His powers of entertainment are astonishing, both in information and in raillery. We know nothing of how the rest of the world goes on. They are all coming to-night. I have yet avoided, but with extreme difficulty, the change of abode. Madame de Stael, however, will not easily be parried, and how I may finally arrange I know not. Certainly I will not offend or hurt her, but otherwise I had rather be a visitor than a guest
Pray tell Mr. Locke that " the best of the men " grows upon us at every meeting. We dined and stayed till midnight at "junipre" on Tuesday, and I would I could recollect but the twentieth part of the excellent things that were said. Madame de Stael read us the opening of her work "Sur le Bonheur:" it seems to me admirable. M. de Talleyrand avowed he had met with nothing better thought or more ably expressed; it contains the most touching allusions to their country's calamities.
A PROPOSED VISIT TO MADAME DE STAEL DISAPPROVED OF.
(Doctor Burney to Fanny Burney.) Chelsea College, February 19, 1793. Why, Fanny, what are you about, and where are you? I shall write at you, not knowing how to write to you, as Swift did to the flying and romantic Lord Peterborough. I had written the above, after a yesterday's glimmering and a feverish night as usual, when behold! a letter of requisition for a further furlough! I had long histories ready for narration de vive voix, but my time is too short and my eyes and head too -weak for much writing this morning. I am not at all surprised at your account of the captivating powers of Madame de Stael. It corresponds with all I had heard about her, and with the opinion I formed of her intellectual and literary powers, in reading her charming little "Apologie de Rousseau." But as nothing human is allowed to be perfect, she has not escaped censure. Her house was the centre of revolutionists Previous to the 10th of August, after her father's departure, and she has been accused of partiality to M. de N.(72) But Perhaps all may be jacobinical malignity. However, unfavourable stories of her have been brought hither, and the Page 52
Burkes and Mrs. Ord have repeated them to me. But you know that M. Necker's administration, and the conduct of the nobles who first joined in the violent measures that subverted the ancient establishments by the abolition of nobility and the ruin of the church, during the first National Assembly, are held in greater horror by aristocrats than even the members of the present Convention. I know this will make you feel uncomfortable, but it seemed to me right to hint it to You. If you are not absolutely in the house of Madame do Stael when this arrives, it would perhaps be possible for you to waive the visit to her, by a compromise, of having something to do for Susy, and so make the addendum to your stay under her roof. . .
(Fanny Burney to Dr. Burney.) Mickleham, February 22, '03, What a kind letter is my dearest father's, and how kindly speedy ! yet it is too true it has given me very uncomfortable feelings. I am both hurt and astonished at the acrimony of malice; indeed, I believe all this Party to merit nothing but honour, compassion, and praise. Madame de Stael, the daughter of M. Necker—the idolising daughter—of course, and even from the best principles, those of filial reverence, entered into the opening of the Revolution just as her father entered into it; but as to her house having become the centre of revolutionists before the 10th of August, it was so only for the constitutionalists, who, at that period, were not only members of the then established government, but the decided friends of the king. The aristocrats were then already banished, or wanderers from fear, or concealed and silent from cowardice; and the jacobins —I need not, after what I have already related, mention how utterly abhorrent to her must be that fiend-like set. The aristocrats, however, as you well observe, and as she has herself told me, hold the constitutionalists in greater horror than the Convention itself. This, however, is a violence against justice which cannot, I hope, be lasting ; and the malignant assertions which persecute her, all of which she has lamented to us, she imputes equally to the bad and virulent of both these parties. The intimation concerning M. de N. was, however, wholly Page 53
new to us, and I do firmly believe it a gross calumny. M. de N. was of her society, which contained ten or twelve of the first people in Paris, and, occasionally, almost all Paris ! she loves him even tenderly, but so openly, so simply, so unaffectedly, and with such utter freedom from all coquetry, that, if they were two men, or two women, the affection could not, I think, be more obviously undesi,gning. She is very plain, he is very handsome ; her intellectual endowments must be with him her sole attraction. M. de Talleyrand was another of her society, and she seems equally attached to him. M. le Viscomte de Montmorenci she loves, she says, as her brother: he is another of this bright constellation, and esteemed of excellent capacity. She says, if she continues in England he will certainly come, for he loves her too well to stay away. In short, her whole coterie live together as brethren. Madame la Marquise de la Chtre, who has lately returned to France, to endeavour to obtain de quoi vivre en Angleterre,(73) and who had been of this colony for two or three months since the 10th of August, Is a bosom friend of Madame de Stael and of all this circle : she is reckoned a very estimable as well as fashionable woman ; and a daughter of the unhappy Montmorin, who was killed on the 1st of September(74) is another of this set. Indeed, I think you could not spend a day with them and not see that their commerce is that of pure, but exalted and most elegant, friendship.
I would, nevertheless, give the world to avoid being a guest under their roof, now I have heard even the shadow of such a rumour; and I will, if it be possible without hurting or of-fending them. I have waived and waived acceptance almost from the moment of Madame de Stael's arrival. I prevailed with her to let my letter go alone to you, and I have told her, with regard to your answer, that you were sensible of the honour her kindness did me, and could not refuse to her request the week's furlough ; and then followed reasons for the Compromise you pointed out, too diffuse for writing. As Yet they have succeeded, though she is surprised and disappointed. She wants us to study French and English together, and nothing could to me be more desirable, but for this invidious report.
M. d'Arblay as well as M. de Narbonne, sent over a declaration in favour of the poor king. M. d'A. had been the Page 54
commandant at Longwy, and had been named to that post by the king himself In the accusation of the infernals, as Mr. Young justly calls them, the king is accused of leaving Longwy undefended, and a prey to the Prussians. M. d'Arblay, who before that period had been promoted into the regiment of M. de Narbonne, and thence summoned to be adjutant-general of Lafayette, wrote therefore, on this charge, to M. de Malesherbes, and told him that the charge was utterly false . that the king had taken every precaution for the proper preservation of Longwy, and that M. d'Arblay, the king's commandant, had himself received a letter of thanks and approbation from Duniouriez, who said, nothing would have been lost had every commandant taken equal pains, and exerted equal bravery. This original letter M. d'Arblay sent to M. Malesherbes, not as a vindication of himself, for he had been summoned from Longwy before the Prussians assailed it, but as a vindication of the officer appointed by the king, while he had yet the command. M. de Malesherbes wrote an answer of thanks, and said he should certainly make use of this information in the defence, However, the fear of Dumouriez, I suppose, prevented his being named. M. d'Arblay, in quitting France with Lafayette, upon the deposition of the king, had only a little ready money in his pocket, and he has been dcr(75) I since, and all he was worth in the world is sold and seized by the Convention. M. de Narbonne loves him as the tenderest of brothers, and, while one has a guinea in the world, the other will have half. "Ah!" cried M. d'Arblay, upon the murder of the king, which almost annihilated him, "I know not how those can exist who have any feelings of remorse, when I scarce can endure my life, from the simple feeling of regret that ever I pronounced the word liberty in France!"
M. DE LALLY TOLENDAL AND HIS TRAGEDY.
(Mrs. Phillips to Mrs. Locke.) Mickleham, April 2, 1793. ....I must, however, say something of juniper, whence I had an irresistible invitation to dine, etc., yesterday, and
M. de Lally Tolendal(76) read his "Mort de Strafford," which he had already recited once, and which Madame do Stael requested him to repeat for my sake.
I had a great curiosity to see M. de Lally. I cannot say that feeling was gratified by the sight of him, though it was satisfied, insomuch that it has left me without any great anxiety to see him again. He is the very reverse of all that my imagination had led me to expect in him: large, fat, with a great head, small nose, immense cheeks, nothing distingu in his manner and en fait d'esprit, and of talents in conversation, so far, so very far, distant from our juniperians, and from M. de Talleyrand, who was there, as I could not have conceived, his abilities as a writer and his general reputation considered. He seems un bon garon, un trs honnte garon, as M. Talleyrand says of him, et non de plus.(77)
He is extremely absorbed by his tragedy, which he recites by heart, acting as well as declaiming with great energy, though seated, as Le Texier is. He seemed, previous to the performance, occupied completely by It, except while the dinner lasted, which he did not neglect; but he was continually reciting to himself till we sat down to table, and afterwards between the courses.
M. Talleyrand seemed much struck with his piece, which appears to me to have very fine lines and passages in it, but which, altogether, interested me but little. I confess, indeed, the violence of ses gestes, and the alternate howling and thundering of his voice in declaiming, fatigued me excessively. If our Fanny had been present, I am afraid I should many times have been affected as one does not expect to be at a tragedy. We sat down at seven to dinner, and had half finished before M. d'Arblay appeared, though repeatedly sent for; he was profoundly grave and silent, and disappeared after the dinner, which was very gay. He was sent for, after coffee and Norbury were gone, several times, that the tragedy might be begun; and . at last Madame de S. impatiently proposed beginning without him. "Mais cela lui fera de la peine,"(78) said M. d'Autun (Talleyrand), good-naturedly; and, as she
persisted, he rose up and limped out of the room to fetch him he succeeded in bringing him.
M Malouet has left them. La Princesse d'Henin is a very pleasing, well-bred woman: she left juniper the next morning with M. de Lally.
CONTEMPLATED DisPERSION OF THE FRENCH COLONY.
(Mrs. Phillips to Fanny Burney) Mickleham, April 3. After I had sent off my letter to you on Monday I walked on to juniper, and entered at the same moment with Mr. jenkinson(79) and his attorney—a man whose figure strongly resembles some of Hogarth's most ill-looking, personages, and who appeared to me to be brought as a kind of spy, or witness of all that was passing. I would have retreated, fearing to interrupt business, but I was surrounded, and pressed to stay, by Madame de Stael with great empressement, and with much kindness by M. d'Arblay and all the rest. Mr. Clarke was the spokesman, and acquitted himself with great dignity and moderation; Madame de S. now and then came forth with a little coquetterie pour adoucir ce sauvage jenkinson.(80) "What will you, Mr. jenkinson? tell to me, what will you?" M. de Narbonne, somewhat indign de la mauvaise foi, and excd des longueurs de son adversaire, (81) was not quite so gentle with him, and I was glad to perceive that he meant to resist, in some degree at least, the exorbitant demands of his landlord.
