make your descriptions alive”—an utterance
which, while it throws some light on the vexed question of Miss Burney’s
style, also recalls us to the progress of that _History of Music_, in
which she bore so laborious a part. In March 1775 it had come to a “dead
stop” owing to Dr. Burney’s rheumatism, which prevented him from
writing; and in April it was scarcely moving. “My father’s History goes
on very slowly indeed at present. . . . He teaches from nine to nine
almost every day, and has scarce time to write a page a week.” Still, it
gradually progresses, and in October, Fanny is able to report that the
first volume is ready. “The History has been this very day, for the
first time since its long cessation, put into the press[?]. It is now
_rough_ written to the end of the first volume, Preface and Dedication
inclusive. When it is actually _published_, we intend to keep the
Carnival.” A few days before, the Dedication to the Queen had been read
by Dr. Burney to an admiring friend; and in 1776 the first volume was
issued, when, we may conclude, the Carnival was duly kept.

But of this, unhappily, no record has been preserved; and it was some
years before a second volume gave the busy Doctor opportunity for a
further jubilation.[23] Beyond the fact that the Burneys, and Fanny in
particular, made friends (through the Stranges) with the Miss Paynes,
daughters of the famous old bookseller in Castle Street, “next the Upper
Mews-Gate,” whose L-shaped shop was so well known to Eighteenth Century
bibliomaniacs,[24]—little remains of interest from the records of 1775.
For 1776 there is no journal at all, what had been written having been
“destroyed in totality,” as consisting wholly of family matters or
anecdotes; and save for a very graphic picture of the slatternly Duchess
of Devonshire in St. James’s Park, no very attractive correspondence,
although Mr. Crisp refers to a “conversation piece” which Fanny drew of
the fine company at the house of Sir James Lake, the great portrait
collector, which should have been good to read. “If specimens of this
kind had been preserved of the different _Tons_ that have succeeded one
another for twenty centuries last past,” he writes, “how interesting
would they have been! infinitely more so, than antique statues,
bas-reliefs, and intaglios.” In a fragment dated 2 December there is a
vignette of Nollekens the sculptor, “a jolly, fat, lisping, laughing,
underbred, good-humoured man as lives: his merit seems pretty much
confined to his profession, and his language is as vulgar as his works
are elegant.” Mrs. Nollekens (the very handsome daughter of Fielding’s
friend Justice Welch), his wife, is also mentioned: “a civil, obliging,
gentle sort of woman; rather too complaisant.” Then there is a
costume-piece of “Miss B—— _something_, a sister-in-law of Mr. Hayes
of the Pantheon,” and not entirely unsuggestive of Lady Louisa Larpent
in _Evelina_; “a young lady quite _à-la-mode_,—every part of her dress,
the very pink and extreme of the fashion;—her [head] erect and stiff as
any statue;—her voice low, and delicate, and mincing;—her hair higher
than twelve wigs stuck one on the other;—her waist taper, and pinched
evidently;—her eyes cast languishingly from one object to another, and
her conversation very much _the thing_.” Decidedly “Daddy” Crisp was
right in saying: “To do you justice, Fanny, you paint well!”

For the next year, 1777, there is only one letter to Mr. Crisp; but it
is an important one, since it gives Miss Burney’s account of her first
meeting with Dr. Johnson, to which accident, indeed, it owes its
preservation. Dr. Burney had for some time known Johnson slightly,—he
had written to him from Lynn with regard to the Dictionary; he had also
met him at intervals; and, as we have seen, Johnson, notwithstanding his
insensibility to music, had read and appreciated the Musical Tours.
Writing Dr. Burney’s _Memoirs_ in extreme old age, his daughter seems to
have thought that Johnson had already accompanied her father to
Winchester to put his youngest son, Richard, under the care of the then
Head Master of that day, Joseph Warton; and that he had also, before
this date, interested himself to procure Dr. Burney access to the
libraries at Oxford. But her memory must have led her astray, for both
these things, as is plain from Boswell, belong to 1778, while Miss
Burney’s “first sight” of the great man demonstrably took place on the
20th March, 1777,[25] and came about in this wise. Dr. Burney had been
invited by Mr. and Mrs. Thrale to give lessons in music to their eldest
daughter, Queenie, afterwards Viscountess Keith. Report says that the
lessons were not a great success, since Mrs. Thrale was in the habit of
interrupting them sadly in order to talk politics and literature with
the clever Historian of Music. But, as usual, Dr. Burney speedily became
a favourite with all the household; and, as Johnson was then staying at
Streatham, one of the results was a joint visit by the Doctor and Mrs.
Thrale to St. Martin’s Street, which visit was promptly reported by
Fanny for consumption at Chessington. It took place fourteen years
before Boswell’s book, and as printed in the _Early Diary_ of 1889,
exhibits a fresher version than that put forward later by the writer
herself in the _Memoirs_ of her father. No excuse therefore is needed
for giving it the preference here.

“Mrs. and Miss Thrale, Miss Owen, and Mr. Seward came long before
_Lexiphanes_. [This was a name given to Johnson in 1767, in a little
book written to burlesque his style by a Scotch purser named Campbell.]
Mrs. Thrale is a very pretty woman still; she is extremely lively and
chatty; has no supercilious or pedantic airs, and is really gay and
agreeable. Her daughter [Queenie] is about twelve years old, stiff and
proud, I believe, or else shy and reserved: I don’t yet know which.”
. . . “My sister Burney [Esther] was invited to meet and play to them.
The conversation was supported with a good deal of vivacity (N.B. my
father being at home) for about half an hour, and then Hetty and
_Susette_, for the first time _in public_, played a duet; and in the
midst of this performance Dr. Johnson was announced. He is, indeed, very
ill-favoured; is tall and stout; but stoops terribly; he is almost bent
double. His mouth is almost constantly opening and shutting, as if he
was chewing. He has a strange method of frequently twirling his fingers,
and twisting his hands. His body is in continual agitation, _see-sawing_
up and down; his feet are never a moment quiet; and, in short, his whole
person is in _perpetual motion_. His dress, too, considering the times,
and that he had meant to put on his _best becomes_, being engaged to
dine in a large company [at Mrs. Montagu’s], was as much out of the
common road as his figure; he had a large wig, snuff-colour coat, and
gold buttons, but no ruffles to his shirt, doughty fists,[26] and black
worsted stockings. He is shockingly near-sighted, and did not, till she
held out her hand to him, even know Mrs. Thrale. He _poked his nose_
over the keys of the harpsichord, till the duet was finished, and then
my father introduced Hetty to him as an old acquaintance, and he
cordially kissed her! When she was a little girl, he had made her a
present of _The Idler_.

“His attention, however, was not to be diverted five minutes from the
books, as we were in the library; he pored over them, shelf by shelf,
almost touching the backs of them with his eye-lashes, as he read their
titles. At last, having fixed upon one, he began, without further
ceremony, to read to himself, all the time standing at a distance from
the company. We were all very much provoked, as we perfectly languished
to hear him talk; but it seems he is the most silent creature, when not
particularly drawn out, in the world.

“My sister then played another duet with my father; but Dr. Johnson was
so deep in the _Encyclopédie_ that, as he is very deaf, I question if he
even knew what was going forward. When this was over, Mrs. Thrale, in a
laughing manner, said, ‘Pray, Dr. Burney, can you tell me what that song
was and whose, which Savoi sung last night at Bach’s concert, and which
you did not hear?’ My father confessed himself by no means so good a
diviner, not having had time to consult the stars, though in the house
of Sir Isaac Newton. However, wishing to draw Dr. Johnson into some
conversation, he told him the question. The Doctor, seeing his drift,
good-naturedly put away his book, and said very drolly, ‘And pray, Sir,
_who is Bach_? is he a piper?’ Many exclamations of surprise you will
believe followed this question. ‘Why, you have read his name often in
the papers,’ said Mrs. Thrale; and then she gave him some account of his
Concert, and the number of fine performances she had heard at it.[27]

“‘Pray,’ said he, gravely, ‘Madam, what is the expense?’

“‘Oh,’ answered she, ‘much trouble and solicitation to get a
Subscriber’s Ticket;—or else half a Guinea.’

“‘Trouble and solicitation,’ said he, ‘I will have nothing to do with;
but I would be willing to give eighteen pence.’

“Ha! ha!

“Chocolate being then brought, we adjourned to the drawing-room. And
here, Dr. Johnson being taken from the books, entered freely and most
cleverly into conversation; though it is remarkable he never speaks at
all, but when spoken to; nor does he ever _start_, though he so
admirably _supports_, any subject.

“The whole party were engaged to dine at Mrs. Montague’s. Dr. Johnson
said he had received the most flattering note he had ever read, or that
anybody had ever read, by way of invitation. ‘Well! so have I too,’
cried Mrs. Thrale; ‘so if a note from Mrs. Montague is to be boasted of,
I beg mine may not be forgot.’

“‘_Your_ note,’ cried Dr. Johnson, ‘can bear no comparison with _mine_;
I am _at the head of the Philosophers_, she says.’

“‘And I,’ cried Mrs. Thrale, ‘_have all the Muses in my train_!’

“‘A fair battle,’ said my father. ‘Come, compliment for compliment, and
see who will hold out longest!’

“‘Oh, I am afraid for Mrs. Thrale,’ cried Mr. Seward, ‘for I know Mrs.
Montague exerts all her forces, when she attacks Dr. Johnson.’

“‘Oh yes,’ said Mrs. Thrale, ‘she has often, I know, flattered _him_,
till he has been ready to faint.’

“‘Well, ladies,’ said my father, ‘you must get him between you to-day,
and see which can lay on the paint thickest, Mrs. Thrale or Mrs.

“‘I had rather,’ cried the Doctor, drily, ‘go to Bach’s Concert.’”

The talk then shifted to Garrick, who, having retired from the stage in
the previous year, had been recently reading his farce of _Lethe_ to the
King and Queen. Dr. Johnson spoke of his old friend and pupil with his
wonted candour, and not without touches of critical humour which must
have been highly relished by that still-sore author of _Virginia_ to
whom Miss Burney’s budget was addressed. Of Garrick’s popular faults
Johnson said—“Garrick is accused of vanity; but few men would have
borne such unremitting prosperity with greater, if with equal
moderation. He is accused, too, of avarice; but, were he not, he would
be accused of just the contrary; for he now lives rather as _a prince_
than an actor; but the frugality he practised, when he first appeared in
the world, and which, even then, was perhaps beyond his necessity, has
marked his character ever since; and now, though his table, his equipage
and manner of living, are all the most expensive, and equal to those of
a nobleman, yet the original stain still blots his name! Though, had he
not fixed upon himself the charge of avarice, he would long since have
been reproached with luxury and with living beyond his station in
magnificence and splendour.” Another of the Doctor’s animadversions
serves to explain an aspect of the actor’s character which has already
been illustrated in this chapter.[28] “Garrick never enters a room,” he
said, “but he regards himself as the object of general attention, from
whom the entertainment of the company is expected; and true it is, that
he seldom disappoints them; for he has infinite humour, a very just
proportion of wit, and more convivial pleasantry, than almost any other
man. But then _off_ as well as _on_ the Stage, he is always an Actor;
for he thinks it so incumbent on him to be sportive, that his gaiety
becomes mechanical from being habitual, and he can exert his spirits at
all times alike, without consulting his real disposition to

Previous to Dr. Johnson’s visit to St. Martin’s Street, Miss Burney had
been staying at Chessington, whence, to the disgust of Mr. Crisp, she
had been hastily recalled to meet her uncle, Mr. Richard Burney of
Worcester, whose son Charles her sister Hetty had married. She then went
on a visit to her uncle at Barborne (familiarly “Barebones”) Lodge, a
little out of Worcester; and here she took part in some private
theatricals, playing Mrs. Lovemore in what was apparently the first
three-act form of Murphy’s _Way to Keep Him_, a comedy in which there
are manifest traces of that pioneer sentimental drama, La Chaussée’s
_Préjugé à-la-mode_—the prejudice in question being, that it is a
mistake to love one’s wife. She seems, by her own account, to have been
terribly nervous (in green and gray); but to have acquitted herself
creditably in the crucial third Act. She afterwards appeared as
_Huncamunca_ in Fielding’s burlesque of _Tom Thumb_, the rival character
of Glumdalca being taken by her cousin James, and that of Lord Grizzle
by Edward Burney the artist. The Tom Thumb of the piece was the youngest
of the family, Ann or Nancy, a child of seven, the daughter of Charles
Burney and Hetty. By this time Miss Burney had entirely got over her
stage fright, and entered thoroughly into her part of Tom Thumb’s

One of the things Huncamunca has to do in _Tom Thumb_ is to express her
anxiety to be married. It is not, however, this unbecoming aspiration
(upon which Miss Burney was of course afterwards sufficiently rallied)
that prompts the “Oh! Huncamunca, Huncamunca, oh!” of Fielding’s parody
of Thomson. But the point serves to remind us that, in this chapter,
nothing has been said of Miss Burney’s admirers. Scattered through her
Journal are various fugitive references to different gentlemen, old and
young, who were evidently attracted by her vivacity and charm, shy and
demure as she professed to be. But she had not yet realised her own
ambition, and fallen seriously in love. “I am too much spoilt,” she
says, “by such men as my father and Mr. Crisp to content myself with a
character merely inoffensive.” These words were written of an
importunate suitor, with the unpromising name of Thomas Barlow, who made
his appearance early in May, 1775. He seems to have been very much in
earnest, indeed,—to use the expression of Mr. Toots, of whom he somehow
contrives to remind us,—to have been “perfectly sore” with devotion.
His ardent, or (as he terms it) “ardurous” Pen addresses to Miss Burney
several long-winded and very alembicate epistles, but she will have none
of him, although, strange to say, nearly all her family, including the
paternal Crisp,—who was particularly urgent that she should not lose a
chance of establishing herself,—favour Mr. Barlow’s pretensions. But,
as she very sensibly tells Mr. Crisp, she is “determined never to marry
without having the very highest value and esteem for the man who should
be her lord.” And Mr. Barlow, besides that he is “extremely
precipitate,” does not “hit her fancy.” So there is no more to say.

Upon the whole, when it is remembered that this retiring but observant
young lady of five-and-twenty had a travelled sailor brother, and two
sisters who had been educated at Paris;—that she had seen the town and
country both in London and King’s Lynn;—that she had read Richardson
and Marivaux and Sterne, if not Fielding;—that she knew Sir Joshua and
Nollekens, and was familiar with the acting of Garrick, both on and off
the stage;—that she had heard Agujari at her best, and the Gabrielli at
her worst;—that she had been introduced to Dr. Johnson and Mrs.
Thrale;—that she had conversed with Otaheitan Omai, eaten roast apples
with Abyssinian Bruce, and been allowed to inspect what Horace Walpole
calls the “infamous diamonds” of the veneered barbarian, Alexis
Orloff,—it will, we think, be admitted that her experience of things in
general had been of a very varied kind. If to this be added that she was
a copious and diligent diarist;—the sworn “anecdote-monger” of a
distant correspondent;—and the faithful secretary of a scribbling
father—it must also be granted that she was by no means ill-equipped
for the production of that work of fiction to the story of which the
ensuing chapter is devoted.


[12] Catherine Hyde was still living in Fanny Burney’s day; and Fanny
saw her at Covent Garden Theatre in January, 1773, when Mason’s
_Elfrida_ was being acted. “I had the pleasure to see Prior’s celebrated
fair ‘Kitty, beautiful and young,’ now called Kitty, _beautiful and
old_, in the stage box.” (_Early Diary_, 1889, i. p. 184.)

[13] “There are now,” said Cunningham, writing as far back as 1849, “at
least 2 square miles of brick and mortar between it [Queen Square] and
the view.” (_Handbook for London_, ii. p. 686.)

[14] See _ante_, p. 19.

[15] In _Recreations and Studies of A Country Clergyman of the
Eighteenth Century_ [Thomas Twining], 1882, there are several letters
from Twining to Burney and _vice versa_, some of which will be hereafter

[16] “So much of his [Garrick’s] drollery belongs to his voice, looks
and manner,” says the Diary, “that _writing_ loses it almost all.” Yet
more than forty years afterwards, in her _Memoirs_ of her father (1832,
i. pp. 352-3), she expanded the above, about seven lines in the
original, to a page and three quarters. It is clear that she worked from
the _Diary_, for some of the expressions are identical. But many
decorative particulars are added to the record of Garrick’s visit, which
are not in the first account. We have preferred the earlier, if less
picturesque, narrative. Boswell, of course, has nothing of this
anecdote; which was not printed until long after his death.

[17] The fate of Cowper’s “gentle savage” was pathetic. Painted by
Reynolds and patronised by Lord Sandwich,—lionised by Lady Townshend
and the Duchess of Devonshire,—he was suffered to go back once more to
his own people, among whom he had neither status nor importance. He died
soon after, having shown himself (says Vancouver) both “vain and silly.”
And no wonder!

[18] Agujari, according to Grove’s _Dictionary of Music_, was the
highest and most extended soprano on record. Her voice reached “from the
middle of the harpsichord to two notes above it,” says Miss Burney.

[19] He is generally called “Count.” But in her letters, diary, and
_Memoirs_, Fanny styles him “Prince.”

[20] _Early Diary_, 1889, ii. 121.

[21] _Memoirs of the Margravine of Anspach_, 1826, ii. 125.

[22] Dr. Burney evidently had mild qualms about these Sunday concerts.
When after the first occasion here referred to, Dr. King and Dr. Ogle
supped at St. Martin’s Street, he said that he hoped for _absolution_
from them if there was any crime in having _music on a Sunday_. To which
Dr. Ogle replied discreetly that music was an excellent thing _any and
every day_; and Dr. King evasively—“Have we not music at church?”

[23] The second volume appeared in 1782, and the third and fourth
volumes, completing the work, in 1789.

[24] In September, 1785, Miss Sally Payne married Captain James Burney,
Fanny’s brother.

[25] _Early Diary_, 1889, ii. 153; Birkbeck Hill’s _Johnson’s Letters_,
1892, ii. 5, and note.

[26] The editor of the _Early Diary_ “strongly suspects” that these
words in the altered MS. were originally “dirty fists.” There are other
indications that later corrections have somewhat modified the portrait.

[27] The Bach referred to was Bach’s son, John Christian Bach, or (as he
was called) “English” Bach. He was a famous harpsichord player, who,
with Abel of the _viol de gamba_, conducted Mrs. Cornelys’ concerts in
Soho Square.

[28] See _ante_, pp. 38-40.

[29] _Early Diary_, 1889, ii. pp. 153-60.

                              CHAPTER III
                         THE STORY OF _EVELINA_

At the beginning of 1778, English Literature, and especially that branch
of it which consists of fiction, seems to have been suffering from a
kind of sleeping sickness. The great masters who had followed upon
Richardson’s success with _Pamela_, were gone,—as was Richardson
himself. Fielding, whose last novel of _Amelia_ had appeared in 1751,
was dead; and his far younger rival, Smollett, whose _Humphry Clinker_
came twenty years later, was also dead. Sterne was dead; Goldsmith was
dead; and both _Tristram Shandy_ and the _Vicar of Wakefield_ had been a
considerable time before the public. Johnson, whose _Rasselas_ dated
from 1759, and Horace Walpole, whose _Castle of Otranto_ dated from
1764, were the only living writers of fiction of any eminence, for it is
impossible to give a very high place to the _Julia de Roubigné_ of
Sterne’s tearful imitator, Henry Mackenzie, or to the _Champion of
Virtue_, which Walpole’s disciple, Miss Clara Reeve, afterwards re-named
_The Old English Baron_. Both of these, however, belong to 1777. Apart
from them, there is nothing that rises above the average level of the

                           “books in marble covers
                 About smart girls and dapper lovers,”

which formed the staple product of the Circulating Library,—those
“_Ventures_ of Jack this, and the History of Betsy t’other, and Sir
Humphrys, and women with hard Christian names,” which exercised the
Nurse in Colman’s _Polly Honeycombe_. “And then”—says the Author in his

            “And then so _sentimental_ is the Stile,
            So chaste, yet so bewitching all the while!
            Plot, and elopement, passion, rape, and rapture,
            The total sum of ev’ry dear—dear—Chapter.”

Of these latter and minor performances, perhaps the only one which—for
the moment—deserves a passing mention is the _Excursion_ of Mrs.
Frances Brooke, already referred to in Chapter I. as the popular author
of _Lady Julia Mandeville_. The _Excursion_ has a certain faint interest
from the fact that, preceding _Evelina_ only by a few months, it deals,
to some extent, with a similar theme, since the heroine is described as
“a young lady of family but small fortune, with a mind sensible and
improved, but totally ignorant of the world,” who “launches out from the
country, steering, without a pilot or compass, through the rocks and
shelves of a London life.” One of her perils is, of course, a heartless
young nobleman, educated by his father “upon the detestable plan” of my
Lord Chesterfield, whose _Miscellaneous Works_ had then just been issued
by Dr. Maty. Fanny Burney knew Mrs. Brooke’s books, and had indeed made
her personal acquaintance, both in the studio of Miss Catherine Reid,
the “English Rosalba,” and at the Opera House in the Haymarket, of which
Mrs. Brooke was co-lessee with the actress, Mary Ann Yates. “Mrs. Brooke
is very short and fat, and squints”—writes Fanny of their first
interview, “but has the art of showing agreeable ugliness. She is very
well bred, and expresses herself with much modesty upon all subjects;
which in an _authoress_, a woman of _known_ understanding, is extremely
pleasing.” But save and except the very superficial resemblance referred
to above, there is no trace of any connection between the _Excursion_
and _Evelina_. Indeed, as for the _Excursion_, although Sylvanus Urban
contrives to give it a review of two or three columns,—a far longer
notice than he afterwards, and very tardily, accorded to _Evelina_,—it
is not more readable to-day than the same author’s _Lady Julia
Mandeville_, or her translations from the French,—that is to say, it is
not readable at all.

It has already been stated in Chapter I., that, amid the fuel of Miss
Burney’s Poland Street holocaust, was “an entire work of fiction.” This
was _The History of Caroline Evelyn_, of which we know no more than is
told us in the Preface to _The Wanderer_ and the _Memoirs of Dr.
Burney_. It was “the last of the little works that was immolated,” and
contained the history of Evelina’s mother, who, as appears from the
later novel dealing with her daughter’s entrance into the world, was the
only child of a gentleman of birth and education named Evelyn. Mr.
Evelyn having been unwise enough to marry a good-looking waitress at a
tavern, had in consequence migrated to France, where he died. His
daughter Caroline, after being brought up carefully by his old tutor,
the Rev. Mr. Villars, was sent for to Paris by her vulgar mother, who,
by this time had married again, her second husband being a Frenchman
named Duval. Oppressed by Mme. Duval, and menaced with an unsuitable
partner, Miss Evelyn rashly consented to marry, without witnesses, a
profligate young baronet, Sir John Belmont, who brought her back to
England. Here after the approved fashion of profligate young baronets in
novels, he, in due time, destroyed the marriage certificate, denying
that the ceremony had ever taken place. His broken-hearted wife sought
an asylum with her old guardian, Mr. Villars, and subsequently died in
giving birth to Evelina.

Such is the _History of Caroline Evelyn_, as it is summarised in the
opening letters of her daughter’s story; and such, we may imagine, in
expanded form, must have been the matter of the manuscript which was
burnt. Whatever was the precise date of its destruction, it must
obviously have been a very juvenile performance. It was certainly
written before its author had begun her Journal—in other words, before
she had begun, not only to record her thoughts and feelings, but to take
intelligent stock of the variations of humanity; and it must also have
been written before she had been subjected to the discipline of acting
as private secretary to her father. As to the plot, there was nothing in
that beyond the ability of an imaginative schoolgirl. Unfortunate
heroine, heartless parent, profligate baronet, private marriage, burnt
certificate,—these were the conventional material of contemporary
fiction, if indeed they did not come direct from _Grandison_ or
_Clarissa_. What would be interesting to know is, whether the _History
of Caroline Evelyn_ contained any promise of character-drawing, still
more of social satire and humourous incident. We suspect it did not. In
all likelihood, it was merely a sentimental exercise in the taste which
then represented the degradation of the Richardsonian method, as
modified by French imitators; and perhaps aimed at nothing more than
mild rivalry of the existing biographies of _Miss Polly Willis_, _Miss
Lucy Wellers_, _Miss Charlotte Villars_, and the rest of the ingenious
works enumerated at the end of the Preface to _Polly Honeycombe_.

There is no doubt that when Fanny Burney made dutiful sacrifice of the
_History of Caroline Evelyn_, she sincerely intended, in her own words,
“to extinguish for ever in its ashes her scribbling propensity.” But
_qui a bu, boira_. As we have seen, the checked impulse almost
immediately found its outlet in keeping a journal; and to keep a journal
was but, in another form, to exercise the prohibited gift and to gratify
the old ambition. The fire which “consumed her productions, extirpated
neither the invention nor the inclination that had given them birth”;
and, as time went on, she felt herself more and more disposed to revert
to her first conception, and to brood over the singular situation in
which Miss Evelyn’s daughter must find herself “between the elegant
connections of her mother, and the vulgar ones of her grandmother.”
Irresistibly and almost insensibly, she felt the whole story forming
itself gradually in her mind, and calling urgently to be written down,
long before a syllable was committed to paper. When she actually began
to write, is not clear. It was in 1768 that the diary opened; but there
are no hints of the composition of _Evelina_ for some time to come.
Probably it was written by fits and starts; and grew but very gradually
into shape, making its greatest progress during its writer’s visits to
Chessington, or in the leisure procured during her father’s two absences
on the continent. And much of it was no doubt penned in Newton’s old
observatory, remote from her step-mother’s watchful eye.

It must have been in 1776, after the publication of the first volume of
Dr. Burney’s _History of Music_, that Fanny began definitely to think of
print. Having been long accustomed to act as secretary for her father,
she grew apprehensive lest her ordinary script should be recognised at
press; and she therefore proceeded to transcribe her work “in a feigned
hand.” “The fear of discovery,” she writes, “or of suspicion in the
house, made the copying extremely laborious to me; for in the daytime, I
could only take odd moments, so that I was obliged to sit up the
greatest part of many nights, in order to get it ready.” By the time two
volumes were completed, she was sufficiently tired out—with “all this
_fagging_”—to wish to know whether her labour was likely to be in vain.
She accordingly wrote a letter to Dodsley of Pall Mall, without
signature, offering him what she had already prepared, and promising to
transmit the remainder in the following year. The reply was to be
addressed to the Orange Coffee House in the Haymarket, under cover to an
imaginary “Mr. Grafton.” Dodsley’s answer was to the effect that he
could not consider the work without being informed of the author’s name.
Thereupon Fanny, and her only confidantes, her sisters, after sitting in
committee upon this discouraging reply, decided that it would be wiser
to try a less fashionable publisher. They fixed upon Mr. Thomas Lowndes
of 77 Fleet Street, who expressed a desire to see the manuscript. It was
accordingly carried to Fleet Street, “in the dark of the evening,” by
Fanny’s brother Charles, who, having been admitted to the secret, was
disguised for the occasion by his sisters in appropriate costume. But
the bookseller’s reply, though one which might have been expected, was a
disappointment. Mr. Lowndes informed his correspondent at the Orange
Coffee House, that, while (with some reservations) he approved the
instalment submitted, he could not think of printing the book until it
was finished; and that he would consequently await the author’s
pleasure, hoping to receive it as soon as it was ready for type.

Here was a blow which, for the moment, suspended all further progress.
“I had hardly time,” says Fanny, “to write half a page in a day; and
neither my health nor inclination would allow me to continue my
_nocturnal_ scribbling for so long a time, as to write first, and then
copy, a whole volume.”[30] Nevertheless, she must have gone on with it
at intervals. In March, 1777, when, as already related, she went to
Chessington, she was certainly at work upon it. “Distant as you may
think us from the great world,” she writes to her sister Susan, “I
sometimes find myself in the midst of it, though nobody suspects the
brilliancy of the company I occasionally keep.” This is a transparent
reference to the characters of the book upon which she was engaged. In
April, she went to Worcester; and before starting, appears to have
determined that the time had arrived when she must divulge her secret to
her father. Hitherto she had never taken any serious step without his
knowledge; and on this occasion had refrained from obtaining his
concurrence, first from an unwillingness to acknowledge her authorship,
and secondly, from a dread that he might ask to see what she had
written. Upon this latter head, however, she was speedily reassured.
Although Dr. Burney—who, we must remember, was wholly without previous
information on the subject—treated the communication very lightly, he
was evidently surprised. In amused compliance with his daughter’s urgent
appeal for secrecy, he nevertheless forbore even to ask the title of the
book, or to make any further enquiries. He only requested to be
informed, from time to time, of its progress towards completion; and
then left Fanny to follow her own devices. Probably he thought no more
of the matter. Preoccupied with his own affairs, he can have attached
but slight importance to the intelligence conveyed to him; and certainly
never dreamed that his daughter’s attempt would be attended with
success. And so Fanny, having liberated her mind, and eased her filial
conscience, set off for Worcester.

When she got back to St. Martin’s Street, she finished the preparation
of vol. iii., which was handed to Mr. Lowndes, who, in a few days,
offered £20 for the manuscript,—“an offer which was accepted with
alacrity, and boundless surprise at its magnificence,” by the anonymous
author.[31] The next we hear of the book is in the middle of January,
1778. About this date, Edward Burney, the artist, who had been promoted
to the post of confidential agent in place of his cousin Charles, then
in the country, arrived with news that a parcel was waiting for “Mr.
Grafton” at the Orange Coffee House. It proved to contain a printed but
incomplete and unbound copy of _Evelina_, which was accompanied by a
letter from Mr. Lowndes, requesting that a “List of Errata” might be
supplied without delay. This was accordingly done; and the book was
returned to the publisher, by whom, shortly afterwards, it was
advertised in the _London Chronicle_ for January 27-9, and elsewhere, as
on sale, in three volumes, 12mo, price 7s. 6d. sewed, and 9s. bound,
under the title of _Evelina; or, A Young Lady’s Entrance into the
World_. Mrs. Burney read out the announcement at the St. Martin’s Street
breakfast table; but, being ignorant of the circumstances, naturally
failed to detect the signs of intelligence which passed between Fanny
and her sisters. Whether Dr. Burney was present, is not recorded; but as
he did not know the name of the book, what was to its writer the
earliest notification of its public appearance would probably have
escaped his attention. For some weeks nothing more was heard of the
matter, although, in March, the sisters and their cousin Edward, making
enquiry at Bell’s Library in the Strand, found that _Evelina_ was in
circulation; and that, as Fanny puts it, “a work which was so lately
lodged, in all privacy in her bureau, was now to be seen by every
butcher and baker, cobbler and tinker, throughout the three kingdoms for
the small tribute of three pence.” After this, Dr. Burney fell ill of
fever. Having helped to nurse him, Fanny herself had inflammation of the
lungs; and, in May, went off to Chessington to recruit. It was at
Chessington that she received, at this late hour, the first copy of her
book, for which she had hitherto applied unsuccessfully to Mr. Lowndes.
He now forwarded a set “most elegantly bound” (which may be taken as an
indication that it was growing in popularity), and this copy was
apparently followed by ten further copies. Some time, however, was still
to elapse before _Evelina_ became thoroughly well known, and we may
occupy the interval with an examination of its contents.[32]

The plot is neither very original nor very intricate. With the parentage
and early history of the heroine, Evelina Anville or, more properly,
Belmont, the reader has already been made acquainted. At the beginning
of the story, her low-born grandmother, Mme. Duval, having ignored her
for seventeen years, has begun to show disquieting signs of seeking to
obtain control over her, much to the dismay of her guardian, the
excellent Mr. Villars. But nothing happens until Mr. Villars, having
permitted Evelina to visit his and her friend, Lady Howard, at Howard
Grove, is unwillingly persuaded to let her accompany Lady Howard’s
daughter, Mrs. Mirvan, on a visit to London. Mrs. Mirvan is going to
town to meet her husband, a Captain in the Navy, newly returned from a
seven-years’ absence on a distant station. They take lodgings in
Queen-Anne-Street, Cavendish Square. From this point Evelina mainly
holds the pen. Almost as a matter of course, one of the first persons
they encounter is Mme. Duval, travelling with a Frenchman named Du Bois.
(Du Bois, it may be mentioned in parenthesis, was the name of Fanny’s
Huguenot grandfather.) To Mrs. Mirvan’s aristocratic acquaintances, Mme.
Duval speedily opposes her own vulgar connections, the Branghtons, a
silversmith’s family on Snow-Hill, with whom, in due time, originates
the suggestion that “Miss,” as they call Evelina, shall endeavour to
obtain recognition by her father,—an idea which obviously has its
source in their desire to secure Mme. Duval’s fortune for themselves. At
the instance of Mme. Duval, then staying at Howard Grove, Lady Howard
writes to Sir John Belmont, who returns an answer from the studious
ambiguity of which it is impossible to extract anything but a rather
contemptuous negative. The Mirvans, who have been temporising with Mme.
Duval in order to keep Evelina with them as long as possible, are now
obliged to surrender her for a time to her objectionable grandmother, by
whom she is carried to London and her Snow-Hill cousins. Eventually she
returns to Mr. Villars. But during her stay in Holborn, she has become
acquainted with one of the Branghtons’ lodgers, a young Scotchman in
destitute circumstances, named Macartney, whom she saves from suicide.
In Paris Macartney has fallen in love with a beautiful English girl, the
alleged daughter of a baronet, who turns out to be Sir John Belmont
himself. This girl is a certain Bessie Green, who has been palmed off
upon his paternal remorse as Caroline Evelyn’s child. Finally, at Bath,
things come right. While Evelina is there on a visit, her father arrives
to drink the waters, accompanied by the pseudo-Miss Belmont. But
Evelina’s striking resemblance to her dead mother is unmistakable; she
is at once acknowledged by Sir John Belmont with appropriate heroics,
and at the close of volume three, bestows her hand upon Lord Orville,
the best of a fair number of eligible and ineligible suitors.

