He made me unpack my trunk for my MS., from which I read him the titles of the chapters, and begged he would choose any book or character of a great astronomer he pleased. "Oh, let us have the beginning." I read him the first eighteen or twenty lines of the exordium, and then said I rather wished to come to modern times - I was more certain of my ground in high antiquity than after the time of Copernicus, and began my eighth chapter, entirely on Newton and his system. He gave me the greatest encouragement said repeatedly that I perfectly understood what I was writing' about - and only stopped me at two places: one was at a word too strong for what I had to describe, and the other at one too weak. The doctrine he allowed to be quite orthodox, concerning gravitation, refraction, reflection, optics, comets, magnitudes, distances, revolutions, etc., but made a discovery to me which, had I known sooner, would have overset me, and prevented my reading any part of my work: he said he had almost always had an aversion to poetry, which he regarded as the arrangement of fine words, without any useful meaning or adherence to truth; but that, when truth and science were united to these fine words, he liked poetry very well; and next morning, after breakfast, he made me read as much of another chapter on Descartes, etc., as the time would allow, as I had ordered my carriage at twelve. I read, talked, asked questions, and looked at books and instruments, till near one, when I set off for Chelsea. Page 133
HOSPITALITY UNDER DIFFICULTIES.
(Madame d'Arblay to Mrs. Francis.) Westhamble, November 16, 1797. Your letter was most welcome to me, my dearest Charlotte, and I am delighted Mr. Broome(144) and my dear father will so speedily meet. If they steer clear of politics, there can be no doubt of their immediate exchange of regard and esteem. At all events, I depend upon Mr. B.'s forbearance of such subjects, if their opinions clash. Pray let me hear how the interview went off.
I need not say how I shall rejoice to see you again, nor how charmed we shall both be to make a nearer acquaintance with Mr. Broome; but, for heaven's sake, my dear girl, how are we to give him a dinner?—unless he will bring with him his poultry, for ours are not yet arrived from Bookham; and his fish, for ours are still at the bottom of some pond we know not where, and his spit, for our jack is yet without clue; and his kitchen grate, for ours waits for Count Rumford's(145) next pamphlet;—not to mention his table-linen;—and not to speak
of his knives and forks, some ten of our poor original twelve having been massacred in M. d'Arblay's first essays in the art of carpentering ;-and to say nothing of his large spoons, the silver of our plated ones having feloniously made off under cover of the whitening-brush—and not to talk of his cook, ours being not yet hired ;-and not to start the subject of wine, ours, by some odd accident, still remaining at the wine-merchant's! With all these impediments, however, to convivial hilarity, if he will eat a quarter of a joint of meat (his share, I mean), tied up by a packthread, and roasted by a log of wood on the bricks,—and declare no potatoes so good as those dug by M. d'Arblay out of our garden,—and protest our small beer gives the spirits of champagne,—and make no inquiries where we have deposited the hops he will conclude we have emptied out of our table-cloth,— and pronounce that bare walls are superior to tapestry,—and promise us the first sight of his epistle upon visiting a new-built cottage,—we shall be sincerely happy to receive him in our hermitage; where I hope to learn, for my dearest Charlotte's sake, to love him as much as, for his own I have very long admired him.
WAR TAXES. "CAMILLA" COTTAGE.
(Madame d'Arblay to Mrs. Phillips.) Westhamble, December, '97. The new threefold assessment of taxes has terrified us rather seriously ; though the necessity, and therefore justice, of them, we mutually feel. My father thinks his own share will amount to eighty pounds a year ! We have, this very morning, decided upon parting with four of our new windows, —a great abatement of agrmens to ourselves, and of ornament to our appearance; and a still greater sacrifice to the amour Propre of my architect, who, indeed,—his fondness for his edifice considered,—does not ill deserve praise that the scheme had not his mere consent, but his own free proposition. . . .