Madame de Stael was very gay, and M. de Talleyrand very comique, this evening ; he criticised, amongst other things, her reading of prose, with great sang froid. . . . They talked over a number of their friends and acquaintances with the utmost unreserve, and sometimes with the most comic humour imaginable,—M. de Lally, M. de Lafayette, la Princesse d'Henin, la Princesse de Poix, a M. Guibert, an author. and one who was, Madame de Stael told me, passionately in love with her before she married; and innumerable others.
M. d'Arblay had been employed almost night and day since
he came from London in Writing a mmoire, which Mr Villiers had wished to have, upon the 'Artillerie Cheval,' and he had not concluded it till this morning.
(Mrs. Philips to Fanny Burney.) Tuesday, May 14. Trusting to the kindness of chance, I begin in at the top of my paper. Our Juniperians went to see Paine's hill yesterday, and had the good-nature to take my little happy Norbury. In the evening came Miss F- to show me a circular letter, sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to all the parishes in England, authorising the ministers of those parishes to raise a subscription for the unfortunate French clergy. She talked of our neighbours, and very shortly and abruptly said, "So, Mrs. Phillips, we hear you are to have Mr. Norbone and the other French company to live with you—Pray is it so?"
I was, I confess, a little startled at this plain inquiry, but answered as composedly as I could, setting out with informing this bte personnage that Madame de Stael was going to Switzerland to join her husband and family in a few days, and that of all the French company none would remain but M. de Narbonne and M. d'Arblay, for whom the captain and myself entertained a real friendship and esteem, and whom he had begged to make our house their own for a short time, as the impositions they had had to support from their servants, etc., and the failure of their remittances from abroad, had obliged them to resolve on breaking up housekeeping.
I had scarcely said thus much when our party arrived from Paine's hill; the young lady, though she had drunk tea, was so obliging as to give us her company for near two hours, and made a curious attack on M. de N., upon the first pause, in wretched French, though we had before, all of us, talked no other language than English:—"Je vous prie, M. Gnawbone, comment se porte la reine?"(82)
Her pronunciation was such that I thought his understanding her miraculous : however, he did guess her meaning, and answered, with all his accustomed douceur and politeness, that he hoped well, but had no means but general ones of information.
"I believe," said she afterwards, "nobody was so hurt at
the king's death as my papa! he couldn't ride on horseback next day!"
She then told M. de Narbonne some anecdotes (very new to him, no doubt), which she had read in the newspapers, of the Convention; and then spoke of M. Egalit. "I hope," said she, flinging her arms out with great violence, "he'll come to be gullytined. He showed the king how he liked to be gullytined, so now I hope he'll be gullytined himself!—So shocking! to give his vote against his own nephew!"
If the subject of her vehemence and blunders had been less just or less melancholy, I know not how I should have kept my face in order.
Our evening was very pleasant when she was gone, Madame de Stael is, with all her wildness and blemishes, a delightful companion, and M. de N. rises upon me in esteem and affection every time I see him: their minds in some points ought to be exchanged, for he is as delicate as a really feminine woman, and evidently suffers when he sees her setting les biensances(83) aside, as it often enough befalls her to do.
Poor Madame de Stael has been greatly disappointed and hurt by the failure of the friendship and intercourse she had wished to maintain with you,—of that I am sure; I fear, too, she is on the point of being offended. I am not likely to be her confidant if she is so, and only judge from the nature of things, and from her character, and a kind of dpit(84) in her manner once or twice in speaking of you. She asked me If you would accompany Mrs. Locke back into the country? I answered that my father would not wish to lose you for so long a time at once, as you had been absent from him as a nurse so many days.
After a little pause, "Mais est-ce qu'une femme est en tutelle pour la vie dans ce pays?" she said. "Il me paroit que votre soeur est comme une demoiselle de quatorze ans."(85) I did not oppose this idea, but enlarged rather on the constraints laid upon females, some very unnecessarily, in England,—hoping to lessen her dpit; it continued, however, visible in her countenance, though she did not express it in words.
[The frequency and intimacy with which Miss Burney and M. d'Arblay now met, ripened into attachment the high esteem which each felt for the other; and, after many struggles and scruples, occasioned by his reduced circumstances and clouded prospects, M. d'Arblay wrote her an offer of his hand ; candidly acknowledging, however, the slight hope he entertained of ever recovering the fortune he had lost by the Revolution.
At this time Miss Burney went to Chesington for a short period; probably hoping that the extreme quiet of that place would assist her deliberations, and tranquillise her mind during her present perplexities.]
MADAME DE STAEL'S WORDS OF FAREWELL. M. D'ARBLAY.
(Mrs. Philips to Fanny Burney at Chesington.)
Sunday, after church, I walked up to Norbury; there unexpectedly I met all our juniperians, and listened to one of the best conversations I ever heard : it was on literary topics, and the chief speakers Madame de Stael, M. de Talleyrand, Mr. Locke, and M. Dumont, a gentleman on a visit of two days at juniper, a Genevois, homme d'esprit et de lettres. I had not a word beyond the first " how d'yes " with any one, being obliged to run home to my abominable dinner in the midst of the discourse.
On Monday I went, by invitation, to juniper to dine, and before I came away at night a letter arrived express to Madame de Stael. On reading it, the change in her countenance made me guess the contents, It was from the Swedish gentleman who had been appointed by her husband to meet her at Ostend; he wrote from that place that he was awaiting her arrival. She had designed walking home with us by moonlight, but her spirits were too much oppressed to enable her to keep this intention. M. d'Arblay walked home with Phillips and me. Every moment of his time has been given of late to transcribing a MS. work of Madame de Stael, on 'L'Influence des Passions.' It is a work of considerable length, and written in a hand the most difficult possible to decipher.
On Tuesday we all met again at Norbury, where we spent the day. Madame de Stael could not rally her spirits at all, Page 60
and seemed like one torn from all that was dear to her. I was truly concerned. After giving me a variety of charges, or rather entreaties, to watch and attend to the health, spirits, and affairs of the friends she was leaving, she said to me, "Et dtes Mlle. Burney que je ne lui en veux pas du tout—que je quitte le pays l'aimant bien sincrement et sans rancune."(86)
I assured her earnestly, and with more words than I have room to insert, not only of your admiration, but affection, and sensibility of her worth and chagrin at seeing no more of her. I hope I exceeded not your wishes; mais il n'y avoit pas moyen de resister.(87)
She seemed pleased, and said, "Vous tes bien bonne de me dire cela,"(88) but in a low and faint voice, and dropped the subject.
Before we took leave, M. d'Arblay was already gone, meaning to finish transcribing her MS. I came home with Madame de Stael and M. de Narbonne. The former actually sobbed in saying farewell to Mrs. Locke, and half way down the hill; her parting from me was likewise very tender and flattering.
I determined, however, to see her again, and met her near the school, on Wednesday morning with a short note and a little offering which I was irresistibly tempted to make her. She could not speak to me, but kissed her hand with a very speaking and touching expression of countenance.
it was this morning, and just as I was setting out to meet her, that Skilton arrived from Chesington. I wrote a little, walked out, and returned to finish as I could.
At dinner came our Tio—(89) very bad indeed. After it we walked together with the children to Norbury; but little Fanny was so well pleased with his society that it was impossible to get a word on any particular subject. I, however, upon his venturing to question me whereabouts was the
campagne o se trouvoit Mlle. Burney,(90) ventured de mon ct(91) to speak the name of Chesington, and give a little account of its inhabitants, the early love we had for the spot, our excellent Mr. Crisp, and your good and kind hostesses. He listened with much interest and pleasure, and said, "Mais, ne pourroit-on pas faire ce petit voyage-l?"(92)
I ventured to say nothing encouraging, at least, decisively, in a great measure upon the children's account, lest they should repeat; and, moreover, your little namesake seemed to me surprisingly attentive and veille, as if elle se doutoit de quelque chose.(93)
When we came home I gave our Tio so paper to write to you; it was not possible for me to add more than the address, much as I wished it.
REGRETS RESPECTING MADAME DE STAEL.
(Fanny Burney to Mrs. -Locke.) Chesington, 1793. I have been quite enchanted to-day by my dear Susan's intelligence that my three convalescents walked to the wood. Would I had been there to meet and receive them. I have regretted excessively the finishing so miserably an acquaintance begun with so much spirit and pleasure, and the dpit I fear Madame de Stael must have experienced. I wish the world would take more care of itself, and less of its neighbours. I should have heen very safe, I trust, without such flights, and distances, and breaches. But there seemed an absolute resolution formed to crush this acquaintance, and compel me to appear its wilful renouncer. All I did also to clear the matter, and soften to Madame de Stael any pique or displeasure, unfortunately served only to increase them. Had I understood her disposition better, I should certainly have attempted no palliation, for I rather offended her pride than mollified her wrath. Yet I followed the golden rule, for how much should I prefer any acknowledgment of regret at such an apparent change, from any one I esteemed, to a seeming
unconscious complacency in an unexplained caprice! I am vexed, however, very much vexed, at the whole business. I hope she left Norbury Park with full satisfaction in its steady and more comfortable connection. I fear mine will pass for only a fashionable one.
Miss Kitty Cooke still amuses me very much by her incomparable dialect; and by her kindness and friendliness. I am taken the best care of imaginable. My poor brother, who will carry this to Mickleham, is grievously altered by the loss of his little girl. It has affected his spirits and his health, and he is grown so thin and meagre, that he looks ten years older than when I saw him last. I hope he will now revive, since the blow is over; but it has been a very, very hard one, after such earnest pains to escape it. ..
Did the wood look very beautiful? I have figured it to myself with the three dear convalescents wandering in its winding paths, and inhaling its freshness and salubrity, ever since I heard of this walk. I wanted prodigiously to have issued forth from some little green recess, to have hailed your return. I hope Mr. Locke had the pleasure of this sight. Is jenny capable of such a mounting journey?
Do you know anything of a certain young lady, who eludes all my inquiries, famous for having eight sisters, all of uncommon talents? I had formerly some intercourse with her, and she used to promise she would renew it whenever I pleased but whether she is offended that I have slighted her offers so long, or whether she is fickle, or only whimsical, I know not all that is quite undoubted is that she has concealed herself so effectually from my researches, that I might as well look for justice and clemency in the French Convention, as for this former friend in the plains and lanes of Chesington where, erst, she met me whether I would or no.