This, reduced to an outline, is the plot of Miss Burney’s story; and
that it has any special novelty of construction, can scarcely be
contended. Nor, although she has adopted the “epistolary Style” of
Richardson, can it be said to bear any great likeness to the work of
that master. There is no endeavour after mental analysis; or—it may be
added—any obtrusive evidence of prolixity. The book does not, like the
novels of Fielding and Smollett, deal with humanity in the rough; but
rather with humanity in the circumscribed arena of domestic life. Its
distinctive merit consists in the skill and graphic power of the
character drawing; in the clever contrast of the different
individualities; in the author’s keen if somewhat crude sense of the
ridiculous; and, above all, in the sprightliness and vivacity of her
narrative, especially when she writes in the person of the heroine. And
this last, in great measure, is due to the fact that in Evelina Miss
Burney has portrayed her younger self. Until the publication of the
_Early Diary_, this, though conjectured, was not clearly established.
But a perusal of the letters to Mr. Crisp, of the Teignmouth and
Worcester Journals, and of half a dozen of the reported conversations,
shows clearly that Evelina Anville, narrating her adventures to Mr.
Villars, was using very much the same pen as Frances Burney had employed
for those _nouvelles à-la-main_ which, from time to time, she despatched
to “Daddy” Crisp at Chessington. The writer who describes the
theatricals at Barborne Lodge, or recounts the long conversations with
Mr. Barlow, is precisely the same person who, in the novel, reproduces
the small talk in the tea-room at the Pantheon, or records the
rough-and-tumble misadventures of Mme. Duval at Ranelagh. All these
people and places Miss Burney had seen; or if she had not, it needed
little but her perceptive faculty, her sense of humour, and her
dramatising gift, to enable her to invent similar characters, and
exhibit them in action.

It is possible, of course, that, in some cases, Miss Burney leaned upon
her predecessors, especially where her own experiences fell short. Lord
Orville, it has been suggested, is a recollection of the hero of _Sir
Charles Grandison_; Sir Clement Willoughby, of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen or
Mr. Greville in the same novel. That she should think of these
then-established types would, indeed, be only natural. But while
Richardson drew his male heroes mainly from his moral consciousness,
Miss Burney has rectified her puppets from her personal recollections.
Lord Orvilles, perhaps, were not very common in her environment. Still,
to say nothing of King in Lord Ogleby (she knew the _Clandestine
Marriage_ by heart), she had seen and heard a live fine gentleman in
Fulke Greville; and in Mr. Anthony Chamier and Mr. Charles Boone had
conversed with some flesh-and-blood specimens of men of the world, who
helped to make her characters, objectively at all events, more
convincingly real than those of Richardson. For Lord Orville—though
somewhat shadowy—is really a nobleman; and Sir Clement Willoughby, a
not-inconceivable specimen of the _genus_ “agreeable rake.” As to the
impertinent fop, Mr. Lovel, one can imagine that she would have little
difficulty in constructing him—with an added sprinkle of malice—out of
the “scraps and heel-taps” of her coxcomb cousin, Richard Burney of
Worcester, or of that other fantastic feather-head, the Spanish
traveller, Mr. Twiss. But the Lovels, and the Orvilles, and the
Willoughbys, clever as they are, would scarcely have made the fortune of
_Evelina_; still less would the benedictory Mr. Villars, the exemplary
Lady Howard, Mrs. Mirvan and her daughter, or that melancholy concession
to sentimentalism, Mr. Macartney. These belong to the working machinery
of the story; its prominent interest, apart from its accurate pictures
of contemporary character and manners, is concentrated upon the two
antagonists, Captain Mirvan and Mme. Duval, and upon the inimitably
vulgar Branghton group, which includes the Holborn beau, Mr. Smith.

Madame Duval, in particular, is drawn with remarkable vigour, though it
is difficult to imagine how, at any period of her life, an educated man
could possibly have married her. Her illiterate English with its cheap
French tags, her _Ma fois_ and her Shakespearean superlatives, all
combine to make a most graphic broad-comedy portrait. She would perhaps
have been better for a touch, which Goldsmith would certainly not have
omitted, of tenderness somewhere; as it is, the only sign of anything
approaching that quality is her solicitude for M. Du Bois, the poor
French gentleman who accompanies her,—one hardly knows why,—for he has
no very definite purpose in the book beyond swelling the list of
Evelina’s admirers, and opposing his courtesy and unobtrusive good
manners to the rudeness of his immediate associates. But though no
softer traits make us admire Mme. Duval, one can at least be sorry for
her. A certain amount of horse-play—and even the ruining of a new Lyons
silk costume—are perhaps permissible in a roaring farce; but to drag an
elderly woman forcibly along the high road, shake her furiously, deposit
her in a ditch (bumping her vigorously the while), and then tie her feet
together, leaving her “almost roaring, and in the utmost agony of rage
and terror”—certainly seems to be going to unusual lengths in the
pursuit of practical joking, even with a person who has so far forgotten
herself as to spit in your face. If Mme. Duval was not a person of
“position” in one sense, she was at least (as the Colonel says in
_Punch_) a person of exceedingly “uncomfortable position” in another.
Yet, as Miss Burney has depicted the episode, we must presume that she
has actually depicted something she had heard of or seen. And there is
no doubt that there was an under side to the often superficial and
conventional refinement of her day,—a side of absolute heartlessness
and insensibility, begotten of brutal pastimes, butcherly penal laws,
and a cynical disregard for the value of human life. Even in that
admirable comedy of Goldsmith which Miss Burney had seen played not so
very many years before the appearance of _Evelina_, there are traces of
this, though Goldsmith was the most amiable of men. Yet even Goldsmith
allows Tony Lumpkin to tell an audience that, after jolting two ladies,
one of them his own mother, to a jelly, he has finally lodged them in a
horsepond; and everyone seems to think the joke an excellent one. Nor
are there any indications that Johnson or Reynolds ever commented upon
the callous barbarity of the proceeding.

This being so, we could perhaps hardly expect any superfine delicacy
from the rough sailor whom Miss Burney has invented for Mme. Duval’s
discomfiture. Captain Mirvan is an officer of the Oakum and Hatchway
type rather than of the Lieutenant Bowling order. His twin aversions are
a fop and a Frenchman; and he meets them both; or rather, in place of
the latter, he meets an Englishwoman naturalised in France, which does
as well. Indeed, it is a little curious that, in his hatred of “Madam
Frog,” as he calls Evelina’s grandmother, Captain Mirvan entirely
overlooks the fact that Mme. Duval is really nothing more than a vulgar
English barmaid. Captain Mirvan is excellently conceived, but only
partially exhibited. To say nothing of the fact that he is a seaman on
shore, it would have been impossible for Evelina to depict him except in
expurgated form. She herself allows as much to Mr. Villars.
“Notwithstanding the attempts I so frequently make of writing some of
the Captain’s conversation, I can only give you a faint idea of his
language; for almost every other word he utters, is accompanied by an
oath, which, I am sure, would be as unpleasant for you to read, as for
me to write. And, besides, he makes use of a thousand sea-terms, which
are to me quite unintelligible.” Miss Burney had a brother who was a
lieutenant in the navy, and no doubt was sufficiently instructed as to
the manners and customs of the mariners of Cook’s day. She moreover
appreciated to the full their delight in hoaxes and practical jokes. As
regards their oaths and asseverations no one can blame her reticence,—a
reticence which was commended even by her contemporaries. But it is
permissible to criticism to observe that a Georgian ship-captain _ad
usum Delphini_, and deprived in great measure of his picturesque
nautical jargon is an artistic contradiction which it is difficult to
invest with complete and convincing reality. It is no doubt owing in
part to the absence of his uncouth amphibious atmosphere that Captain
Mirvan’s baiting of Mme. Duval leaves such an unpleasantly cold-blooded
impression upon the modern reader. On ship-board, and in his own
element, he was no doubt a brave man and a smart officer. On shore, he
is an unmitigated bear; and since Mme. Duval was in a way his guest, an
absolutely inconceivable host.

Of the Branghton family, Miss Burney has given, at the outset, a rather
fuller introductory description than she usually gives of her
characters. The father, Mme. Duval’s nephew, is a silversmith on
Snow-Hill, a man about forty, intelligent, but contracted and
prejudiced, having spent his life in the city, and contemptuous of all
who reside elsewhere. His son is “weaker in his understanding, and more
gay in his temper; but his gaiety is that of a foolish, over-grown
schoolboy, whose mirth consists in noise and disturbance. He disdains
his father for his close attention to business, and love of money;
though he seems himself to have no talents, spirit, or generosity, to
make him superior to either. His chief delight appears to be tormenting
and ridiculing his sisters, who, in return, most heartily despise him.”
The elder girl is not ill-looking; but is proud, ill-tempered and
conceited. “She hates the city, though without knowing why; for it is
easy to discover she has lived no where else.” The younger sister,
Polly, is “rather pretty, very foolish, very ignorant, very giddy and
very good natured.” This worshipful family, after the fashion of the
eighteenth century, live at the shop in the city, and let some of the
rooms. One of the garrets is occupied by the already mentioned Scotch
poet, Macartney, while the dining room is in possession of the Holborn
beau, who, besides keeping a foot-boy of his own, is—according to Miss
Polly Branghton—“quite like one of the quality, and dresses as fine,
and goes to balls and dances, and everything quite in taste.” Mr. Smith,
with his underbred gentility and his awkward sprightliness, is the most
vivid of the portraits in the book.

With enforced associates of this type, it is easy to conceive that
Evelina is continually involved in vexation and embarrassment, and even
landed in some equivocal situations. The Branghtons take her to the
Opera, but carry her to the shilling gallery. They take her to Vauxhall,
where, unlike Goldsmith’s pawnbroker’s widow, she _does_ contrive to see
the famous waterworks. But by the heedlessness of her cousins, she is
decoyed into the dubious Dark Walks, where she is rescued from a gang of
rakes by Sir Clement Willoughby, only to be subsequently subjected by
him to impertinent gallantries on his own account. After this, she goes
to a ball at the Long Room at Hampstead with Mme. Duval, where she has
the greatest difficulty in avoiding to “hop a dance” with the
importunate Holborn beau, who, in the phrase of his circle is “as fine
as fivepence.” At Marylebone Gardens an explosion of M. Torré’s
fireworks terrifies her into seeking the protection of some very
undesirable companions of her own sex, in whose compromising company, to
her intense annoyance, she is discovered both by Lord Orville and Sir
Clement Willoughby. Finally, after she has been pestered by the
attentions of Mr. Smith, and threatened by Mme. Duval with young
Branghton as a husband, the full measure of her mortification is filled
at Kensington Gardens, where, in a soaking shower, her cousins contrive
to borrow Lord Orville’s coach, in her name, although against her will.
As a result the coach is badly injured in taking these discreditable
connections to Snow Hill. There are other consequences to this
misadventure, but they cannot be touched upon here.

These scenes at the old London pleasure resorts of Evelina’s century—as
was admitted by her contemporaries—are depicted with full knowledge,
and with a spirit and animation not to be found elsewhere, though it is
difficult to make quotation from them without presenting them
imperfectly. One passage, however, which Johnson admired, we may venture
to cite, with the _caveat_ that a brick is not a building. The party are
in the Great Room at Vauxhall, looking at one of Hayman’s paintings;—we
may assume it, from the reference to Neptune, to be that which
commemorated Admiral Hawke’s defeat of the French in Quiberon Bay.
Evelina has asked M. Du Bois for an explanation of the subject: Mme.
Duval invokes the assistance of Mr. Smith, who, for the moment, is
sorely crestfallen at the superior ease and splendour of Sir Clement

“‘Don’t ask him [M. Du Bois]’—she cries—‘your best way is to ask Mr.
Smith, for he’s been here the oftenest. Come, Mr. Smith, I daresay you
can tell us all about them.’

“‘Why, yes, Ma’am, yes,’ said Mr. Smith: who, brightening up at this
application, advanced towards us, with an air of assumed importance,
which, however, sat very uneasily upon him, and begged to know what he
should explain first: ‘For I have attended,’ said he, ‘to all these
paintings, and know everything in them perfectly well; for I am rather
fond of pictures, Ma’am; and, really, I must say, I think a pretty
picture is a—a very—is really a very—is something very pretty——’

“‘So do I too,’ said Madame Duval, ‘but pray now, Sir, tell us who that
is meant for,’ pointing to a figure of Neptune.

“‘That!—Why, that, Ma’am, is,— . . . I can’t think how I come to be so
stupid, but really I have forgot his name;—and yet, I know it as well
as my own too,—however, he’s a _General_, Ma’am, they are all

“I saw Sir Clement bite his lips; and, indeed, so did I mine.

“‘Well,’ said Madame Duval, ‘it’s the oddest dress for a general ever I

“‘He seems so capital a figure,’ said Sir Clement to Mr. Smith, ‘that I
imagine he must be _Generalissimo_ of the whole army.’

“‘Yes, Sir, yes,’ answered Mr. Smith, respectfully bowing, and highly
delighted at being thus referred to, ‘you are perfectly right;—but I
cannot for my life think of his name;—perhaps, Sir, you may remember

“‘No, really,’ replied Sir Clement, ‘my acquaintance among the generals
is not so extensive.’

“The ironical tone of voice in which Sir Clement spoke, entirely
disconcerted Mr. Smith; who again retiring to a humble distance, seemed
sensibly mortified at the failure of the attempt to recover his

After volume two, we hear little of Mme. Duval or the Branghtons; and
Captain Mirvan only appears at the end of the book for the exposure of
the fop, Mr. Lovel, which he accomplishes with his customary cruelty.
Croker thought this latter part “very tedious,” but his objection was
not shared by Miss Burney’s first readers. There are, it is true, no
characters in it as broadly drawn as Captain Mirvan and Mme. Duval; but
those that are new, have all the trick of the time. Lord Merton and Mr.
Coverley are typical examples of the Georgian man of pleasure, and the
race of old women by which they settle their wager, could easily,
painful as it seemed to the lookers-on, have been paralleled from the
annals of the day. Indeed, something of the kind was devised by Garrick
for the diversions of his Hampton Villa. Lady Louisa Larpent is an
excellent specimen of the die-away, lackadaisical lady of quality who
must have abounded at the old watering places, while the remorseless
Mrs. Selwyn, secure in her age and independent means, and devoting
herself entirely to the reckless gratification of her caustic humour, is
again a thoroughly recognisable society type. In fact, these latter
personages are truer to the social conditions of the day than even
“Madam French” and the Captain, and only failed of equal applause
because they were less novel. So far from being tedious, the last volume
seems to us the most easily written. The intrigue, slight as it is, is
artfully entangled, and the style has the additional freedom which might
be expected from the fact that there was now a definite publisher in
sight, as soon as the work should be brought to an end.

Prefixed to _Evelina_ is a votive poem of five quatrains, a “Dedication
addressed to the Authors of the _Monthly_ and _Critical Reviews_,” and a
Preface. The verses, although headed “To **** *****,” are of course
intended for Dr. Burney.

             “Oh! of my life at once the source and joy!
               If e’er thy eyes these feeble lines survey,
             Let not their folly their intent destroy;
               Accept the tribute—but forget the lay”—

they conclude, and it would be idle to pretend that their affection is
not more manifest than their poetical merit. The “Dedication” and the
“Preface,” on the contrary, are well invented; and moreover, shew
plainly that, in serious or impersonal prose, the Johnsonian standard,
afterwards so obtrusive in the writer’s work, was already present to her
mind. Speaking, in the Preface, of her predecessors in fiction, she
says, “I yet presume not to attempt pursuing the same ground which they
have tracked; whence, though they may have cleared the weeds, they have
also culled the flowers; and, though they have rendered the path plain,
they have left it barren.” Again, “Whatever may be the fate of these
letters, the writer is satisfied they will meet with justice; and
commends them to the press, though hopeless of fame, yet not regardless
of censure.” These are sentences which, with their balanced turn, and
contrast of clauses, might have come direct from _Rasselas_ or the
_Rambler_. The same Preface contains a passage to which we are probably
indebted for much of that old persistent misconception as to the
author’s age, of which Croker (“no one could lash a woman like Rigby!”)
made such paltry capital. “To draw characters from nature, though not
from life, and to mark the manners of the times, is the attempted plan
of the following letters. For this purpose, a young female, educated in
the most secluded retirement, makes, _at the age of seventeen_ [the
italics are ours], her first appearance upon the great and busy stage of
life.” Here, no doubt, is the source and origin of the story which
Croker had “always seen and heard stated.” To any unprejudiced mind, it
must be obvious that Miss Burney is referring, not to her own age, but
to that of her heroine; and this is confirmed—if confirmation were
needed—by her Diary. “I have not pretended,” she writes in March, 1778,
“to shew the world what it actually is, but what it _appears_ to a girl
of seventeen:—and so far as that, surely any girl who is _past_
seventeen may safely do?” And yet, as late as 1871, a critic was found
to quote the words of the “Preface” and to contend, in Croker’s
interest, that Miss Burney was speaking of herself.[33]

The first of the Reviews to answer the appeal in the Dedication was not
either of those to which the author had referred. In the _London Review_
for February there was a tiny notice of three lines. But, considering
that it came from, or was approved by, the critic whom Macaulay
stigmatises as the “envious Kenrick,” it was not unfriendly. “There was
much more merit” in Evelina’s history, it said, “as well respecting
style, character and incident, than was generally to be found among our
modern novels.” The _Monthly Review_ (Mr. Ralph Griffiths) was the next
to take up the book, making its report in April. This was not long; but
it was excellent. It pronounced _Evelina_ to be “one of the most
sprightly, entertaining, and agreeable productions” of the kind which
had of late fallen under its notice. It praised the “great variety of
natural incidents,” and declared the characters to be “agreeably
diversified, conceived and drawn with propriety, and supported with
spirit.” “The whole,” it went on, “is written with great ease, and
command of language. From this commendation, however, we must except the
character of a son of Neptune, whose manners are rather those of a rough
uneducated country squire, than those of a genuine sea captain.” For the
_Critical Review_ Miss Burney had to wait until September, when Sylvanus
Urban also joined the concert. The notice in the _Critical Review_ was
the longest of all. It compared the writer with Richardson. It
considered the first and third volumes to be the best, and it praised
Mme. Duval and Captain Mirvan as, in great measure, original. With
respect to the author, whom it speaks of as “he,” it was still wholly in
the dark; and it commended the knowledge of the world and the experience
of life which the book contained. Mr. Urban contented himself with a
long extract from the “Preface,” and concluded, “Such is the just
account given of this work by the author; to which we shall only add
that these vols. will afford a pleasing innocent amusement, exhibiting,
in an easy style, many such characters as occur in the world, not raised
so high as to be extravagant, nor sunk so low as to be disgusting.”

There is no definite evidence that Miss Burney had any knowledge either
of Kenrick’s or Griffiths’ review, when, in May, she went to
Chessington. While she was at “Daddy” Crisp’s—as already related—the
first bound copy was received from Lowndes. But those in the secret had
kept it well, and it was not until June that it was really revealed. In
March, Fanny’s cousin Richard, recovering from an illness, had heard
_Evelina_ read aloud, and was taken into confidence; while in May, his
sister Bessy, one of the actors in the Worcester theatricals, had, in
her own phrase, “smoked” Fanny in the new book, which was beginning to
be talked about. But Fanny’s father, to whom _Evelina_ was dedicated,
was still wholly ignorant of the matter, and his diffident daughters did
not dare to undeceive him. At last, at the beginning of June, Charlotte
writes jubilantly that Papa has been looking at the review in the
_Monthly_, and has bought a copy of _Evelina_. He has been much affected
by the _Ode_, and is reading the book to Lady Hales and another friend.
He thinks the Preface and Dedication “_vastly strong and well written_,”
Susan reports to the author. The account of public places (he declares)
is “very animated, and natural, and not _common_”; and in his opinion,
Lowndes has had a very good bargain. By June 16 he has finished it. It
is “the best novel he knows,” says the proud father, “excepting
Fielding’s,” and in some respects it is better even than his. His only
objection is to Mirvan’s treatment of Lovel, which is “a brutality which
does not make one laugh.” Villars and Lord Orville he admired greatly;
and he has “blubbered” over the scenes at the end between Evelina and
Sir John Belmont. As to his lady auditors, they are still crying. For
Fanny’s sake (“Poor Fan’s _such_ a prude”), he will keep the secret
snug; but he evidently does not apprehend that its disclosure would
bring her any discredit. “For a young woman’s work, I look upon it to be
really WONDERFUL!”

All this Susan Burney recapitulates with abundant decorative detail to
the delighted author at Chessington, whose foremost anxiety had been as
to her father’s opinion. She herself has been reading the book aloud to
Mr. Crisp, who, good, easy man, has no suspicions, but is interested,
and tantalised into greater curiosity by having to wait patiently for
the successive volumes. Presently _Evelina_ is recommended by a lady to
Mrs. Thrale, who “likes it VASTLY—is EXTREMELY pleased with it.”
Whatever human _nature_ there may be in Mme. Riccoboni,[34] she tells
Mrs. Burney, who has been praising that writer, there is human _life_ in
_Evelina_, and the manners of the time. “It’s writ (she says) by
somebody that knows _the top and the bottom_, the _highest_ and _lowest_
of mankind.” Thereupon Mrs. Burney borrows it to read; and long letters
go off to Fanny embodying the remarks of both parents over the book as
they study it slowly in bed in the morning. Finally, as Dr. Burney has
obtained Fanny’s leave to tell Mrs. Thrale, Mrs. Burney also has to be
told. And then—crown of all things!—comes a congratulatory letter from
Mrs. Thrale herself, praising _Evelina_ for “probability of story,
elegance of sentiment, and general power over the mind, whether exerted
in humour or pathos.” But “the cream of the correspondence,” as Tony
Lumpkin calls it, is not for once in a postscript. It is in the middle.
Dr. JOHNSON has read the first two volumes, and protests there are
“passages in the book which might do honour to Richardson.” He is
hungering for the _dénoûment_, and is now hard at work on volume three.
This astounding intelligence has such an effect upon the author that, in
her own words, “it almost crazed her with agreeable surprise.” It gave
her such a flight of spirits that she then and there “danced a jigg to
Mr. Crisp, without any preparation, music, or explanation,—to his no
small amazement, and diversion.” She was an expert emulator of the
light-heeled Nancy Dawson; and the scene of this impromptu
performance—as she told Sir Walter Scott forty-eight years
afterwards—was a mulberry tree in the garden at Chessington.[35]

“Daddy” Crisp was now almost the only person out of the secret; and he
had to be enlightened. Dr. Burney took this duty upon himself when he
came down to Chessington in August to fetch away his daughter; and the
old man’s pride and surprise and delight were unbounded.


[30] This suggests that, at the beginning of 1777, the _third_ volume
was not yet composed.

[31] After the third edition (1779) Lowndes paid her another £10, making
£30 in all (_Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832, ii. 151).

[32] _Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. 10; _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832,
ii. 149; _Early Diary_, 1889, ii. 239 n.

[33] Forsyth, _Novels and Novelists of the Eighteenth Century_, 1871, p.

[34] Marie-Jeanne de Heurles de Laboras, Mme. Riccoboni, _d._ 1792,
translated Fielding’s _Amelia_ and Kelly’s _False Delicacy_ into French,
and continued Marivaux’ _Marianne_. She wrote several sentimental
novels, one of which Mrs. Brooke Englished as _Lady Catesby’s Letters_.

[35] _Journal of Sir Walter Scott_, 1891, i. 309.

                               CHAPTER IV
                         THE SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR

Once—so runs the story—when Miss Burney was dining with Sir Joshua
Reynolds at that pleasant villa upon Richmond Hill which had been built
for him by Chambers the architect, she chanced to see him looking at her
in a peculiar way. “I know what you are thinking about,”—she said.
“Ay,” he replied, “you may come and sit to me now whenever you please.”
He had at last caught her special attitude,—her distinctive phase. “I
hope he will take your picture,” “Daddy” Crisp had said, when she first
made the artist’s acquaintance;—“who knows, but the time may come when
your image may appear . . . like Garrick with the Comic and Tragic Muse
contending for you?” Thalia and Melpomene were certainly to contend for
the author of _Evelina_, and that at no distant date. There is however
no picture of Fanny Burney in the Reynolds Gallery. Hoppner painted her
later; but Hoppner is not Sir Joshua. Her best likeness, one of two from
the same hand, is by her cousin, Edward Burney, who, it is hinted,
surveyed his model—

                                 “in the light
                     Of tender personal regards,”—

and—it is also hinted—possibly slightly flattered her.

Edward Burney’s portrait, which is prefixed to the _Diary and Letters_
of 1842-6, had been mezzotinted two years earlier by Charles Turner on a
larger scale. It is said to represent Miss Burney at the age of thirty,
having been painted at Chessington in August 1782. She wears a hat and
feathers; and her hair is frizzed out in the approved fashion of the
day. Her attitude is conventional:—she sits demurely erect, with
formally posed hands. But her eyes are brimming with latent animation;
and the corners of the lips are lifted with a lurking sense of fun. Of
the sitter’s stature the picture gives little indication. She is
reported, however, to have been extremely slight and frail of make—“a
small cargo for the Chessington coach,” said Mr. Crisp. It was perhaps
owing to this that she preserved so long her youthful and almost girlish
appearance. As to her eyes, which, in the portrait, look large and
luminous, we have her own assurance that they were greenish gray; and
from the fact that she was called “the dove” by one of her Tunbridge
friends, we must assume that they resembled those of Mrs. Delany, who is
praised by her adoring husband for “what Solomon calls ‘dove’s eyes.’”
Her complexion was brown; and she is affirmed to have been rather
French-looking. Beautiful of feature, perhaps, she could scarcely be
called. But it is admitted that she had great charm of expression, and a
countenance which was quick to betray every passing emotion. “Poor
Fanny’s face”—said her father—“tells us what she thinks whether she
will or no”; and she confirms this herself by lamenting her lack of
power to command her features. She “rouged” readily—to use her own
euphemism for blushing. For the rest, she was all her life ailing and
delicate. But like many valetudinarians, she succeeded in surviving her
robuster relatives. She out-lasted all her sisters except one; and she
lived to the age of eighty-seven.[36]

When Dr. Burney fetched his daughter from Chessington, it had been
arranged that they should stop at Streatham Place on their way back to
town. This they did; and Fanny’s diary gives a full account of what she
pronounces to be “the most consequential day she had spent since her
birth.” Mrs. Thrale was very gracious, and very discreet, only
mentioning _Evelina_ in order to refer to Dr. Johnson’s genuine
admiration for the book. Mr. Seward, whom we remember as one of the
visitors to St. Martin’s Street, was not by any means so considerate,
bluntly blurting out his praises in the most embarrassing manner. At
dinner a place was left next Miss Burney for Dr. Johnson, who presently
appeared. The Doctor was as delicate as Mrs. Thrale, only touching
indirectly and circuitously upon the burning topic. Asked by Mrs. Thrale
to have some little pies of mutton, he declared gallantly that sitting
next Miss Burney made him too proud to eat mutton. Later, after some
rambling talk about the wear and tear of Garrick’s face, he went on to
speak of Dr. Burney’s rival, Sir John Hawkins, whom he can scarcely be
said to have extolled. He believed him “an honest man at the bottom; but
to be sure,” he continued, “he is penurious, and he is mean, and it must
be owned he has a degree of brutality, and a tendency to savageness,
that cannot easily be defended.” Giving an instance of Sir John’s
“_unclubbable_” character, he added that it reminded him of a lady with
whom he had once travelled, who, stopping at an inn in her own coach and
four, called for—a pint of ale! quarrelling moreover with the waiter
for not giving full measure. And here came in another adroit allusion to
_Evelina_. “Mme. Duval”—said the Doctor—“could not have done a grosser
thing!”—a sentiment which of course convulsed the company, and threw
the young person at his side into the most delicious confusion.
Altogether the visit was delightful; and when Fanny and her father got
into the chaise to go, it was a settled thing that she was to come again
to Streatham, and for a much longer stay.

When she reached St. Martin’s Street, there were further honours in
store for her. Hetty had lately met Frances Reynolds, who was full of
the new novel, “though without a shadow of suspicion as to the
scribbler.” This, of itself, was not much; but Miss Reynolds also
announced that her brother, Sir Joshua, having begun it when “he was too
much engaged to go on with it, was so much caught, that he could think
of nothing else, and was quite absent all the day, not knowing a word
that was said to him; and, when he took it up again, found himself so
much interested in it, that he sat up all night to finish it!” He would
give fifty pounds, he had subsequently declared, to know the author, and
other people were equally inquisitive. After this interesting piece of
intelligence, Fanny thought she would herself go to Mr. Thomas Lowndes,
and ascertain in what way that gentleman was satisfying the eagerness of
enquirers. As she could not trust herself to speak, her step-mother went
with her. They began by buying a copy, and then asked Mr. Lowndes—a
pompous and consequential personage who happened to be in the shop—if
he could tell them who wrote it. No, he replied, he did not know
himself. Pressed further, he said that the author was a gentleman of the
other end of the town; and, in response to renewed cross-questioning on
Mrs. Burney’s part, affirmed that he was a master of his subject, and
well versed in the manners of the times. Moreover, that he (Mr. Lowndes)
had at first thought _Evelina_ was by Horace Walpole, who had once
published a book in the same “snug manner,”[37] but he did not think so
now. (Other people, it may be noted, had attributed it to Christopher
Anstey of the _New Bath Guide_, then some dozen years old,—a work which
Miss Anville and Lord Orville peruse together at Mrs. Beaumont’s.)
Finally, out of sheer inability to satisfy his interrogator, Mr. Lowndes
hinted darkly, “with a most important face,” that he had been told that
the authorship of _Evelina_ was a piece of real secret history, which
could consequently never be known. This final piece of information was
too much for the listener, who “was obliged to look out at the
shop-door” for the remainder of the interview. To the modern student
Fanny’s investigations would have been more satisfying if they had
thrown some definite light on the progress of the book from the
publisher’s point of view. In spite of various statements to the
contrary, it seems clear that when, in August, 1778, she and her
step-mother went to Fleet Street, Mr. Lowndes was still selling the
first impression. The second edition is dated 1779; and in October,
1796, the author wrote that “the first edition of _Evelina_ was of eight
hundred, the second of five hundred, and the third of a thousand”
copies. On the other hand, Lowndes, who should certainly have been
acquainted with the facts, informed Dr. Burney, in an unpublished letter
of 1782, that he only printed a first edition of five hundred. Whichever
be the correct version of the story, it is pretty clear that the sale
for the first twelve months can scarcely be regarded as

Before the end of August Mrs. Thrale called at St. Martin’s Street, and
carried off her new friend to Streatham Place; and at Streatham Place
Fanny practically remained for the rest of 1778. The inviting white
house with its wooded park, or enclosure, where—to use Susan Burney’s
expression—the “cattle, poultry, and dogs all ran freely about without
annoying each other,” has now long been a thing of the past, having been
pulled down in 1863. Its site was the southern side of the lower common
between Streatham and Tooting. It was a three-storied building, with
many cheerful rooms which Fanny’s records make familiar to us. The
saloon was hung with sky blue; and there was a parlour for the more
crowded dinner parties, decorated with prints by Hogarth and others
which, probably inaccurately, are described as being “pasted” on the
walls. The library, also used frequently as a breakfast room, had been
built by Mr. Thrale about 1773, and was kept stocked with books by
Johnson, who here—said Mrs. Thrale—“talked Ramblers,” while she read
aloud the last proofs of the _Lives of the Poets_. Above the book-cases,
hung the famous Thrale Gallery, dispersed in 1816,—portraits by Sir
Joshua of Johnson, of Burke, of the artist himself, of Goldsmith,
Garrick, Murphy, Baretti, Dr. Burney and other visitors to the house.
Over the fireplace, and also by Reynolds, was the double picture of Mrs.
Thrale and Queenie, which was exhibited in the Grosvenor Gallery in
1884. In the grounds, besides plantations, and high-walled kitchen
gardens with ice-houses and pineries, there was an encircling shrubbery
which bordered a gravelled walk of nearly two miles. There was also a
spring pond, dug by Thrale, which, apparently in imitation of Duck
Island in St. James’s Park, boasted its Dick’s Island; and there was “a
cool summer-house,” where Johnson wrote and studied, and Fanny read, or
essayed to read, _Irene_. It must have been a most delightful
country-house, meriting fully the Doctor’s grateful eulogy that “none
but itself could be its parallel.” “I have found nothing,” he wrote from
Lichfield in 1767, “that withdraws my affections from the friends whom I
left behind, or which makes me less desirous of reposing at that place
which your kindness and Mr. Thrale’s allows me to call my _home_.”
“These are as good people,” he said to Miss Burney in the first days of
her visit, “as you can be with; you can go to no better house; they are
all good nature; nothing makes them angry.”