We quitted Bookham with one single regret—that of leaving our excellent neighbours the Cookes. . . . we languished for the moment of removal with almost infantine fretfulness at every delay that distanced it; and when at last the grand day came, our final packings, with all their toil Page 135
and difficulties and labour and expense, were mere acts of pleasantry; so bewitched were we with the impending change, that, though from six o'clock to three we were hard at work, without a kettle to boil the breakfast, or a knife to cut bread for a luncheon, we missed nothing, wanted nothing, and were as insensible to fatigue as to hunger.
M. d'Arblay set out on foot, loaded with remaining relics of things, to us precious, and Betty afterwards with a remnant of glass or two; the other maid had been sent two days before. I was forced to have a chaise for my Alex and me, and a few looking-glasses, a few folios, and not a few other oddments and then, with dearest Mr. Locke, our founder's portrait, and my little boy, off I set, and I would my dearest Susan could relate to me as delicious a journey.
My mate, striding over hedge and ditch, arrived first, though he set out after' to welcome me to our new dwelling; and we entered our new best room, in which I found a glorious fire of wood, and a little bench, borrowed of one of the departing carpenters : nothing else. We contrived to make room for each other, and Alex disdained all rest. His spirits were so high upon finding two or three rooms totally free for his horse (alias any stick he can pick up) and himself, unencumbered by chairs and tables and such-like lumber, that he was as merry as a little Andrew and as wild as twenty colts. Here we unpacked a small basket containing three or four loaves, and, with a garden-knife, fell to work; some eggs had been procured from a neighbouring farm, and one saucepan had been brought. We dined, therefore, exquisitely, and drank to our new possession from a glass of clear water out of our new well.
At about eight o'clock our goods arrived. We had our bed put up in the middle of our room, to avoid risk of damp walls, and our Alex had his dear Willy's crib at our feet.
We none of us caught cold. We had fire night and day in the maids' room, as well as Our own -or rather in my Susan's room; for we lent them that, their own having a little inconvenience against a fire, because it is built without a chimney. We Continued making fires all around us the first fortnight, and then found wood would be as bad as an apothecary's bill, so desisted; but we did not stop short so soon as to want the latter to succeed the former, or put our calculation to the proof.
Our first week was devoted to unpacking, and exulting in Our completed plan. To have no one thing at hand, nothing Page 136
to eat, nowhere to sit—all were trifles, rather, I think, amusing than incommodious. The house looked so clean, the distribution of the rooms and closets is so convenient, the prospect everywhere around is so gay and so lovely, and the park of dear Norbury is so close at hand, that we hardly knew how to require anything else for existence than the enjoyment of our own situation.
At this period I received my summons. I believe I have already explained that I had applied to Miss Planta for advice whether my best chance of admission would be at Windsor, Kew, or London. I had a most kind letter of answer, importing my letter had been seen, and that her majesty would herself fix the time when she could admit me. This was a great happiness to me, and the fixture was for the Queen's house in town.
VISITORS ARRIVE INOPPORTUNELY.
The only drawback to the extreme satisfaction of such graciousness as allowing an appointment to secure me from a fruitless journey, as well as from impropriety and all fear of intrusion, was, that exactly at this period the Princess d'Henin and M. de Lally were expected at Norbury. I hardly could have regretted anything else, I was so delighted by my summons; but this I indeed lamented. They arrived to dinner on Thursday: I was involved in preparations, and unable to meet them, and my mate would not be persuaded to relinquish aiding me.
The next morning, through mud, through mire, they came to our cottage. The poor princess was forced to change shoes and stockings. M. de Lally is more accustomed to such expeditions. Nothing could be more sweet than they both were, nor indeed, more grateful than I felt for my share in their kind exertion. The house was re-viewed all over, even the little pot au feu was opened by the princess, excessively curious to see our manner of living in its minute detail.
I have not heard if your letter has been received by M. de Lally; but I knew not then you had written, and therefore did not inquire. The princess talked of nothing so much as you, and with a softness of regard that quite melted me. I always tell her warmly how you feel about her. M. de Lally was most melancholy about France; the last new and most alas! barbarous revolution(146) has disheartened all his hopes—alas! Page 137
whose can withstand it? They made a long and kind visit, and in the afternoon we went to Norbury Park, where we remained till near eleven o'clock, and thought the time very short.