M. D'ARBLAY'S VISIT TO CHESINGTON.
(Fanny Burney to Mrs. Locke.) Chesington, 1793. How sweet to me was my dearest Fredy's assurance that my gratification and prudence went at last hand in hand! I had longed for the sight of her writing, and not dared wish it. Page 63
I shall now long Impatiently till I can have the pleasure of saying "Ma'am, I desire no more of your letters."
I have heard to-day all I can most covet of all my dear late malades. I take it for granted this little visit was made known to my dearest sister confidant. I had prepared for it from the time of my own expectation, and I have had much amusement in what the preparation produced. Mrs Hamilton ordered half a ham to be boiled ready; and Miss Kitty trimmed up her best cap, and tried it on, on Saturday, to get it in shape to her face. She made chocolate also, which we drank up on Monday and Tuesday, because it was spoiling. "I have never seen none of the French quality," she says, "and I have a purdigious curosity; though as to dukes and dukes' sons, and these high top captains, I know they'll think me a mere country bumpkin. Howsever, they can't call me worse than 'Fat Kit Square,' and that's the worst name I ever got from any of our English petite bears, which I suppose these petite French quality never heard the like of."
Unfortunately, however, when all was prepared above, the French top captain entered while poor Miss Kitty was in dishabill, and Mrs. Hamilton finishing washing up her china from breakfast. A maid who was out at the pump, and first saw the arrival, ran in to give Miss Kitty time to escape, for she was in her round dress night-cap, and without her roll and curls. However, he followed too quick, and Mrs. Hamilton was seen in her linen gown and mob, though she had put on a silk one in expectation for every noon these four or five days past; and Miss Kitty was in such confusion, she hurried out of the room. She soon, however, returned with the roll and curls, and the forehead and throat fashionably lost, in a silk gown. And though she had not intended to speak a word, the gentle quietness of her guest so surprised and pleased her, that she never quitted his side while he stayed, and has sung his praises ever since.
Mrs. Hamilton, good soul ! in talking and inquiring since of his history and conduct, shed tears at the recital. She says now she, has really seen one of the French gentry that has been drove out of their country by the villains she has heard Of, she shall begin to believe there really has been a Revolution! and Miss Kitty says, "I purtest I did not know before but it was all a sham." Page 64
THE MATRIMONIAL PROJECT IS DISCUSSED.
(Fanny Burney to Mrs. Phillips.) Friday, May 31, Chesington. My heart so smites me this morning with making no answer to all I have been requested to weigh and decide, that I feel I cannot with any ease return to town without at least complying with one demand, which first, at parting yesterday, brought me to write fully to you, my Susan, if I could not elsewhere to my satisfaction.
in the course of last night and this morning Much indeed has occurred to me, that now renders my longer silence as to prospects and proceedings unjustifiable to myself. I will therefore now address myself to both my beloved confidants, and open to them all my thoughts, and entreat their own with equal plainness in return.
M. d'Arblay's last three letters convince me he is desperately dejected when alone, and when perfectly natural. It is not that he wants patience, but he wants rational expectation of better times, expectation founded on something more than mere aerial hope, that builds one day upon what the next blasts; and then has to build again, and again to be blasted.
What affects me the most in this situation is, that his time may as completely be lost as another's peace, by waiting for the effects of distant events, vague, bewildering, and remote, and quite as likely to lead to ill as to good. The very waiting, indeed, with the mind in such a state, is in itself an evil scarce to be recompensed. . . .
My dearest Fredy, in the beginning of her knowledge of this transaction, told me that Mr. Locke was of opinion that one hundred pounds per annum(94) might do, as it does for many a curate. M. d'A. also most solemnly and affectingly declares that le simple ncessaire is all he requires and here, In your vicinity, would unhesitatingly be preferred by him to the most brilliant fortune in another sjour. If he can say that, what must I be not to echo it? I, who in the bosom of my own most chosen, most darling friends—-
I need not enter more upon this; you all must know to me a crust of bread, with a little roof for shelter, and a fire Page 65
for warmth, near you, would bring me to peace, to happiness, to all that My heart holds dear, or even in any situation could prize. I cannot picture such a fate with dry eyes ; all else but kindness and society has to me so always been nothing.
With regard to my dear father, he has always left me to myself; I will not therefore speak to him while thus uncertain what to decide.
it is certain, however, that, with peace of mind and retirement, I have resources that I could bring forward to amend the little situation ; as well as that, once thus undoubtedly established and naturalised, M. d'A. would have claims for employment.
These reflections, with a mutual freedom from ambition might lead to a quiet road, unbroken by the tortures of applications, expectations, attendance, disappointment, and time-wasting hopes and fears; if there were not apprehensions the one hundred pounds might be withdrawn. I do not think it likely, but it is a risk too serious in its consequences to be run. M. d'A. protests he could not answer to himself the hazard.
How to ascertain this, to clear the doubt, or to know the fatal certainty before it should be too late, exceeds my powers of suggestion. His own idea, to write to the queen, much as it has startled me, and wild as it seemed to me, is certainly less wild than to take the chance of such a blow in the dark. Yet such a letter could not even reach her. His very name is probably only known to her through myself. In short, my dearest friends, you will think for me, and let me know what occurs to you, and I will defer any answer till I hear your opinions. Heaven ever bless you! And pray for me at this moment.
DR. BURNEY'S OBJECTIONS TO THE MATCH.
(Dr. Burney to Fanny Burney.) May, 1793, Dear Fanny,-I have for some time seen very plainly that you are prise, and have been extremely uneasy at the discovery. YOU must have observed my silent gravity, surpassing that of mere illness and its consequent low spirits. I had some thoughts of writing to Susan about it, and intended begging her to do what I must now do for myself—that is, beg and admonish you not to entangle yourself in a wild and Page 66
romantic attachment, which offers nothing in prospect but poverty and distress, with future inconvenience and unhappiness. M. d'Arblay is certainly a very amiable and accomplished man, and of great military abilities I take for granted ; but what employment has he for them of which the success is not extremely hazardous? His property, whatever it was, has been confiscated—dcr—by the Convention - and if a counter-revolution takes place, unless it be exactly such a one as suits the particular political sect in which he enlisted, it does not seem likely to secure to him an establishment in France. And as to an establishment in England, I know the difficulty which very deserving natives find in procuring one, with every appearance of interest, friends, and probability; and, to a foreigner, I fear the difficulty will be more than doubled.
As M. d'Arblay is at present circumstanced, an alliance with anything but a fortune sufficient for the support of himself and partner would be very imprudent. He is a mere soldier of fortune, under great disadvantages. Your income, if it was as certain as a freehold estate, is insufficient for the purpose ; and if the queen should be displeased and withdraw her allowance, what could you do?
I own that, if M. d'Arblay had an establishment in France sufficient for him to marry a wife with little or no fortune, much as I am inclined to honour and esteem him, I should wish to prevent you from fixing your residence there; not merely from selfishness, but for your own sake, I know your love for your family, and know that it is reciprocal; I therefore cannot help thinking that you would mutually be lost to each other. The friends, too, which you have here, are of the highest and most desirable class. To quit them, in order to make new friendships in a strange land, in which the generality of its inhabitants at present seem incapable of such virtues as friendship is built upon, seems wild and visionary.
If M. d'Arblay had a sufficient establishment here for the purposes of credit and comfort, and determined to settle here for life, I should certainly think ourselves honoured by his alliance ; but his situation is at present so very remote from all that can satisfy prudence, or reconcile to an affectionate father the idea of a serious attachment, that I tremble for your heart and future happiness. M. d'Arblay must have lived too long in the great world to accommodate himself Page 67
contentedly to the little. his fate seems so intimately connected with that of his miserable country, and that country seems at a greater distance from peace, order, and tranquillity now than it has done at any time since the Revolution.
These considerations, and the uncertainty Of what party will finally prevail, make me tremble for you both. You see, by what I have said, that my objections are not personal, but wholly prudential. For heaven's sake, my dear Fanny, do not part with your heart too rapidly, or involve yourself in deep engagements which it will be difficult to dissolve; and to the last degree imprudent, as things are at present circumstanced, to fulfil.
As far as character, merit, and misfortune demand esteem and regard, you may be sure that M. d'Arblay will be always received by me with the utmost attention and respect - but, in the present situation of things, I can by no means think I ought to encourage (blind and ignorant as I am of all but his misfortunes) a serious and solemn union with one whose unhappiness would be a reproach to the facility and inconsiderateness of a most affectionate father.
THE MARRIAGE TAKES PLACE.
Memorandum, this 7th May, 1825.
In answer to these apparently most just, and, undoubtedly, most parental and tender apprehensions, Susanna, the darling child of Dr. Burney, as well as first chosen friend of M, d'Arblay, wrote a statement of the plans, and means, and purposes of M. d'A. and F. B.—so clearly demonstrating their power of happiness, with willing economy, congenial tastes, and mutual love of the country, that Dr. B. gave way, and sent, though reluctantly, a consent - by which the union took place the 31st Of July, 1793, in Mickleham church, In presence of Mr. and Mrs. Locke, Captain and Mrs. Phillips, M. de Narbonne, and Captain Burney, who was father to his sister, as Mr. Locke was to M. d'A. ; and on the 1st of August the ceremony was re-performed in the Sardinian chapel, according to the rites of the Romish Church; and never, 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. F. D'ARBLAY. Page 68
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE MARRIAGE TO A FRIEND.
(Madame d'Arblay to Mrs.——.) August 2, 1793. How in the world shall I begin this letter to my dearest M—! how save her from a surprise almost too strong for her weak nerves and tender heart!
After such an opening, perhaps any communication may be a relief but it is surprise only I would guard against; my present communication has nothing else to fear; it has nothing in it sad, melancholy, unhappy, but it has everything that is marvellous and unexpected.
Do you recollect at all, when you were last in town, my warm interest for the loyal part of the French exiles?-=do you remember my loge of a French officer, in particular, a certain M. d'Arblay?
Ah, my dear M—, you are quick as lightning; your sensitive apprehension will tell my tale for me now, without more aid than some details of circumstance.