He himself seems to have softened with his environment. Although, as
Fanny says, the freedom with which he condemned what he disapproved was
astonishing, and his strength of language would to most persons be
intolerable, he presented, upon the whole, a far more benignant aspect
than that in which he is usually exhibited by Boswell. He is Johnson in
clover, and _en belle humeur_; happier and more at ease than he is
elsewhere, and therefore more agreeable. To the yet undisclosed author
of _Evelina_ he is especially gracious, and even affectionate. He kisses
her hand; makes her sit by him; pays her elaborate compliments; and no
one, when he pleased, could do that better. “Harry Fielding,” he
protested, “never drew so good a character” as her Mr. Smith. “Such a
fine varnish of low politeness!—such a struggle to appear a gentleman!
Madam [to Mrs. Thrale], there is no character better drawn anywhere—in
any book, or by any author”—an extravagance which almost leads one
particular author present to “poke herself under the table.” He bursts
out with sudden quotations from _Evelina_:—with Miss Branghton’s, “Only
think, Polly! Miss has danced with a Lord!”—he rallies poor Mr. Seward
on his resemblance to the Holborn beau.—“Why you only want a tambour
waistcoat, to look like Mr. Smith!” Then he is heard grumbling to
himself over a letter from Fanny’s medical adviser, Dr. Jebb, whose
penmanship is that of a tradesman. “Mr. Branghton would have written his
name with just such beastly flourishes!” But perhaps the acme of his
amiable speeches is his frank comparison of “dear little Burney,” as he
comes to call her, with Fielding and Richardson. “Richardson,” he said,
“would have been really afraid of her; there is merit,” he went on, “in
_Evelina_ which he could not have borne. No; it would not have done!
unless, indeed, she would have flattered him prodigiously. Harry
Fielding, too, would have been afraid of her; there is nothing so
delicately finished in all Harry Fielding’s works as in _Evelina_.”
Then, shaking his head at her, he exclaimed, “O, you little
character-monger you!”—an appellation which must be admitted to be
singularly appropriate. On another occasion, he declared that she was
his “hero.” “Dr. Goldsmith was my last; but I have had none since his
time, till my little Burney came.”[39] “I admire her”—he said again,
and to her face—“for her observation, for her good sense, for her
humour, for her discernment, for her manner of expressing them, and for
all her writing talents.” Decidedly it was good to be praised by
Johnson; and one may well forgive Miss Burney for doubting whether she
could possibly live up to his laudation.

Visitors to Streatham Place came and went so freely that it is difficult
to chronicle them. Among the rest was that accomplished _esprit fort_,
Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, to whom Mrs. Thrale could not deny herself the
pleasure of exhibiting her own special prize and discovery, the author
of _Evelina_. Mrs. Montagu came to Streatham by invitation, accompanied
by her friend, Miss Gregory. Dr. Johnson was very anxious that “Burney”
should attack the “Queen of the Blue Stockings,” much as, in his own hot
youth, he had hawked at all established wits. But Mrs. Thrale, finding
that Mrs. Montagu knew nothing of _Evelina_, disclosed the secret of the
authorship so abruptly, that Fanny fairly took to her heels and fled.
Hence she saw less of the great lady than she would otherwise; and
between the extreme blame of “Daddy” Crisp and the extreme praise of
Mrs. Thrale, was not perhaps greatly prepossessed in favour of Mrs.
Montagu, who, moreover, had been so ill-advised as never to have heard
of _Evelina_. But Mrs. Montagu was very well-bred and polite; and easily
fell in with Dr. Johnson’s suggestion that Miss Burney should accompany
the rest of those present to the housewarming with which she hoped
shortly to open her new abode in Portman Square,—that famous mansion of
the feather-hangings celebrated by Cowper’s—

                   “The Birds put off their every hue
                   To dress a room for Montagu.”

It was in reference to a suggestion by Mrs. Montagu that Fanny’s
dedication was good enough to have been written by her father—a
suggestion which, with all her filial affection, Fanny could scarcely be
expected to welcome very warmly—that Johnson uttered one of his
common-sense deliverances on criticism. “You must not mind that”—he
said of Mrs. Montagu’s impolitic remark,—“for such things are always
said where books are successful. There are three distinct kinds of
judges upon all new authors or productions; the first are those who know
no rules, but pronounce entirely from their natural taste and feelings;
the second are those who know and judge by rules; and the third are
those who know, but are above the rules. These last are those you should
wish to satisfy. Next to them rate the natural judges; but ever despise
those opinions that are formed by the rules.” Of this second class, his
own “Dick Minim” is an admirable exemplification.[40]

In January, 1779, Miss Burney was again at St. Martin’s Street, her
sister Susan being from home. St. Martin’s Street has a mysterious visit
from “a square old gentleman, well-wigged, formal, grave and important,”
who suddenly asks her if she is not _Evelina_, and turns out to be Dr.
Francklin, chaplain to the Royal Academy. Then she is invited to Sir
Joshua’s to meet Mrs. and Miss [Mary] Horneck (Goldsmith’s “Jessamy
Bride”), soon to be married to Colonel Gwyn. The ladies had said that
they would walk a hundred and sixty miles to see her, so there was
nothing to excuse her for not stepping across the Fields to No. 47. Here
she met another admirer, Peg Woffington’s witty and eccentric sister,
Mrs. Cholmondeley; and Lord Palmerston, father of the Victorian premier;
and Burke’s brother William, the “honest William” of Goldsmith’s
_Retaliation_. All, and especially Sir Joshua, were most cordial, though
Mrs. Cholmondeley’s “pointed speeches,” Duval _Ma foi’s_, and references
to _Evelina_ generally, would have been embarrassing, even to a less
nervous person than the author. Mrs. Cholmondeley, among other things,
had been to Lowndes for information, getting nothing from that windbag
but intelligence that a gentleman had betted that the writer of
_Evelina_ was a man, while she, Mrs. Cholmondeley, felt equally
convinced it was a woman. “But now”—she added—“we are both out; for
it’s a girl!”—which must be accepted as unanswerable testimony to
Fanny’s youthful appearance at six-and-twenty.

This interview with Mrs. Cholmondeley, who had been one of the book’s
earliest and most energetic trumpeters (it was she, indeed, who had
first recommended it “among the wits”), was of course, followed by an
invitation, which proved a most important one. For at Mrs.
Cholmondeley’s in Hertford Street she met, not only the beautiful “St.
Cecilia” of Reynolds, with her almost equally beautiful sister, Miss
Linley; but she met “St. Cecilia’s” husband, the all-conquering author
of the recently-produced _School for Scandal_ and manager of Drury Lane,
Richard Brinsley Sheridan himself, of whom she writes admiringly. He has
“a good though I don’t think a handsome face. He is tall, and very
upright, and his appearance and address are at once manly and
fashionable, without the smallest tincture of foppery or modish graces.
In short, I like him vastly, and think him every way worthy his
beautiful companion,”—to whom, Fanny adds, he was manifestly much
devoted. By and by, Sheridan introduced himself to Miss Burney, and was
most agreeable. He had been telling her father, he said, that he had
long expected to see in her “a lady of the gravest appearance, with the
quickest parts.” He expressed the highest admiration for _Evelina_,
adding that he hoped she (Miss Burney) did not intend to throw away her
pen. He was very curious to know what she was about, and Sir Joshua
observed that she must succeed in “anything in the dialogue way.” Mr.
Sheridan assented. He thought “she should write a comedy.” “And you,”
said the kind Sir Joshua presently, “would take anything of hers, would
you not?—unsight, unseen?” “Yes,” he answered with quickness, “and make
her a bow and my best thanks into the bargain.” Here was a piece of news
to post off to Susan!

As a matter of fact, Miss Burney was already engaged upon a dramatic
essay. Both her father and “Daddy” Crisp were anxious that, before
interest cooled, she should follow up her first success by some other
work; and from the date of Mrs. Thrale’s first letter to Dr. Burney,[41]
that lady had been pressing her to write for the stage. She had the same
conviction as Reynolds that something “in the dialogue way” would suit
her young friend. _Evelina_—Mrs. Thrale thought—ran so naturally into
conversations that it absolutely and plainly pointed that path to her.
If she could not do better than Hannah More, who got nearly four hundred
pounds for her foolish play,[42] she deserved to be whipped—said this
kindly enthusiast. Dr. Johnson, after see-sawing immoderately, proposed,
in a fit of untimely levity, that her first work should be entitled,
_Streatham: A Farce_; but he, too, heartily approved. Mrs. Montagu, who
was consulted, though she was sympathetic, was not so sure. She advanced
the case of Fielding, who failed upon the stage. And “Daddy” Crisp was
still more half-hearted. He wrote to Fanny an admirable letter upon the
subject. While he was urgent that she should do something, he was by no
means satisfied that the something in question should be a comedy. In a
second letter he developed his ideas. She had gained much: she had much
to lose. And play-writing—for her—had its peculiar difficulties. Her
delicacy (and she was a prude, she knew herself) would debar her from
those frequent lively freedoms without which comedy would lose
wonderfully of its salt and spirit. All the same he would evidently not
have her try the bloodless and prevalent sentimental comedy. About
Fielding, he agreed with Mrs. Montagu. Finally, though he did not wholly
desire to discourage her from the attempt, he thought that, in entering
upon it, she must surrender a part of her strength. And here we may use
his actual words:—“In these little entertaining elegant histories [such
as _Evelina_], the writer has his full scope; as large a range as he
pleases to hunt in—to pick, cull, select whatever he likes: he takes
his own time—he may be as minute as he pleases, and the more minute the
better, provided that taste, a deep and penetrating knowledge of human
nature and the world, accompany that minuteness. When this is the case,
the very soul, and all its most secret recesses and workings, are
developed and laid as open to the view, as the blood-globules
circulating in a frog’s foot, when seen through a microscope. The
exquisite touches such a work is capable of (of which _Evelina_ is,
without flattery, a glaring instance), are truly charming. But of these
great advantages, these resources, you are strangely curtailed the
moment you begin a comedy. There, everything passes in dialogue,—all
goes on rapidly—narrative and descriptive, if not extremely short,
becomes intolerable. The detail which in Fielding, Marivaux, and
Crébillon, is so delightful, on the stage would bear down all patience.
There all must be compressed into quintessence; the moment the scene
ceases to move on briskly, and business seems to hang, sighs and groans
are the consequence. Dreadful sound!—In a word, if the plot, the story
of the comedy does not open and unfold itself in the easy, natural,
unconstrained flow of the dialogue—if that dialogue does not go on with
spirit, wit, variety, fun, humour, repartee,—and all in short into the
bargain—_serviteur!_—good-bye t’ ye!”

This is excellently said, and shows once again how precept may excel
practice,—though, to be sure, “Daddy” Crisp’s _Virginia_ was a tragedy,
and not a comedy. In a later letter Fanny’s Mentor modified his views to
the extent of admitting that it was possible, with due contrivance and
dexterity, to display light principles without light expressions; but he
stuck to the proposition that he would never allow his Fannikin “to
sacrifice a grain of female delicacy for all the wit of Congreve and
Vanbrugh put together,”—and in this she was entirely of his mind. These
letters preceded the interview with Sheridan; and as we have already
said, she had probably begun to work on a comedy still earlier.[43]
When, in February, she got back to Streatham, she made the acquaintance
of Arthur Murphy, in whose _Way to Keep Him_ she had acted at Barborne
Lodge. He, too, volunteered the suggestion that she should write for the
stage. Comedy, in his opinion, was the forte of _Evelina_, and he
offered his skilled assistance. He subsequently gave her some rules by
which she was too far advanced in her work to profit—rules which,
Johnson consolingly told her, she would do just as well without. In May
her play is finished, though “on account of the various Maecenases who
would expect to be consulted,” the greatest secrecy is observed. Murphy
applauds; and so does Mrs. Thrale. Johnson apparently was not consulted.
But when it is carried off by Dr. Burney to “Daddy” Crisp, the verdict
of Fanny’s “highest court” is unfavourable. Indeed, in what she calls a
“hissing, groaning, cat-calling epistle,” they go as far as to recommend
its suppression. Not only did it recall the _Femmes Savantes_ of Molière
(which Fanny had never read), but they regarded the plot and incidents
as insufficient to hold the attention of the audience. Fanny took her
disappointment bravely, and at once threw her work aside. Later on, when
it became necessary to explain matters to Sheridan, there was some talk
of remodelling, and with this object the fourth act was almost entirely
re-written. But Crisp, who was appealed to, stood to his guns. He
thought the capital defect of an ill-planned fable beyond remedy, though
he admitted the wit of the play.

Here the matter seems to have rested; and all we know of the suppressed
piece is, that it was entitled _The Witlings_, and that the _dramatis
personae_ included, among others, a quotation-loving Lady Smatter (in
whom Mrs. Thrale professed to recognise her own portrait), Mrs. Voluble,
Mrs. Wheedle, Mrs. Sapient, Dabbler, Censor, and a “great oaf, Bobby.”
There was also—and the point is memorable in view of the title of Miss
Burney’s next novel—a Cecilia, the loss and restoration of whose
fortune were matters in debate. Whether Dr. Burney and his friend were
right in their judgment of _The Witlings_, cannot now be affirmed or
denied in the absence of the MS. Probably they were right; though they
do not seem to have borne in mind how material a part the acting bears
in the success of a piece; and at Sheridan’s theatre, Miss Burney’s
comedy would certainly have been splendidly represented. King, Dodd,
Palmer, Parsons, Mrs. Abington, and Miss Pope—would all probably have
taken part in it. But Fanny’s advisers, it is clear, were also actuated
by another reflection, of which Murphy knew nothing: they feared the
effect upon the author of a possible _fiasco_. “My great scruple all
along has been the consideration of the great stake you are playing
for,”—writes Mr. Crisp,—“how much you have to lose, and how unequal
your delicate and tender frame of mind would be to sustain the shock of
a failure of success, should that be the case.” This is perhaps not a
critical reason; but, at the same time, it is a reason beyond criticism.
And “Daddy” Crisp shows plainly that it was _The Witlings_ he
doubted,—not Fanny’s ability to produce comedy. For, in an earlier
letter, he had suggested to her a fresh effort, based upon certain of
her own experiences as narrated to her father.

It was early in 1779 that Miss Burney made the acquaintance of Sheridan
at Mrs. Cholmondeley’s; and it was not until the beginning of 1780 that
_The Witlings_ was practically abandoned. In the interim, at Streatham
and elsewhere, Fanny seems to have spent her time very agreeably. In
May, she went with the Thrales to Brighton, returning, apparently, early
in June, owing to the sudden illness of Mr. Thrale. But in October they
were again at Brighton, taking Knole Park (Lord Dorset’s) and its
magnificent galleries in their way, and making a short stay at Tunbridge
Wells, where Miss Burney pours scorn upon the famous Pantiles as a
fashionable pleasure walk. “It has no beauty in itself, and borrows none
from foreign aid, as it has only common houses at one side, and little
millinery and Tunbridge-ware shops at the other, and at each end is
choked up by buildings that intercept all prospect.” At Brighton, no
doubt in the interests of _Evelina_, Mrs. Thrale at once inscribed their
names at the booksellers’ shops upon the Steyne. At this date there were
no great notabilities at Brighthelmstone, as Fanny styles the place,
save “that celebrated wit and libertine,” the Hon. Mr. Beauclerk, and
his wife, Lady Di; Cumberland the dramatist and his family; and Mrs.
Musters, whose son married Byron’s first love, Mary Chaworth. The Miss
Cumberlands were reckoned “the flashers of the place,” and Fanny gives
an account of their father which reads like a scene from the _Critic_.
“Sir Fretful Plagiary” was already prejudiced against her on account of
her success; and when he called on Mrs. Thrale, he showed it. As soon as
she had quitted the room he said to Mrs. Thrale, with a spiteful tone of

“‘Oh, that young lady is an author, I hear!’

“‘Yes,’ answered Mrs. Thrale, ‘author of _Evelina_.’

“‘Humph—I am told it has some humour!’

“‘Ay, indeed! Johnson says nothing like it has appeared for years!’

“‘So,’ cried he, biting his lips, and waving uneasily in his chair, ’so,

“‘Yes,’ continued she; ‘and Sir Joshua Reynolds told Mr. Thrale he would
give fifty pounds to know the author!’

“‘So, so—oh, vastly well!’ cried he, putting his hand on his forehead.

“‘Nay!’ added she, ‘Burke himself sat up all night to finish it!’

“This seemed quite too much for him; he put both his hands to his face,
and waving backwards and forwards, said, ‘Oh, vastly well!—this will do
for anything!’ with a tone as much as to say, Pray, no more! Then Mrs.
Thrale bid him good night, longing, she said, to call Miss Thrale first,
and say, ‘So you won’t speak to my daughter?—why, she is no author.’”

Some of the persons sketched in Miss Burney’s journal are less known to
fame than those who have been mentioned, but they are not less cleverly
drawn. There is Mr. Seward, one of the Streatham _habitués_, and the
later author of _Biographiana_. Mr. Seward is a brewer’s son, who
dabbles in letters, and seems like an earlier real-life version of Sir
Charles Coldstream in _Used Up_. With “Mr. Dry,” as Miss Burney calls
him, she playfully proposes to collaborate in a comedy, to be entitled
_Everything a Bore_. There is a real tragic author, Dr. John Delap, who,
while as absent-minded and as ignorant of the world as Parson Adams, is
engaged upon a play called _Macaria_,[44] on the story of the wife and
daughter of Hercules, which Fanny has to read and criticise—or rather
eulogise. There is a very musical, precocious, and semi-French
ten-year-old schoolgirl, Miss Birch, who sings sentimental airs from
French operas, and says to her friends, “_Que je vous adore!”—“Ah,
permettez que je me mette à vos pieds!_” etc., with a dying languor that
is equally delightful and preposterous. And there is that finished and
fascinating coquette of coquettes, Miss Sophy Streatfield of Tunbridge
Wells, who knows Greek as well as Miss Elizabeth Carter or Mrs. Buller,
is as lovely as Mrs. Crewe or Mrs. Sheridan, and has moreover a faculty
for shedding tears so becoming to her lackadaisical cast of beauty that
she is periodically required (like the water works at Vauxhall) to
display her unique gift for the public delectation. Fanny’s description
of Miss Streatfield’s mechanical _grandes eaux_ is too good to be
neglected. We must imagine her surrounded by attentive spectators, with
Mrs. Thrale (like Mrs. Jarley) for exhibitor. “‘Yes, do cry a little,
Sophy [_in a wheedling voice_], pray, do! Consider, now, you are going
to-day, and it’s very hard if you won’t cry a little; indeed, S. S., you
ought to cry.’ Now for the wonder of wonders. When Mrs. Thrale, in a
coaxing voice, suited to a nurse soothing a baby, had run on for some
time—while all the rest of us, in laughter, joined in the request—two
crystal tears came into the soft eyes of the S. S., and rolled gently
down her cheeks! Such a sight I never saw before, nor could I have
believed.[45] She offered not to conceal or dissipate them: on the
contrary, she really contrived to have them seen by everybody. She
looked, indeed, uncommonly handsome, for her pretty face was not like
Chloe’s [in Prior], blubbered; it was smooth and elegant, and neither
her features nor complexion were at all ruffled; nay, indeed, she was
smiling all the time.” It is melancholy to think that a lady who
possessed in such perfection the attributes of Venus Victrix, should die
unmarried. Yet this was the untoward fate of the “S. S.” “Everybody’s
admiration, and nobody’s choice,” as one of her friends said, she
survived until 1835, an ancient maiden lady, concerning whom we do not
even know whether—like Pope’s Patty Blount—she retained to the last
the charm of her wonderful blue eyes.

But Miss Streatfield is not the person upon whom Miss Burney
concentrates her fullest powers of description. That honour is reserved
for an unidentified Mr. B——y, to whom she devotes several pages. Mr.
B——y, or “The General,” as she styles him, is an Irishman. He has been
a Commissary in Germany; is between sixty and seventy, but means to pass
for thirty; a professed admirer of the sex, whom he invariably calls
“fair females”; garnishes his speech with French tags of the most
hackneyed kind; quotes often and inaccurately; and although Fanny,
afraid of painting too much _en noir_, declares him to be worthy and
moral at bottom, seems to outward view to be nothing but a blundering,
prejudiced, puffing, domineering busybody and bore. He is enraged with
Reynolds for charging seventy guineas “to scratch out a head”; he is
enraged with Garrick for living like a person of quality; he is enraged
with Agujari for getting fifty pounds for a mere song; he is equally
enraged with Rauzzini because the “fair females” sigh over him, and make
a man sick. But the General’s standing topic is his health; his rooted
antipathy, physicians; and his favourite story—which he tells three or
four times a day—in this wise:—“‘Some years ago,’—he says—‘let’s
see, how many? in the year ’71—ay, ’71, ’72—thereabouts—I was taken
very ill, and, by ill luck, I was persuaded to ask the advice of one of
these Dr. Gallipots:—oh, how I hate them all! Sir, they are the vilest
pickpockets,—know nothing, sir! Nothing in the world! poor ignorant
mortals! and they pretend—in short, sir, I hate them all; I have
suffered so much by them, sir—lost four years of the happiness of my
life—let’s see, ’71, ’72, ’73, ’74—ay, four years, sir!—mistook my
case, sir!—and all that kind of thing. Why, sir, my feet swelled as big
as two horses’ heads! I vow I will never consult one of these Dr.
Gallipot fellows again! lost me, sir, four years of the happiness of my
life!—why, I grew quite an object!—you would hardly have known
me!—lost all the calves of my legs!—had not an ounce of flesh
left!—and as to the rouge—why, my face was the colour of that
candle!—those Gallipot fellows!—why they robbed me of four years—let
me see, ’71, ’72—’

“And then it all goes over again!

“This story is always _a-propos_; if health is mentioned, it is
instanced to show its precariousness; if life, to bewail what he has
lost of it; if pain, to relate what he has suffered; if pleasure, to
recapitulate what he has been deprived of; but if a physician is hinted
at, eagerly indeed is the opportunity seized of inveighing against the
whole faculty.”

There is more, especially of the General grumbling over the newspaper;
but enough has been given. In all these pictures, it may be noted, Miss
Burney insists upon her fidelity to fact. “I never mix truth and
fiction,” she tells “Daddy” Crisp. “I have other purposes for imaginary
characters than filling letters with them.” “The world, and especially
the Great world, is so filled with absurdity of various sorts, now
bursting forth in impertinence, now in pomposity, now giggling in
silliness, and now yawning in dullness, that there is no occasion for
invention to draw what is striking in every possible species of the
ridiculous.” As time went on, her opportunities for study rather
increased than decreased. At the beginning of 1780, as already related,
the question of her comedy was again partly revived. Then there were
proposals for a tour in Italy with the Thrales which was afterwards
abandoned. But in April she went with her friends to Bath, making
acquaintance _en route_, at the Bear at Devizes, with the hostess’s
clever son, who afterwards became Sir Thomas Lawrence. At Bath they
lodge (like Smollett’s Mr. Bramble) in the South Parade, with Allen’s
Prior Park, the meadows, and “the soft flowing Avon” in view; and are
speedily absorbed in the fashionable diversions of the place. Prelates
were preaching at the Abbey and St. James’s Churches; there were public
breakfasts in the Spring Gardens; the Pump Room was crowded with company
and the Walks with promenaders; Mrs. Siddons was playing Belvidera at
Mr. Palmer’s Theatre in Orchard Street; and life was one endless round
of fiddles, dinners, concerts, assemblies, balls, card-parties and
scandal. Miss Burney’s canvas becomes more and more crowded, and less
detailed, affording space only for occasional vignettes such as the
following: “In the evening we had Mrs. L——, a fat, round, panting,
short-breathed old widow; and her daughter, a fubsy, good-humoured,
laughing, silly, merry old maid. They are rich folks, and live together
very comfortably, and the daughter sings—not in your fine Italian
taste! no, that she and her mother agree to hold very cheap—but all
about Daphne, and Chloe, and Damon, and Phillis, and Jockey!” Or
this,—on the same page,—“Mrs. K—— is a Welsh lady, of immense
fortune, who has a house in the Crescent, and lives in a most
magnificent style. She is about fifty, very good-humoured, well-bred,
and civil, and her waist does not measure above a hogshead. She is not
very deep, I must own; but what of that? If all were wits, where would
be the admirers at them?”

Dr. Johnson did not take part in the Bath expedition. He would, indeed,
have come; but Mrs. Thrale had discouraged his doing so, feeling sure
that a watering-place life would have horribly wearied him, which is not
only possible but extremely probable. Literature—that is to say the
literature of 1780—was nevertheless fairly represented in Bladud’s
ancient City. First and foremost there was Mrs. Thrale’s rival, Mrs.
Montagu, with her attendant train of blue-stockings; there was Anstey of
the _New Bath Guide_, whom—as we have seen—wiseacres had credited with
_Evelina_; there was Mrs. Susannah Dobson, the translator of _Petrarch_;
there was Melmoth of Pliny’s _Letters_; there was Miss Elizabeth Carter
of Epictetus; there was Lady Miller of Batheaston and the famous
Frascati vase wherein—according to Macaulay—“fools were wont to put
bad verses,” but which, however, at this precise moment of time, was not
_en fonction_.[46] To the failings of her _confrères_ and _consœurs_,
Miss Burney, it must be confessed, in her capacity of “faithful
historian” is not always “very kind.” Of poor Lady Miller, who died a
year later, she writes, “She is a round, plump, coarse-looking dame of
about forty, and while all her aim is to appear an elegant woman of
fashion, all her success is to seem an ordinary woman in very common
life, with fine clothes on. Her habits are bustling, her air is
mock-important, and her manners very inelegant.” Of Mrs. Dobson, she
reports that “though coarse, low-bred, forward, self-sufficient, and
flaunting, she seems to have a strong and masculine understanding, and
parts that, had they been united with modesty, or fostered by education,
might have made her a shining and agreeable woman; but she has evidently
kept low company, which she has risen above in literature, but not in
manners.” Of Miss Carter, on the contrary, then growing old, Miss Burney
says, that she “never saw age so graceful in the female sex yet, her
whole face seems to beam with goodness, piety and philanthropy.” Anstey
she finds not very agreeable—“shyly important, and silently proud,” and
moreover unable to forget that he is the author of a popular work; while
_Pliny_ Melmoth is written down as “intolerably self-sufficient.”

Some of the Bath visitors were naval officers who—it should be
observed—did not at all accept Captain Mirvan’s portrait as typical of
their profession. One of them, Mrs. Thrale’s cousin, Captain Cotton,
pretended “in a comical and good-humoured way” to resent it highly; and
so—he told the author—did all the Captains in the Navy. Admiral Byron,
too,—the Byron of the “narrative” in _Don Juan_,—though he admired
_Evelina_, was “not half pleased with the Captain’s being such a brute.”
But Miss Burney herself is unconvinced and impenitent. “The more I see
of sea-captains, the less reason I have to be ashamed of Captain Mirvan;
for they have all so irresistible a propensity to wanton mischief,—to
roasting beaux, and detesting old women, that I quite rejoice I showed
the book to no one ere printed, lest I should have been prevailed upon
to soften his character.” What the sea-captains, and the Bathonians
generally thought of their critic, is not related, save in a sentence
from _Thraliana_:—“Miss Burney was much admired at Bath (1780); the
puppy-men said, ‘She had such a drooping air and such a timid
intelligence’; or ‘a timid air,’ I think it was, and ‘a drooping
intelligence’; never sure was such a collection of pedantry and
affectation as filled Bath when we were on that spot.” The almost
imperceptible feline touch in this passage serves to remind us that, in
the padlocked privacy of her personal records, Mrs. Thrale did not
scruple (like Dr. Johnson) to mingle praise with blame when occasion
required. From other entries in _Thraliana_, Fanny seems to have
sometimes vexed her friend by her prudish punctiliousness and dread of
patronage, as well as by her perhaps more defensible preference for her
own family. “What a blockhead Dr. Burney is to be always sending for his
daughter home so! what a monkey! is she not better and happier with me
than she can be anywhere else?” . . . “If I did not provide Fanny with
every wearable—every wishable, indeed—it would not vex me to be served
so; but to see the impossibility of compensating for the pleasures of
St. Martin’s Street, makes one at once merry and mortified.” There were
other reasons, as we shall learn presently, why Dr. Burney was anxious
that Fanny should come back.[47]

Meanwhile, early in June, the Bath visit came to a premature conclusion.
Returning from a visit to Lady Miller, Mrs. Thrale received intelligence
of the Gordon riots. Her house in the Borough had been besieged by the
mob, and only saved from destruction by the assistance of the Guards and
the presence of mind of the superintendent, Mr. Perkins. Streatham Place
was also threatened, and emptied of its furniture. What was worse, Mr.
Thrale, then in a very unsatisfactory state of health, had been falsely
denounced as a papist; and as there were also rioters at Bath, Mrs.
Thrale and Fanny decided that it would be best to quit that place, and
travel about the country. They started for Brighton; but before they got
to Salisbury, London was again, in Dr. Burney’s words, “the most secure
residence in the kingdom.” For the remainder of the year 1780, Fanny
seems to have stayed quietly at St. Martin’s Street and Chessington. In
March, 1781, she came to town to find the Thrales settled for the time
in a hired house in Grosvenor Square and talking vaguely of continental
travel—to Spa, to Italy, and elsewhere. But Mr. Thrale was obviously
growing worse; and in April he died suddenly of apoplexy, “on the
morning of a day on which half the fashion of London had been invited to
an intended assembly at his house.” His death threw an infinity of
additional care upon his already over-burdened widow; but, as soon as
she was able, she again summoned Miss Burney to Streatham Place, where
off and on, she lived until September. Then “Daddy” Crisp, descending
from his Surrey retreat, bore her away perforce to Chessington; and at
Chessington she continued to stay until the beginning of 1782, when she
returned to Newton House in order to be present at her sister Susan’s
marriage at St. Martin’s Church to Captain Molesworth Phillips of the
Marines, a comrade, in Cook’s last voyage, of James Burney. After this,
Fanny remained for some time quietly at home.

The reason why Dr. Burney wished to get his daughter away from Streatham
Place, and why, at last, Mr. Crisp fetched her thence,—may perhaps be
guessed. She had begun to work upon another novel; and her long absences
from home seriously interfered with its progress. During the latter half
of 1780, she had written steadily; but, in the following year, her
renewed intercourse with Mrs. Thrale once more interrupted her labours;
and her two fathers grew anxious that she should lose no further time.
Of the advantages up to a certain point of her connection with the
Streatham circle, both of them had been fully aware—Crisp especially.
“Your time,” he had written to her in April, 1780, “could not be better
employed, for all your St. Martin’s daddy wanted to retain you for some
other purpose. You are now at school, the great school of the world,
where swarms of new ideas and new characters will continually present
themselves before you,—

                          ‘which you’ll draw in,
              As we do air, fast as ’tis ministered.’”[48]

But there must be a limit, even to schooling; and that limit, in the
opinion of Dr. Burney and his friend, had now been reached. So Fanny saw
no more of Streatham or Mrs. Thrale till her new book was finished.


[36] Edward Francis Burney, 1760-1848, the artist referred to in the
above paragraph, was a frequent contributor to the Royal Academy between
1780 and 1793. His solitary “portrait of a Lady,” 1785, _may_ have been
his cousin’s picture. His first exhibits (418-20) were three “stained
Drawings” for _Evelina_, in which Mme. Duval, Captain Mirvan, Mr.
Villars, the heroine and her father, were all introduced. The Evelina of
these designs is said to have strongly resembled the beautiful Sophy
Streatfield; and an artful compliment was paid to Johnson by hanging his
portrait in Mr. Villars’ parlour. Archdeacon Burney has one of these
delicate little pictures.

[37] No doubt _The Castle of Otranto_, which Lowndes himself had
published in 1764.

[38] The bibliography of Miss Burney’s first book is extremely
perplexing. In the “Advertisement” to _Cecilia_, the author says that
_Evelina_ (which, it will be remembered, appeared in January, 1778)
passed “through Four Editions in one year.” In the _Memoirs of Dr.
Burney_, she implies that it went through three editions in five months
(ii. p. 135). But the second and third editions are both dated 1779; and
it must have been in the first months of that year that the sale was
most active. In May, 1779, comes a reference to the fourth edition as on
the stocks. “_Evelina_ continues to sell in a most wonderful manner; a
fourth edition is preparing, with cuts [it should be copper plates],
designed by Mortimer just before he died, and executed by Hall and
Bartolozzi” (_Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. p. 139). John Hamilton
Mortimer, A.R.A., the artist indicated, died 4th February, 1779. His
drawings, which cost £73, still exist. It may here be added that Mrs.
Chappel, of East Orchard, Shaftesbury, possesses a copy of the second
edition of _Evelina_ (1779), presented to Dr. Burney,—whose name is
filled up in the heading of the dedicatory verses,—“From his dutiful
scribler,” _i.e._ “F. B.”