Madame d'Henin related some of her adventures in this second flight from her terrible country, and told them with a spirit and a power of observation that would have made them interesting if a tale of old times ; but now, all that gives account of those events awakens the whole mind to attention.
M. de Lally after tea read us a beginning of a new tragedy, composed upon an Irish story, but bearing allusion so palpable to the virtues and misfortunes of Louis XVI. that it had almost as strong an effect upon our passions and faculties as if it had borne the name of that good and unhappy prince. It is written with great pathos, noble sentiment, and most eloquent language. I parted from them with extreme reluctance-nay, vexation.
ANOTHER VISIT TO THE ROYAL FAMILY.
I set off for town early the next day, Saturday. My time was not yet fixed for my royal interview, but I had various preparations impossible to make in this dear, quiet, obscure cottage. Mon ami could not accompany me, as we had still two men constantly at work, the house without being quite unfinished but I could not bear to leave his little representative, who, with Betty, was my companion to Chelsea. There I was expected, and Our dearest father came forth with open arms to welcome us. He was in delightful spirits, the sweetest humour, and perfectly good looks and good health. My little rogue soon engaged him in a romp, which conquered his rustic shyness, and they became the best friends in the world.
Thursday morning I had a letter from Miss Planta, written with extreme warmth of kindness, and fixing the next day at eleven o'clock for my royal admission.
I went up-stairs to Miss Planta's room, where, while I waited for her to be called, the charming Princess Mary passed by, attended by Mrs. Cheveley. She recollected me and turned back, and came up to me with a fair hand graciously held out to me. "How do you do, Madame d'Arblay?" she cried: "I am vastly glad to see you again and how does your little boy do?"
I gave her a little account of the rogue, and she proceeded to inquire about my new cottage, and its actual state. I entered into a long detail of its bare walls, and unfurnished sides, and the gambols of the little man unencumbered by cares of fractures from useless ornaments, that amused her good-humoured interest in my affairs very much , and she did not leave me till Miss Planta came to usher me to Princess Augusta.
That kind princess received me with a smile so gay, and a look so pleased at my pleasure in again seeing her, that I quite regretted the etiquette which prevented a chaste embrace. She was sitting at her toilette having her hair dressed. The royal family were all going at night to the play. She turned instantly from the glass to face me, and insisted upon my being seated immediately. She then wholly forgot her attire and ornaments and appearance, and consigned herself wholly to conversation, with that intelligent animation which marks her character. She inquired immediately how my little boy did, and then with great sweetness after his father, and after my father.
My first subject was the princess royal, and I accounted for not having left my hermitage in the hope of once more seeing her royal highness before her departure. It would have been, I told her, so melancholy a pleasure to have come merely for a last view, that I could not bear to take my annual indulgence at a period which would make it leave a mournful impression upon my mind for a twelvemonth to come. The princess said she could enter into that, but said it as if she had been surprised I had not appeared. She then gave ne some account of the ceremony ;(147) and when I told her I had heard that her royal highness the bride had never looked so lovely, she confirmed the praise warmly, but laughingly added, "'Twas the queen dressed her! You know what a figure she used to make of herself, with her odd manner Of
dressing herself; but mamma said, 'Now really, princess royal, this one time is the last, and I cannot suffer you to make such a quiz of yourself; so I will really have you dressed such a quiz of yourself, properly.' And indeed the queen was quite in the right, for everybody said she had never looked so well in her life."
The word "quiz," you may depend, was never the queen's. I had great comfort, however, in gathering, from all that passed on that subject, that the royal family is persuaded this estimable princess is happy. From what I know of her disposition I am led to believe the situation may make her so. She is born to preside, and that with equal softness and dignity; but she was here in utter subjection, for which she had neither spirits nor inclination. She adored the king, honoured the queen, and loved her sisters, and had much kindness for her brothers ; but her style of life was not adapted to the royalty of her nature, any more than of her birth; and though she only wished for power to do good and to confer favours, she thought herself out of her place in not possessing it.