The loge I then made, was with design to prepare you for an event I had reason to expect: such, however, was the uncertainty of my situation, from prudential obstacles, that I dared venture at no confidence, though my heart prompted it strongly, to a friend so sweetly sympathising in all my feelings and all my affairs—so constantly affectionate- so tenderly alive to all that interests and concerns me.
My dearest M-, you will give me, I am sure, your heart-felt wishes—your most fervent prayers. The choice I have made appears to me all you could yourself wish to fall to my lot—all you could yourself have formed to have accorded best with your kind partiality.
I had some hope you would have seen him that evening when we went together from Mrs. M. Montagu to Mrs. Locke's, for he was then a guest in Portland Place; but some miserable circumstances, of which I knew nothing till after had just fallen out, and he had shut himself up in his room. He did not know we were there.
Many, indeed, have been the miserable circumstances that have, from time to time, alarmed and afflicted in turn, and seemed to render a renunciation indispensable. The difficulties, however, have been conquered; and last Sunday Page 69
Mr. and Mrs. Locke, my sister and Captain Phillips, and my brother Captain Burney, accompanied us to the altar, in Mickleham church ; since which the ceremony has been repeated in the chapel of the Sardinian ambassador, that if, by a counter-revolution in France, M. d'Arblay recovers any f his rights, his wife may not be excluded from their participation.
You may be amazed not to see the name of my dear father upon this solemn occasion - but his apprehensions from the smallness of our income have made him cold and averse and though he granted his consent, I could not even solicit his presence. I feel satisfied, however, that time will convince him I have not been so imprudent as he now thinks me. Happiness is the great end of all our worldly views and proceedings, and no one can judge for another in what will produce it, To me, wealth and ambition would always be unavailing ; I have lived in their most centrical possessions, and I have always seen that the happiness of the richest and the greatest has been the moment of retiring from riches and from power. Domestic comfort and social affection have invariably been the sole as well as ultimate objects of my choice, and I have always been a stranger to any other species of felicity.
M. d'Arblay has a taste for literature, and a passion for reading and writing, as marked as my own ; this is a sympathy to rob retirement of all superfluous leisure, and insure to us both occupation constantly edifying or entertaining. He has seen so much of life, and has suffered so severely from its disappointments, that retreat, with a chosen companion, is become his final desire.
Mr. Locke has given M. d'Arblay a piece of ground in his beautiful park-, upon which we shall build a little neat and plain habitation. We shall continue, meanwhile, in his neighbourhood, to superintend the little edifice, and enjoy the Society of his exquisite house, and that of my beloved sister Phillips. We are now within two miles of both, at a farm-house, where we have what apartments we require, and no more, in a most beautiful and healthy situation, a mile and a half from any town. The nearest is Bookham; but I beg that MY letters may be directed to me at Captain Phillips's, Mickleham, as the post does not come this way, and I may else miss them for a week. AS I do not correspond with Mrs Montagu, and it would Page 70
be awkward to begin upon such a theme, I beg that when you write you will say something for me.
One of my first pleasures, in our little intended home, will be, finding a place of honour for the legacy of Mrs. Delany. Whatever may be the general wonder, and perhaps blame, of general people, at this connexion, equally indiscreet in pecuniary points for us both, I feel sure that the truly liberal and truly intellectual judgment of that most venerated character would have accorded its sanction, when acquainted with the worthiness of the object who would wish it.
Adieu, my sweet friend. Give my best compliments to Mr. —-, and give me your kind wishes, your kind prayers, my ever dear M—.
(1) So called from the convent where their meetings were held.
(4 "To the lamp;" the street lamp-irons being found, by the - French sansculottes, a handy substitute for the gallows.-ED.
(5) The old Marshal Duke de Broglie was one of the early emigrants. He quitted France in July 1789, after the fall of the Bastille.-ED.
(6) "Minister of War."
(7) Bradfield Hall, near Bury St. Edmund's, Suffolk, the house of Arthur Young, See infra.-ED.
(8) " Arthur Young, the well-known writer of works on agriculture, still in high repute. He was a very old friend of the Burneys ; connected with them also, by marriage, Mrs. Young being a sister of Dr. Burney's second wife. His " Travels in France " (from 1769 to 1790), published in 1794, gives a most valuable and interesting account of the state of that country just before the Revolution. Arthur Young was appointed Secretary to the Board of Agriculture, established by Act of Parliament in 1793. He died in 1820, in his seventy-ninth year, having been blind for some years previous to his death.-ED.
(9) Fanny's half-sister, Sarah Harriet Burney, -ED.
(10) " Minister of war."
(11) One memorable saying is recorded of the Duke de Liancourt. He brought the news to the king of the capture of the Bastille by the people of Paris, July 14, 1789. "Late at night, the Duke de Liancourt, having official right of entrance, gains access to the royal apartments unfolds, with earnest clearness, in his constitutional way, the Job's- news. 'Mais,' said poor Louis, 'c'est une rvolte, Why, that is a revolt!''Sire,' answered Liancourt, 'it is not a revolt,—it is a revolution.'"-(Carlyle.)-ED.
(12) "Peers of France."
(13) Coblenz was the rallying-place of the emigrant noblesse.-ED.
(14) On the 20th of June 1792, sansculotte Paris, assembling in its thousands, broke into the Tuileries, and called upon the king to remove his veto upon the decree against the priests, and to recall the ministry—Roland's—which he had just dismissed. For three hours the king stood face to face with the angry crowd, refusing to comply. In the evening, the Mayor of Paris, Ption, arrived, with other popular leaders from the Assembly, and persuaded the people to disperse.-ED.
(15) "Save Yourself, M. de Liancourt!"
(16) "Ah! we are lost!"
(18) " I am in England.
(19) The Duke de la Rochefoucault, "journeying, by quick stages, with his mother and wife, towards the Waters of Forges, or some quieter country, was arrested at Gisors; conducted along the streets, amid effervescing multitudes, and killed dead ' by the stroke of a paving-stone hurled through the coach-window.' Killed as a once Liberal, now Aristocrat; Protector of Priests, Suspender of virtuous Ptions, and most unfortunate Hot-grown-cold, detestable to Patriotism. He dies lamented of Europe; his blood spattering the cheeks of his old mother, ninety-three years old." -(Carlyle, Erench Aevolulion, Part III., Book I., ch. vi.)- ED.
(21) See note 361 ante, vol. ii. p. 449.-ED.
(22) The name under which Madame de Genlis was now passing.
(23) " She has seen me!"
(24) "Perhaps I am indiscreet?"
(25) "But, mademoiselle—after all—the king—is he quite cured? " (26) "What, mademoiselle! you knew that infamous woman?"
(27) These "journalizing letters " of Mrs. Phillips continue without interruption from the present page to page 37.-ED.
(28) Not yet duke, but viscount. He was created duke by Louis XVIII., in 1822.-ED.
(29) It should be March. "The portfolio of war was withdrawn from him, by a very laconic letter from the king, March 10, 1792; he had held it three months and three days." (Nouvelle Biographie Gnrale: art. Narbonne.)-ED.
(30) Severe decrees against the emigrants were passed in the Convention shortly afterwards. See infra, P. 33.-ED.
(31) "And as he is extremely attached to him, he has begged him to come and live with him."
(32) In a position to realise her fortune."
(33) "To pay his respects to me."
(34) "I do not speak English very well."
(35) "*What a pretty little house you have, and what pretty little hosts. "
(36) "Does he know the name of M. Lafayette ?"
(37) "They put us at first into a pretty enough room."
(38) A constitutionalist and member of the Legislative Assembly, who narrowly escaped with his life on the 10th of August. He lived thenceforward in retirement until after the fall of Robespierre and the jacobins, and came again to the fore under Napoleon.-ED.
(39) "His resignation."
(40) "Without form of law."
(41) The night of June 20-21, 1791, King Louis fled disguised from Paris, with his family; got safely as far as Varennes, but was there discovered, and obliged to return.-ED.
(42) "Resolution was taken."
(43) "After many threatening gestures."
(44) The asylum of Jean jacques (Rousseau).
(45) St. just was one of the most notable members of the National Convention. "Young Saint-just is coming, deputed by Aisne in the North; more like a Student than a Senator; not four-and-twenty yet (Sept. 1792); who has written Books; a youth of slight stature, with mild mellow voice, enthusiast olive-complexion and long black hair." (Carlyle.) He held with Robespierre, and was guillotined with him, July 28, 1794.-ED.
(46) ' "And now he is a proud republican."
(47) "What day better than the present?"
(48) "Listen to reason."
(49) M. de Necker was father of Madame de Stael, and at one time the most popular minister of France. Controller-general of finances from 1776 to 1781, and again in 1788. In July 1789, he was dismissed, to the anger of indignant Paris; had to he recalled before many days, and returned in triumph, to be, it was hoped, "Saviour of France." But his popularity gradually declined, and at last "'Adored Minister' Necker sees good on the 3rd of September, 1790, to withdraw softly, almost privily—with an eye to the 'recovery of his health.' Home to native Switzerland; not as he last came; lucky to reach it alive!" (Carlyle)-ED. (50) Malouet was a member of the Assembly, and one of the constitutional royalists who took refuge in England in September, 1792. Hearing of the intended trial of the king, 'Malouet wrote to the Convention, requesting a passport, that he might go to Paris to defend him. He got no passport, however ; only his name put on the list of emigrants for an answer. ED.
(51) "Were mixed up in it."
(52) The Bishop of Autun:—Talleyrand.-ED.
(53) "Worthy to be the husband of so amiable and charming a person as Madame de la Chtre."
(54) "M. de la Chtre is a capital fellow; but as rough as a cart-horse."
(55) The spleen.
(57) "His unfortunate friends."
(58) "But wait a bit ; I have not yet finished : we were assured that no one was lost, and even that everything on the vessel was saved."
(59) "Out at sea."
(60) "His friends the constitutionalists."
(62) The execution of Louis XVI.
(63) The Literary Club.
(64) Guarded: circumspect.
(65) Dr. Percy, editor of the "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry."-ED. (66) "Move the people to compassion."
(67) As literary curiosities, the subjoined notes from Madame de Stael , have been printed verbatim et literatim: they are probably her earliest attempts at English writing.
(68) "But, to make more sure, I tell you in French that your room, the house, the inmates of Juniper, everything is ready to receive the first woman in England."