[39] This phrase of “Little Burney”—or more generally “dear little
Burney”—to the sensitive Fanny’s “infinite _frettation_” got into
print. A certain Rev. George Huddesford embodied it in a rhymed satire
upon the camp which fears of French invasion had established at Warley
Common in Essex, and which King George and Queen Charlotte visited in
October, 1778. Johnson had gone there earlier, as the guest of Bennet
Langton, who was a Captain in the Lincolnshire militia.

[40] _Idler_, June 9 and 16, 1759.

[41] See _ante_, p. 86.

[42] Miss Hannah More’s successful tragedy of _Percy_ was produced at
Covent Garden, 10 December, 1777.

[43] See _Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. p. 48.

[44] Probably that afterwards produced at Drury Lane in 1781 as _The
Royal Suppliants_, and based upon the _Heraclidæ_ of Euripides.

[45] Miss Burney here forgets that she had already assisted at a private
view of Miss Streatfield’s performance (_Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. p.

[46] There is an account of the Batheaston Thursday Parnassus in a
letter from Walpole to Conway, 15 January, 1775. The historical urn no
longer exists. But the verses cannot have been all bad. Garrick was
responsible for some of them, and Graves of _The Spiritual Quixote_.
Another contributor was Anstey, who wrote his _Election Ball_ for Lady

[47] _Autobiography, etc. of Mrs. Piozzi (Thrale)_, by A. Hayward, 1861,
(2nd edn.), i. pp. 125, 126.

[48] _Cymbeline_, Act 1. Sc. i.

                               CHAPTER V
                          _CECILIA_—AND AFTER

Either from Mr. Crisp’s injunctions as to secrecy, or from suppressions
in the _Diary_ as we now have it, Miss Burney’s record contains but few
references to the progress of _Cecilia_—which was the name of the new
book. And these references occur chiefly in her letters to her critic at
Chessington. As already stated, there had been a shadowy “Cecilia,” with
an imperilled fortune, in the comedy of _The Witlings_. In December,
1779, Miss Burney had shown her “Daddy” a sketch of a fresh heroine
(then apparently called “Albina”); and he speaks of this fresh heroine’s
story in the following April as a “new and striking” idea, affording,
among other advantages, “a large field for unhackneyed characters,
observations, [and] subjects for satire and ridicule.” It further
appears that the Cecilia or Albina in question was to be “unbeautiful”
but “clever,”—a deviation from the conventional in which (whether she
carried it out or not) Miss Burney must have anticipated some of her
distinguished successors. Ten months later, in February, 1781, she is
hard at work. “I think I shall always hate this book which has kept me
so long away from you, as much as I shall always love _Evelina_, who
first _comfortably_ introduced me to you,”—she tells Mrs. Thrale.
Then,—a year later still,—after the long interruption in her task
following upon Mr. Thrale’s death, there are groanings over the labour
of transcription,—a volume (and there are five) takes a
fortnight,—impatience on her father’s part for publication,—the usual
nervous apprehensions of hopeless failure, and much defence and
discussion of detail with “Daddy” Crisp. At last,—when Mrs. Thrale has
declared that _Evelina_ was but a baby to the new venture; and the
cautious critic of Chessington, protesting that there had been nothing
like it since Fielding and Smollett, has rashly proclaimed his
willingness to ensure its rapid and universal success for
half-a-crown,—on Friday the 12th July, 1782, _Cecilia; or, Memoirs of
an Heiress: By the Author of Evelina_, price 12s. 6d., sewed, is
published by Messrs. Payne and Cadell, in five _duodecimo_ volumes. The
first edition was of two thousand copies; and the price paid to the
author for the copyright, £250.[49] As the Payne above mentioned was
none other than the friend of the family, “Honest Tom Payne” of the
Mews’ Gate, afterwards James Burney’s father-in-law, it may fairly be
assumed that this amount, trifling as it must seem,—contrasted with the
sums received modern authors addressing larger audiences under different
conditions,—was not considered inadequate by Fanny’s advisers. Indeed,
from a chance reference in the _Memoirs_ to the arrangement of “the
Cecilian business,” we may conclude that, upon this occasion, Dr. Burney
himself took charge of the negotiations.

Neither for ingenuity nor novelty had the plot of Miss Burney’s first
story been remarkable. The plot of her second attempt, though still
conventional, was somewhat more ambitious. Miss Cecilia Beverley, a
young lady in her twenty-first year, is heir, not only to ten thousand
pounds from her father, but to three thousand _per annum_ from her
uncle, the Dean of ——, to which latter inheritance is attached the
restrictive condition that, should she marry, the happy man must take
her name as well as her money. This turns out to be a very material
detail in the novel. When the story begins, the Dean of —— is just
dead; and Miss Beverley and her fortune, during the brief remainder of
her minority, are left in the hands of three guardians—a fashionable
and extravagant Mr. Harrel, a vulgar and miserly Mr. Briggs, and a very
proud and pompous Mr. Delvile (of Delvile Castle). In the first chapter
of the story, Cecilia is quitting Mrs. Charlton, with whom she has been
staying, to take up her quarters in town with the Harrels,—Mrs. Harrel,
in her green and salad days, having been the heroine’s “most favourite
young friend.” In London, where would-be suitors—most of them attracted
to the _beaux yeux de sa cassette_—cluster about her like flies round a
honey pot, she speedily becomes aware that the playmate of her youth is
terribly “translated” by the dissipations of a London life, that her
friend’s husband is an irredeemable gamester, and that both are palpably
on the down-grade. Her available means become speedily involved in
Harrel’s ever-urgent necessities; and the crisis of this part of the
narrative is reached, about the middle of volume three, by his suicide
in a very melodramatic fashion at Vauxhall Gardens, where, for the
nonce, the chief personages in the book are ingeniously assembled. After
Harrel’s death, Cecilia goes to stay at Delvile Castle. Here an
attachment already begun with the son, Mortimer Delvile, a young man at
once excitable and irresolute, is further developed. But now the dead
hand comes in. The haughty Delviles cannot bring themselves to consent
to the change of the family name, even “for a consideration” of £3000
per annum. There are consequently scenes, in one of which Mrs. Delvile,
after using extremely exaggerated expressions, exclaims “my brain is on
fire!”—and breaks a blood vessel. Eventually, after she has been
softened by illness, a suggestion is made that Cecilia shall surrender
her uncle’s fortune, with its vexatious obligations, and content herself
with her Mortimer and her patrimony of ten thousand pounds.
Unfortunately for this proposition, the ten thousand pounds in question
are now non-existent, having been absorbed by the creditors of Harrel
and others,—that is to say, by the Jews. After this, a private marriage
takes place, with the connivance of Mrs. Delvile. But Cecilia’s troubles
are not yet at an end. Fresh and very unforeseen complications arise,
and, for a brief period, she goes as mad as Clementina or Clarissa. At
length the curtain comes down upon a Johnsonian passage in which she is
left exhibiting the pensive and reluctant optimism of _Rasselas_.

If, in the foregoing rapid summary, it has not always been possible to
speak with uniform gravity, it is that, to-day, the main issue of
Cecilia’s story has become—as the author’s own Captain Aresby would now
have said—a little _démodé_. In the present year of grace, it is
difficult to comprehend the social conditions which should prevent a
sensible man from marrying the woman he loves (particularly if that
woman have £3,000 a year) simply because the concomitant surrender of
his family name would—as Mrs. Delvile puts it—bring “the blood of his
wronged ancestors into his guilty cheeks.” But when _Cecilia_ was
written, this was an other-guess matter; and the point was not only
seriously argued by bishops, peers and ladies of quality, but was
thought by no means undeserving of anxious consideration. A noble Lord,
who descended from Elfrida, and had a castle in Warwickshire, was
distinctly of opinion that the obstructive attitude of Mr. Delvile
_père_ was a correct one; while Mrs. Thrale, who dated from Adam of
Salzburg—one of the companions of the Conqueror—was equally convinced
that her mother, Mrs. Salusbury, would have done just what Mrs. Delvile
did. But this debatable point apart, Cecilia’s story is unquestionably
clever. The characters—and there are a crowd of them—are clearly drawn
and discriminated; the pictures of contemporary social life are varied
and very lively, while the famous Vauxhall episode, if it be not
precisely the tragic masterpiece which it seemed to the fond eyes of
admiring “Daddy” Crisp, certainly contrives to hold the reader in a
genuine suspense of curiosity until the final event is reached. The
discussion between the mother and son,—the other “crack scene” of the
book—that, indeed, for which the author declares she wrote the whole,
Mr. Crisp did not approve so much, and he was right. If it did not
impress him, it impresses us still less. Mrs. Delvile’s stormy heroics
seem out of all proportion to the gravity of the matter in hand, and an
unsympathetic reader, bewildered by the hail of commination, may well be
forgiven for wondering whether the cause is worthy of the clamour.
Nevertheless Miss Burney, in clinging to her convictions in regard to
“name-compelling” ills, as well as in declining to end her book “like
the hack Italian operas, with a jolly chorus that makes all parties good
and all parties happy,” was only acting in strict accordance with the
injunctions, received from more than one adviser, to rely upon her own
instincts, and not to depart from them, when her mind was made up. And
it is a feature of her character, that, notwithstanding her undoubted
distrust of her powers, she was sometimes as restive and intractable
under criticism as Richardson himself.

The two scenes above indicated are those which are most frequently
referred to by Miss Burney’s critics. But there are others which, if not
as highly-wrought, are as worthy of praise. The opera rehearsal,—at
which it was said the book always opened,—the description of the _ton_
parties, the long masquerade chapter, and the dialogue between Albany,
Briggs and Hobson on Charity (which may be compared with that on the
same subject between Parson Adams and Mr. Peter Pounce in _Joseph
Andrews_), are well worth reading. But the names remind us that Miss
Burney is, primarily, what Johnson called her, a “character-monger,” and
that her plot is subordinate to her personages. Some of these, in spite
of her protests, she had evidently seen in the flesh; some she had
half-seen or overheard; some she had wholly invented from current social
characteristics. Mr. Meadows, the absent-minded and
affectedly-indifferent, and Captain Aresby, who interlards his
conversation with French words like the coming Silver Fork School and
the lady in Thackeray’s _Almack’s Adieu_—are probably examples from the
last category. Mr. Monckton and the supercilious Sir Robert Floyer, the
caustic Mr. Gosport and the voluble Miss Larolles, she had doubtless
met; while in those days of gaming and E.O. tables, she had probably
heard of many Mr. Harrels. As to the miserly and penurious Briggs (and
the facility with which one can label Miss Burney’s characters with
defining adjectives indicates one of her limitations), the consensus of
contemporary criticism seems to have decided that he was overdrawn. But
he is certainly not more exaggerated than some of the later characters
of Dickens, and he is distinctly amusing, especially in his encounters
with “Don Pedigree,” as he calls his colleague, Mr. Delvile. Hobson the
builder, with his large and puffy presence, his red waistcoat, and his
round curled wig, is a capital specimen of the bumptious prosperous
tradesman; while the thin, mean-looking, cringing and obsequious Mr.
Simkins (the hosier) is another excellently observed and contrasted
variety. Morrice, the pushing and officious young lawyer, the versatile
Belfield, and that vivacious “agreeable Rattle” of rank, Lady Honoria
Pemberton, can only be named. Lastly—for we must omit others
altogether—comes Johnson’s favourite Albany,—a cross between Apemantus
and Solomon Eagle,—whose stagy denunciations certainly warrant the
ingenuous inquiry of Mr. Hobson whether “the gentleman might be speaking
something by heart.” There should be an original for Albany; but he has
not been definitely revealed.

_Cecilia_ is more elaborate and much more mature than _Evelina_. It is
also more skilfully constructed, and more carefully, though not so
naturally, written. But it is certainly too long; and towards the close
suggests something of the hurry imposed upon the author by her eager
father. It must also be confessed that the last chapters are scarcely as
interesting as their forerunners. As to the success of the book with its
first audience, however, there can be no doubt. Anxiously awaited, it
was welcomed with the warmest enthusiasm by numbers of readers; and by
no one more splendidly and royally than by Edmund Burke, whose
acquaintance Fanny had made at Sir Joshua’s not very long before it
appeared. When it came out, Burke wrote her a long letter, which was
reprinted with subsequent editions. Few (he told her), let their
experience in life and manners be what it might, would not find
themselves better informed concerning human nature, and their stock of
observation enriched, by reading _Cecilia_. “You have,” he went on,
“crowded into a few small volumes an incredible variety of characters;
most of them well planned, well supported, and well contrasted with each
other. If there be any fault in this respect, it is one in which you are
in no great danger of being imitated. Justly as your characters are
drawn, perhaps they are too numerous. But I beg pardon; I fear it is
quite in vain to preach economy to those who are come young to excessive
and sudden opulence.” Praising her humour, her pathos, her
“comprehensive and noble moral,” and her sagacious observations, he
concluded,—“In an age distinguished by producing extraordinary women, I
hardly dare to tell you where my opinion would place you amongst them. I
respect your modesty, that will not endure the commendations which your
merit forces from everybody.” A few months later, she met Burke at the
house of the Hon. Miss Monckton (the “Lydia White” of that age), when he
was equally kind, though he ventured upon some criticisms. He thought
the masquerade scene too long, and that something might be spared from
Harrel’s grand assembly; he did not like Morrice’s part at the
Pantheon;[50] and he wished the conclusion “either more happy or more
miserable.” With this last Fanny—as we have already seen—could not
coincide; but he promptly consoled her by another compliment. Nothing
had struck him so much as the admirable skill with which her ingenious
characters made themselves known by their own words; and he
congratulated her upon her conquest of some of the old wits, because of
the difficulty of giving satisfaction to those who piqued themselves on
being past receiving it. Also, he touched upon the amount she had
obtained from Payne and Cadell for the copyright, which he evidently
knew. “Why did you not send for your own friend out of the city [_i.e._
Mr. Briggs]? He would have taken care you should not part with it
[_Cecilia_] so much below par.”

Her older admirers were as kind. Sir Joshua was perpetually bringing her
intelligence of something which had been said to her advantage; and
Johnson came no whit behind. Instructing Susy Thrale, who had just put
up her hair, and assumed womanly garb, he directed her, with mock
solemnity, how to “increase her consequence” by censuring
_Cecilia_—much in the manner in which the author of the _Female
Quixote_ had recommended his own _Rambler_: “Tell the world how ill it
was conceived, and how ill executed. Tell them how little there is in it
of human nature, and how well your knowledge of the world enables you to
judge of the failings in that book. Find fault without fear; and if you
are at a loss for any to find, invent whatever comes into your mind, for
you may say what you please, with little fear of detection, since of
those who praise _Cecilia_ not half have read it, and of those who have
read it, not half remember it. Go to work, therefore, boldly; and
particularly mark that the character of Albany is extremely unnatural,
to your own knowledge, since you never met with such a man at Mrs.
Cummyn’s School.” A year later, his enthusiasm was still unabated.
“Sir”—he said to Boswell—“if you talk of _Cecilia_, talk on.” From
other sources came commendations as pleasant. Mrs. Chapone, who, as Miss
Mulso, had cried over _Clarissa_, could not, for very excess of
eagerness, cry at all over _Cecilia_. “I was in an agitation that half
killed me, that shook all my nerves,”—she told the author,—“and made
me unable to sleep at nights from the suspense I was in.” Mrs.
Walsingham, the witty daughter of the wit Sir Charles Hanbury Williams,
related how Queen Charlotte herself had spoken of the book, and
criticised Mr. Briggs; while, from another source, came tidings that
Gibbon had read it in a day, which was a third of the time that even
Burke had taken. But Miss Burney’s supreme and full dress laureation
came at Mrs. Ord’s in Queen Anne’s Street from that ancient _bel esprit_
and conversationist, Soame Jenyns, then nearing eighty, who, arriving by
arrangement, attired in a Court suit of apricot-coloured silk lined with
white satin, regaled the author of _Cecilia_ with a magnificent and
magniloquent harangue upon the merits of her work, to which the rest of
the distinguished company respectfully listened—standing!

But if _Cecilia_ pleased the old wit, Soame Jenyns, it did not equally
please the old wit, Horace Walpole, to whom it suggested many of the
inconvenient objections of the incorruptible. He thought it
“immeasurably long”; he disliked the end (as Burke did); he found most
of the personages _outrés_; he said (and, in this instance,
unanswerably) that they spoke too uniformly in character to be true to
the complexity of human life; and he wished Albany suppressed
altogether. The book, also, he complained, “was written in Dr. Johnson’s
unnatural phrase.” Other people—either in praise or blame—had made the
same discovery. “The particularly nervous and perspicuous style”—wrote
the _Monthly Review_—“appears to have been framed on the best model of
Dr. Johnson.” But even among Fanny’s friends, there were those to whom
this was scarcely a merit. “The writing here and there”—wrote Mr.
Twining of Colchester to Fanny’s father—“is not the better for a little
imitation (probably involuntary) of Dr. Johnson.” That there are traces
of the Johnsonian manner in _Evelina_ has already been observed,
especially where Miss Burney writes in her own person. In _Cecilia_
these evidences would naturally be more manifest, since the narrative
form is substituted for the epistolary. Still there is little of the
Doctor in the many conversations, and the point may easily be
overlaboured. There is enough, however, to warrant Boswell in claiming
Miss Burney as one of Johnson’s many imitators; and Lord Macaulay picked
out one passage in special which has the very trick and turn of the
great man’s pen. But when it led Lord Macaulay to say, as he did, that
he had not the smallest doubt that Johnson had “revised” _Cecilia_, and
“retouched the style of many passages,” he was demonstrably in error. “I
never saw one word of it before it was printed,”—the Doctor told a
gentleman who wished “to make out some credit to him from the little
rogue’s book”; and the disclaimer must surely be accepted as
decisive.[51] At the same time, Johnson was undoubtedly the reigning
model; and, consciously or unconsciously, Miss Burney copied him. “Fanny
carries bird-lime in her brains”—said her father—“for everything that
lights there sticks.” As the writer of _Evelina_, she had remembered the
writer of the _Rambler_; and nothing is more reasonable than that she
should remember him all the more in _Cecilia_, when, by personal contact
and personal admiration, she had absorbed and assimilated his method and
vocabulary. Whether she would not have done better to copy herself, is
another matter.

In July, 1782, when _Cecilia_ was published, Fanny Burney was
thirty,—that critical age before which, according to a discouraging
dictum, those who are not doomed to failure, must have contrived to
succeed. Hitherto, she _had_ succeeded; and if a bard in the _Morning
Herald_ was to be believed, had now taken her place permanently in that
galaxy of which Burke had written, for

                   “Little Burney’s quick discerning”

was duly bracketed with

                    “Carter’s piety and learning,”—

with the “pathetic pen” of Hannah More, the “pointed wit” of Mrs. Cowley
(of _The Belle’s Stratagem_), with

                   “Smiling Streatfield’s ivory neck,
                   Nose and notions—_à la Grecque_,”

and all the varied virtues of Mrs. Chapone, Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Thrale,
and Mrs. Montagu.[52] Her friends were naturally anxious that she should
pursue her triumphs; and “Daddy” Crisp, while piously enjoining her not
“to remit her ardour and industry to be perfect,” and sagaciously
observing “that there had been more instances than one, where writers
have wrote themselves down, by slovenliness, laziness, and presuming too
much on public favour for what is past,”—was still very practically
alive to the necessities of taking the tide at the flood. “This is the
harvest time of your life,”—he wrote; “your sun shines hot; lose not a
moment, then, but make your hay directly. ‘Touch the yellow boys,’—as
Briggs says—‘grow warm’; make the booksellers come down
handsomely—count the ready—the chink.” Nevertheless, it was fourteen
years before Miss Burney published another novel; and we must now revert
to the chronicle of her life.

There can be little doubt that the publication of _Cecilia_ largely
extended the circle of her acquaintance; and that the paternal coach
must often have been in requisition to convey her to the houses of the
“lyon-hunters.” “I begin to grow most heartily sick and fatigued”—she
writes in December, 1782—“of this continual round of visiting, and
these eternal new acquaintances.” Elsewhere there are indications that,
for one who was not able to run milliners’ bills, the question of
costume must have been an absorbing one. “Miss Burney”—said Mr.
Cambridge—“had no time to write, for she was always working at her
clothes.” Mr. Richard Owen Cambridge of Twickenham,—Walpole’s
“Cambridge the Everything,”—now an elderly gentleman, was one of the
new friends who seem to have specially attracted her; and there is an
account in the _Diary_ of a visit she made in the summer of 1783 to that
pleasant house of his in the meadows by Richmond Bridge, to which so
many old-world notabilities were wont to resort. One of the things she
recalls is her host’s testimony—in spite of the _Préjugé à la mode_—to
his love for his wife. “There is no sight so pleasing to me,” he told
her, “as seeing Mrs. Cambridge enter a room; and that after having been
married to her for forty years.” At Mrs. Vesey’s she met Cambridge’s
near neighbour, Horace Walpole, whom she found extremely entertaining.
Dr. Parr, Jonas Hanway, _Tasso_ Hoole, Benjamin West, the Wartons, Mrs.
Ord, Mrs. Buller, Mrs. Chapone, Mrs. Garrick, also flit through her
pages, though it would be impossible to make record of them here. But
among the “fair females”—as “the General” of the last chapter would
have said,—may be mentioned, chiefly because she must be mentioned
hereafter, Mme. de Genlis, then in this country. To this most
fascinating and insidious personage, Miss Burney was at first much
attracted. But the acquaintance—her niece and editor tells us—was not
maintained; and Fanny afterwards made nearer and dearer French friends
for whom the multifarious author of _Adèle et Théodore_ was only “_cette
coquine de Brulard_.”

Upon the dissolution of the Whig Ministry at the close of 1783, Burke,
as Paymaster General, appointed Dr. Burney organist of Chelsea Hospital
Chapel, at an increased salary of £50 per annum. It was not much, but it
was enhanced by the courteous way in which it was done. In her father’s
absence, Burke himself informed Miss Burney of what he styled his “last
act in office.” Earlier—in the same year, 1783—had come her first
serious bereavement since she had lost her mother,—the death of her
kind old Mentor at Chessington. By this time, Mr. Crisp was seventy-six,
and had long been a martyr to the gout to which he finally succumbed.
During his last illness, Fanny wrote to him frequently and
affectionately; and, when it grew grave, hastened to his bed-side. She
was “the dearest thing to him on earth,” he told her with his last
breath; and her sorrow at his loss was for the time overwhelming. In
what was once the picturesque and rustic, but is now the “restored” and
“enlarged” church at Chessington, is a mural tablet to his memory, with
an epitaph in verse by Dr. Burney, which his daughter has printed.[53]
To Fanny the loss of “Daddy” Crisp was incalculable, for he had been at
once her most judicious admirer and her most stimulating critic, never
failing to mingle blame with his praise—blame against which, after the
manner of the criticised, she generally at first protested. He was a
better counsellor than her father, who was too eager for publication to
be always mindful of the necessity for finish. Yet, at the same time,
Crisp was urgent that his favourite should trust her own instincts.
“Who[m]soever you think fit to consult, let their talents and tastes be
ever so great, hear what they say, allowed!—agreed!—but never give up
or alter a tittle merely on their authority, nor unless it perfectly
coincides with your own inward feelings. I can say this to my sorrow and
to my cost. But mum!” Which last injunction was no doubt a reference to
his own ill-starred _Virginia_.

More than a year later took place what may almost be regarded as another
bereavement,—the second marriage of Mrs. Thrale. With this
much-discussed event,—perplexed, moreover, by no little piqué and
wounded feeling,—we are concerned only in so far as it relates to Miss
Burney. Gabriele Piozzi, who is sometimes contemptuously and erroneously
described as a merely obscure “fiddler,” was a musician and professional
singer of exceptional ability, who, according to contemporary prints,
was earning some £1,200 per annum by his talents. He was a Roman
Catholic, a handsome man “with gentle, pleasing, unaffected manners,” of
unimpeachable integrity, and about six months older than Mrs. Thrale,
who, at her husband’s death, was forty. The Thrales first made his
acquaintance at Brighton in 1780, and he speedily became a “prodigious
favourite.” After her husband’s death, Mrs. Thrale’s liking for him
gradually increased until it became a passion. Meanwhile, in 1782, with
Johnson’s full concurrence, Streatham Place was let for three years to
Lord Shelburne; and after leaving it in October of that year, the Doctor
went with her for six weeks to her Brighton house—a fact which takes
off something from the pathetic poignancy of the famous _adieux_ to
Streatham, regretful and melancholy as they must of necessity have been.
Before 1782 had closed Mrs. Thrale had determined to marry Piozzi. But
her daughters—to whom their father had left £20,000 each—were against
the match; and after much mental perplexity, she decided to bid her
lover farewell, and did so in January 1783. The sacrifice, however,
proved beyond her powers; her health began to suffer; and a year later,
with the tacit consent of her children, Piozzi was recalled from Milan,
and she was married to him on the 23rd July, 1784, according to the
rites of the Romish Church, by the Chaplain of the Spanish Ambassador. A
second marriage followed on the 25th at St. James’s Church, Bath. Her
correspondence with Johnson, upon what he regarded as this “ignominious”
union, has been printed by Mr. Hayward, and _her_ letters should be read
as well as those of the Doctor.[54]

In all these proceedings, between Fanny’s affection for Mrs. Thrale and
her affection for Dr. Johnson, she played a delicate and a difficult
part. According to Mrs. Thrale, it was Fanny who had first introduced
Piozzi to her as “a man likely to lighten the burden of life to her.” In
October, 1782, Mrs. Thrale writes in _Thraliana_ that that “dear little
discerning creature, Fanny Burney,” says she is in love with Piozzi; and
she then goes on to argue the _pros_ and _cons_ with herself. At
Brighton, just before the first farewell to Piozzi, Mrs. Thrale admits
that Fanny’s “interest as well as judgment goes all against my
marriage”—a view which is fully confirmed by Miss Burney’s absolute
refusal to approve the course proposed, although at the same time she
found it difficult to restrain her indignation at Queenie’s heartless
attitude to her mother. Later still, she said decidedly that Mrs. Thrale
must either marry Piozzi instantly or give him up, otherwise her
reputation would be lost. In May, 1784, Mrs. Thrale having decided to
marry Piozzi, came to London to consult Miss Burney about details. The
meeting, as may be divined, was embarrassing to Fanny, who, in Mrs.
Thrale’s words, was as much “pained as delighted by her visit.”
Nevertheless she gave her time wholly to her old friend, and her father
was also consulted. Dr. Burney, a brother professional himself, regarded
the matter more philosophically than some of his nicely sensitive
contemporaries. “No one”—he said—“could blame Piozzi for accepting a
gay young widow. What could he do better?” Then came the marriage, with
a sequel which might have been foreseen. Mrs. Thrale considered that
Fanny’s congratulations upon a step “which she had uniformly, openly,
and with deep and avowed affliction, thought wrong”—were insufficiently
cordial. The _Diary_ only contains a sketch of Miss Burney’s answer to
this impeachment—an answer by which Mrs. Piozzi, preoccupied with her
own happiness, could scarcely be gravely disturbed. She besought her
“sweetest Burney” to give herself no serious concern in the matter, to
“quiet her kind heart,” and to love Mr. Piozzi, if she loved his wife.
To this “F. B.” sent “the warmest and most heartfelt” rejoinder. And
there the six years’ correspondence ended. Miss Burney may have been
right in connecting its cessation with resentment on Piozzi’s part,
“when he was informed of her constant opposition to the union,” but
there were surely reasons enough in the circumstances of the case to
make further intercourse difficult, if not impracticable.

A heavier loss, however, than that of Mrs. Thrale, was in store for
Fanny Burney. Johnson, who was now seventy-four, had for some time been
perceptibly failing. In the middle of 1783 he had a stroke; and at the
end of the same year, he had been very ill with spasmodic asthma. “Ah!
_priez Dieu pour moi!_”—he had said suddenly to her, as she sat by him;
and he had been “quite touchingly affectionate.” She was his “dearest of
all dear ladies,”—he declared. A year later he was manifestly nearing
his end; and on Thursday, the 25th November, 1784, Fanny saw him for the
last time. Though exceedingly ill, he received her; and they had a long
conversation in the old way,—about his dead wife—about Queenie Thrale,
who had been to visit him,—about Queenie’s mother, from whom he never
hears, and to whom he never writes. “I drive her,” he said, “quite from
my mind. If I meet with one of her letters, I burn it instantly. I have
burnt all I can find. I never speak of her, and I desire never to hear
of her more. I drive her, as I said, wholly from my mind.”[55] Fanny
quickly changed the subject; and he went on to talk of the “Bristol
milk-woman,” Ann Yearsley, a local poetess whom Hannah More
befriended,—of Shakespeare and his Caliban, and other topics. At
length, seeing he grew visibly worse, she rose to go; and, for the first
time she could remember, he did not oppose it. But kindly pressing both
her hands, he begged her to come again—to come soon, and to remember
him in her prayers. She never saw him afterwards, although she more than
once essayed to do so. When, two days before his death, Dr. Burney
called, the old man spoke of her tenderly, reiterated his request about
her prayers; and then, brightening for a moment, said, almost archly, “I
think I shall throw the ball at Fanny yet!” Apparently also, he asked to
see her. But although, on the following morning, she waited tearfully in
the cold little parlour at Bolt Court, and lingered on the stairs that
led to the back room where he lay, no summons came from the sick man. At
length arrived Bennet Langton with a faltering message. The Doctor hoped
she would excuse him; but he felt himself too weak for such an

With Johnson dead, and Crisp dead, and Mrs. Piozzi alienated by her
marriage, life—it may be imagined—must, in these days, have seemed
unusually gloomy to Fanny Burney. But fortunately, though her feelings
were strong, her temperament was elastic. And the successful author of
_Cecilia_ had now troops of friends, both new and old. To those she
respected, it was her nature to grow rapidly and devotedly attached.
Even for some weeks before Johnson’s fatal illness, her letters had been
dated from Norbury—a charming country-house upon a hill-slope in
Surrey, looking southward across the Mole and the beautiful Vale of
Mickleham, to Dorking and Box Hill. Here—in addition to a park with a
Druids’ Grove of yews that dated from Domesday Book, and a saloon with
trellised ceiling, where the landscapes of George Barret cunningly
completed the magnificent view from the windows—she enjoyed the
companionship of a host and hostess, who, if not as remarkable as her
Streatham friends, were at least as cultured and as kind. Mr. Locke of
Norbury was a genuine connoisseur, who had brought the Discobolus of
Myron to England, while his son William, a youth of seventeen, was to
become a capable historical artist. Mrs. Locke,—the “dearest Fredy” of
the _Diary_, according to Miss Burney, was “sweet and most bewitching.”
At Norbury, where, on fine days, they wandered in the grounds; or on wet
days, read Mme. de Sévigné and Captain Cook aloud in the picture room,
Fanny seems to have been thoroughly content to “stay till she _must_
go,” driving unpleasant thought away like “a wasp near an open window.”
What was more, she was in a sense _en pays de connaissance_, for Norbury
was only six miles from that other regretted “place of peace, ease,
freedom and cheerfulness,” Chessington Hall. During the next few months
her visits to the Lockes were frequent; and in later years, she was to
know them even better still. Meanwhile, to her delight, her sister Susan
made Mickleham her residence, occupying with her husband and family a
little cottage on the high road at the very foot of Norbury Park.

But besides her relations with the Lockes of Norbury, she formed, at
this date, another friendship, of which the consequences, during the
years that immediately followed, were of no small importance. Early in
1783, she had been taken by Mrs. Chapone to visit the venerable Mrs.
Delany (the widow of Swift’s friend, Dr. Patrick Delany), then living in
London at St. James’s Place. At this time, Mrs. Delany was eighty-three,
a charming and accomplished old lady, with a reputation for cutting out
the ingenious “paper Mosaiks” now in the British Museum; a great
favourite with King George and Queen Charlotte; and the bosom friend of
another old lady and _grande dame_, Prior’s “Peggy,” the Dowager Duchess
of Portland. Both Mrs. Delany and her friend (who arrived shortly after
Fanny reached St. James’s Place) had been prejudiced against
_Cecilia_,—the Duchess chiefly from recollections of the cruel
depression into which she had been thrown by the tedium and the tragedy
of Richardson’s _Clarissa_. But they had both succumbed to Fanny’s book;
they knew its characters by heart; told stories how lords and prelates
had discussed the incidents and the characters, and finally crowned
their commendations by praising its excellent tone and morality. “No
book”—said Mrs. Delany—“ever was so useful as this, because none other
that is so good was ever so much read.” And the Duchess and Mrs. Chapone
said _ditto_ to Mrs. Delany. Mrs. Chapone, by the way, told an
interesting anecdote. Someone, she said, had been protesting that there
could be no such character as Briggs, whom not only Queen Charlotte but
Mrs. Thrale had regarded as exaggerated.[56] Thereupon “a poor, little
mean city man” in company had “started up, and said—‘But there is
though, for I’se one myself.’”