(69) Malesherbes was one of the counsel who defended Louis at his trial. The Convention, after debate, has granted him Legal Counsel, of his own choosing. Advocate Target feels himself 'too old,' being turned of fifty-four - and declines. . . . Advocate Tronchet, some ten years older, does not decline. Nay behold, good old Malesherbes steps forward voluntarily; to the last of his fields , the good old hero! He is gray with seventy years; he says, 'I was twice called to the Council of him who was my Master, When all the world coveted that honour; and I owe him the same service now, when it has become one which many reckon dangerous!"—(Carlyle). Malesherbes was guillotined in 1794, during "the Reign of Terror."-ED.
(70) Mr. Clarke.
(73) "Something to live on in England."
(74) September 2, it should be.-ED.
(75) i.e., Dcrt d'accusation, accused.-ED.
(76) Lally Tolendal was the son of the brave Lally, Governor of Pondicherry, whose great services in India were rewarded by the French government with four years' imprisonment, repeated torture, and finally ignominious death, in 1760. The infliction of torture on criminals was not put a stop to in France until the Revolution.-ED.
(77) "A very good fellow, and nothing more."
(78) "But he will be hurt at that." (79) The owner of Juniper Hall.-ED.
(80) "Coquetry to soften that barbarous jenkinson."
(81) "Indignant at the bad faith, and tired with the tediousness of his opponent."
(82) "Pray, Mr. Gnawbone, how is the queen?" (83) Punctiliousness: propriety.
(84) Pet: Vexation.
(85) "Is a woman in leading strings all her life in this country? It seems to me that your sister is like a child of fourteen." (86) "And tell Miss Burney that I don't desire it of her-that I leave the Country loving her sincerely, and bearing her no grudge."
(87) "There was no way out of it."
(88) "You are very good to say SO."
(89) M. d'Arblay. "When Lieutenant [James] Burney accompanied captain Cook to otaheite, each of the English sailors was adopted as a brother by some one of the natives. The ceremony consisted in rubbing noses together, and exchanging the appellation Tyo or Toio, which signified 'chosen friend.' This title was sometimes playfully given to Miss Burney by Mrs. Thrale." note to the original edition of the "Diary", vol. ii. page 38.-ED.
(90) "Country place where Miss Burney was."
(91) "On my part."
(92) "Could not one make that little journey?"
(93) "Wide awake, as if she suspected something."
(94) The amount of Fanny's pension from the queen.-ED.
SECTION 20. (1793-6)
LOVE IN A COTTAGE: THE D'ARBLAYS VISIT WINDSOR.
[Never, probably, did Fanny enjoy greater happiness than during the first few years of her married life, "Love in a cottage" on an income Of One hundred pounds a year, was exactly suited to her retiring and affectionate nature. The cottage, too, was within easy walking distance of Mickleham, where resided her favourite sister, Susanna, and of Norbury Park, the home of her dearest friends, the Lockes. Here, then, in this beautiful part of Surrey, with a devoted husband by her side, and, in due time, a little son (her only child) to share with him her tenderness and care ' did Fanny lead, for some.time, a tranquil and, in the main, a happy life. Her chief excursions were occasional visits to the queen and princesses-delightful visits now that she was out of harness. Towards the end, however, of the period of which the following 'Section contains the history, two melancholy events, happening in quick succession, brought sorrow to the little household at Book'ham. The departure for Ireland of Susan Phillips left a grievous gap in the circle of Fanny's best-loved friends. We gather from the "Diary" that Captain (now Major) Phillips had gone to Ireland, with his little son, Norbury, to superintend the management of his estate at Belcotton, some months before his wife left Mickleham. In the autumn of 1796 he returned to fetch his wife and the rest of his family. An absence of three years was intended, The parting was rendered doubly distressing by the evidently declining state of Susan's health. Shortly afterwards, in October 1796, died Fanny's step-mother, who had been, for many years, more Or less an invalid. Fanny hastened to Chelsea on receiving the news, and spent some time there with her father and his Youngest daughter. The following extract from a memorandum of Dr. Burney's will be read, we think, not without Interest.
"On the 26th of October, she [his second wife) was interred in the burying-ground of Chelsea College. On the 27th, I returned to my melancholy home, disconsolate and stupified, Though long Page 72
expected, this calamity was very severely felt; I missed her counsel, converse, and family regulations; and a companion of thirty years, whose mind was cultivated, whose intellects were above the general level of her sex, and whose curiosity after knowledge was insatiable to the last. These were losses that caused a vacuum in my habitation and in my mind, that has never been filled up.
"My four eldest daughters, all dutiful, intelligent, and affectionate, were married, and had families of their own to superintend, or they might have administered comfort. My youngest daughter ' Sarah Harriet, by my second marriage, had quick intellects, and distinguished talents ; but she had no experience in household affairs. However, though she had native spirits of the highest gaiety, she became a steady and prudent character, and a kind and good girl. There is, I think, considerable merit in her novel, 'Geraldine,' particularly in the conversations; and I think the scene at the emigrant cottage really touching. At least it drew tears from me, when I was not so prone to shed them as I am at present."(95)
During these years Fanny did not suffer her pen to lie idle. Her tragedy, "Edwy and Elgiva," was produced, though without success, at Drury Lane. On the other hand, the success of her third novel, "Camilla, or a Picture of Youth, " published by subscription in 1796, was, at least from a financial point of view, conspicuous and immediate. Out of an edition of four thousand, three thousand five hundred copies were sold within three months.
Were we to attempt to rank Madame d'Arblay's novels in order of merit, we should perhaps feel compelled to place "Camilla" at the bottom of the list, yet without intending to imply any considerable inferiority. But it is full of charm and animation the characters—the female characters especially-are drawn with a sure hand, the humour is as diverting, the satire as spirited as ever. Fanny"s fops and men of the ton are always excellent in their kind, and "Camilla" contains, perhaps, her greatest triumph in this direction, in the character of Sir Sedley Clarendal. Lovel. in "Evelina," and Meadows, in "Cecilia," are mere blockheads, whose distinction is wholly due to the ludicrousness of their affectations; but in Sir Sedley she has attempted, and succeeded in the much more difficult task of portraying a man of naturally good parts and feelings, who, through idleness and vanity, has allowed himself to sink into the position of a mere leader of the ton, whose better nature rises at times, in spite of himself, above the flood of affectation and folly beneath which he endeavours to drown it. Camilla herself, the light-hearted, unsuspicious Camilla, however she may differ, in some points of character, from Fanny's other heroines, possesses one quality which is common to them all, the power of fascinating the reader. Perhaps the least satisfactory character in the book is that of the hero, Edgar Mandlebert, whose extreme caution in the choice of a wife betrays him into ungenerous suspicions, as irritating to the impatient reader as they are dis- Page 73
tressing to pool- Camilla. In fine, whatever faults, as occasionally of style, the book may have the interest never for One moment flags from the first page to the last of the entire five volumes.
The subscriPtion-price of " Camilla " was fixed at one guinea. Fanny's friends, Mrs. Crewe, Mrs. Boscawen, and Mrs. Locke, exerted themselves with the utmost zeal and success in procuring subscribers, and the printed lists prefixed to the first volume contains nearly eleven hundred names. Among wthem we notice the name of Edmund Burke, whose great career was closing in a cloud of domestic trouble'. Early in 1794 he lost his brother, Richard, and in August of the same year a far heavier blow fell upon him in the death, at the age of thirty-six, of his only and promising son, "the pride and ornament of my existence," as he called him in a touching letter to Mrs. Crewe. The desolate father, already worn with the thankless toils of statesmanship, in which his very errors had been the outcome of a noble and enthusiastic temperament, never recovered from this blow. But when Mrs. Crewe sent him, in 1795, the proposals for publishing "Camilla," Burke roused himself to do a new kindness to an old friend. He forwarded to Mrs. Crewe a note for twenty pounds, desiring in return one copy of the book, and justified his generous donation in a letter of the most delicate Courtesy. "As to Miss Burney," he wrote, "the subscription ought to be, for certain persons, five guineas; and to take but a single copy each. The rest as it is. I am sure that it is a disgrace to the age and nation, if this be not a great thing for her. if every person in England who has received pleasure'and instruction from 'Cecilia,' were to rate its value at the hundredth part of their satisfaction, Madame d'Arblay would be one of the richest women in the kingdom.
"Her scheme was known before she lost two of her most respectful admirers from this house; and this, with Mrs. BUrke's' subscription and mine, make the paper I send you. One book is as good as a thousand: one of hers is certainly as good as a thousand others."
The book, on its Publication 'was sent to Bath, where Burke was lying ill-too ill to read it. To Mrs. Crewe, who visited him at the time, he said : "How ill I am you will easily believe, when a new work of Madame d'Arblay's lies on my table, unread!"(96)
Meanwhile the retirement of the "hermits" at Bookham was now and again disturbed by echoes of the tumult without. The war was progressing, and the Republic was holding its own against the combined powers of Europe. Dr. Burney refers to the "sad news" from Dunkirk. In August, 1793, an English army, commanded by the Duke of York, had invested that important stronghold: on the night of September 8, thanks to the exertions of the garrison and the advance of General Houchard to its relief, the siege was urriedly abandoned and his royal highness had to beat a retreat, leaving behind him' his siege-artillery and a large quantity of aggage and ammunition. Another siege—that of Page 74
Toulon-seemed likely to prove a matter of nearer concern to Fanny. The inhabitants of Toulon, having royalist, or at least anti-jacobin, sympathies, and stirred by the fate of Marseilles, had determined, in an unhappy hour, to defy the Convention and to proclaim the dauphin by the title of Louis XVII. They invoked the protection of the English fleet under Admiral Hood, who accordingly took possession of the harbour and of the French ships of war stationed therein, while a force of English and Spanish soldiers was sent on shore to garrison the forts. In the course of these proceedings the admiral issued to the townspeople two proclamations, by the second of which, dated August 28, 1793, after noticing the declaration of the inhabitants in favour of monarchy, and Their desire to re-establish the constitution as it was accepted by the late king, he explicitly declared that he took possession of Toulon and should keep it solely as a deposit for Louis XXIII., and that only until the restoration of peace. This hopeful intelligence did not escape General d'Arblay, busied among his cabbages at Bookham. A blow to be struck for Louis XVII. and the constitution! The general straightway flung aside the "Gardener's Dictionary," and wrote an offer to Mr. Pitt of his services as volunteer at Toulon, in the sacred cause of the Bourbons. Happily for Fanny, his offer was not accepted, for some reason unexplained.(97) In the meantime, General Dugommier and the republicans, a young artillery-officer named Napoleon Buonaparte among them, were using their best endeavours to reduce Toulon, with what result we shall presently see.-ED.]