The friendship thus inaugurated speedily became enduring; and Fanny’s
record for 1784 contains more than one reference to days spent at St.
James’s Place, sometimes _en tête-à-tête_, when she was allowed to
rummage Mrs. Delany’s correspondence with Swift and Young or listen to
her old stories of the notabilities of the first half of the century. In
July, 1785, the Duchess of Portland died; and the loss drew Fanny closer
to her new friend. Another result of the Duchess’s death was, that it
deprived Mrs. Delany of the summer quarters which she had for so many
years enjoyed at Bulstrode, the seat of the Portlands near Beaconsfield.
Upon learning this, the King and Queen, whose affection for Mrs. Delany
seems to have been of the most genuine kind, offered her a small house
near the gate of Windsor Castle, which, with the greatest forethought,
they immediately stocked and put in order for her, the King himself
personally superintending the workmen. They also gave her a pension of
£300 a year, which, in order that it might escape taxation, the
good-natured Queen herself was accustomed to hand to her half-yearly in
a pocket-book. Pending Mrs. Delany’s removal to Windsor, Fanny was often
in attendance on her, either as companion or sympathiser. When, at last,
she departed, Fanny went to Norbury, and elsewhere. But in November,
1785, she was again “domesticated” with Mrs. Delany at Windsor.

One of the first things which she heard upon her arrival was, that Their
Majesties had been expecting her. All the Princesses were coming to see
her—she was told. Moreover, the Queen, stimulated by Mme. de Genlis’
praises of Miss Burney, had been re-reading _Cecilia_, or rather having
it read to her by one of her readers, the Swiss geologist, M. de Luc.
(As M. de Luc could hardly speak four words of English, this must have
been unfortunate for _Cecilia_.) The book had also been read to the
Princess Elizabeth. These announcements, and the particular inquiries
which the King and Queen did not cease to make about her of Mrs. Delany,
naturally filled Fanny with all her customary trepidations, real and
imaginary. Owing, however, to the illness of the Princess Elizabeth and
other causes, the meeting did not at once take place. Then suddenly, on
Friday, December 16, “a large man, in deep mourning,” and with a star
glittering on his breast, made sudden apparition in Mrs. Delany’s
drawing room, throwing its occupants into petrified confusion. It was
King George himself. He spoke very kindly to Miss Burney, showing much
benevolent consideration for her nervousness; but overwhelmed her
presently by questions after the “What! What!” fashion, made familiar by
the _Probationary Odes_ and the irreverent performances of “Peter
Pindar.” How did she write _Evelina_—and why? Why did she not tell her
father? How was it printed? Why had she done nothing more since
_Cecilia_? To which last Fanny answered demurely and hesitatingly that
she believed she had exhausted herself,—a reply which was received in
the light of a _bon mot_. During the progress of this inquisition, which
is recorded with extreme minuteness, arrived Queen Charlotte, to whom
His Majesty forthwith carefully recapitulated his conversation with Miss
Burney. The Queen, who was very soft-voiced and gracious, was equally
curious. She wished much to know if there was to be “nothing more”; and
she was good enough to express a desire that there should be something.
From what had been done, she thought there was a power to do good. And
good to young people was so very good a thing, that she could not help
wishing it could be. Thereupon the King—as one behind the
scenes—proceeded to assure her that Miss Burney had made no vow not to
write;—it was only a question of inclination—was it not? They were,
both of them, evidently prepossessed in favour of Mrs. Delany’s young
friend, who, on her side, does ample justice to the unaffected, gentle
dignity of Queen Charlotte; the _bonhomie_, good spirits, and friendly
kindness of the King; and the fondness of the royal couple for one

A few days later, the King came again to tea, chatting very freely in
his discursive way of many things,—of Mme. de Genlis’ knowledge of
English; of the “monster” Voltaire; of the pride and ingratitude of
Rousseau (to whom His Majesty had given a pension). But here Miss Burney
was able to acquaint him, on her father’s authority, that M.
Jean-Jacques kept His Majesty’s portrait over his chimney at Paris. Then
the King passed to the recent death of Kitty Clive;[57] and the merits
of Mrs. Siddons, whom he ranked above Garrick—an opinion from which
Fanny could of course only mutely dissent. Shakespeare came next; and
His Majesty—as is known—had the courage of his opinions. “Was there
ever such stuff as great part of Shakespeare? only one must not say
so!—But what think you?—What?—Is there not sad stuff?—What?—What?”
And he instanced several plays and characters in support of his
heresies. Fanny told him how Mme. de Genlis had declared that no woman
ought to go to any of the English comedies,—an aspersion of the
national stage which was resented with much animation by the discerning
critic who had twice ordered the representation of _She Stoops to
Conquer_. In a further “private conference” with his consort, there was
more talk of Mme. de Genlis, who, it seems, always sent her “moral page”
to Queen Charlotte;—of the _Sorrows of Werther_, which neither she nor
Fanny admired as the great Napoleon did;—of an unnamed but meritorious
work picked up for her upon a stall by one of her servants. “It is
amazing what good books there are on stalls”—said the Queen—an
utterance which should canonise her for ever with the book-hunter. She
afterwards spoke of Klopstock’s _Messiah_, criticising the author’s
engraftments upon the sacred story; and then gave an account of the
Protestant nunneries in Germany, to one of which she had belonged,—of
the rigid rules of entrance,—of the internal economy,—of the costume.
The record of the interview breaks off abruptly; but it leaves a
pleasant impression of Queen Charlotte’s amenity, humour, and
conversational powers.

This meeting took place on December 20th, 1785, after which Miss Burney
went home. She paid another visit to Windsor in the May following with
her father, who was anxious to obtain the then-vacant post of Master of
the King’s Band. To this end he was recommended to show himself to the
King, when he walked upon the Terrace at Windsor; but not to make direct
solicitation. Unhappily, the place had already been promised by the Lord
Chamberlain; and though both the King and Queen spoke amiably to Miss
Burney, the expedition was without effect. Very shortly afterwards, by
the resignation of Mrs. Haggerdorn, Second Keeper of Robes, a vacancy
occurred in the Royal Household. Mrs. Haggerdorn’s place was much sought
after, even by persons of fashion and rank. But the Queen had taken a
fancy to Mrs. Delany’s visitor, and offered it to Miss Burney. By Fanny
herself the proposition was received with consternation. The separation
from her family circle, the close confinement to the Court, the
permanent character of an engagement so made, the wearisome “life of
attendance and dependence”—we are using her own words—all these things
she considered were unsuited to her inclinations, and unfavourable to
her happiness. But her friends—who, it is only fair to remember, knew
her literary limitations, and were better instructed as to her literary
gains than some of her earlier critics—took a different view of the
matter. The Lockes and her sister, Mrs. Phillips, had, indeed, always
expected some such development of her Windsor visits: Mrs. Delany—a
courtier in grain—was naturally transported; while her father (in whose
hands she dutifully placed herself), and even Burke, regarded the royal
offer as affording a certain prospect of an honourable and advantageous
establishment for life. It was accordingly accepted, after an interview
with the Queen, who, in the face of all the Windsor place-hunters, had
made her own choice. “I was led to think of Miss Burney”—Her Majesty
told Mrs. Delany—“first by her books; then by seeing her; then by
always hearing how she was loved by her friends; but chiefly by your
friendship for her.” Of Fanny herself, Queen Charlotte asked no
questions, only saying pleasantly—“I am sure we shall do very well


[49] Charlotte Burney in _Early Diary_, 1889, ii. 307. Lord Macaulay
(_Edinburgh Review_, lxxvi. 540) had been told that the publishers gave
two thousand pounds. Probably—as Mrs. Ellis does not fail to
suggest—there was some confusion on the part of Macaulay’s informant
between pounds paid and copies printed.

[50] Book iv. ch. 2.

[51] _Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. 454.

[52] The verses from which these quotations are taken appeared in the
_Morning Herald_ for 12 March, 1782. Long attributed to Sir W. W. Pepys,
they are now given to Dr. Burney. But, as regards his daughter, they
only express a general feeling.

[53] _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832, ii. 323.

[54] _Autobiography, etc. of Mrs. Piozzi (Thrale)_, 1861 (2nd ed.), i.
147 _et seq._

[55] This was the bitterness of the sick bed; and it is wholly
irreconcilable with the regard expressed in Johnson’s last communication
to Mrs. Piozzi and his gratitude “for that kindness which soothed twenty
years of a life radically wretched.” Luckily for her, he did not burn
_all_ her letters, for her not-undignified answer to his first rough
remonstrance was found by Miss Hawkins amongst his papers, and returned
to its writer. As already stated, it is printed by Hayward
(_Autobiography, etc._, 1861 (2nd ed.), i. 240-1, No. 4).

[56] Other people think so still. Mr. Bryce (_Studies in Contemporary
Biography_, 1903, i. 127), speaks of Briggs and Miss Larolles as “so
exaggerated, as to approach the grotesque.” Nevertheless, as is often
the case, Briggs has been more satisfactorily identified with a living
model than any other of Miss Burney’s characters. In Mrs. Ellis’s
“Preface” and Notes to _Cecilia_, she shows conclusively that,
designedly or undesignedly, Briggs reproduces many of the traits of a
personage already mentioned in these pages, Nollekens the sculptor. (See
_ante_, p. 51, and J. T. Smith’s _Nollekens and his Times_, 2 vols.

[57] 6th December, 1785.

                               CHAPTER VI
                          THE QUEEN’S DRESSER

On the 6th of July, 1786, the _Public Advertiser_ announced that—“Miss
Burney, daughter of Dr. Burney, is appointed Dresser to the Queen, in
the room of Mrs. Hoggadore, gone to Germany.” The last three words were
premature, for further notifications, with much pleasing and ingenious
variation of Mrs. Haggerdorn’s name, made it clear that the lady in
question only took leave of the Queen on the 13th, and retired to her
native Mecklenburg on the 17th. She is described in the public print
aforesaid as Her Majesty’s “confidential companion and dresser”; but in
the Court Register she figures as one of two “Keepers of Robes,” the
Senior Keeper being a Mrs. Schwellenberg (or Schwellenbergen), who, with
Mrs. Haggerdorn, had accompanied the Queen from Germany five and twenty
years earlier. To Mrs. Haggerdorn’s post, with some modification of
duties, Miss Burney now succeeded, entering upon her office on the 17th
July. As—for lack of repairs—Windsor Castle had been for some years
uninhabitable, the Royal Family were at this time domiciled in two
temporary buildings, described indifferently by topographers as
“mansions” and “barracks.” These had been built for the King by Sir
William Chambers. The larger, the Upper or Queen’s Lodge,[58] so called
from its occupying the site of a former Queen Anne’s Lodge, was
appropriated to Queen Charlotte, King George and the two elder
Princesses—the Princess Royal and the Princess Augusta. It stood to the
south east of the Castle, almost facing the South Terrace. Behind it was
a large walled garden, where Herschel exhibited newly discovered comets
to the Court; and at the end of this garden was the second or Lower
Lodge, allotted to the younger branches of the Royal Family. Both these
structures were of stuccoed red brick, with embattled copings. They were
draughty and cold in winter. Miss Burney’s apartments, a bed-room and a
large drawing-room, were on the ground-floor in the Upper Lodge. The
drawing-room looked on the Round Tower and the Terrace; and was probably
at the eastern corner, as she speaks of its opening at the farther side,
from the windows, to the Little Park, which lay to the north and east of
the Castle. The bed-room (which was entered from the sitting-room)
looked into the garden. Immediately above her were the rooms of her
colleague, Mrs. Schwellenberg. Fanny describes her quarters as “airy,
pleasant, clean and healthy,” “delightfully independent of all the rest
of the house,” and as containing “everything I can desire for my
convenience and comfort.” Mrs. Delany was not fifty yards away; and she
could readily obtain access to the South Terrace by a special flight of
steps. At Kew, to which Their Majesties frequently migrated, she had
also her special accommodation, rather contracted, after the fashion of
the place, but “tidy and comfortable enough”; and at St. James’s Palace
she occupied rooms, one of which looked over the Park. From other
indications, it appears that she had her special man-servant; and, in
common with Mrs. Schwellenberg, the use of a carriage. Her salary was
£200 a year.

After a week, she began to realise her position and to draw up “a
concise abstract of the general method of passing the day.” Concise
though it be, it is too detailed to be reproduced entire, but must be
further summarised as follows:—She rose at six, awaiting her first
summons, which generally came at half-past seven, after the Queen’s hair
had been dressed by Mrs. Thielky, her wardrobe-woman. Then, with Mrs.
Thielky’s aid, she dresses the Queen, Mrs. Thielky’s office being to
hand Fanny the things as they are required,—a fortunate detail, since,
as she says, she might run “a prodigious risk of giving the gown before
the hoop, or the fan before the neckerchief.” By eight the dressing is
ended, and the Queen, with the King and Princesses, proceeds to the
King’s Chapel to prayers, while Fanny goes to breakfast, dawdling
meanwhile over a book—for the moment, Gilpin’s _Observations_ on the
Lake District, which Mrs. Delany has lent her. At nine she meditates
upon her next immediate business, which generally resolves itself into
questions of costume. This done, she is generally her own mistress until
a quarter to twelve, occupying the time, if it be not absorbed by the
aforesaid questions of costume, in writing or walking. At a quarter
before one the Queen usually dresses for the day, when Mrs.
Schwellenberg, as well as the “inferior priestesses,” is present. The
Queen is powdered by her hairdresser, during which time she reads the
newspaper. “When she observes that I have run to her but half dressed,
she constantly gives me leave to return and finish as soon as she is
seated. If she is grave, and reads steadily on, she dismisses me,
whether I am dressed or not; but at all times she never forgets to send
me away while she is powdering, with a consideration not to spoil my
clothes, that one would not expect belonged to her high station. Neither
does she ever detain me without making a point of reading some little
paragraph aloud.”

After a short time Fanny is again summoned, and her further attendance,
transferred to the state dressing-room (“if any room in this private
mansion can have the epithet of state”), lasts until about three, after
which she sees no more of the Queen until bed-time. At five, dinner _en
tête-à-tête_ with Mrs. Schwellenberg follows in the eating-room, after
which coffee in that lady’s apartment takes until eight. At eight,
descent once more to the eating-room, when the Equerry in Waiting,
together with any friend invited by the King or Queen, arrives for tea,
which takes till nine. “From that time,”—continues Fanny—“if Mrs.
Schwellenberg is alone, I never quit her for a minute till I come to my
little supper at near eleven. Between eleven and twelve my last summons
usually takes place, earlier and later occasionally. Twenty minutes is
the customary time then spent with the Queen: half an hour, I believe,
is seldom exceeded. I then come back and after doing whatever I can to
forward my dress for the next morning, I go to bed—and to sleep, too,
believe me: the early rising, and a long day’s attention to new affairs
and occupations, cause a fatigue so bodily, that nothing mental stands
against it, and to sleep I fall the moment I have put out my candle and
laid down my head.” To these details, it is only necessary to add that
the summonses in question were made by a bell (which seems at first to
have given Fanny a good deal of annoyance); and that it was also a part
of her duties to mix the Queen’s snuff,—a task which she is recorded to
have performed extremely well.

From the above account, it may be gathered that attendance on Queen
Charlotte was by no means the most onerous of Miss Burney’s functions.
Occupying chiefly the middle of the day, it could only have been on
Wednesdays and Saturdays (when there were special duties) that it
extended to more than four hours, besides which Her Majesty seems to
have been laudably solicitous, at all times, to spare her new and very
untried attendant. But in Fanny’s _carte du jour_ there is decidedly an
“intolerable deal” of Schwellenberg. Six mortal hours of daily
intercourse with this estimable lady, in addition to collaborating with
her in what Fanny calls “the irksome and quick-returning labours” of the
royal toilette, must have been a cruel penance, only made bearable by
Mrs. Schwellenberg’s frequent absences on sick leave. Had Mrs.
Schwellenberg been a Mrs. Delany, it would not have mattered so much.
But she was simply a peevish old person of uncertain temper and impaired
health, swaddled in the buckram of backstairs etiquette, captious,
arrogant, ignorant, and accustomed—like Mrs. Slipslop—to console
herself for her servility to her betters by her rudeness to those
beneath her. She was blindly devoted to the Royal Family; but of taste
and education she had nothing. Novels and romances she professed to
regard as “what you call stuff”;[59] and the only book she was known to
favour was Josephus, which was “quoted to solve all difficulties.” Her
chief enthusiasm was for a pair of pet frogs which croaked when she
tapped her snuff-box. “When I only go so . . . knock, knock, knock, they
croak all what I please,” she would cry in an ecstasy; and she never
wearied of dilating upon their “endearing little qualities” and their
healthy appetite for the live flies caught for them by M. de Luc.
Although she had been a quarter of a century in England, she still spoke
a broken jargon, irresistible to the mimic. She was without
conversational gifts, yet she could not endure a moment’s silence; she
was without resources or power of attraction, yet she was furious at the
least suspicion of neglect. Moreover, she seems to have lived in
perpetual apprehension of obscure impending spasms, which could only be
dissipated by cards. And Fanny hated cards. In moments of irritation,
the old lady was capable of the meanest petty tyrannies; in her hours of
ease, her amiability to her “good Miss Bernar” was as profuse as it was
unpalatable. Several of her objectionable acts are narrated in the
_Diary_; but it is needless to recall them; and the situation was
obviously complicated by a perhaps intelligible jealousy on the part of
the elder woman. Years afterwards, when the _Diary_ was first published,
the Duke of Sussex thought that its writer was “rather hard on poor old
Schwellenberg”; and it is not impossible that Miss Burney may have
somewhat heightened her delineation of a character which afforded so
many inviting aspects of attack. Yet, though “Cerbera” or “La
Présidente”—as Fanny calls her—may not have been as black as she is
painted, it would be hopeless to attempt to decorate her with wings; and
there can be little doubt that the happiest hours of the Junior Keeper
were those when her untuneable colleague was safely laid up in London or
Weymouth with the gout.

Fortunately for Miss Burney all her associates were not of the
Schwellenberg type. Miss Planta, English teacher to the two elder
Princesses; Miss Goldsworthy (familiarly “Goully”), the sub-governess;
Mme. la Fite, who read French to the Queen; and Mme. de Luc, the wife of
the fly-catcher, were all amiable enough. And several of the successive
Equerries in Waiting, if not actually qualified to regale Mrs.
Haggerdorn’s successor with that “celestial colloquy sublime,” to which
Lord Macaulay makes reference, were at least English gentlemen, with
pleasant idiosyncrasies of their own, not wholly unworthy of study.
There was Miss Goldsworthy’s brother, Colonel Philip Goldsworthy, a wag
in his way, who relates how the King ineffectually endeavoured to make
him carouse on barley water after a hard day’s hunting; and who gave a
dismally picturesque account of winter service in the ill-constructed
Queen’s Lodge, where there must have been as many distinct and several
draughts as there are smells in the City of Cologne. There is the
“Colonel Welbred” of the record,—Colonel Fulke Greville,—quiet, polite
and undemonstrative; there is Colonel Manners, a good-humoured, careless
rattle, who says whatever comes into his head, and thinks he might
manage to sing the 104th Psalm if he could only keep from running into
“God Save the King”; there is the “Jessamy Bride’s” handsome husband,
Colonel Gwyn; there is Major Price; there is the Queen’s Vice
Chamberlain, the Hon. Stephen Digby (“Colonel Fairly”), grave,
scrupulous, diffident, gentle, sentimental, and “assiduously attentive
in his manners.” He is at present married to Lord Ilchester’s daughter,
by whom he has four children; but is soon to be a widower. Lastly,
absorbing many pages of the record, is “Mr. Turbulent,” otherwise the
Rev. Charles de Guiffardière or Giffardier, the Queen’s French reader, a
_farceur_ of the first order, who, apparently to indemnify himself for
the penitential monotony of his past relations with Mrs. Haggerdorn,—a
molluscous personage whom he contemptuously styles “the
Oyster,”—indulges Miss Burney with the most fantastic disquisitions,
flights of rodomontade and mock adoration. Macaulay roundly writes this
gentleman down “half witted,” which is too sweeping; while the
charitable Croker opines that he was laughing at Fanny. Miss Burney’s
own later verdict upon “Mr. Turbulent” is, that he was “here and there a
little eccentric, but, in the main, merely good-humoured and

In thus bringing some of the personages of the _Diary_ before the
reader, it has naturally been necessary to anticipate. The narrative of
Miss Burney’s life at Court is excessively minute; and the chronicle,
interesting as it may be in its place, does not always concern what is
the prime object of this volume,—the story of her life. One of the
first things, for instance, which she has to set down—indeed it
happened before she had been three weeks in office—is mad Peg
Nicholson’s attempt on the King’s life, an event which, of course,
belongs to history. But Miss Burney’s pages add to the story some of
those vivid minor details which the daughter of Mnemosyne forgets. She
shows us the admirable composure of King George amid his terrified and
tearful household; she shows him cheerfully insisting on the usual
terrace walk with a single equerry,—on the usual evening concert. But
“nothing was listened to,”—says Miss Burney of this latter,—“scarce a
word was spoken; the Princesses wept continually; the Queen, still more
deeply struck, could only, from time to time, hold out her hand to the
King, and say ‘I have you yet.’” To this we may oppose another and more
smiling passage. A few days later came the birthday of the little
Princess Amelia; and Fanny’s account gives a good idea of one of the
popular “terracings” above referred to. “It was really a mighty pretty
procession,” she says. “The little Princess, just turned of three years
old, in a robe-coat covered with fine muslin, a dressed close cap, white
gloves, and a fan, walked on alone and first, highly delighted in the
parade, and turning from side to side to see everybody as she passed:
for all the terracers stand up against the walls to make a clear passage
for the Royal Family, the moment they come in sight.” Then followed the
pleased King and Queen with the remainder of the Princesses,—the
Princess Royal, the Princesses Augusta, Elizabeth, Mary, Sophia, and
their attendants; then, at a little distance, Major Price, the Equerry
in Waiting, bringing up the rear to keep off the crowd.

Miss Burney was on the terrace with Mrs. Delany, who had been carried in
her chair to the foot of the steps. At sight of Fanny’s companion, “the
King instantly stopped to speak to her. The Queen, of course, and the
little Princess, and all the rest, stood still, in their ranks. They
talked a good while with the sweet old lady, during which time the King
once or twice addressed himself to me. I caught the Queen’s eye, and saw
in it a little surprise, but by no means any displeasure to see me of
the party. The little Princess went up to Mrs. Delany, of whom she is
very fond, and behaved like a little angel to her: she then, with a look
of enquiry and recollection, slowly, of her own accord, came behind Mrs.
Delany to look at me. ‘I am afraid,’ said I, in a whisper, and stooping
down, ‘your Royal Highness does not remember me?’ What think you was her
answer? An arch little smile, and a nearer approach, with her lips
pouted out to kiss me. I could not resist so innocent an invitation; but
the moment I had accepted it I was half afraid it might seem, in so
public a place, an improper liberty; however, there was no help for it.
She then took my fan, and having looked at it on both sides, gravely
returned it to me, saying, ‘O, a brown fan!’ The King and Queen then bid
her curtsey to Mrs. Delany, which she did most gracefully, and they all
moved on; each of the Princesses speaking to Mrs. Delany as they passed,
and condescending to curtsey to her companion.”

One of the next things related is a royal visit to Nuneham (Lord
Harcourt’s), which included excursions to Oxford and Blenheim. Miss
Burney was one of the party, but—to use a phrase of Horace Walpole—did
not greatly feel the joy of it, owing to the many discomforts and
fatigues arising out of the defective arrangements which had been made
for the Royal Suite. Mrs. Schwellenberg had assured her that she should
“appear for nobody,” and the assurance was very literally carried out.
It was in connection with this Nuneham trip that occurred the incident
of the gown which has so much exercised some of Fanny’s biographers.
Just before the visit took place, Mrs. Schwellenberg informed “Miss
Bernar,” with much patronising importance, that she was to have a gown,
as the Queen said she was not rich. Fanny protested that [like Dogberry]
she had two gowns, and did not need another. “Miss Bernar,” said the
scandalised old lady, “I tell you once, when the Queen will give you a
gown, you must be humble, thankful, when [even if] you are Duchess of
Ancaster,”—_i.e._ Mistress of the Robes. Further, she was not to be
allowed to thank the Queen herself. “When I give you the gown,” added
Mrs. Schwellenberg, “I will tell you when you may make your
curtsey”—and then for the time the disagreeable conversation stopped.
It does not appear that Fanny got her gown in time for Nuneham, as she
went in a Chambéry gauze of her own. But it is an error to say—as Lord
Macaulay does—that Queen Charlotte’s promise was “never performed,” for
a few days later, in September, we find her wearing her “memorable
present-gown” in honour of the birthday of the Princess Royal. It was “a
lilac tabby,” we are told; and the King professed to admire it greatly,
calling out that “Emily [_i.e._ the Princess Amelia] should see Miss
Burney’s gown now, and she would think her fine enough.” But from a
subsequent entry, it appears that it had been given through Mrs.
Schwellenberg, for Miss Burney refers to the far greater pleasure that
she received from a gift of violets presented to her by the Queen
herself. Lord Macaulay, in his unwillingness to believe that Miss Burney
obtained any “extraordinary benefactions” from Their Majesties, also
overlooked the fact that, both in 1787, and 1788, Miss Burney received
(though always through Mrs. Schwellenberg) New Year’s presents from the
Queen. On the first occasion it was “a complete set of very beautiful
white and gold china for tea, and a coffee-pot, tea-pot, cream-jug, and
milk-jug of silver, in forms remarkably pretty.” In 1788 it was a gift
of plate.[61]

Life at Court, whether at Kew, Windsor, or London, was not riotously
eventful, and it has often been described. The usual humdrum routine
repeated itself, diversified only by concerts, birthdays, and change of
equerries. During much of the latter part of 1786, Mrs. Schwellenberg
was ill, and Fanny reigned in her stead over the Windsor tea-table.
Early in 1787, the Court went to London, taking up its abode at St.
James’s Palace. During this time, Miss Burney also was occasionally ill,
and went home for change. Once she visited Drury Lane with the Royal
Family; and was startled by a complimentary reference to herself in the
Epilogue to Holcroft’s _Seduction_—“a very clever piece,”—she
says,—“but containing a dreadful picture of vice and dissipation in
high life.” The reference was to “sweet _Cecilia_,”—

          “Whose every passion yields to Reason’s laws,”[62]—

and seems to have delighted her Royal Master and Mistress as much as—we
are assured—it embarrassed and disconcerted herself. “I took a peep at
you!” said the kind King later,—“I could not help that. I wanted to see
how you looked when your father first discovered your writing—and now I
think I know!” Not very long subsequently, she had a compliment on the
subject of _Cecilia_ from another quarter. Mrs. Siddons, who was staying
in the neighbourhood of Windsor, was ordered to the Lodge to read a
play; and Fanny was requested by the Queen to receive her. Almost the
first thing the other Queen—the stage Queen—said to Miss Burney was,
that “there was no part she had ever so much wished to act as that of
Cecilia.” Notwithstanding this most conciliatory speech, Mrs.
Siddons—stately and beautiful as she was—does not appear to have
impressed _Cecilia’s_ author. “I found her”—says Fanny—“the Heroine of
a Tragedy,—sublime, elevated, and solemn. In face and person, truly
noble and commanding; in manners, quiet and stiff; in voice, deep and
dragging; and in conversation, formal, sententious, calm and dry. I
expected her to have been all that is interesting; the delicacy and
sweetness with which she seizes every opportunity to strike and to
captivate upon the stage had persuaded me that her mind was formed with
that peculiar susceptibility which, in different modes, must give equal
powers to attract and to delight in common life. But I was very much
mistaken.” The play Mrs. Siddons read was Vanbrugh and Cibber’s
_Provoked Husband_. As Fanny did not hear it, we have no account of its
effect. But it would be interesting to know whether the entire absence
of applause on these occasions, which so paralysed the mercurial
Garrick, had the same effect on the majestic Mrs. Siddons.

In this way, what Fanny calls the “dead and tame life I now lead,”—of
which the above was one of the rare variations,—went on as before,
although there are signs in her Journal now and then, that it was
sometimes less irksome to her. Indeed, on one occasion she goes so far
as to write that she has now thoroughly formed her mind to her
situation. “I even think”—she adds—“I now should do ill to change it;
for though my content with it has been factitious, I believe it, in the
main, suited to save me from more disturbance than it gives me.” With
ampler space, it would be easy to fill a considerable number of pages by
the vagaries of “Mr. Turbulent,” the divers humours of the equerries,
and the whims of Mrs. Schwellenberg, who vacillates between endeavouring
to kill her colleague by making her sit in a draught of a carriage
window, and to conciliate her by the premature legacy of a sedan chair.
But in the limits assigned to this chapter we can only hope to chronicle
the more important events.

One of these was the trial of Warren Hastings, which began in February,
1788, in Westminster Hall. The Queen gave Fanny two tickets for the box
of the Grand Chamberlain (Sir Peter Burrell), where she was just above
the prisoner, whose pale and harassed face she could see distinctly with
her glass when he looked up. Concerning the “high crimes and
misdemeanours” alleged against him, she knew nothing, regarding the
whole matter “as a party affair.” But her sympathies, like those of the
Royal Household, were provisionally with Hastings, whom she had met two
years earlier at the Cambridges at Twickenham, and had
liked,—circumstances which she found somewhat embarrassing when
presently she saw her other friend, Burke, with knit brows and scroll in
hand, making portentous entry at the head of the Committee for the
Prosecution. Great part of the first day’s proceedings was taken up by
the interminably tedious over-reading of the charges; but Mr. Windham,
one of the Committee, and her sister Charlotte’s neighbour in
Norfolk,[63] speedily asked to be presented to her; and, from time to
time, visited the Grand Chamberlain’s box, pointing out the different
notabilities,—among the rest, Hastings’ arch-enemy, Philip Francis. Mr.
Windham, who was a man of the world and a brilliant talker, made himself
extremely agreeable, though he was probably not so convincingly
impressed by Miss Burney’s instinctive conviction of the innocence of
the late Governor General of Bengal as she imagined. A little later, she
went again to Westminster Hall to hear Burke, her companion upon this
occasion being her brother James. It was the second day of Burke’s
speech,—the first she had not heard. What she did hear surpassed her
expectations; and what she says is confirmed by other auditors of that
splendid oratory. She notes its inequality,—its digressions. But, she
goes on—not without a touch of the Johnsonian “triptology”—“when he
narrated, he was easy, flowing and natural; when he declaimed,
energetic, warm and brilliant. The sentiments he interspersed were as
nobly conceived as they were highly coloured; his satire had a poignancy
of wit that made it as entertaining as it was penetrating; his allusions
and quotations, as far as they were English and within my reach, were
apt and ingenious; and the wild and sudden flights of his fancy,
bursting forth from his creative imagination in language fluent,
forcible, and varied, had a charm for my ear and my attention wholly new
and perfectly irresistible.” In fact, she continues, “the whirlwind of
his eloquence nearly drew me into its vortex.” Upon a third occasion,
she heard Charles Fox raging for five hours at the Lords, who, in the
opinion of the Committee, were favouring the accused. But Fanny thought
Fox’s face looked hard and callous, and that Burke’s method of speaking
was more gentleman-like, scholar-like, and fraught with true genius than
that of Fox. On each of these visits, it should be added, she had much
talk with Mr. Windham, who, for further recommendation, had been one of
Johnson’s devotees; and she made careful report of her impressions to
Queen Charlotte.

Another person to whom her accounts of the first scenes of the Great
Trial had been specially welcome was now soon to be lost to her. On the
15th of April, 1788, not long after the above events, died Mrs. Delany.
Her death was a serious blow to Fanny, who had resorted to her freely
for sympathy when things went wrong either with the Senior Keeper, or in
the “nice conduct” of the Equerries’ tea-table. In the July following,
the King, whose health had hitherto been of the best, showed the first
indications of that malady which was afterwards to be of so serious a
character. As a consequence, it was decided that, in company with the
Queen and the three elder Princesses, he should go to Cheltenham to
drink the waters,—carrying with him the Royal household in concentrated
form. Fanny and Miss Planta were of the party; Colonel Gwyn was the
Equerry in Waiting; and Colonel Digby attended in his capacity of
Queen’s Vice-Chamberlain. They were domiciled at Fauconberg Hall (Bay’s
Hill Lodge), which was charmingly situated, but ridiculously restricted
in point of accommodation. At Cheltenham, King George repeated his usual
simple life, promenading daily in the Walks to the delight of the
lieges; and from time to time making flying visits in the neighbourhood
from which Miss Planta and Miss Burney were, of necessity, excluded. One
result of these proceedings was to throw Miss Burney very much into the
society of Colonel Digby, now a recently bereft and melancholy widower
with a young family. The Queen’s Vice-Chamberlain was ten years older
than Miss Burney; and rumour was already connecting his name with that
of his eventual second wife, Miss Charlotte Gunning, a pretty Maid of
Honour, who figures in the _Diary_ as “Miss Fuzelier,” and was the
eldest daughter of a baronet. Meanwhile, in the contracted limits of
Bay’s Hill Lodge, both Colonel Digby and Miss Burney—like
fellow-sufferers upon a raft—seem to have discovered that they had much
in common. They exchanged ideas upon many subjects, staidly discussing
religion and the affections, and particularly the second volume of a
work with the “injudicious” title of _Original Love Letters_.[64] Fanny
was admittedly much “flattered” by the Colonel’s attraction to her
little parlour; and in her _Diary_ the record of this pleasant oasis in
her pilgrimage has all the aspect of a decorous sentimental idyll.
Unhappily, practical confirmation of the doleful Colonel’s standing
topic—“the assured misery of all stations and all seasons in this vain
and restless world”—arrived suddenly with a fit of the gout. This
effectually put a stop to any further study of Akenside’s _Odes_ and
Falconer’s _Shipwreck_; and on the 8th of August Colonel Digby was
forced to obtain sick leave, and departed. Almost immediately
afterwards, and not entirely without Fanny’s good offices,—he was
appointed to the vacant Mastership of St. Catherine’s Hospital, a
sinecure in the Queen’s gift. With this, what Fanny styles, in a double
sense, “the Cheltenham episode” drew to an end; and the Royal Household
went back to the “set, gray life” of old. To make matters worse, before
a few weeks were over, the King was again indisposed. In October those
about him were vaguely uneasy; and in the night of the 20th, he was
alarmingly ill. This attack however passed off; and on the 25th the
Court moved from Kew to Windsor. On that day Miss Burney had “a sort of
conference” with the King, which she explains to mean that she “was the
object to whom he spoke.” Though he was as gracious and kind as usual,
she was shocked at the hoarseness, volubility, and even vehemence of his
speech. The next day she met him again in the passage from the Queen’s
room. “He stopped me, and conversed upon his health near half an hour,
still with that extreme quickness of speech and manner that belongs to
fever; and he hardly sleeps, he tells me, one minute all night; indeed,
if he recovers not his rest, a most delirious fever seems to threaten
him. He is all agitation, all emotion, yet all benevolence and goodness,
even to a degree that makes it touching to hear him speak. He assures
everybody of his health; he seems only fearful to give uneasiness to
others, yet certainly he is better than last night. Nobody speaks of his
illness, nor what they think of it.”