THE FRENCH CLERGY FUND. THE TOULON ExPEDITION.
(Dr. Burney to Madame d'Arblay.) September 12, 1793. Dear Fanny—In this season of leisure I am as fully occupied as ever your friend Mr. DelVile(98) was. So many people to attend, so many complaints to hear, and so many grievances to redress, that it has been impossible for me to write to you sooner. I have been out of town but one Single day, I believe, since you were here: that was spent at Richmond with my sisters. But every day Page 75
produces business for other people, which occupies me as much as ever I found myself in days of hurry about my own affairs.
I have had a negotiation and correspondence to carry on for and with Charlotte Smith,(99) of which I believe I told you the beginning, and I do not see the end myself. Her second son had his foot shot off before Dunkirk, and has undergone a very dangerous amputation, which, it is much feared, will be fatal.
Mrs. Crewe, having seen at Eastbourne a great number of venerable and amiable French clergy suffering all the evils of banishment and beggary with silent resignation, has for some time had in meditation a plan for procuring some addition to the small allowance the committee at Freemasons' hall is able to allow, from the residue of the subscriptions and briefs in their favour. Susan will show you the plan. . . .
You say that M. d'Arblay is not only his own architect, but intends being his own gardener. I suppose the ground allotted to the garden of your maisonnette is marked out, and probably will be enclosed and broken up before the foundation of your mansion is laid ; therefore, to encourage M. d'Arblay in the study of horticulture, I have the honour to send him Miller's 'Gardeners' Dictionary,'—an excellent book, at least for the rudiments of the art. I send you, my dear Fanny, an edition of Milton, which I can well spare, and which you ought not to live without ; and I send you both our dear friend Dr. Johnson's 'Rasselas.'
This is sad news from Dunkirk, at which our own jacobins will insolently triumph. Everything in France seems to move in a regular progression from bad to worse. After near five years' struggle and anarchy, no man alive, with a grain of modesty, would venture to predict how or when the evils of that country will be terminated. In the meantime the peace and comfort of every civilised part of the globe is threatened with similar calamities.
(Madame dArblay to Dr. Burney) Bookham, September 29, 1793. When I received the last letter of my dearest father, and for some hours after, I was the happiest of all human beings. I make no exception, for I think none possible : not a wish remained to me; not a thought of forming one. Page 76
This was just the period—is it not always so?—for a blow of sorrow to reverse the whole scene : accordingly, that evening M. d'Arblay communicated to me his desire of going to Toulon. He had intended retiring from public life; his services and his sufferings in his severe and long career, repaid by exile and confiscation, and for ever embittered to his memory by the murder of his sovereign, had justly satisfied the claims of his conscience and honour; and led him, without a single self-reproach, to seek a quiet retreat in domestic society : but the second declaration of Lord Hood no sooner reached this little obscure dwelling,-no sooner had he read the words Louis XVII. and the constitution to which he had sworn united, than his military ardour rekindled, his loyalty was all up in arms, and every sense of duty carried him back to wars and dangers.
I dare not speak of myself, except to say that I have forborne to oppose him with a single solicitation; all the felicity of this our chosen and loved retirement would effectually be annulled by the smallest suspicion that it was enjoyed at the expense of any duty - and therefore, since he is persuaded it is right to go, I acquiesce. He is now writing an offer of his services, which I am to convey to Windsor, and which he means to convey himself to Mr. Pitt. As I am sure it will interest my dear father, I will copy it for him. . . .
My dearest father, before this tremendous project broke into our domestic economy, M, d'Arblay had been employed in a little composition, which, being all in his power, he destined to lay at your feet, as a mark of his pleasure in your attention to his horticultural pursuit. He has just finished copying it for you, and to-morrow it goes by the stage.
Your hint of a book from time to time enchanted him: it seems to me the only present he accepts entirely without pain. He has just requested me to return to Mrs. Locke herself a cadeau she had brought us. If it had been an old Courtcalendar, or an almanac, or anything in the shape of a brochure, he would have received it with his best bow and smile.
This Toulon business finally determines our deferring the maisonnette till the spring. Heaven grant it may be deferred no longer!(100) Mr Locke says it will be nearly as soon ready as if begun in the autumn, for it will be better to have it Page 77
aired and inhabited before the winter seizes it, If the memoire which M. d'Arblay is now writing is finished in time, it shall accompany the little packet; if not, we will send it by the first opportunity.
Meanwhile, M. d'Arblay makes a point of our indulging ourselves with the gratification of subscribing one guinea to your fund,(101) and Mrs. Locke begs you will trust her and insert her subscription in your list, and Miss Locke and Miss Amelia Locke. Mr. Locke is charmed with your plan. M. d'Arblay means to obtain you Lady Burrel and Mrs. Berm. If you think I can write to any purpose, tell me a little hint how and of what, dearest sir; for I am in the dark as to what may remain yet unsaid. Otherwise, heavy as is my heart just now, I could work for them and Your plan.(102)
(Dr. Burney to Madame d'Arblay.) October 4, 1793. Dear Fanny,—This is a terrible coup, so soon after your union; but I honour M, d'Arblay for offering his service on so great an occasion, and you for giving way to what seems an indispensable duty. Common-place reflections on the vicissitudes of human affairs would afford you little consolation. The stroke is new to your situation, and so will be the fortitude necessary on the occasion. However, to military men, who, like M. d'Arblay, have been but just united to the object of their choice, and begun to domesticate, it is no uncommon tbing for their tranquillity to be disturbed by " the trumpet's loud clangor." Whether the offer is accepted or not, the having made it will endear him to those embarked in the same cause among his countrymen, and elevate him in the general opinion of the English public. This consideration I am sure will afford you a satisfaction the most likely to enable you to support the anxiety and pain of absence.
I have no doubt of the offer being taken well at Windsor, and of its conciliating effects. If his majesty and the ministry Page 78
have any settled plan for accepting or rejecting similar offers I know not; but it seems very likely that Toulon will be regarded as the rallying point for French royalists of all sects and denominations. . . .
I shall be very anxious to know how the proposition of M. d'Arblay has been received; and, if accepted, on what conditions, and when and how the voyage is to be performed , I should hope in a stout man of war ; and that M. de Narbonne will be of the party, being so united in friendship and political principles.
Has M. d'Arblay ever been at Toulon ? It is supposed to be so well fortified, both by art and nature, on the land side, that; if not impregnable, the taking it by the regicides will require so much time that it is hoped an army of counterrevolutionists will be assembled from the side of Savoy, sufficient to raise the siege, if unity of measures and action prevail between the Toulonnais and their external friends. But even if the assailants should make such approaches as to render it necessary to retreat, with such a powerful fleet as that of England and Spain united, it will not only be easy to carry off the garrison and inhabitants in time, but to destroy such ships as cannot be brought away, and ruin the harbour and arsenal for many years to come.'
I have written to Mrs. Crewe all you have said on the subject of writing something to stimulate benevolence and commiseration in favour of the poor French ecclesiastics, amounting to six thousand now in England, besides four hundred laity here and eight hundred at Jersey, in utter want. The fund for the laity was totally exhausted the 27th of last month, and the beginning of the next that raised by former subscriptions and briefs will be wholly expended!
The expense, in only allowing the clergy 8 shillings a-week, amounts Page 79
to about 7500 pounds a-month, which cannot be supported long by private subscriptions, and must at last be taken up by Parliament; but to save the national disgrace of suffering these excellent people to die of hunger, before the Parliament meets and agrees to do something for them, the ladies must work hard. You and M. d'Arblay are very good in wishing to contribute your mite ; but I did not intend leading you into this scrape. If you subscribe your pen, and he his sword, it will best answer Mr. Burke's idea, who says, "There are two ways by which people may be charitable-the one by their money, the other by their exertions."
(Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.) Sunday noon, October 21, 1793. My dearest father will think I have been very long in doing the little I have done; but my mind is so anxiously discom-fited by the continued suspense with regard to M. d'Arblay's proposition and wish, that it has not been easy to me to weigh completely all I could say, and the fear of repeating what had already been offered upon the subject has much restrained me, for I have seen none of the tracts that may have appeared. However, it is a matter truly near my heart ; and though I have not done it rapidly, I have done it with my whole mind, and, to own the truth, with a species of emotion that has greatly affected me, for I could not deeply consider the situation of these venerable men without feeling for them to the quick. If what I have written should have power to procure them one more guinea, I shall be paid.
If you think what I have drawn up worth printing, I should suppose it might make a little sixpenny paper, and be sold for the same purpose it is written. Or will it only do to be printed at the expense of the acting ladies, and given gratis? You must judge of this.
(Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.) Bookham, October 27, 1793. My most dear father,—The terrible confirmation of this last act of savage hardness of heart(104) has wholly overset us again. M. d'Arblay had entirely discredited its probability, Page 80
and, to the last moment, disbelieved the report not from milder thoughts of the barbarous rulers of his unhappy country, but from seeing that the death of the queen could answer no purpose, helpless as she was to injure them, while her life might answer some as a hostage with the emperor. Cruelty, however, such as theirs, seems to require no incitement whatever; its own horrible exercise appears sufficient both to prompt and to repay it. Good heaven! that that wretched princess should so finish sufferings so unexampled!
With difficulties almost incredible, Madame de Stael has contrived, a second time, to save the lives of M. de Jaucourt and M, de Montmorenci, who are just arrived in Switzerland. We know as yet none of the particulars; simply that they are saved is all: but they write in a style the most melancholy to M. de Narbonne, of the dreadful fanaticism of licence, which they dare call liberty, that still reigns unsubdued in France, And they have preserved nothing but their persons ! of their vast properties they could secure no more than pocket-money, for travelling in the most penurious manner. They are therefore in a state the most deplorable. Switzerland is filled with gentlemen and ladies of the very first families and rank, who are all starving, but those who have had the good fortune to procure, by disguising their quality, some menial office!
No answer comes from Mr. Pitt ; and we now expect none till Sir Gilbert Elliot makes his report of the state of Toulon and of the Toulonnese till which, probably, no decision will be formed whether the constitutionals in England will be employed or not.
[M. d'Arblay's offer of serving in the expedition to Toulon was not accepted, and the reasons for which it was declined do not appear.]
MADAME D'ARBLAY ON HER MARRIAGE.
(Madame d'Arblay to mrs.——.)
The account of your surprise, my sweet friend, was the last thing to create mine: I was well aware of the general astonishment, and of yours in particular. My own, however, at my very extraordinary fate, is singly greater than that of all my friends united. I had never made any vow against marriage, but I had long, long been firmly persuaded it was for me a state of too much hazard and too little promise to draw me from my
individual plans and purposes. I remember, in playing -at questions and commands, when I was thirteen, being asked when I intended to marry? and surprising my playmates by solemnly replying) "When I think I shall be happier than I am in being single." It is true, I imagined that time would never arrive - and I have pertinaciously adhered to trying no experiment upon any other hope - for, many and mixed as are the ingredients which form what is generally considered as happiness, I was always fully convinced [hat social sympathy of character and taste could alone have any chance with me; all else I always thought, and now know, to be immaterial. I have only this peculiar,—that what many contentedly assert or adopt in theory, I have had the courage to be guided by in practice.
We are now removed to a very small house in the suburbs of a very small village called Bookham. We found it rather inconvenient to reside in another person's dwelling, though our own apartments were to ourselves. Our views are not so beautiful as from Phenice farm, but our situation is totally free from neighbours and intrusion. We are about a mile and a half from Norbury Park, and two miles from Mickleham. I am become already so stout a walker, by use, and with the help of a very able supporter, that I go to those places and return home on foot without fatigue, when the weather is kind. At other times I condescend to accept a carriage from Mr. Locke ; but it is always reluctantly, I so much prefer walking where, as here, the country and prospects are inviting.
I thank you for your caution about building: we shall certainly undertake nothing but by contract - however, it would be truly mortifying to give up a house in Norbury Park we defer the structure till the spring, as it is to be so very slight, that Mr. Locke says it will be best to have it hardened in its first stage by the summer's sun. It will be very small, merely an habitation for three people, but in a situation truly beautiful, and within five minutes of either Mr. Locke or my sister Phillips: it is to be placed just between those two loved houses.
My dearest father, whose fears and drawbacks have been my Sole subject of regret, begins now to see I have not judged rashly, or with romance, in seeing my own road to my own felicity. And his restored cheerful concurrence in my constant principles, though new station, leaves me, for myself,
without a wish. L'ennui, which could alone infest our retreat, I have ever been a stranger to, except in tiresome company, and my companion has every possible resource against either feeling or inspiring it.
As my partner is a Frenchman, I conclude the wonder raised by the connexion may spread beyond my own private circle; but no wonder upon earth can ever arrive near my own in having found such a character from that nation. This is a prejudice certainly, impertinent and very John Bullish, and very arrogant but I only share it with all my countrymen, and therefore must needs forgive both them and myself. I am convinced, however, from your tender solicitude for me in all ways, that you will be glad to hear that the queen and all the royal family have deigned to send me wishes for my happiness through Mrs. Schwellenberg, who has written me what you call a very kind congratulation.
[In the year 1794, the happiness of the "Hermitage" was increased by the birth of a son,(105) who was christened Alexander Charles Louis Piochard d'Arblay; receiving the names of his father, with those of his two godfathers, the Comte de Narbonne and Dr. Charles Burney.]
(Madame d'Arblay to Doctor Burney) Bookham, February 8, 1794. The times are indeed, as my dearest father says, tremendous, and reconcile this retirement daily more and more to my chevalier- -chevalier every way, by birth, by his order, and by his character; for to-day he has been making his first use of a restoration to his garden in gathering snowdrops for his fair Dulcinea—you know I must say fair to finish the phrase with any effect.
I am very sorry for the sorrow I am sure Mr. Burke will feel for the loss of his brother, announced in Mr. Coolie's paper yesterday. Besides, he was a comic, good-humoured, entertaining man, though not bashful.(106)
What an excellent opening Mr. Canning has made at last! Entre nous soit dit, I remember, when at Windsor, that I Was told Mr. Fox came to Eton purposely to engage to himself that young man, from the already great promise of his rising abilities - and he made dinners for him and his nephew, Lord Holland, to teach them political lessons. It must have had an odd effect upon him, I think, to hear such a speech from his disciple.(107)
Mr. Locke now sends us the papers for the debates every two or three days ; he cannot quicker, as his own household readers are so numerous. I see almost nothing of Mr. Windham in them ; which vexes me: but I see Mr. Windham in Mr. Canning.
TALLEYRAND's LETTERS OF ADIEU.(108)
(M. de Talleyrand to Mrs. Philips.) Londres, 1794. Madame,—Il faut qu'il y ait eu de l'impossibilit pour que ce matin je n'aie pas eu l'honneur de vous voir; mais l'im-
possibilit la plus forte m'a priv du dernier plaisir que je pouvois avoir en Europe. Permettez moi, madame, de vous remercier encore une fois do toutes vos bonts, de vous demander un peu de part dans votre souvenir, et laissez moi vous dire que mes voeux se porteront dans tous les terns de ma vie vers vous, vers le capitaine, vers vos enfans. Vous allez avoir en Amrique un serviteur bien zl; je ne reviendrai pas en Europe sans arriver dans le Surrey: tout ce qui, pour mon esprit et pour mon coeur, a quelque valeur, est l.
Voulez-vous bien prsenter tous mes complimens au capitaine?(109)
(M. de Talleyrand to M. and Madame d'Arblay.) Londres, 2 Mars, 1794. Adieu, mon cher D'Arblay: je quitte votre pays jusqu'au moment o il n'appartiendra plus aux petites passions des hommes. Alors j'y reviendrai; non, en vrit, pour m'occuper d'affaires, car il y a long tems que je les ai abandonnes pour jamais; mais pour voir les excellens habitans du Surrey, J'espre savoir assez d'Anglais pour entendre Madame d'Arblay; d'ici quatre mois je ne vais faire autre chose que l'tudier: et pour apprendre le beau et bon langage, c'est "Evelina" et "Cecilia" qui sont mes livres d'tude et de plaisir. Je vous souhaite, mon cher ami, toute espce de bonheur, et vous tes on position de remplir tous mes souhaits.
je ne sais combien de tems je resterai en Amrique: s'il se rfroit quelque chose de raisonnable et de stable pour notre malheureux pays, je reviendrois; si l'Europe s'abme dans la campagne prochaine, je prparerai en Amrique des asyles tous nos amis.
Adieu: mes hommages Madame d'Arblay et Madame phillips, je vous en prie: je vous demande et vous promets amiti pour la vie.(110)
M. D'ARBLAY's HORTICULTURAL PURSUITS.
(Madame d'Arblay to Doctor Burney.) Bookham, March 22, 1794. My dear father.—I am this Moment returned from reading your most welcome and kind letter at our Susanna's. The account of your better health gives me a pleasure beyond all words; and it is the more essential to my perfect contentment on account of your opinion of our retreat. I doubt not, my dearest father, but you judge completely right, and I may nearly say we are both equally disposed to pay the most implicit respect to your counsel. We give up, therefore, all thoughts of our London excursion for the present, and I shall write to that effect to our good intended hostess very speedily. I can easily conceive far more than you enlarge upon in this counsel: and, indeed, I have not myself been wholly free from apprehension of possible embarras, should we, at this period, visit London; for though M. d'Arblay not only could stand, but would court, all personal scrutiny, whether retrospective or actual, I see daily the extreme susceptibility which attends his very nice notions of honour, and how quickly and deeply his spirit is wounded by whatever he regards as injustice. Incapable, too, of the least trimming or
disguise, he could not, at a time such as this, be in London without suffering or risking perhaps hourly, something unpleasant. Here we are tranquil, undisturbed and undisturbing. Can life, he often says, he more innocent than ours, or happiness more inoffensive? He works in his garden, or studies English and mathematics, while I write. When I work at my needle, he reads to me; and we enjoy the beautiful country around us in long and romantic strolls, during which he carries under his arm a portable garden chair, lent us by Mrs. Locke, that I may rest as I proceed. He is extremely fond, too, of writing, and makes, from time to time, memorandums of such memoirs, poems, and anecdotes as he recollects, and I wish to have preserved. These resources for sedentary life are certainly the first blessings that can be given to man, for they enable him to be happy in the extremest obscurity, even after tasting the dangerous draughts of glory and ambition.
The business of M. de Lafayette(111) has been indeed extremely bitter to him. It required the utmost force he could put upon himself not to take some public part in it. He drew up a short but most energetic defence of that unfortunate general, in a letter, which he meant to print and send to the editors of a newspaper which had traduced him, with his name at full length. But after two nights' sleepless deliberation, the hopelessness of serving his friend, with a horror and disdain of being mistaken as one who would lend any arms to weaken government at this crisis, made him consent to repress it. I was dreadfully uneasy during the conflict, knowing, far better than I can make him conceive, the mischiefs that might follow any interference at this moment, in matters brought before the nation, from a foreigner. But, conscious of his own integrity, I plainly see he must either wholly retire, or come forward to encounter whatever he thinks wrong. Ah—better let him accept your motto, and cultiver son jardin! He is now in it, notwithstanding our long walk to Mickleham, and working hard and fast to finish some selfset task that to-morrow, Sunday, must else impede. page 87
M. d'Arblay, to my infinite satisfaction, gives up all thoughts of building, in the present awful state of public affairs. To show you, however, how much he is " of your advice " as to son jardin, he has been drawing a plan for it, which I intend to beg, borrow, or steal (all one), to give you some idea how seriously he studies to make his manual labours of some real utility.
This sort of work, however, is so totally new to him, that he receives every now and then some of poor Merlin's "disagreeable compliments;" for, when Mr. Locke's or the captain's gardeners favour our grounds with a visit, they commonly make known that all has been done wrong. Seeds are sowing in some parts when plants ought to be reaping, and plants are running to seed while they are thought not yet at maturity. Our garden, therefore, is not yet quite the most profitable thing in the world; but M. d'A. assures me it is to be the staff of our table and existence.