For the next few days, notwithstanding that the King seemed sometimes
better than at other times, he grew steadily worse. He became
appreciably weaker; he walked like a gouty man; he had talked away all
his voice, and his hoarseness was pitiful to hear. Nevertheless he was
as amiable as ever:—“he seemed to have no anxiety but to set the Queen
at rest, and no wish but to quiet and give pleasure to all around him.”
In the meantime the poor Queen is overcome with nameless apprehension;
walks up and down the room without uttering a word, shaking her head in
manifest distress and irresolution. So matters wear on until the 3rd
November when Dr. Heberden is called in, “for counsel [it is announced],
not that His Majesty is worse.” Yet on the following day the Queen is in
deeper distress than before; the King is in a state almost
incomprehensible; and all the household is uneasy and alarmed. On the
5th, His Majesty goes out for an airing with the Princess Royal; and the
Prince of Wales arrives from Brighton. Then between six and seven, an
inexplicable stillness comes upon the Upper Lodge, as if something had
happened. No one stirs; no one speaks. The evening concert is stopped.
The equerries are gloomy and uncommunicative, though it is vaguely
understood that the King is much worse, and that the Queen herself has
been taken ill. At last Miss Burney learns the truth from the
Vice-Chamberlain. At dinner His Majesty had broken into a positive fit
of delirium, and the Queen had been in violent hysterics. “All the
Princesses were in misery, and the Prince of Wales had burst into
tears.[65] No one knew what was to follow—no one could conjecture the

What did follow has been told and retold, and much of it belongs to
history. But Miss Burney’s _Diary_ reveals the domestic details of the
story as it is not recorded in the periods of the politician, or in the
professional evidence of the doctors She depicts the wearing suspense of
the household, the confusion and clash of conjectures, the grief and
agony of the Queen, the waiting rooms and passages filled with silent
pages and attendants, the thick, depressing November fog, the hoarse
voice of the King, talking, talking, talking incessantly,—but still
breathing nothing but consideration for those about him.[66] Then comes,
by order of the physicians, to whom a third has now been added, the
separation of the wife and husband. This was on the 6th. On the morning
of the next day Miss Burney hears the Prince of Wales tell the Queen
what had happened the night before. The King had got up, and insisted
upon going into the next room, which to his amazement, he found crowded
with members of the household ranged in dead silence around it on chairs
and sofas. He inquired what they did there, spoke fondly of his
favourite son, the Duke of York (then present, but not seen) and finally
penned Sir George Baker [the Queen’s physician] into a corner, calling
him an old woman, who did not understand his complaint, which was only
nervous. During all this, no one dared approach him. At last Colonel
Digby (who, in his own family, had some experience of demented persons)
took him by the arm, and begged him to go back to bed. The King refused,
and asked him who he was. “I am Colonel Digby, Sir”—he answered—“and
your Majesty has been very good to me often, and now I am going to be
very good to you, for you must come to bed, Sir, it is necessary to your
life.” The King was so surprised that he let himself be drawn away like
a child.

In the fortnight that followed, things passed from bad to worse for the
dwellers in the Upper Lodge. To add to the general disquiet and
apprehension, Mrs. Schwellenberg arrived from Weymouth “all spasm and
horror.” Then, by order of the Prince of Wales, intercourse with the
outer world was practically suspended. As the King’s condition did not
alter, the physicians told Mr. Pitt plainly that his ailment was lunacy;
and on the 28th it was decided that he should be transferred to Kew, a
place he detested, but where it was possible for him to take exercise
without observation. Accordingly, on that day, the Queen and Princesses
made precipitate and miserable exodus to Kew, amid the tears of the
sorrowing household,—even the sentinels crying bitterly as they looked
on. Then came the difficult task of persuading the King to follow, which
he eventually did, being induced thereto by the promise that he should
see the Queen,—a promise which was not kept, with the result that the
night which ensued was one of the most violently bad of any yet passed.
And so, “in all its dark colours, dark as its darkest prognostics,”
began the “Kew campaign” from which, as usual, Mrs. Schwellenberg was
not absent.

To recapitulate the discomforts of the cold and carpetless building at
Kew, never intended for a winter residence, and lacking sadly both in
space and accommodation, is here needless. But, notwithstanding Miss
Burney’s “darkest prognostics,” a brighter day was happily dawning. New
doctors were added to the old; and the new were better. Dr. Francis
Willis and his son, both of whom had special experience in mental
disease, henceforth, and much to the satisfaction of the household, took
practical charge of the case. Honest, open, cheerful and high-minded,
their moral influence over their patient, in combination with a gentler
and more humane method of treatment, was not slow to produce its effect.
The King began to walk regularly in the gardens; and hopes of his
recovery fitfully revived. But while his health vacillated, the world
outside was agitating for a Regency. The Willises—of whom there were
now three—persevered no less with their regimen. And so,—omitting many
immaterial things,—we come to the 2nd February, a day memorable in
Fanny’s annals. For the sake of her health, she had been advised to walk
daily either at Richmond or at Kew, according to the report she received
of the King’s whereabouts. On this particular day, she had been told
that His Majesty would walk in Richmond Park, and she therefore directed
her steps to Kew Gardens. It had been arranged that if, on any occasion,
the King chanced to see her, she was to be allowed to run off. By some
misapprehension, he _was_ in the Gardens, and at once detected her
presence. What was worse, she soon heard him hurrying after her, calling
hoarsely “Miss Burney! Miss Burney!” Terrified beyond measure, she
continued to run until she was peremptorily bidden to stop by the
Willises, as His Majesty was doing himself harm. “When they were within
a few yards of me,” she writes, “the King called out, ‘Why did you run
away?’” Making a violent effort to regain her composure, she turned to
meet him, when to her astonishment, the poor invalid, with “all his
wonted benignity,” despite the wildness still in his eyes, put both his
hands round her shoulders, and kissed her on the cheek, going on to
exhibit such delight at seeing her again, that she straightway lost all
her fear. A long, disconnected conversation ensued. He rallied her about
Mrs. Schwellenberg. She was not to mind: he (King George) was her
friend. He talked about the pages; about her father; about Handel, some
passages of whose Oratorios he tried to sing—hoarsely. He spoke also,
with tears in his eyes, of Mrs. Delany. At length, after repeated
injunctions on the part of his medical attendants, he let her go—his
last words being to reassure her upon the subject of Mrs. Schwellenberg.
All this—some of the Schwellenberg part excepted—Fanny recounted
faithfully to the Queen on her return.

Not long after, the King’s state began to amend, greatly to the dismay
of the advocates of the Regency Bill. Before that measure could be read
a third time, he was almost himself again; and at the end of February
was able personally to assure Miss Burney of his convalescent condition.
She found him in the Queen’s dressing room, where he had waited on
purpose to see her. “I am quite well now”—he said; “I was nearly so
when I saw you before—but I could overtake you better now.” Ten days
later, at the time of the general rejoicing, when the Queen had had a
special transparency painted for Kew Palace by her favourite Biagio
Rebecca, the little Princess Amelia led her father to the front window
to see the illuminations, dropping first upon her knees with a copy of
congratulatory verses, which had been expressly composed for the
occasion by the Junior Keeper of Robes. Miss Burney was as “ill at these
numbers” as most manufacturers of metrical loyalty; but her postscript

                  “The little bearer begs a kiss
                  From dear Papa, for bringing this”—

was naturally not spoken in vain. On the next day the King, reinstated
in all his dignities, received, in person, the Address of the Lords and
Commons upon his restoration to health.

Over the further progress of that restoration we may pass rapidly. By
this date, March 11th, 1789, Miss Burney had been more than two years
and a half in the Queen’s service, and her stay was to be prolonged for
two years more. But it is needless to pursue its story with equal
detail. After the Royal Family quitted Kew, they went to Weymouth, their
progress to that watering-place being one continued scene of loyal and
very genuine rejoicing. At Weymouth, where they were domiciled in
Gloucester House, Miss Burney renewed her acquaintance with Mrs.
Siddons, whom she saw as Rosalind, but considered “too large for that
shepherd’s dress,” and as Lady Townly in the _Provoked Husband_ which
she had read at Windsor. Fanny thought her gaiety was only gravity
disguised, and though she praises her as Cibber’s heroine, evidently
preferred the “great Sarah” of the Georgian Era in tragedy. She also,
and for the first time, beheld Mr. Pitt; but did not admire his
appearance, which she affirms was neither noble nor expressive. She
spent much of her time with the beautiful “Jessamy Bride,” Mrs. Gwyn;
and among other places, visited the Plymouth Dockyard, describing the
forging of an anchor there with something of that later fine writing
which was so effectually to ruin her style. “While we were seeing the
anchor business, which seemed performed by Vulcanic demons, so black
they looked, so savage was their howl in striking the red-hot iron, and
so coarse and slight their attire”—is quite in the perverse manner of
the coming _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_. In returning from Weymouth, the
Royal party stopped at Longleat, which gives her an opportunity of
moralising,—in Bishop Ken’s bed-room,—upon the cruelty of Longleat’s
former tenant, “Granville the polite,” in forcing her old friend Mrs.
Delany, to marry _en premières noces_, that extremely undesirable
suitor, Mr. Pendarves of Roscrow. And so, by Tottenham Park, where the
Earl of Aylesbury had put up a new bed for the King and Queen which cost
him £900, they got back to Windsor in September. By this time the King
had completely lost all traces of his indisposition.

Once again at Windsor, the Court sank back into its old jog-trot tedium,
and with it sank Fanny’s heart. There was now no Mrs. Delany to
sympathise when Schwellenbergism reached a more acute stage than usual;
and there was shortly to be no Colonel Digby with whom to deplore the
vicissitudes of a vale of tears, or to discuss, “in his genteel
roundabout way,” the improving _Night Thoughts_ of Dr. Young. Colonel
Digby, who, from time to time, had renewed at Windsor the old readings,
tea-drinkings, and semi-confidential conversations, had not taken a very
prominent part in the Weymouth expedition. But he had apparently been
permitting himself other distractions; and about November his connection
with the Court was interrupted by his approaching marriage to Miss
Gunning, with whom—and even by the King during his insanity—his name,
as we have said, had already been associated. There is no doubt that
Miss Burney had been impressed by him, if only as the most refined and
amiable of her colleagues; and there can also be no doubt that on his
part he must have found her sympathy and companionship especially
grateful in his newly bereaved condition. However this may be—and Miss
Burney could not have behaved better if she had been Cecilia
herself—this last event manifestly added its quota to the growing
burden of her life; and it was not in her nature to conceal her
discomforts, either mental or physical. Her health declined visibly; the
Schwellenberg card-table grew more wearisome than ever; and her
condition began to cause anxiety to her friends. At last she took
advantage of an accident to speak frankly to her father. She told him
plainly that, kind and considerate as were the King and Queen, the
situation had grown insupportable; and that she “could never, in any
part of the live-long day, command liberty, or social intercourse, or
repose.”[67] Dr. Burney himself had for some time not been wholly happy
about her position; and he of course opened his arms to her return. But
he was not rich, and he was manifestly so much upset at the thought of
her retirement that, for the moment, the matter was allowed to drop.

Meanwhile the months once more rolled on monotonously. To divert her
thoughts, she took up a tragedy which she had begun during the King’s
illness; and the rumour that she had again her pen in hand—upon a
satirical novel, as it was supposed—sent a flutter of apprehension
through the Windsor dove-cotes. Her friends continued to carry dismal
accounts to London of her failing condition, and loudly exclaimed
against Dr. Burney’s irresolution. Walpole asked whether her talents
were given to be buried in obscurity. Windham, whom she saw occasionally
during the further dilatory progress of the Hastings trial, threatened
to set the Literary Club on her father, who was a member of that
community. Busybody Boswell—another member—also interested himself
(not perhaps without ulterior views of his own as regards her Johnson
material) in her behalf. “We shall address Dr. Burney in a body,” he
said; and then he asked her to give him some of Dr. Johnson’s “choice
little notes,”—a request she with difficulty evaded. At last a joint
Memorial was drawn up by Dr. Burney and his daughter, praying that she
might be permitted to resign, and it was arranged to put it forward on
the most favourable opportunity. But the opportunity did not arise, and
still time went on. She grew worse, having constantly, in the course of
the obnoxious card parties, to crawl to her room for hartshorn and a few
moments of rest. By and by the presentation of the memorial grew
imperative. To the horror of Mrs. Schwellenberg, for whom such a
proceeding was sheer self-destruction, it was hesitatingly handed in.
The Queen, to whom it is difficult to believe that the matter was wholly
unexpected, was visibly surprised and disturbed. She, however, expressed
the hope that a long holiday might set Miss Burney right. But with this
Miss Burney’s father—now thoroughly alive to the exigencies of the
case,—could not agree; and to Her Majesty’s disappointment, and the
unconcealed disgust of Mrs. Schwellenberg, it was decided she must go.
When her departure was definitely settled, a Martin’s summer seems to
have followed, in which even “Cerbera” softened somewhat—admitting, in
her favourite phrase, that “The Bernan bin reely agribble.” Fanny had a
short illness, which helped to strengthen her case; and then, in July,
1791, five years after she had entered the Upper Lodge, she quitted the
Court for ever, being too much affected to bid her royal Master a final

Much ink has been expended on that portion of Fanny Burney’s career
which forms the subject of this chapter. Exceptionally clever and gifted
she was, without doubt; but with all her abilities, it must be admitted
that, neither by her antecedents nor her experiences, was she suited for
the post she was called upon to fill. The merely mechanical part of it
she might perhaps have acquired,—though it seems she never did.
Etiquette and formality she heartily detested; she was unmethodical; she
was negligent in her dress; she was not always (in the presentation of
petitions and the like) entirely judicious and tactful. Nevertheless,
there is nothing to show that, save for the death of Mrs. Delany, the
terrible tension of the King’s illness, the defection of Colonel Digby,
and, above all, the unrelieved infliction of Mrs. Schwellenberg’s
company and caprices,—the “one flaw” in her lot, she calls it,—she
might not gradually have grown reconciled to her court life. If she were
not (and it was no shame to her!) as good a Queen’s Dresser as Mrs.
Haggerdorn, she was certainly—although, perhaps from her weak voice and
short sight, she practically failed as a reader—an infinitely better
“Confidential Companion.” The “Oyster” would have been utterly
incompetent to report the Hastings trial, or to scribble a royal copy of
verses to the Master of the Horse, or to delight the Queen by a
circumstantial and picturesque account of the interview with the King in
the gardens at Kew. And whatever Miss Burney’s dislike may have been to
one or two of her colleagues, her own personal good qualities and
intellectual capacity were always cordially recognised by all the Royal
Family.[68] As to the enforced suspension of her literary labours, not
only is that a grievance which she herself never felt or advanced; but
when she came to Windsor in 1786, she had absolutely written nothing for
four years. Nor were there any indications that she was likely to write
anything. Her most stimulating friend and critic, “Daddy” Crisp, was
dead; and she professed, or affected to profess (like a greater writer
after _The Newcomes_),[69] that her vein had run dry with her latest
book. Moreover, we now know what her first critics did not know, namely,
that so far from receiving two thousand pounds for _Cecilia_, she had
only—after more than a year’s hard work—received two hundred and fifty
pounds. The deserts of genius are not easily assessed; but looking to
all the circumstances, those who, in this particular instance, regarded
two hundred a year for life, with accommodation and other advantages, as
an offer worth considering by a diffident and delicate woman of four and
thirty, whose entire gains by two popular novels, making eight volumes,
had not exceeded two hundred and eighty pounds—can scarcely be said to
have been wholly unwise in their generation. That there would be
compensating drawbacks of tedium and restraint, they no doubt expected;
but that the accidents of the employment would make the post untenable,
was a result they could not possibly foresee.


[58] There is a large oval print by James Fittler, after George
Robertson, dated 28th July, 1783, showing the Queen’s Lodge from the
South Terrace, on which the Royal Party are taking their evening
promenade. In the background, to the left, at the garden end, the Lower
Lodge is to be distinguished. Both Lodges were pulled down in 1823; and
their site is now partly occupied by the Royal Stables.

[59] In this she probably only slavishly copied her royal Mistress, who
(says Miss Burney) “has a settled aversion to almost all novels, and
something very near it to almost all novel-writers” (_Diary and
Letters_, 1892, ii. 178).

[60] He was, at all events, clever enough to write, in 1798, a _Cours
Élémentaire d’Histoire Ancienne_, a copy of which is exhibited at Kew.
It is dedicated to Queen Charlotte, and was intended for the use of the
Princesses. On the title-page the author is described as Minister of the
King’s French Chapel [in the Middle Court of St. James’s Palace], and
Prebendary of Salisbury. He was a married man.

[61] _Diary and Letters_, 1892, ii. 189, 213, 277, 439. Several writers
have pointed out this unaccountable lapse in the famous _Edinburgh_
essay on Madame D’Arblay. It may be added that another gift from the
Queen, a gold watch set with pearls, is in the possession of Mrs.
Chappel of East Orchard, Shaftesbury.

[62] Miss Burney probably quoted from memory, as the couplet in the
Epilogue to the printed play runs as follows:—

            “And oft let soft _Cecilia_ win your praise;
            While Reason guides the clue, in Fancy’s maze.”

[63] Charlotte Burney was by this time married to Clement Francis, a
surgeon practising at Aylsham, about five miles from Windham’s seat at
Felbrigge. Mrs. Ellis, quoting from “a family account,” says “Clement
Francis had been Secretary to Warren Hastings in India, and while there
he read, and was so charmed with _Evelina_, that he was seized with a
desire to make the authoress his wife, and, with that intent, came home
from India and obtained an introduction to Dr. Burney and his family,
but the result was that he married the younger sister—Charlotte”
(_Early Diary_, 1889, ii. 273 n.).

[64] This was by the copious William Combe, author of _Dr. Syntax_. The
full title is—_Original Love Letters, between a Lady of Quality and a
Person of Inferior Condition_, Dublin, 1794, two vols.

[65] Not of pity, but of fear. According to his own after-account at
Lord Jersey’s table, the King, under some sudden impatience of control,
had seized him by the collar, and thrust him violently against the wall.

[66] “Upon one occasion he is said to have talked unceasingly for
sixteen hours” (_Auckland Correspondence_, ii. 244, quoted in Jesse’s
_Life and Reign of George III._, 1867, iii. 58).

[67] At a later date she puts the matter in a nutshell. “I am
inexpressibly grateful to the Queen, but I burn to be delivered from
Mrs. Schwellenberg.” She argued, and argued justly, that, unless the
desire of further intercourse was reciprocal, she ought only to belong
to Mrs. Schwellenberg officially, and at official hours. But “Cerbera”
was an old and faithful servant of the Royal Family; and it was
obviously difficult to explain the state of affairs to Her Majesty, one
of whose objects moreover had been to give Mrs. Schwellenberg a pleasant
companion in her old age.

[68] This appreciation she never lost. She speaks of herself later as
“having resigned royal service without resigning royal favour” (_Diary
and Letters_, 1892, iv. 7).

[69] “I have exhausted all the types of character with which I am
familiar”—Thackeray told the Rev. Whitwell Elwin in 1856. “I can’t jump
further than I did in _The Newcomes_” (_Some XVIII^{th} Century Men of
Letters_, 1903, i. 156).

                              CHAPTER VII
                            HALF A LIFETIME

Whatever view may be taken of the effect of Miss Burney’s life at Court
upon her literary prospects, it was allowed by King George that she had
sacrificed something. “It is but her due,” said that amiable monarch,
referring to the Queen’s intention of granting her late Keeper of Robes
a retiring allowance. “She has given up five years of her pen.” A
hundred pounds per annum may not, it is true, seem much; but considering
the amount of Miss Burney’s salary, and the brief duration of her
service, it was not illiberal. And it came out of the Queen’s pocket.
“It is solely from _me_ to _you_,”—Her Majesty told her, adding other
friendly expressions of farewell. This pension, or retiring
allowance,—as far as we know,—Miss Burney continued to receive for the
greater part of her life, which lasted forty-eight years more. That this
is also the period comprised in the present chapter, may appear—at
first sight—to suggest a certain hurry at the close. But the fault lies
with the material, not with the limits of the volume. After Miss
Burney’s resignation, and her marriage two years later, the events of
her career, as well as the record of them, grow less interesting. She
wrote tragedies, one of which was produced, and failed. She wrote a
comedy, which was never produced at all. She wrote—mainly for
money—two novels, which were commercial successes but added nothing to
her reputation. Finally, in extreme old age, she wrote _Memoirs_ of her
father, which have been over-abused, but which cannot conscientiously be
praised. Such are the leading facts of her literary life from the 7th
July, 1791,—the day she quitted St. James’s Palace,—to her death in

For a week or two she remained at home,—home being now Chelsea College,
where her father was domiciled. Then her kind friend, Mrs. Ord, carried
her off on a four months’ tour to recruit. “She rambled”—in Macaulay’s
picturesque phrases—“by easy journeys from cathedral to cathedral, and
from watering-place to watering-place. She crossed the New Forest, and
visited Stonehenge and Wilton, the cliffs of Lyme, and the beautiful
valley of Sidmouth. Thence she journeyed by Powderham Castle, and by the
ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, to Bath, and from Bath, when the winter was
approaching, returned well and cheerful to London.”[70] By this time it
was the middle of October. Her father had anxiously awaited her coming,
not without hope that she would forthwith resume her literary pursuits.
Resume them indeed she did, but fitfully, working chiefly at tragedies,
two of which she had roughly sketched at Windsor. To these she now added
a third. “I go on with various writings,” she says at the close of 1791,
“at different times, and just as the humour strikes. I have promised my
dear father a Christmas Box, and a New Year’s gift upon my return from
Norbury Park, and therefore he now kindly leaves me to my own devices.”
But social functions, as in the post-Cecilian days, began to exercise
their old attraction; and, in her _Diary_, we frequently trace her at
places which were not those haunts of study and imagination, the great
and little “Grubberies” at Chelsea. She visits poor Sir Joshua, now
nearly blind, with bandaged and green-shaded eyes, and fast nearing his
end.[71] “‘I am very glad,’ he said, in a meek voice and dejected
accent, ‘to see you again, and I wish I could see you better! but I have
only one eye now—and hardly that.’” She visits Buckingham House
periodically, and even looks in upon “Cerbera,” who is unexpectedly
cordial, though she has evidently not forgiven her old colleague for
declining to die at her post. During the temporary lameness of her
successor, Mlle. Jacobi, Miss Burney goes so far as to resume her
attendance for two days, only to be amply assured, by that brief
experience, of the peril she has escaped. “Indeed,”—she says,—“I was
half dead with only two days’ and nights’ exertion.” She goes again to
the ever-during Hastings trial,[72] renewing her relations with Windham;
she goes to a public breakfast at Mrs. Montagu’s in Portman Square, and
sees the Feather Room, referred to in chapter iv. “It was like a full
Ranelagh by daylight,” she writes; and among other guests she meets
Sophy Streatfield, no longer the peerless “S.S.” of yore, but faded, and
sad, and changed. Another visit she mentions is to Mrs. Crewe at
Hampstead. Mrs. Crewe, it will be remembered, was the daughter of
Fanny’s godmother, Mrs. Greville. Here she listens to Burke’s praise of
her dead friend, Mrs. Delany, whom he affirms to have been “a real fine
lady”—“the model of an accomplished woman of former times”; and she
reads with her hostess the newly published _Pleasures of Memory_ of Mr.
Samuel Rogers.

The close of 1792 was saddened by the sudden death of Miss Burney’s
brother-in-law, Mr. Francis of Aylsham,—an event which detained her for
some time in Norfolk. It is about this time, too, that we begin to hear
of the French refugees whose arrival in this country, previous to the
execution of Louis the Sixteenth, was to exercise so important an
influence upon Fanny’s fortunes. The letters of Mrs. Phillips from
Mickleham are much occupied with these illustrious exiles. There is the
Duc de Liancourt, who has escaped to England in a small boat covered
with faggots; there is Mme. de Broglie, who has taken a little cottage
hard by in the hamlet of West Humble. There is a group who have clubbed
to rent Juniper Hall—a delightful and still existent house on the road
between Mickleham and Burford Bridge. This group, or syndicate, consists
of Count Louis de Narbonne, ex-Minister of War; of the Marquise de la
Châtre and her son; of M. de Montmorency, “a _ci-devant Duc_”; of M. de
Jaucourt; and afterwards of Mme. de Staël, and M. Ch. Maurice de
Talleyrand-Périgord, late Bishop of Autun,—not yet the terrible old man
of Maclise’s sketch and Rossetti’s scathing description,[73] but a
dignified personage of eight-and-thirty. Finally there was M. de
Narbonne’s friend, M. Alexandre D’Arblay, an artillery officer,
_maréchal de camp_ and former adjutant-general to La Fayette. On the
night of the flight to Varennes he had been on guard at the Tuileries.
With all these pathetic figures of exile, the waif and stray of a fallen
Constitution, Mrs. Phillips, with her French traditions and education,
was delighted; but particularly with the last. “He seems to me”—she
writes to Fanny in November—“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 _gaieté de cœur_, and at
the same time, of _naïveté_ and _bonne foi_.” Further, he was announced
to be about forty, tall, with a good figure, and a frank and manly
countenance. Like his friend, Narbonne, he had lost almost everything,
but what Narbonne had left they were to share. “Quoique ce soit, nous le
partagerons ensemble,” he said. “Je ne m’en fais pas le moindre
scrupule, puisque nous n’avons eu qu’un intérêt commun, et nous nous
sommes toujours aimés comme frères.”

Early in January, having duly presented herself at Buckingham House on
the Queen’s Birthday, Fanny set out for Norbury Park, arriving just
after the news of the execution of Louis the Sixteenth, an event which
of course overwhelmed her. With her quick sympathies, she was soon
absorbed by the interesting tenants of _Junipère_, as they called it;
and they, on their side, were equally interested in the author of
_Cecilia_.[74] Mme. de Staël, who was now at the head of the little
French colony, was especially amiable to the lady whom she designates
“la première femme d’Angleterre”; and Fanny seems to have been delighted
from the first with Narbonne and his friend. M. D’Arblay—she tells her
father—“is one of the most delightful characters I have ever met, for
openness, probity, intellectual knowledge, and unhackneyed manners.”
Very soon she is being pressed by Mme. de Staël—who is as ardent as
Mrs. Thrale—to come and stay at Juniper. Concurrently, M. D’Arblay,
who, in addition to his other good qualities, turns out to be
“passionately fond of literature, a most delicate critic in his own
language, well versed in both Italian and German, and a very elegant
poet,”[75] undertakes to teach her French in return for lessons in
English. Dr. Burney, who received these confidences (_per_ favour of M.
de Talleyrand _en route_ to his too expensive lodgings in Woodstock
Street), and no doubt recollected the similar relations of Sir Charles
Grandison and Clementina, must have foreseen the result—not without
misgiving. He did not like Talleyrand; there was gossip afloat about
Narbonne and Mme. de Staël; and at length, when “this enchanting M.
D’Arblay” (as Fanny calls him to Mrs. Locke) openly expressed what was
no doubt a genuine affection for his daughter, he was naturally averse
from a match which promised so little, as the gentleman had no prospect
of regaining his lost fortune, and Fanny had only her pension and her
pen. But romance, and the world, were, as usual, against common sense;
and after retreating for a little “maiden meditation” to Chessington,
whither she was promptly followed by her lover, Fanny was eventually
married to M. D’Arblay at Mickleham Church on the 31st July, 1793,
Captain Burney, in the absence of his father, giving her away. Owing to
the bridegroom’s being a Roman Catholic, the ceremony was, on the
following day, repeated at the chapel of the Sardinian Ambassador in
London—the object being that, if by any chance M. D’Arblay came to his
own again, his wife might not be debarred from participation. Their
means for the present were limited to Fanny’s pension, which, it had
been feared, might be withdrawn. This fear, however, must have been
removed. Mr. Locke gave them a site for a cottage in Norbury Park,
adding cheerfully that after all, £100 per annum was but the income of
many curates. But the view of the outsiders is expressed by Miss Maria
Josepha Holroyd in a letter to her friend Miss Firth. “I must desire
you”—she writes—“to wonder at Miss Burney’s marriage if I have not
mentioned it before. She met with Monsieur D’Arblay at Mr. Locke’s,
therefore probably Mme. de Staël was in the secret.” . . . “He [M.
D’Arblay] is even worse off than many other Emigrants, who have at least
a futurity of Order in France to look forward to. But this man is
disinherited by his father, for the part he took in politics, having
followed LaFayette on his Étât Major. Miss Burney has nothing but the
100l from the Queen. Should you not have formed a better opinion of the
author of _Cecilia_?”[76]

The match, not the less, was a thoroughly happy one. “Never,”—says Mme.
D’Arblay’s niece,—“never was union more blessed and felicitous; though
after the first eight years of unmingled happiness, it was assailed by
many calamities, chiefly of separation or illness, yet still mentally
unbroken.” Pending the arrival of funds for building the cottage in
Norbury Park, they went into temporary lodgings in Phenice or Phœnix
Farm, and subsequently migrated to what she calls—“a very small house
in the suburbs of a very small village called Bookham”—about two miles
from Mickleham. Very early in his wedded life M. D’Arblay announced his
intention of taking part in the Toulon Expedition; but fortunately for
his wife, his services, for reasons which do not appear, were not
accepted by the Government. Upon this he settled down quietly to
domesticity and gardening—in which he was apparently more energetic
than expert. “Abdolonime,”[77] writes Mme. D’Arblay to her father after
his first visit to the Bookham hermitage,—“‘Abdolonime’ [who figures
her husband] has no regret but that his garden was not in better order;
he was a little _piqué_, he confesses, that you said it was not _very
neat_—and, _to be shor!_—but his passion is to do great works: he
undertakes with pleasure, pursues with energy, and finishes with spirit,
but, then, all is over! He thinks the business once done always done;
and to repair, and amend, and weed, and cleanse,—O, these are
drudgeries insupportable to him!“ However, he seems to have succeeded in
“_plantant des choux_,” as it is admitted that the Bookham cabbages were
remarkable for freshness and flavour; and when La Fayette’s ex-adjutant
mowed down the hedge with his sabre, his wife was “the most _contente
personne_ in the world” to see that warlike weapon so peaceably
employed. Madame herself, after composing a not very persuasive Address
to the Ladies of England on behalf of the Emigrant French clergy, was
plying her pen upon a new novel and a tragedy. Then, at the close of
1794,—a year which had not been “blemished with one regretful moment,”
her activities were interrupted by the birth (Dec. 18) of a son, who was
christened Alexandre Charles Louis Piochard, his _prénoms_ being derived
from his father, and his godfathers, Dr. Burney junior, and the Count de

The tragedy was the earlier of Mme. D’Arblay’s new works to see the
light. She had begun it, she says, at Kew, and she finished it at
Windsor (August, 1790), without any specific intention either of
production or publication. Having been read by some of her family and
friends, it was shown by her brother Charles to John Kemble, who
pronounced for its acceptance. A few days before the birth of her son it
was suddenly required for Sheridan’s inspection, with the result that,
according to the author’s account, it was brought out at Drury Lane
without the full revision she intended, and as she subsequently had a
seven weeks’ illness, was never in a position, to give it. On the 21st
March, 1795, it was played. But not even the Kembles and Mrs. Siddons,
aided as they were by Bensley and Palmer, could secure a success for
_Edwy and Elgiva_, nor could the fact that there were no fewer than
three Bishops among the _dramatis personae_, save it from being
withdrawn, nominally “for alterations,” after one solitary performance.
Mme. D’Arblay quite reasonably attributes some of its ill-fortune to her
inability to correct it and superintend the rehearsals; and, in a later
letter, which gives an account of its fate, she lays stress upon the
very unsatisfactory acting of some of the subordinate performers. But
though _Edwy and Elgiva_ was never printed, the MS., which still exists,
has been carefully examined by a capable critic, whose report leaves
little room for doubt as to the real cause of its faint reception.[78]
Though at some points there is a certain stir and action, the plot
generally lacks incident and movement. But what is said to be fatal is
the “incurable poverty of its stilted language, its commonplace
sentiments, and its incorrect and inharmonious versification.” The
specimens given of the blank verse are certainly of the most unhappy
kind. From the fact that the MS. is carefully pencilled with amendments
in French and English, it is probable that, just as “Daddy” Crisp had,
to the last, believed in _Virginia_, the author must have continued to
believe in _Edwy and Elgiva_. But though Cumberland—always forgiving to
a failure—professed that the players had lent it an ill-name, and
offered to risk his life on its success if it were re-cast and submitted
to his inspection, it is not likely the audience were radically wrong.
What is wonderful is, that Sheridan and Kemble should have accepted it,
and that Mrs. Siddons should have consented to play the heroine.