A little, too, he has been unfortunate ; for, after immense toil in planting and transplanting strawberries round our hedge, here at Bookham, he has just been informed they will bear no fruit the first year, and the second we may be "over the hills and far away!" Another time, too, with great labour, he cleared a considerable compartment of weeds, and, when it looked clean and well, and he showed his work to the gardener, the man said he had demolished an asparagus-bed! M. d'A. protested, however, nothing could look more like des mauvaises herbes.
His greatest passion is for transplanting. Everything we possess he moves from one end of the garden to another, to produce better effects. Roses take place of jessamines, jessamines of honeysuckles, and honeysuckles of lilacs, till they have all danced round as far as the space allows; but whether the effect may not be a general mortality, summer only can determine.
Such is our horticultural history. But I must not omit that we have had for one week cabbages from our own cultivation every day! O, you have no idea how sweet they tasted! We agreed they had a freshness and a got we had never met with before. We had them for too short a time to grow tired of them, because, as I have already hinted, they were beginning to run to seed before we knew they were eatable. . .
April. Think of our horticultural shock last week, when Mrs. Bailey, our landlady, "entreated M. d'Arblay not to Spoil Page 88
her fruit-trees!"—trees he had been pruning with his utmost skill and strength. However, he has consulted your "Millar" thereupon, and finds out she is very ignorant, which he has gently intimated to her.
(Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.) Bookham, April, 1794. What a charming letter was your last, my dearest father How full of interesting anecdote and enlivening detail! The meeting with Mrs. Thrale, so surrounded by her family, made me breathless; and while you were conversing with the Signor, and left me in doubt whether you advanced to her or not, I almost gasped with impatience and revived old feelings, which, presently, you reanimated to almost all their original energy How like my dearest father to find all his kindness rekindled when her ready hand once more invited it! I heard her voice in, "Why here's Dr. Burney, as young as ever!" and my dear father in his parrying answers.(112) No scene could have been related to me more interesting or more welcome. My heart and hand, I am sure, would have met her in the same manner. The friendship was too pleasant in its first stage, and too strong in its texture, to be ever obliterated, though it has been tarnished and clouded. I wish few things more earnestly than again to meet her.
M. D'ARDLAY AS A GARDENER.
(Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.)(113) Bookham, August, '94. It is just a week since I had the greatest gratification of its kind I ever, I think, experienced :—-so kind a thought, so
sweet a surprise as was my dearest father's visit! How softly and soothingly it has rested upon my mind ever since!
"Abdolomine"(114) has no regret but that his garden was not in better order; he was a little piqu, he confesses, that you said it was not very neat—and, to be shor!-0-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, you should have seen the place before he began his operations, to do him justice ; there was then nothing else but mauvaises herbes; now, you must at least allow there is a mixture of flowers and grain! I wish you had seen him yesterday, mowing down our hedge—with his sabre, and with an air and attitudes so military, that, if he had been hewing down other legions than those he encountered—ie., of spiders—he could scarcely have had a mien more tremendous, or have demanded an arm more mighty. Heaven knows, I am "the most contente personne in the world" to see his sabre so employed!
A NOVEL AND A TRAGEDY.
You spirited me on in all ways; for this week past I have taken tightly to the grand ouvrage.(115) If I go on so a little longer, I doubt not but M. d'Arblay will begin settling where to have a new shelf for arranging it! which is already in his rumination for Metastasio;(116) I imagine you now .,Seriously resuming that work; I hope to see further sample ere long.
We think with very great pleasure of accepting my mother's and your kind invitation for a few days. I hope and mean, if possible, to bring with me also a little sample of something less in the dolorous style than what always causes your poor shoulders a little Shrug.(117) . . .
How truly grieved was I to hear from Mr. Locke of the death of young Mr. Burke!(118) What a dreadful blow upon his Page 90
father and mother ! to come at the instant of the son's highest and most honourable advancement, and of the father's retreat to the bosom of his family from public life ! His brother, too, gone so lately! I am most sincerely sorry, indeed, and quite shocked, as there seemed so little suspicion of such an event's approach, by your account of the joy caused by Lord Fitzwilliam's kindness. Pray tell me if you hear how poor Mr. Burke and his most amiable wife endure this calamity, and how they are. . . .
(Madame d'Arblay to Mrs.——.) Bookham, April 15, 1795. So dry a reproof from so dear a friend! And do you, then, measure my regard of heart by my remissness of hand? Let me give you the short history of my tragedy,(119) fairly and frankly. I wrote it not, as your acquaintance imagined, for the stage, nor yet for the press. I began it at Kew palace, and, at odd moments, I finished it at Windsor; without the least idea of any species of publication.
Since I left the royal household, I ventured to let it be read by my father, Mr. and Mrs. Locke, my sister Phillips, and, of course, M. d'Arblay, and not another human being. Their opinions led to what followed, and my brother, Dr. Charles, showed it to Mr. Kemble while I was on my visit to my father last October. He instantly and warmly pronounced for its acceptance, but I knew not when Mr. Sheridan would see it, and had not the smallest expectation of its appearing this year. However, just three days before my beloved little infant came into the world, an express arrived from my brother, that Mr. Kemble wanted the tragedy immediately, in order to show it to Mr. Sheridan, who had just heard of it, and had spoken in the most flattering terms of his good will for its reception.
Still, however, I was in doubt of its actual acceptance till three weeks after my confinement, when I had a visit from my brother, who told me he was, the next morning, to read the piece in the green-room. This was a precipitance for which I was every way unprepared, as I had never made but one copy of the play, and had intended divers corrections and alterations. Absorbed, however, by my new charge and then
growing ill, I had a sort of indifference about the matter, which, in fact, has lasted ever since.
The moment I was then able to hold a pen I wrote two short letters, to acknowledge the state of the affair to my sisters - and to one of these epistles I had an immediate laughing answer, informing me my confidence was somewhat of the latest, as the subject of it was already in all the newspapers! I was extremely chagrined at this intelligence; but, from that time, thought it all too late to be the herald of my own designs. And this, added to my natural and incurable dislike to enter upon these egotistical details unasked, has caused my silence to my dear M- -, and to every friend I possess. Indeed, speedily after, I had an illness so severe and so dangerous, that for full seven weeks the tragedy was neither named nor thought of by M. d'Arblay or myself.
The piece was represented to the utmost disadvantage, save only Mrs. Siddons and Mr. Kemble - for it was not written with any idea of the stage, and my illness and weakness, and constant absorbment, at the time of its preparation, occasioned it to appear with so many undramatic effects, from my inexperience of theatrical requisites and demands, that, when I saw it, I myself perceived a thousand things I wished to change. The performers, too, were cruelly imperfect, and made blunders I blush to have pass for mine,-added to what belong to me. The most important character after the hero and heroine had but two lines of his part by heart ! He made all the rest at random, and such nonsense as put all the other actors out as much as himself; so that a more wretched Performance, except Mrs. Siddons, Mr. Kemble, and Mr. Bensley, could not be exhibited in a barn. All this concurred to make it very desirable to withdraw the piece for alterations, which I have done.
(Dr. Burney to Madame d'Arblay.) May 7, 1795. One of my dinners, since my going out, was at Charlotte's, with the good Hooles. After dinner Mr. Cumberland came in, and was extremely courteous, and seemingly friendly, about you and your piece. He took me aside from Mrs. Paradise, who had fastened on me and held me tight by an account of her own and Mr. paradise's complaints, so
circumstantially narrated, that not a stop so short as a comma occurred in more than an hour, while I was civilly waiting for a full period. Mr. Cumberland expressed his sorrow at what had happened at Drury-lane, and said that, if he had had the honour of knowing you sufficiently, he would have told you d'avance what would happen, by what he had heard behind the scenes. The players seem to have given the play an ill name. But, he says, if you would go to work again, by reforming this, or work with your best powers at a new plan, and would submit it to his inspection, he would, from the experience he has had, risk his life on its success. This conversation I thought too curious not to be mentioned. . . .
HASTINGs' ACQUITTAL. DR. BURNEY'S METASTASIO.
Well, but how does your Petit and pretty monsieur do? 'Tis pity you and M. d'Arblay don't like him, poor thing! And how does horticulture thrive ? This is a delightful time of the year for your Floras and your Linnaei: I envy the life of a gardener in spring, particularly in fine weather.
And so dear Mr. Hastings is honourably acquitted!(120) and I visited him the next morning, and we cordially shook hands. I had luckily left my name at his door as soon as I was able to go out, and before it was generally expected that he would be acquitted. . . .
The young Lady Spencer and I are become very thick , I have dined with her at Lady Lucan's, and met her at the blue parties there. She has invited me to her box at the opera, to her house in St James's Place, and at the Admiralty, whither the family removed last Saturday, and she says I must come to her the 15th, 22nd, and 29th of this month, when I shall see a huge assembly. Mrs. Crewe says all London will be there. She is a pleasant, lively, and comical creature, with more talents and discernment than are expected from a character si foltre. My lord is not only the handsomest and the best intentioned man in the kingdom, but at present the most useful and truly patriotic. And then, he has written to Vienna for Metastasio's three inedited volumes, which I so much want ere I advance too far in the press for them to be of any use.
I am halooed on prodigiously in my Metastasio mania. All the critics—Warton, Twining, Nares, and Dr. Charles—say that his "Estratto dell' Arte Poetica d'Aristotile," which I am
now translating, is the best piece of dramatic criticism that has ever been written. "Bless my heart!" says Warton, "I, that have been all my life defending the three unities, am overset." "Ay," quoth I, "has not he made you all ashamed of 'em? You learned folks are only theorists in theatrical matters, but Metastasio had sixty years' successful practice. There!—Go to." My dear Fanny, before you write another play, you must read Aristotle and Horace, as expounded by my dear Metastasio. But, basta. You know when I take up a favourite author, as a Johnson, a Haydn, or a Metastasio, I do not soon lay him down or let him be run down. . . .
Here it strikes three o'clock: the post knell, not bell, tolls here, and I must send off my scrib: but I will tell you, though I need not, that, now I have taken up Metastasio again, I work at him in every uninterrupted moment. I have this morning attempted his charming pastoral, in "il Re Pastore." I'll give you the translation, because the last stanza is a portrait:—