When, a month after the production of _Edwy and Elgiva_, Warren
Hastings, to Mme. D’Arblay’s great delight, was finally acquitted, she
was apparently hard at work upon her new novel, with which she makes as
rapid progress as is consistent with the absorbing care of the little
personage whom she styles the “Bambino,” and to whom she hopes “it may
be a little portion.” In June she tells a friend that it has been a long
time in hand, and will be published in about a year. But, owing to the
expenses of the press, she has now—money being a very definite
object—decided to act upon the advice, formerly given to her by Burke,
and to print by subscription. “This is in many—many ways,” she writes,
“unpleasant and unpalatable to us both; but the chance of real use and
benefit to our little darling overcomes all scruples, and, therefore, to
work we go.” The Honble. Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Crewe and Mrs. Locke
consented to keep the subscription books. The result of this
contrivance, which Dr. Burney (who was generally unfortunate as an
adviser) did not at first approve, was a complete pecuniary success.
_Camilla; or, a Picture of Youth_, was issued in the middle of 1796, in
five volumes, 8vo., with a list of subscribers rivalling that of Prior
to the poems of 1718. It occupies thirty-eight pages; and the whole is
headed by the Duchess of York, and the Duke of Gloucester. The volumes
are dedicated, from Bookham, to the Queen, who, when they were presented
to her at Windsor by Mme. D’Arblay and her husband in person, repaid the
compliment by a purse of one hundred guineas from herself and the King.
Many persons took more than one copy. Warren Hastings interested himself
specially for his staunch adherent, and engaged to attack the East
Indies on her behalf. Burke, a sad and mourning man, who had lost both
son and brother, subscribed nevertheless for them, as well as for his
wife, sending £20 for a single copy; three of the Miss Thrales took ten
copies, Mrs. Piozzi two, and so forth. It would be idle to select
further names; but two are of special interest. One is that of “Miss J.
Austen, Steventon”; the other that of the sworn adversary of “what you
call stuff,” Mrs. Schwellenberg, who with Miss Planta and Miss
Goldsworthy rallied round an old colleague. The names of Colonel Digby
and his wife are significantly absent.[79] The result of all this effort
was encouraging. About a month after publication Dr. Burney told Horace
Walpole that his daughter had made £2000; and three months after
publication only five hundred copies remained out of four thousand. The
selling price was one guinea, so that Macaulay’s estimate that the
author “cleared more than three thousand guineas” is,—allowing for
fancy payments and the Queen’s _douceur_, and deducting for the cost of
publication,—probably below the mark upon this occasion.

_Camilla_, however, could not be called a literary success, even by its
contemporaries, and certainly was not an advance upon the writer’s
previous works. Horace Walpole, who had regretted the live-burial of the
author’s talents in the Windsor antechambers, was too frank to disguise
his disappointment. He had not cared for _Cecilia_ as much as _Evelina_:
he thought the “deplorable _Camilla_” infinitely worse than _Cecilia_.
“Madame D’Arblay,”—he wrote to Hannah More in August, 1796,—had
“reversed experience.” She had known the world and penetrated character
before she had stepped over the threshold, “and, now she had seen so
much of it, she had little or no insight at all.” This, of course, did
not prevent the _Monthly Review_ from politely comparing her to
Homer,—both for occasionally nodding and for the peculiar distinctness
and propriety of her delineations of character. But though Mme. D’Arblay
still deserves the praise which Burke had formerly given to her, and
which the _Monthly Review_ repeats, of assigning “to each person a
language of his own, and preserving it uniformly through the work,” the
maze of misapprehensions which encompass the loves of Camilla Tyrold and
Edgar Mandlebert grows sadly tedious, and the book, it must be
confessed, is difficult reading. Whether, if it had been written in the
style of _Evelina_, it would have been more attractive, is impossible to
say: the style in which it is in great part written, by reason of its
absurd roundabout pomposity, is simply unendurable. “Where opinion may
humour systematic prepossession, who shall build upon his virtue or
wisdom to guard the transparency of his impartiality”—is one of the
sentences which even Mr. Griffiths’ review is forced to characterise as
“singularly obscure.” Obscure it certainly is; but it is not by any
means single, for there are other passages to pattern. For this
extraordinary degradation of manner various reasons have been assigned.
It has been ascribed to recollections of Johnson,—to imitation of Dr.
Burney,—to the influence of a French husband,—to the inflation
superinduced upon a court appointment. There is another cause that has
not been mentioned, which we suspect had more to do with the matter than
any of the things suggested. This is, that Mme. D’Arblay had recently
been engaged in the composing of much indifferent blank verse; and like
other distinguished authors, she fell insensibly into this laboured
style whenever she had anything to say in her own person which she
regarded as unusually fine. And it is curious that the manner must have
been adopted _de parti pris_, for, as the “Abdolonime” quotation on an
earlier page almost suffices to show, she was, at this very time,
writing easy and graphic letters to her friends. But apart from the
style, and the fact that the personages reproduce, in many instances,
the earlier types, there is still humour and careful character-drawing
in the Orkbornes and Dubsters and Clarendels of _Camilla_. And even the
impatient modern may care to remember that in Chapter V. of _Northanger
Abbey_ Jane Austen does not scruple to couple it with _Cecilia_ and Miss
Edgeworth’s _Belinda_ in terms of enthusiastic praise; and that Charles
Lamb himself, in a sonnet to Fanny’s novelist step-sister Sarah Harriet,
referring to her elder as—

                           “renowned for many a tale
                   Of faithful love perplexed”—

goes on to commend specially the character of Sir Hugh Tyrold—

                              “that good
              Old man, who, as CAMILLA’S guardian, stood
            In obstinate virtue clad like coat of mail.”[80]

At the close of 1796 Mme. D’Arblay lost her step-mother. By this time
she was apparently engaged in converting the gains from _Camilla_ into
bricks and mortar. Upon a piece of land in a field at West Humble,
leased to her husband by Mr. Locke of Norbury,[81] they built a cottage,
to which, at Dr. Burney’s suggestion, they gave the name of the
novel;[82] and the letters at this date are full of the activities of M.
D’Arblay, who was his own sole architect and surveyor, in planning his
new garden, digging a well, and constructing a sunk fence to prevent the
inroads of the domestic (and prospective) cow. As may be anticipated,
the cost of building largely exceeded the estimate. “Our new
habitation”—she writes in August, 1797—“will very considerably indeed
exceed our first intentions and expectations”; and not much remained
when the bills for Camilla Cottage were discharged. The expenses of
living in war time, too, were exceptionally heavy, and various
expedients were suggested to replenish the _pot-au-feu_, including the
liberal planting of potatoes in every corner of the little property. It
was perhaps wise that under this pressure Mme. D’Arblay did not fall in
with Mrs. Crewe’s proposal that she should edit an Anti-Jacobin journal
to be styled _The Breakfast Table_. But she again attempted the stage
with a comedy called _Love and Fashion_, which, in 1799, was actually
accepted and put into rehearsal by Harris of Covent Carden. Dr. Burney,
however, had set his heart upon fiction. It was in vain that his
daughter protested that all her life she had been urged to write a
comedy, and that to write a comedy was her ambition. Moreover, that the
incidents and effects for a drama occurred to her, and the combinations
for a long work did not. Her father was seized with a panic of failure,
and early in 1800 _Love and Fashion_ was hastily withdrawn. Before this
took place, Mme. D’Arblay had the misfortune to lose her sister, Mrs.
Phillips, who since 1796 had been resident in Ireland. She died on the
6th January, when on her way to visit her relations. In 1801, the
preliminaries for the short-lived Peace of Amiens having been signed,
and the difficulties of the domestic situation being urgent, M. D’Arblay
decided to return to France, hoping vaguely, first, to recover his lost
property, and, secondly, to obtain from Napoleon something in the nature
of a recognition of his past military services. Ultimately, having
stipulated that he should not be called upon to serve against his wife’s
country, and having besides pledged himself to the Alien office, when
obtaining his passport, not to return to that country for a year, he
found himself in the double predicament of getting nothing, and being
obliged to remain in France, whither he accordingly summoned his _bonne
amie_ and his son.

Mme. D’Arblay expected to have been able to come back to her father in
eighteen months: she stayed in France ten years. During this period she
resided with her husband at Passy. Their means, in the absence of
remittances from England, which had practically ceased with the renewal
of the war, consisted, primarily, of a small military _retraite_, or
retiring allowance, of 1500 francs per annum (£62, 10s.), and later of a
modest income earned by M. D’Arblay as a _rédacteur_ and afterwards
_sous-chef_ in the Civil Department of _les Bâtiments_ (_Ministère de
l’Intérieur_). The post was no sinecure, and carried him to Paris daily
from about half-past eight to half-past five. But he was treated by his
chiefs with exemplary good feeling and consideration; and although, for
lack of funds, only three rooms of the little home in the Rue Basse were
finished and furnished, the husband and wife were perfectly happy. “Our
view is extremely pretty from it [Paris on one side; the country on the
other], and always cheerful; we rarely go out, yet always are pleased to
return. We have our books, our prate, and our boy—how, with all this,
can we, or ought we, to suffer ourselves to complain of our narrowed and
narrowing income?” This was written in April, 1804. In 1810, they have
apparently moved to Paris, for she dates from the Rue D’Anjou; and is
rejoicing over the adopted friends she has found in her adopted country.
“The society in which I mix, when I can prevail with myself to quit my
yet dearer fireside, is all that can be wished, whether for wit, wisdom,
intelligence, gaiety or politeness.” M. D’Arblay, says the same letter,
is well, and at his office, where he is sadly overworked; and their son,
now a youth of fifteen, with mathematical gifts, is preparing, at the
same table, an exercise for his master. He is thin, pale and strong—we
are told elsewhere;—but terribly _sauvage_, and singularly “averse to
all the forms of society. Where he can have got such a rebel humour we
conceive not; but it costs him more to make a bow than to resolve six
difficult problems of algebra, or to repeat twelve pages from Euripides;
and as to making a civil speech, he would sooner renounce the

In 1810 M. D’Arblay yielded to his wife’s desire to visit her friends in
England. Everything had been done, and M. de Narbonne had procured her
passport from the terrible Fouché, when a sudden embargo blocked all
departures from the coast, and she was unable to start. In the following
year she was operated upon for “a menace of cancer” by Napoleon’s famous
surgeon, Baron de Larrey, a trial which, according to her niece, she
bore with such fortitude as to earn, in her French circle, the name of
_L’Ange_. In 1812 she made another, and a more successful, attempt to
reach England. The necessity was then growing urgent, as her son was
seventeen, and liable soon to a conscription which would have forced him
to do the very thing his father had endeavoured to avoid,—namely, to
fight the English. Mme. D’Arblay and young Alexandre, after waiting six
weeks vainly at Dunkirk, at last landed at Deal in August. Many things
had happened in her ten years’ absence. The King was now hopelessly mad;
the Princess Amelia was dead; Mr. Twining was dead, as was also Mr.
Locke of Norbury. She found her father sadly aged and broken, and indeed
almost entirely confined to his bed-room. But she had plenty to occupy
her during her stay. First, there was the settling of her son at
Cambridge, where, having gained the Tancred scholarship, he began
residence at Christ’s College in October 1813. Then there was the
completion and publication of a new book, of which nearly three volumes
out of five had been finished before she quitted France. Already, from
Paris, she had been attempting some informal negotiations as to this,
for Byron had heard of its existence. “My bookseller, Cawthorne,”—he
wrote to Harness in Dec. 1811,—“has just left me, and tells me, with a
most important face, that he is in treaty for a novel of Madame
D’Arblay’s, for which 1000 guineas are asked! He wants me to read the
MS. (if he obtains it), which I shall do with pleasure; but I should be
very cautious in venturing an opinion on her whose _Cecilia_ Dr. Johnson
superintended.[84] If he lends it to me, I shall put it into the hands
of Rogers and M[oor]e, who are truly men of taste.” Three days later, he
repeats the story to Hodgson; but the amount has grown to 1500 guineas.

The best one can say about _The Wanderer; or,_ _Female Difficulties_,
issued in March 1814, is, that it brought grist to the mill. It was not
published by subscription like _Camilla_;[85] but Mme. D’Arblay herself
tells us that 3600 copies were “positively sold and paid for” at the
“rapacious price” of two guineas each in six months. From a literary
point of view the book was an utter failure. It “was apparently never
read by anybody,” observes Sir Leslie Stephen; and Macaulay says that
“no judicious friend to the author’s memory will attempt to draw it from
the oblivion into which it has justly fallen.” Even Mme. D’Arblay’s most
faithful editor and admirer, Mrs. Ellis, makes open and heartfelt
thanksgiving that it is not her duty to read it again. After these
discouraging opinions from critics not unfriendly, it is scarcely
surprising to learn that _The Wanderer_ was attacked with unusual
severity in the _Quarterly_ for April, 1814; or that Hazlitt should, in
the _Edinburgh_ for February, 1815, make it the sorry pretext for that
admirable survey of the national fiction which he afterwards converted
into No. VI. of his _Lectures on the English Comic Writers_. Hazlitt
earned, as has already been told in chapter i., the disapprobation of
honest James Burney for his treatment of Mme. D’Arblay’s final effort.
Yet it is notable that the critic blames _The Wanderer_, not for “decay
of talent, but a perversion of it.” It is impossible to say as much now.
The book, in truth, is wearisome, and its “difficulties” are unreal. The
reason for its first success is, we suspect, to be traced to the cause
suggested by Mme. D’Arblay herself, namely, the prevailing expectation
that its pages would present a picture of contemporary and revolutionary
France, where, it was known, the writer had been residing; and that this
led to a number of copies being freely bespoken. When the real nature of
its theme—the trivial and improbable adventures, in England, of a
female refugee during the reign of Robespierre—was fully appreciated,
the sale immediately fell off. Were it not futile, it would be
interesting to speculate whether, had _The Wanderer_ taken the place of
_Evelina_ in the order of Mme. D’Arblay’s productions, it would have
succeeded at all, even in the absence of rivals. But it is a curious
instance of the irony of circumstance that a book which nobody could
read should have brought more than £7000 to somebody in the year in
which Miss Edgeworth published _Patronage_, and Miss Austen, _Mansfield
Park_. It is also more curious still, that in this very year Constable
could not see his way to risk more than £700 on the copyright of an
anonymous novel entitled _Waverley; or, ’tis Sixty Years Since_.

The Preface or Dedication to _The Wanderer_, from which some quotations
have already been made during the progress of this volume, is dated 14
March, 1814. On the 12 April following, Dr. Burney died, being nursed
tenderly by his daughter Fanny during his last illness. He had attained
his eighty-eighth year, and since 1806 had enjoyed a pension of £300 per
annum. One of the last distinctions of his busy career, which he had
latterly occupied with a _Life of Metastasio_ and contributions to Rees’
_Cyclopædia_, was that of Correspondent to the Institute of France, the
diploma for which Mme. D’Arblay brought with her from Paris. A tablet
was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey. Not long after his
death, his daughter had the honour of being presented, in England, to
Louis XVIII., who received her effusively, complimenting her, “in very
pretty English,” upon her writings, and bidding her farewell at last
under the style of “Madame la Comtesse.”[86] This was in April, 1814,
after the taking of Paris, and the abdication of Buonaparte. A short
time subsequently M. D’Arblay arrived from the French capital. He
received a commission from the Duc de Luxembourg as Sous-Lieutenant in
the Corps de Garde, and was restored to his old rank as Maréchal de
Camp. He came to England on leave later in the same year, and took his
wife back with him to France. Then followed the return of Buonaparte
from Elba; and in March, 1815, Mme. D’Arblay took flight for Brussels.
Some time afterwards she wrote from memory a narrative of the Hundred
Days (March 20 to June 28), which has interest, but not the interest of
a journal, although it is supposed to have supplied Thackeray with hints
for the Brussels chapters of _Vanity Fair_. In July of the same year,
General D’Arblay, while attempting, at Trèves, to raise a troop of
refugees, received a kick from an unbroken horse. The accident was made
worse by unskilled surgery; and having now, like his wife, passed his
sixtieth year, he was placed on the retired list, with the title of
Lieutenant-General, and received permission to settle in England. Three
years later (3 May, 1818), he died at Bath, being buried in Walcot
churchyard.[87] General D’Arblay is one of the most delightful figures
in his wife’s _Diary_. A true _militaire_—as Susan Burney called
him—he is also a typical specimen of the old pre-revolutionary
_régime_, courteous, cheerful, amiable, and as dignified in ill-fortune
as he is patient under poverty.

The remaining occurrences of Mme. D’Arblay’s life may be rapidly
related. At Bath, in 1817 she had renewed her acquaintance with Mrs.
Piozzi. At Ilfracombe, in the same year, she had a narrow escape from
drowning, being surprised by the rising of the tide when she was
searching for curiosities. After M. D’Arblay’s death she moved to 11,
Bolton Street, Piccadilly, which bears a Society of Arts tablet in
testimony of her residence there. It was at Bolton Street that she was
visited by Sir Walter Scott, who describes her in his _Journal_ for Nov.
18, 1826. Rogers took him. He found her an elderly lady (she was then
seventy-four), “with no remains of personal beauty, but with a gentle
manner and a pleasing expression of countenance. She told me she had
wished to see two persons—myself, of course, being one; the other,
George Canning. This was really a compliment to be pleased with—a nice
little handsome pat of butter made up by a neat-handed Phillis of a
dairymaid, instead of the grease, fit only for cart-wheels, which one is
dosed with by the pound.” She told him the story of _Evelina_, and the
mulberry tree episode.[88] “I trust I shall see this lady again,” writes
Scott; “she has simple and apparently amiable manners, with quick
feelings.”[89] He did see her again, two years later, and again with
Rogers, when she showed him some notes which she induced him to believe
had been recollected and jotted down in compliance with his suggestion
on the former occasion. This was in May 1828.[90]

From 1828 to 1832 she busied herself in putting together the _Memoirs of
Dr. Burney_, which appeared in the latter year. They are based, with
slight exceptions, on her father’s own MSS., drawn up in 1807 and
afterwards, and on her own unprinted diaries and personal recollections.
She herself was eighty when they were published, and her style had not
improved with age. For the present generation, these records have been
superseded by the publication of the original diaries and letters upon
which in part they were based; but when they were issued in 1832, their
memories and anecdotes were new to the public, who were not so impatient
of their other defects as are later readers. Southey, indeed, to whom
the volumes were sent by the author’s son, was unreserved in his praise.
He wrote from Keswick that _Evelina_ had not given him more pleasure
when he was a schoolboy than these memoirs had given him now, and that
was saying a good deal. “Except Boswell’s”—he went on—“there is no
other work in our language which carries us into such society, and makes
us fancy that we are acquainted with the people to whom we are there
introduced.” But Croker, whom she had declined to assist with material
for his edition of Boswell, made the _Memoirs_ the subject of malignant
attack in the _Quarterly_ for April, 1833. Mme. D’Arblay—we are given
to understand—was seriously pained by the imputation of unveracity
contained in this article; and she might well be hurt on other grounds.
The duties of reviewers are not always pleasant to perform; and Croker
might plead, in defence of his ungallant inquisition into the author’s
age, that, like Rousseau, he was simply actuated by the love of truth;
but to say of a blameless and inoffensive old lady of eighty, who might
certainly claim indulgence for imperfect recollection, that her style
could not have been “more feeble, anile, incoherent, or ‘_sentant plus
l’apoplexie_,’” is surely to write oneself down both cruel and

One of the rare references to Mme. D’Arblay at this date is contained in
Disraeli’s letters to his sister. “_Contarini_,” he writes, “seems
universally liked, but moves slowly. The staunchest admirer I have in
London, and the most discerning appreciator of _Contarini_, is old
Madame D’Arblay. I have a long letter, which I will show you,—capital!”
This was written in July, 1832. In 1837 Mme. D’Arblay had the misfortune
to lose her son. Since she had placed him at Cambridge in 1813, he had
done well. He had graduated in 1818 as tenth Wrangler; and though
handicapped by a French education, became a Fellow of his College
(Christ’s). Having taken orders in 1819, he was made, in 1836, minister
of Ely Chapel, Holborn. He was preparing to marry, when he succumbed
suddenly to influenza in January, 1837. His mother did not long survive
him. Two years later, she was attacked by an illness, which was
accompanied by spectral illusions; and, on January 6, 1840, being then
in her eighty-eighth year, she died, at Lower Grosvenor Street, New Bond
Street, and was buried by the side of her husband and son at Walcot. The
prettiest story of her last days is told by Rogers. It is _à propos_ of
the well-known lines which begin—

                   “Life! we’ve been long together”;

and end—

            “Say not Good Night, but in some brighter clime
                      Bid me Good Morning.”

“Sitting with Madame D’Arblay some time before she died, I [Rogers] said
to her, ‘Do you remember those lines of Mrs. Barbauld’s _Life_, which I
once repeated to you?’ ‘Remember them,’ she replied; ‘I repeat them to
myself every night before I go to sleep.’”[91]

                 *        *        *        *        *

In 1842, two years after Mme. D’Arblay’s death, the first five volumes
of her _Diary and Letters_ were issued. These, like the _Memoirs of Dr.
Burney_, were savagely assailed by Croker in the _Quarterly_ in an
article which had the good fortune to provoke a masterly retort in the
_Edinburgh_ from Lord Macaulay. Modern research has rectified some of
the minor details, and modern criticism may dissent from some of the
deductions, in this famous counterblast. But though no doubt prompted by
antagonism to Mme. D’Arblay’s assailant in the rival review, and though
strongly coloured by the writer’s political opinions, it remains, and
must remain, a memorable tribute to the author of _Evelina_ and

To Lord Macaulay’s essay, indeed, and to its periodical reproduction in
fresh editions of his works, is probably due most of Mme. D’Arblay’s
existing reputation as a novelist. And that reputation rests almost
exclusively upon her first two productions, _Evelina_ and _Cecilia_. We
doubt if the piety of the enthusiast could ever revive—or rather
create—the slightest interest in _The Wanderer_; or that any but the
fanatics of the out-of-date, or the student of manners, could
conscientiously struggle through _Camilla_. Works of genius, it is true,
are occasionally born out of due time, and consequently fail of the
recognition they deserve from their contemporaries, only to attain it
eventually either through the insight of the independent critic, or the
better knowledge of after ages. But these were not the circumstances of
_Camilla_ and _The Wanderer_. Both books were circulated freely among an
audience not only specially qualified to judge, but also specially
well-disposed; and if, with these advantages, they could not succeed in
obtaining approbation, it is idle to attempt to revive them now. With
_Cecilia_ and _Evelina_, the case is different. They stand on their
merits. And their merits are undeniable. It is true that—as Walpole
said—_Cecilia_ is too long; but its crowd of characters is very
skilfully varied, and many of them, as Briggs, Albany, Mr. Delville,
Mrs. Harrel, Mr. Monckton, are drawn with marked ability. And though the
book has less freshness than its predecessor, it has more constructive
power and greater certainty of hand. Mme. D’Arblay’s masterpiece,
however, is _Evelina_. This she wrote because she must,—neither
preoccupied with her public nor her past;[92]—and throughout this book
penned for amusement in Newton’s old observatory, one never catches, as
in _Cecilia_, the creak of the machinery, or fancies, in the background,
the paternal voice pressing for prompt publication. It is perhaps
difficult for a modern reader to be impressed by the sentiments of the
excellent Mr. Villars, still less to “blubber,” like Dr. Burney, over
Sir John Belmont’s heroics; but, in spite of youthful exaggerations and
faults of taste, it is still possible to admire the vivacity with which
Miss Anville narrates her experiences, embarrassments, and social
trepidations. It is also possible to comprehend something of the
unparalleled enthusiasm produced by the opportune appearance of
Evelina’s history in a dead season of letters—by its freedom from taint
of immorality, its unfeigned fun and humour, and its unhackneyed
descriptions of humanity. One can easily conceive how welcome these
latter characteristics must have been to a public sickened and depressed
by the “inflammatory tales” and “sentimental frippery”[93] of the
circulating libraries. _Evelina_, moreover, marks a definite deviation
in the progress of the national fiction. Leaving Fielding’s breezy and
bustling highway, leaving the analytic hothouse of Richardson, it
carries the novel of manners into domestic life, and prepares the way
for Miss Edgeworth and the exquisite parlour-pieces of Miss Austen.

Of the _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, it is not necessary to say much more
than has already been said. Although, as we have seen, Southey could
praise them warmly,—to be sure, he was acknowledging a complimentary
copy,—Macaulay declares that they were received with “a cry of
disgust,” which a later writer converts into “a scream of derision.” Yet
is must nevertheless be admitted that they contain much in the way of
letters, documents, and anecdote which the student cannot well neglect;
and it should be observed that it is in the connecting passages that the
writer’s “peculiar rhetoric” is most manifest. The curious expedients
she adopts to avoid using the personal pronoun; and the catenated
phrases to which Croker objected, and which he unkindly emphasised by
hyphens (_e.g._ “the yet very handsome though no longer in her bloom,
Mrs. Stephen Allen,” “the sudden, at the moment, though from lingering
illnesses often previously expected death, of Mrs. Burney”),—are
certainly amusing; as is also the nebulous magniloquence of passages
like the following, not, it may be added, an exceptional
specimen:—“This sharp infliction, however, though it ill recompensed
his ethereal flight, by no means checked his literary ambition; and the
ardour which was cooled for gazing at the stars, soon seemed doubly
re-animated for the music of the spheres.” But what is more
extraordinary than these utterances is, that Mme. D’Arblay seems herself
to have had no suspicion of their extravagance, since we find her, even
after the publication of _The Wanderer_, gravely enjoining her son to
avoid overstrained expression, not to labour to embellish his thoughts,
and above all, to “be natural.”[94]

Happily for her readers, the _Diary_—to which we now come—is not
written in the pernicious style of the _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_. Even in
those parts of it which were composed after _Cecilia_ and _Camilla_, it
is still clear, fluent, and unaffected. Now and then, perhaps,—as in
the quotation on Burke’s oratory at p. 160,—there is a sense of effort;
but in general, the manner is delightful. Why Macaulay, who praised the
_Diary_ so much, did not praise it more,—did not, in fact, place it
high above Mme. D’Arblay’s efforts as a novelist,—is hard to
comprehend. It has all the graphic picturesqueness, all the dramatic
interest, all the objective characterisation, all the happy faculty of
“making her descriptions alive” (as “Daddy” Crisp had said),—which
constitute the charm of the best passages in _Evelina_. But it has the
further advantage that it is true; and that it deals with real people.
King George and Queen Charlotte, Mrs. Schwellenberg and M. de
Guiffardière, Johnson and Reynolds, Burke and Garrick, Sheridan,
Cumberland, Mrs. Thrale, Mrs. Delany, Omai and Count Orloff—stand
before us in their habits as they lived, and we know them more
intimately than Mr. Briggs, believe in them more implicitly than in
Captain Mirvan, and laugh at them more honestly than at “Madam French.”
The _Diary_ of Mme. D’Arblay deserves to rank with the great diaries of
literature. It is nothing that it is egotistical, for egotism is of its
essence: it is nothing that it is minute, its minuteness enforces the
impression. It gives us a gallery of portraits which speak and move; and
a picture of society which we recognise as substantially true to life.


[70] _Edinburgh Review_, January 1843, lxxvi. 557.

[71] Sir Joshua Reynolds died on the 23rd February following.

[72] One of the tickets given to her by the Queen is preserved by
Archdeacon Burney of Surbiton.

[73] In an article in the _Academy_ for 15th April, 1871, on the Maclise
Gallery in _Fraser’s Magazine_.

[74] _Cecilia_, it may be mentioned, had been translated at Neuchâtel in

[75] He was, indeed, a better poet than Fanny herself, to judge from
some graceful _vers d’occasion_, printed in the _Diary_, which he
addressed to her on her birthday. The quatrain he placed under her
portrait is not so happy.

[76] _The Girlhood of Maria Josepha Holroyd_ (Lady Stanley of Alderley),
1897, 2nd edn. pp. 229-30. Mrs. Barrett (_Diary and Letters_, 1892, iv.
476) puts the income “for a considerable time” at about £125, so that it
must have been supplemented in some way.

[77] _Abdolonime_ is a gardener of Sidon in a five act comedy by M. de

[78] Mr. E. S. Shuckburgh, in _Macmillan’s Magazine_ for February, 1890,
pp. 291-98.

[79] Mrs. Ellis thought she detected in _Camilla_ a shaft aimed at the
philandering Colonel. “They [men] are not like us, Lavinia. They think
themselves free, if they have made no verbal profession; though they may
have pledged themselves by looks, by actions, by attentions, and by
manners, a thousand, and a thousand times” (_Camilla_, 1796, iv. 42-3).

[80] Lamb’s sonnet was first published in the _Morning Chronicle_, 13th
July, 1820, upon the appearance of Sarah Burney’s tale of _Country
Neighbours_. The author is indebted for knowledge of this poem to the
courtesy of Mr. E. V. Lucas, at pp. 82-3, vol. v., of whose very
valuable edition of Lamb’s works it is printed. Lamb also addressed a
sonnet to Martin Charles Burney, Admiral Burney’s son. It is prefixed to
vol. ii. of his _Works_, 1818. Martin Burney, a barrister, and a dear
friend of Lamb, is also mentioned in Elia’s “Detached Thoughts on Books
and Reading.” His mother is thought to have been “Mrs. Battle.”

[81] For reasons connected with the future tenancy of the house, Mr.
Locke’s offer of a site in Norbury Park itself had finally been

[82] The house, Camilla Lacey, still exists; but altered and enlarged.
When Thorne wrote his _Environs of London_ in 1876, it belonged to Mr.
J. L. Wylie, and contained many interesting Burney relics. It is now in
possession of Mr. Wylie’s nephew, Mr. F. Leverton Harris, M.P. for

[83] In “A Burney Friendship” (_Side-Lights on the Georgian Period_, by
George Paston, 1902, pp. 31-32), there is an interesting extract from
one of Mme. D’Arblay’s letters describing the young Alexandre’s triumphs
at “the principal _école_ of Passy.”

[84] Moore’s _Life of Lord Byron_, 1844, 147. Moore corrects this in a
note. But it shows that Johnson’s alleged revision of _Cecilia_ must
have been current as a rumour long before Macaulay asserted it upon
internal evidence in 1843.

[85] The arrangement was, that she was to receive £1500 in three
payments, spread over a year and a half. If 8000 copies were sold she
was to have £3000.

[86] She never used this title—as she says in an unpublished letter,
dated 26 June, 1827, to her nephew, Dr. C. P. Burney, where she adds to
her signature, “otherwise La Comtesse Veuve Piochard D’Arblay”—“because
I have had no Fortune to meet it, and because my Son relinquished his
hereditary claims of succession—though he might, upon certain
conditions, resume them—on becoming a Clergyman of the Church of
England. But I have never _dis_claimed _my_ Rights, as I owe them to no
Honours of my own, but to a Partnership in those which belonged to the
revered Husband who, for twenty-four years, made the grateful Happiness
of my Life.”

[87] In the previous year Mme. D’Arblay had lost her brother Charles.
James, the Admiral, survived to 1821.

[88] See _ante_, p. 87.

[89] _Journal of Sir Walter Scott_, 1891, i. 308-9. Rogers’ _Table
Talk_, 1858, p. 192, adds a detail of the first visit. Mme. D’Arblay had
not heard that Scott was lame; and, seeing him limp, hoped he had not
met with an accident. He answered, “An accident, Madam, nearly as old as
my birth.”

[90] _Ibid._, ii. 190.

[91] _Table Talk of Samuel Rogers_, 1856, 179-80.

[92] “It was not hard fagging that produced such a work as
_Evelina_”—wrote “Daddy” Crisp in 1779—“it was the ebullition of true
sterling genius—you wrote it because you could not help it—it came,
and so you put it down on paper.” (_Diary and Letters_, 1892, i. 178.)

[93] These expressions are from Cowper’s _Progress of Error_, written in

[94] _Diary and Letters_, 1892, iv. 339.


                 A                  │Hodgson, 194.
_Abdolonime_, Fontenelle’s, 183,    │Holroyd, Miss M. J., 182.
189.                                │
Abel, K. E., 60 _n._                │Hoole, John, 130.
_Address on Behalf of the French    │Hoppner, John, 88.
Clergy_, D’Arblay’s, 184.           │
_Adèle et Théodore_, Genlis’s, 131. │Horneck, Mary (Mrs. Gwyn), 99.
Agujari, Lucrezia, 37, 42, 43, 109. │—— Mrs., 99.
Allen, Maria (Mrs. Rishton), 17, 34.│_Hundred Days, Narrative of the_,
                                    │D’Arblay’s, 197.
—— Mrs. Stephen, 17, 18, 204.       │_Humphry Clinker_, Smollett’s, 61.
_Amelia_, Fielding’s, 30 _n._, 61,  │Hyde, Catherine, Duchess of
87 _n._                             │Queensberry, 32.
—— Princess, 153, 154, 156, 169,    │
194.                                │
                                    │                  I
Ancaster, Duchess of, 155.          │
                                    │_Idler_, Johnson’s, 54.
Anstey, Christopher, 112, 113.      │
                                    │_Iliad_, Pope’s, 27.
Aram, Eugene, 9.                    │
                                    │_Irene_, Johnson’s, 13, 95.
Arne, Dr. Augustine, 3.             │
_Art of Preserving Health_,         │                  J
Armstrong’s, 5.                     │
Ashburnham, Lord, 48.               │Jacobi, Mlle., 178.
Aston, Sir Willoughby, 7.           │Jaucourt, M. de, 179.
Augusta, Princess, 146, 154.        │Jebb, Dr., 96.
Austen, Jane, 187, 196, 204.        │Jenyns, Soame, 127.
Aylesbury, Earl of, 170.            │Jersey, Lord, 164.
                                    │“Jessamy Bride,” Goldsmith’s, 99,
                 B                  │
                                    │Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 8, 12, 21, 52,
                                    │61, 87, 94, 97, 106, 125, 127, 128,
                                    │133, 135, 205.
B——, Miss, 51.                      │
                                    │_Joseph Andrews_, Fielding’s, 122.
Bach, John Christian, 55.           │
                                    │_Journal_, Sir Walter Scott’s, 198.
Baker, Sir George, 165.             │
                                    │—— _to Stella_, Swift’s, 22.
“Bambino,” The, 186.                │
                                    │_Julia de Roubigné_, Mackenzie’s, 61.
Barber, Alderman, 22.               │
                                    │Juniper Hall, Surrey, 179.
Barborne Lodge, Worcester, 58.      │
Baretti, Joseph, 10, 30 _n._, 94.   │                  K
Barlow, Thomas, 59.                 │Keepers of Robes, The, 145.
Barret, George, 137.                │Kemble, John, 184, 185.
Barrett, Mrs. Charlotte Frances, vi,│Kenrick, Dr., 83.
23.                                 │
Barrington, Lord, 48.               │Kew Palace, 166-168.
Barry, James, 36.                   │King, Dr., 44, 45, 46.
Barsanti, Miss Jenny, 20.           │Kirkman, Jacob, 3.
Barton, Catherine (Mrs. Conduitt),  │Knole Park, 105.
32.                                 │
Bath in 1780, 111.                  │
                                    │                  L
Batheaston Vase, The, 112.          │
                                    │_Lady Catesby’s Letters_, Brooke’s,
                                    │87 _n._
Bath residents, 111.                │
                                    │—— _Julia Mandeville_, Brooke’s, 27,
                                    │62, 63.
Bawr, General, 45, 46.              │
                                    │La Fayette, General, 180, 184.
Bay’s Hill Lodge, Cheltenham, 161.  │
                                    │Lake, Sir James, 51.
B——y, Mr., 109-110.                 │
                                    │Lamb, Charles, 9, 189, 206 _n._
Beauclerk, Lady Di, 106.            │
                                    │Langton, Bennet, 97, 136.
—— Topham, 106.                     │
                                    │Larrey, Baron de, 193.
_Belinda_, Miss Edgeworth’s, 189.   │
                                    │Lawrence, Sir Thomas, 111.
Bell’s Library, 69.                 │
                                    │_Lectures on the English Comic
                                    │Writers_, Hazlitt’s, 195.
Bensley, 184.                       │
                                    │Leicester Fields, 31.
_Biographiana_, Seward’s, 107.      │
                                    │—— —— Chapel, 31.
Birch, Miss Selina, 107.            │
                                    │—— House, 31.
Blount, Patty, 108.                 │
                                    │—— Square, 31.
Bolton Street, Piccadilly, No. 11,  │
198.                                │
                                    │_Lethe_, Garrick’s, 56.
Bookham, 183.                       │
                                    │_Lexiphanes_, Campbell’s, 53.
Boone, Mr. Charles, 33, 44, 73.     │
                                    │Liancourt, Duc de, 179.
Boscawen, Hon. Mrs., 129, 186.      │
                                    │Lichtenberg, 29.
Boswell, James, 60 _n._, 126, 172.  │
                                    │_Life_, Mrs. Barbauld’s, 201.
Branghton family, The, 77, 78.      │
                                    │Linley, Miss, 99.
_Breakfast Table, The_, 191.        │
                                    │Literary Club, The, 172.
Bridges, Lady Augusta, 7.           │
                                    │Little Park at Windsor, The, 146.
Brighton in 1779, 105, 106.         │
                                    │Locke, William, 143, 182, 194.
Broglie, Mme. de, 179.              │
                                    │—— —— Junr., 137.
Brontë, Charlotte, 35.              │
                                    │—— Mrs.,137, 143, 181, 186.
Brooke, Mrs. Frances, 62.           │
                                    │Longleat, 170.
Bruce, James, of Kinnaird, 37, 40.  │
                                    │Louis XVI., 179, 180.
—— Lord, 45, 46.                    │
                                    │—— XVIII., 197.
Brudenel, Mrs., 45.                 │
                                    │_Love and Fashion_, D’Arblay’s, 191.
Bryce, Mr. James, 144 _n._          │
                                    │Lower Grosvenor Street, 201.
Buller, Mrs., 107, 130.             │
                                    │—— Lodge at Windsor, The, 175 _n._
Buonaparte, Napoleon, 142, 197.     │
                                    │Lowndes, Thomas, 66, 68, 69, 70, 92,
Burke, Edmund, vi, 94, 124, 126,    │
129, 131, 160, 181, 205.            │
                                    │Luc, M. de, 140, 150, 151.
—— W., 99.                          │
                                    │Lucas, Mr. E. V., 206 _n._
Burney, Ann, 58.                    │
                                    │Luxembourg, Duc de, 197.
—— Archdeacon, of Surbiton, v-vi,   │
206 _n._                            │
                                    │_Lydia_, Shebbeare’s, 27.
—— Charles, 5.                      │
—— Dr. Charles, vi, 6, 10, 35, 67,  │                  M
184, 206 _n._                       │
—— Charles Rousseau, vi, 34, 42.    │_Macaria_, Delap’s, 107.
—— Charlotte (Mrs. Francis), 8, 28, │Macartney, Frances (Mrs. Greville),
34, 38, 85, 144 _n._, 159.          │4.
—— Dr. C. P., 197.                  │Macaulay, Lord, 14, 26 _n._, 112,
                                    │128, 156, 187, 206 _n._, 201, 204,
—— Dr., 19, 30, 36, 38, 52, 68, 87, │Macburney, James (1), 1.
90, 94, 114, 144 _n._, 131, 134,    │
143, 187, 191, 196.                 │
—— Edward Francis (the artist), vi, │—— —— (2), 1.
58, 68, 88, 89, 116 _n._            │
—— Elizabeth, of Worcester, 85.     │—— Joseph, 1.
—— Esther or Hetty, vi, 5, 15, 16,  │—— Charles, 2.
34, 42, 46, 53, 91.                 │
—— Fanny (afterwards Mme.           │—— Susannah, 2.
D’Arblay),vi, 2, 30 _n._;           │
her mother, 5;                      │
born at Lynn, 13 June 1752, 5;      │Mackenzie, Henry, 61.
her godmother, Mrs. Greville, 5;    │
death of Fanny’s mother, 8;         │Maclise, Daniel, 179.
the Burney children, 8-10;          │
childish characteristics, 10-12;    │—— Gallery, 206 _n._
the wig-story, 11-12;               │
Samuel Crisp, 12-15;                │Malmesbury, Earl of, 36, 46.
Chessington Hall, 13-15;            │
Susan Burney’s character of Fanny,  │Manners, Colonel, 152.
16;                                 │
first visit to Chessington, 1766,   │
17;                                 │
father’s second marriage, 1767, 17; │_Man of Taste_, Bramston’s, 3, 4.
early writings, 18-19;              │
the bonfire at Poland Street, 19;   │_Mansfield Park_, Miss Austen’s, 196.
_Early Diary_ begun, 1768, 19;      │
verses to father, 20;               │_Marianne, Histoire de_, Marivaux, 87
secretary to father, 20;            │
the “Cabin” at Lynn, 22;            │Marmontel, 30 _n._
_Early Diary_, 23-30;               │
its characteristics as a record,    │Mary, Princess, 154.
24-25;                              │
her reading, 26-27;                 │
the “Teignmouth Journal,” 28;       │Mason, William, 3, 21.
Crisp’s advice, 28;                 │
No. 1, St. Martin’s Street, 31-60;  │Melmoth, William, 113.
Newton’s observatory, 33-34;        │
the Burney family, 34-35;           │_Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, D’Arblay’s,
                                    │v, 63, 177, 199, 201, 204.
letters to Crisp, 35;               │
visitors to St. Martin’s Street,    │_Messiah_, Klopstock’s, 142.
36-37;                              │
Garrick, 38-39;                     │
Bruce, 40-41;                       │_Metastasio, Life of_, Dr. Burney’s,
Omai, 41-42;                        │
the Sunday concerts, 42-49;         │Miller, Lady, 112, 114.
Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, 52-57; │
theatricals at Worcester, 58;       │Mirvan, Captain, 75-77.
Mr. Thomas Barlow, 59;              │
publication of _Evelina_, January   │_Miss Charlotte Villars_, 65.
1778, 69;                           │
story of that book, 61-87;          │
portrait of the author, 88-89;      │—— _Lucy Wellers_, 65.
visits Streatham, 90;               │
progress of _Evelina_, 92-93;       │—— _Polly Willis_, 65.
bibliography, 116 _n._;             │
at Streatham again, 94-98;          │Monckton, Hon. Miss, 125.
Streatham Place described, 94-95;   │
Johnson, 95-97;                     │Montagu, Mrs., 54, 56, 97, 98, 101,
                                    │112, 129, 178.
Mrs. Montagu, 97-98;                │
Mrs. Cholmondeley, 99;              │Montmorency, M. de, 179.
Sheridan, 99-100;                   │
play-writing and Crisp, 100-102;    │Moore, Thomas, 194.
_The Witlings_, 103-105;            │
Tunbridge Wells and Brighton,       │More, Hannah, 101, 129, 136, 188.
105-110;                            │
Richard Cumberland, 106;            │
Sophy Streatfield, 107-108;         │_Morning Herald_, Verses in, 128.
at Bath, 1780, 111-114;             │
death of Thrale, 115;               │Mortimer, J. H., 116 _n._
writing _Cecilia_, 116;             │
_Cecilia_ published, July 1782, 118;│Murphy, Arthur, 94, 103, 104.
story of that book, 117-128;        │
verses in _Morning Herald_, 129;    │_Musical Tours_, Dr. Burney’s, 21,
miscellaneous friends, 130-131;     │
death of “Daddy” Crisp, 131;        │_Music, History of_, Dr. Burney’s, 6,
                                    │20, 23, 30.
marriage of Mrs. Thrale, 132-135;   │
death of Johnson, 135-136;          │Musters, Mrs., 106.
the Lockes of Norbury Park, 136-137;│
the Duchess of Portland and Mrs.    │
Delany, 138-139;                    │
with Mrs. Delany at Windsor,        │                  N
140-144;                            │
King George and Queen Charlotte,    │
140-144;                            │
is offered post as Junior Keeper of │Napoleon, 142, 197.
Robes, 143-144;                     │
appointed 17 July 1786, 145;        │
“Queen’s Dresser,” 145-175;         │Narbonne, Count de, 179, 180, 184,
Mrs. Schwellenberg, 148-151;        │
other colleagues, 151-153;          │Necker, Mme., 29.
the Queen’s presents, 155-156;      │
Mrs. Siddons, 157-158;              │Needlework, Eighteenth Century, 27.
the Hastings trial, 159-161;        │
death of Mrs. Delany, 161;          │_Newcomes_, Thackeray’s, 175.
the “Cheltenham episode,” 161-163;  │
Colonel Digby, 162-163;             │Newton, Sir Isaac, 31, 32, 33.
illness of the King, 163-169;       │
Weymouth, etc., 169;                │Newton’s Observatory, 66.
health fails, 171-172;              │
resigns Court Office, July 1791,    │Nicolson, Peg, 153.
173;                                │
receives pension of £100 p. a. from │
Queen Charlotte, 176;               │
recovers health, 177;               │_Night Thoughts_, Young’s, 170.
death of Clement Francis, 179;      │
visits Mickleham, 179;              │No. 1, St. Martin’s Street, 31.
the French Colony, 179-180;         │
marries M. D’Arblay, 31 July 1793,  │Nollekens, Joseph, 36, 51, 144 _n._
182;                                │
living at Phœnix Farm, 183;         │
at Bookham, 183;                    │—— Mrs., 51.
_Address on behalf of the French    │
Clergy_, 1794, 184;                 │
birth of a son, 18 December 1794,   │_Nollekens and his Times_, Smith’s,
184;                                │144 _n._
_Edwy and Elgiva_, 1795, 184-185;   │
Camilla published, 186;             │Norbury Park, 137, 177, 180.
story of that book, 186-189;        │
death of Mrs. Burney (No. 2), 190;  │_Northanger Abbey_, Austen’s, 189.
building Camilla Cottage, 190;      │
_Love and Fashion_, 1799, 191;      │
residence in France, 192-193;       │                  O
return to England, 193;             │
places son at Cambridge, 194;       │_Observations_, Gilpin’s, 147.
_The Wanderer_ published, March     │
1814, 195;                          │
story of that book, 194-196;        │Observatory, Newton’s, 33, 66.
death of father, 196;               │
the Hundred Days, 197;              │_Odes_, Akenside’s, 162.
death of husband, 198;              │
visited by Scott, 198-199;          │_Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day_,
                                    │Thornton’s, 7, 30 _n._
_Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832, 199; │
death of son, 201;                  │_Odyssey_, Pope’s, 27.
dies 6 January 1840, at Lower       │
Grosvenor Street, 201;              │
Rogers’s anecdote, 201;             │Ogle, Dr., 44, 60 _n._
_Diary and Letters_ published,      │
1842-6, 201-202;                    │
_Novels_, 202-204;                  │_Old English Baron_, Reeve’s, 61.
_Memoirs_ of father, 204-205;       │
_Diary_, 205-206.                   │Omai, Omiah, or Omy, 37, 41-42, 205.
Burney, James (Admiral Burney), 2,  │Orange Coffee House, 66, 67, 69.
3, 5, 9, 34, 37, 41, 116, 118, 182, │
195, 206 _n._                       │
—— —— of Worcester, 58.             │—— Street Congregational Church
                                    │(Leicester Fields Chapel), 31.
—— Mrs. (No. 1), 5, 8, 11, 15.      │Ord, Mrs., 126, 130, 177.
—— —— (No. 2), 17, 18, 19, 92, 190, │_Original Love Letters_, Combe’s,
204.                                │162.
—— Richard, of Worcester, vi, 58.   │Orloff, Alexis, 37, 44, 45, 205.
—— —— Jun., of Worcester, 28, 73,   │Owen, Miss, 53.
85.                                 │
—— Sarah Harriet, 34, 189.          │
                                    │                  P
—— Susan (Mrs. Phillips), 5, 10, 16,│
18, 34, 53, 57, 85, 86, 98, 115,    │
137, 179, 198.                      │
                                    │Pacchieroti, Gasparo, 10, 37.
—— Susannah, 2.                     │
                                    │Palmer, 184.
Burrell, Sir Peter, 159.            │
                                    │Palmerston, Lord, 99.
Byron, Admiral, 113.                │
                                    │_Pamela_, Richardson’s, 61.
—— Lord, 194.                       │
                                    │Parr, Dr., 130.
                 C                  │Passy, 192.
“Cabin,” The, at Lynn, 22, 25.      │_Patronage_, Miss Edgeworth’s, 196.
Cambridge, Mrs., 130.               │Payne, Tom, 50, 118.
—— R. O., 130, 159.                 │—— Miss Sally, 60 _n._
_Camilla_, D’Arblay’s, 186, 187,    │Paynes, The Misses, 50.
188, 195, 202, 205.                 │
—— Cottage, 190.                    │Pepys, Sir W. W., 129.
—— Lacey, 206 _n._                  │_Percy_, Hannah More’s, 116 _n._
Canning, George, 198.               │Perkins, Mr., 115.
Carlyle, Thomas, 21.                │Peter III. of Russia, 37.
Carter, Miss Elizabeth, 113, 129.   │Phillips, Captain, 115.
_Castle of Otranto_, Walpole’s, 61, │—— Mrs. (Susan Burney), 115, 137,
116 _n._                            │143, 179, 180, 191.
Catherine of Russia, 37.            │Phœnix Farm, 183.
Cawthorne the bookseller, 194.      │“Pindar, Peter,” 140.
_Cecilia_, Miss Burney’s, 104, 117, │Piozzi, Gabriele, 132, 134, 135.
118, 119, 120, 122, 124, 125, 127,  │
128, 140, 157, 175, 206 _n._, 189,  │
194, 202, 203, 205.                 │
“Cerbera,” 148-151.                 │—— Mrs. (Thrale), 135, 187, 198.
Chambers, Sir William, 88, 146.     │_Piramo e Tisbe_, Rauzzini’s, 48.
Chamier, Anthony, 45, 46, 73.       │Pitt, William, 166, 169.
_Champion of Virtue_, Reeve’s, 61.  │Planta, Miss, 151, 161, 162, 187.
Chandos, Duke of, 7.                │Playwriting, Mr. Crisp on, 101-102.
Chapone, Mrs., 126, 129, 130, 138.  │_Pleasures of Memory_, Rogers’s, 179.
Chappel, Mrs., vi, 116 _n._, 175    │_Pliny’s Letters_, Melmoth’s, 112,
_n._                                │113.
Charlotte, Queen, 126, 138, 139,    │_Plutarch’s Lives_, 27.
140, 141, 142, 144, 146, 147, 148,  │
149, 205.                           │
Châtre, Marquise de la, 179.        │_Polly Honeycombe_, Colman’s, 62, 65.
Chelsea College, 177, 178.          │Portland, Duchess of, 138, 139.
Cherokee King, The, 7.              │_Prejugé à-la-mode_, La Chaussée’s,
                                    │58, 130.
Chessington Hall, 13-15.            │Presents of Queen Charlotte, 155,
Chesterfield, Lord, 41, 62.         │_Present State of Music in France and
                                    │Italy_, Dr. Burney’s, 21.
Cholmondeley, Mrs., 99.             │_—— —— Germany_, Dr. Burney’s, 23.
Cibber, Colley, 29.                 │“Présidente, La,” 149, 151.
—— Mrs., 3.                         │Price, Major, 152, 154.
_Cicero_, Middleton’s, 27.          │Princess Royal, The, 146, 154, 156,
_Clandestine Marriage_, Garrick and │Prior’s “Kitty,” 60 _n._
Colman’s, 72.                       │
_Clarissa_, Richardson’s, 64, 138.  │Prior’s “Peggy,” 138.
Clive, Kitty, 142.                  │_Probationary Odes_, 140.
Conduitt, Mrs., 32.                 │_Progress of Error_, Cowper’s, 206
_Contarini Fleming_, Disraeli’s,    │_Provoked Husband_, Vanbrugh and
200.                                │Cibber’s, 158, 169.
Cook, Captain, 34.                  │
                                    │                  Q
_Cook’s Voyages_, Hawkesworth’s, 28.│
                                    │Queensberry, Duchess of, 32.
Cooper, Miss Ann, 2.                │
                                    │Queen Anne’s Lodge, 146.
Cornelys, Mrs., 60 _n._             │
                                    │Queen’s Lodge, The, 146, 151.
Cotton, Captain, 113.               │
                                    │Queen Square, 22.
_Country Neighbours_, Sarah         │
Burney’s, 206 _n._                  │
                                    │Quin, James, 3.
Cowley, Mrs., 129.                  │
Crewe, Mrs., 30 _n._, 178, 186, 191.│                  R
Crisp, Samuel (“Daddy Crisp”),      │_Rambler_, Johnson’s, 126.
12-15, 17, 21, 28, 35, 86, 87, 88,  │
89, 100-102, 110, 116, 121, 129,    │
131, 206 _n._                       │
“Critics,” Johnson on, 98.          │_Rasselas_, 12, 26, 61.
Croker, J. W., 26, 83, 152, 200,    │Rauzzini, Venanzio, 37, 48, 49.
201, 204.                           │
Cumberland, Richard, 106, 185, 205. │Rebecca, Biagio, 168.
—— The Misses, 106.                 │Reeve, Clara, 61.
_Cunning Man, The_, Dr. Burney’s,   │Reid, Catherine, 62.
16.                                 │
                                    │Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 36, 88, 91, 94,
                                    │99, 100, 106, 109, 124, 125, 178,
                 D                  │
                                    │Riccoboni, Mme., 86.
Dahl, Michael, 1.                   │
                                    │Richardson, Samuel, 61, 96.
_Daphnis and Amaryllis_, Harris’s,  │
36.                                 │
                                    │Rishton, Martin, 34.
D’Arblay, Alexandre, 184, 193, 194, │
197, 200, 201.                      │
                                    │Robertson, George, 175 _n._
—— M. or General, 179, 181, 182,    │
183, 190, 197, 198.                 │
                                    │Robespierre, 196.
—— Mme. _See_ Burney, Fanny.        │
                                    │Rogers, Samuel, 179, 194, 198, 199,
Davies, Cecilia, 37.                │
                                    │_Roman History_, Hooke’s, 27.
Deiden, Baroness, 42, 48.           │
                                    │Rossetti, D. G., 179.
—— Baron, 48.                       │
                                    │Rousseau, J. J., 20, 141.
Delany, Mrs., 89, 138, 139, 140,    │
143, 144, 146, 147, 149, 154, 155,  │
161, 168, 179, 205.                 │
                                    │_Royal Suppliants_, Delap’s, 116 _n._
Demidoff, Baron de, 45, 46.         │
                                    │Rue Basse, Passy, 192.
_Devin du Village_, Rousseau’s, 16. │
                                    │Rue D’Anjou, Paris, 192.
Devonshire, Duchess of, 50.         │
_Diary and Letters_, D’Arblay’s, v, │                  S
23, 24, 201, 205.                   │
“Dick Minim,” Johnson’s, 98.        │Salusbury, Mrs., 121.
_Dictionary of Arts and Sciences_,  │Sandwich, Lord, 48.
Goldsmith’s, 30.                    │
Diderot, 20.                        │_School for Scandal_, Sheridan’s,
Digby, Hon. Stephen (Colonel Digby),│Schwellenberg, Mrs., 145, 146, 147,
152, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166,  │148, 149, 150, 151, 155, 156, 157,
170, 187.                           │159, 166, 168, 171, 172, 173, 178,
Disraeli, Benjamin, 200.            │Schwellenbergen, Mrs., 145.
Dobson, Mrs. Susannah, 112, 113.    │Scott, Sir Walter, 67, 198, 199.
Dodsley, Robert, 66.                │_Seduction_, Holcroft’s, 157.
_Doyen de Killérine_, Prévost’s, 27.│Selwyn, George, 40.
_Dream of Eugene Aram_, Hood’s, 30  │_Sentimental Journey_, Sterne’s, 26.
_n._                                │
Dresser, The Queen’s, 145-175.      │Seward, Mr., 53, 56, 90, 96, 107.
Duval, Madame, 74, 75.              │Shakespeare, 142.
                                    │Shebbeare, Dr. John, 26.
                 E                  │
                                    │Sheridan, R. B., 100, 103, 104, 105,
                                    │184, 185, 205.
_Early Diary_, Miss Burney’s, v, 19,│
23.                                 │
                                    │—— Mrs., 36, 99.
Edgecombe, Lady, 44, 47.            │
                                    │_She Stoops to Conquer_, Goldsmith’s,
Edgeworth, Maria, 204.              │
                                    │_Shipwreck_, Falconer’s, 162.
_Edwy and Elgiva_, D’Arblay’s,      │
184-185.                            │
                                    │Shuckburgh, Mr. E. S., 206 _n._
_Election Ball_, Anstey’s, 116 _n._ │
                                    │Siddons, Mrs., 111, 169, 184, 185.
Ely Chapel, Holborn, 201.           │
                                    │_Sidelights on the Georgian Period_,
                                    │Paston’s, 206 _n._
Elizabeth, Princess, 140, 154.      │
                                    │Sleepe, Mrs. Esther, 5.
Ellis, Mrs. Annie Raine, v, 10, 24, │
30 _n._, 187, 195.                  │
                                    │Smart, Christopher, 28.
Ellis, Rebecca, 1.                  │
                                    │Smollett, Tobias, 61.
Elwin, Rev. Whitwell, 175 _n._      │
                                    │Sophia, Princess, 154.
_Environs of London_, Thorne’s, 206 │
_n._                                │
                                    │_Sorrows of Werther_, Goethe’s, 142.
_Epictetus_, Carter’s, 112.         │
                                    │Southey, Robert, 199.
_Evelina_, 51, 61-87, 93, 117, 159, │
199, 202, 203, 205.                 │
                                    │_Spiritual Quixote_, Graves’s, 116
                 F                  │Staël, Mme. de, 179, 180, 181, 182.
“Fairly, Colonel,” 152, 161, 162,   │Stephen, Sir Leslie, 195.
163, 164, 165, 166, 170, 187.       │
_False Delicacy_, Kelly’s, 87 _n._  │St. Martin’s Street, 3.
Fauconberg Hall, Cheltenham, 161.   │St. Mart, Mme., 16, 17.
_Female Quixote_, Lenox’s, 126.     │Strange, Sir Robert, 36.
_Femmes Savantes_, Molière’s, 103.  │Streatfield, Sophia, 116 _n._, 107,
                                    │108, 178.
Fielding, Henry, 61, 95, 101, 204.  │Streatham Place, 90, 94, 95, 97, 115,
                                    │116, 133.
Fite, Mme. la, 151.                 │Swift, 22, 32.
FitzGerald, Edward, 30 _n._         │
                                    │                  T
Fox, Charles, 161.                  │
                                    │_Table Talk_, Rogers’s, 206 _n._
Francis, Clement, 175 _n._, 179.    │
                                    │Talleyrand, Ch. M. de, 179, 181.
—— Mrs., 175 _n._                   │
                                    │Teignmouth Journal, 28, 72.
—— Philip, 160.                     │
                                    │_Telemachus_, Hawkesworth’s, 27.
Francklin, Dr., 98.                 │
                                    │Terrace at Windsor, The, 146, 147,
Frederick the Great, 30 _n._, 47.   │
                                    │Thrale, Mrs., 52, 53, 54, 55, 86, 90,
                                    │94, 97, 101, 106, 113, 115, 116, 118,
                                    │121, 129, 132, 133, 134, 138, 205.
French Chapel in St. James’s Palace,│
175 _n._                            │
                                    │—— Gallery, The, 94.
“Fuzelier, Miss,” 162.              │
                                    │—— Queenie, 52, 53, 94, 134, 135.
                 G                  │—— Susan, 125.
Gabrielli, Caterina, 37, 44, 49.    │Thrales, The Misses, 187.
Garrick, David, vi, 3, 21, 36, 38,  │_Thraliana_, 114.
56, 57, 90, 94, 109, 116 _n._, 205. │
—— Mrs., 11, 130.                   │_Thucydides_, Smith’s, 27.
Genlis, Mme. de. 131, 140, 141, 142.│_Tom Thumb_, Fielding’s, 58.
George, King, 138, 139, 140, 141,   │Toplady, Rev. A. M., 31.
142, 146, 161-169, 194, 205.        │
_George III._, Jesse’s, 175 _n._    │Tottenham Park, 170.
Gibbon, Edward, 126.                │_Treatise on Poetry_, Twining’s
                                    │Aristotle’s, 37.
Giffardier, Rev. C. de, 152, 158,   │_Tristram Shandy_, Sterne’s, 26, 61.
205.                                │
_Girlhood of Maria Josepha Holroyd_,│Tunbridge Wells, 105.
Adeane’s, 182.                      │
Gloucester, Duke of, 186.           │“Turbulent, Mr.,” 152, 158.
—— House, Weymouth, 169.            │Twining, Thomas, 37, 127, 194.
Goldsmith, Oliver, 29, 61, 94, 96.  │Twiss, Richard, 27, 74.
Goldsworthy, Colonel Philip, 151.   │
                                    │                  U
—— Miss, 151, 187.                  │
                                    │Upper Lodge, The, 146.
_Grandison_, Richardson’s, 64.      │
Graves, Rev. Richard, 116 _n._      │                  V
_Grecian History_, Stanyan’s, 27.   │_Vanity Fair_, Thackeray’s, 197.
Gregory, Miss, 97.                  │Vauxhall, Mr. Smith at, 79-81.
Greville, Fulke, 3, 33, 73.         │Vesey, Mrs., 130.
—— Colonel Fulke, 152.              │_Vicar of Wakefield_, Goldsmith’s,
                                    │26, 61.
—— Mrs., 4, 5, 179.                 │_Virginia_, Crisp’s, 13, 30 _n._, 56,
                                    │103, 132.
Griffiths, Mr. Ralph, 188.          │Voltaire, 20, 30 _n._, 141.
Guiffardière, Rev. Charles de, 152, │_Voyages_, Cook’s, 41.
158, 205.                           │
Guines, Count de, 47.               │
                                    │                  W
Gunning, Charlotte, 162, 171.       │
                                    │Wales, Prince of, 164, 165.
Gwyn, Colonel, 99, 152, 161.        │
                                    │Walpole, Horace, 39, 40, 61, 92, 116
                                    │_n._, 127, 130, 172, 187, 202.
—— Mrs. (“The Jessamy Bride”), 99,  │
170.                                │
                                    │Walsingham, Mrs., 126.
                 H                  │_Wanderer_, D’Arblay’s, 19, 30 _n._,
                                    │63, 194, 195, 196, 202.
Haggerdorn, Mrs., 143, 145, 174.    │_Warley Camp_, Huddesford’s, 116 _n._
Halifax, Charles Montagu, Earl of,  │Warton, Dr. Joseph, 52.
32.                                 │
Hamilton, Christopher, 13.          │—— Thomas, 130.
—— Miss, 14.                        │_Waverley_, Scott’s, 196.
Handel, 3.                          │_Way to Keep Him_, Murphy’s, 58, 103.
Hanway, Jonas, 130.                 │West, Benjamin, 130.
Harcourt, Lord, 155.                │—— Humble, 179, 190.
Harris, James, 36, 45, 46.          │Wilbury House, 4.
—— Mr. F. Leverton, 206 _n._        │Williams, Sir C. H., 126.
—— Mrs., 36.                        │Willis, Dr. Francis, 167.
—— of Covent Garden, 191.           │—— Dr. John, 167.
Hastings trial, The, 159, 172, 178. │Windham, Mr., 6, 160, 161, 172.
—— Warren, 159, 185, 186.           │_Witlings, The_, Burney’s, 101-105,
Hawkesworth, Dr., 11, 21, 28.       │Worcester Journal, 72.
Hawkins, Miss L., 144 _n._          │Wycherley, William, 2.
—— Sir John, 39, 97.                │Wylie, Mr. J. L., 206 _n._
Hayward, Abraham, 133, 144 _n._     │
                                    │                  Y
Hazlitt, William, 10, 195.          │
                                    │Yates, Mary Ann, 62.
Heberden, Dr., 164.                 │
                                    │Yearsley, Ann, 136.
_Henry and Frances_, Griffiths’, 27.│
                                    │York, Duchess of, 186.
_Hermes_, Harris’s, 36.             │
                                    │—— Duke of, 165.
Herschel, 146.                      │
                                    │Young, Miss Dorothy, 25.
_Histoire Ancienne_, Guiffardière’s,│
175 _n._                            │
_History of Caroline Evelyn_,       │
Burney’s, 63, 64, 65.               │
—— _England_, Hume’s, 27.           │
—— —— Smollett’s, 27.               │
—— _Music_, Dr. Burney’s, 20, 49,   │
50, 66.                             │

        Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
                   at the Edinburgh University Press

                           TRANSCRIBER NOTES

Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in punctuation have been maintained.

Footnotes were moved to the end of chapters and their corresponding
index page numbers were adjusted accordingly.

A cover was created for this eBook.

[The end of _Fanny Burney_, by Austin Dobson.]

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can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.