I was particularly happy to learn from the Princess Augusta that she has already a favourite friend in her new Court, in one of the princesses of Wurtemberg, wife of a younger brother of the hereditary prince, and who is almost as a widow, from the prince, her husband, being constantly with the army. This is a delightful circumstance, as her turn of mind, and taste, and ,employments, accord singularly with those of our princess.
I have no recollection of the order of our conversation, but will give you what morsels occur to me as they arise in my memory.
The terrible mutiny occupied us some time.(148) She told me Page 140
many anecdotes that she had learnt in favour Of various sailors, declaring, with great animation, her security In their good hearts, however drawn aside by harder and more cunning heads, The sweetness with which she delights to get out of all that is forbidding in her rank is truly adorable. In speaking of a sailor on board the St. Fiorenzo, when the royal family made their excursion by sea from Weymouth, she said, "You must know this man was a great favourite of mine, for he had the most honest countenance you can conceive, and I have often talked with him, every time we have been at Weymouth, so that we were good friends; but I wanted now in particular to ask him concerning the mutiny, but I knew I should not get him to speak out while the king and queen and my sisters were by ; so I told Lady Charlotte Bellasyse to watch an opportunity when he was upon deck, and the rest were in the cabin, and then we went up to him and questioned him; and he quite answered my expectations, for, instead of taking any merit to himself from belonging to the St. Fiorenso, which was never in the mutiny, the good creature said he was sure there was not a sailor in the navy that was not sorry to have belonged to it, and would not have got out of it as readily as himself, if he had known but how."
The Princess Elizabeth now entered, but she did not stay. She came to ask something of her sister relative to a little fte she was preparing, by way of a collation, in honour of the Princess Sophia, who was twenty this day. She made kind inquiries after my health, etc., and, being mistress of the birthday fte, hurried off, and I had not the pleasure to see her any more.
I must be less minute, or I shall never have done. My charming Princess Augusta renewed the conversation. Admiral Duncan's noble victory(149) became the theme, but it was interrupted by the appearance of the lovely Princess Amelia, now become a model of grace, beauty and sweetness,
in their bud. She gave me her hand with the softest expression of kindness, and almost immediately began questioning me concerning my little boy and with an air of interest the most captivating. But again Princess Augusta declined any interruptors: "You shall have Madame d'Arblay all to yourself, my dear, soon," she cried, laughingly; and, with a smile a little serious, the sweet Princess Amelia retreated.
It would have been truly edifying to young ladies living in the great and public world to have assisted in my place at the toilette of this exquisite Princess Augusta. Her ease, amounting even to indifference, as to her ornaments and decoration, showed a mind so disengaged from vanity, so superior to personal appearance, that I could with difficulty forbear manifesting my admiration. She let the hair-dresser proceed upon her head without comment and without examination, just as if it was solely his affair ; and when the man, Robinson, humbly begged to know what ornaments he was to prepare the hair for, she said, "O, there are my feathers, and my gown is blue, so take what you think right." And when he begged she would say whether she would have any ribbons or other things mixed with the feathers and jewels, she said, "You understand all that best, Mr. Robinson, I'm sure; there are the things, so take just what you please." And after this she left him wholly to himself, never a moment interrupting her discourse or her attention with a single direction.
INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEEN.
Princess Augusta had just begun a very interesting account of an officer that had conducted himself singularly well in the mutiny, when Miss Planta came to summon me to the queen. I begged permission to return afterwards for my unfinished narrative, and then proceeded to the white closet.
The queen was alone, seated at a table, and working. Miss Planta opened the door and retired without entering. I felt a good deal affected by the sight of her Majesty again, so graciously accorded to my request ; but my first and instinctive feeling was nothing to what I experienced when, after my profoundly respectful reverence, I raised my eyes, and saw in hers a look of sensibility so expressive of regard, and so examining, so penetrating into mine, as to seem to convey, involuntarily, a regret I had quitted her. This, at least, was the idea that struck me, from the species of look which met
me; and it touched me to the heart, and brought instantly, in defiance of all struggle, a flood of tears into my eyes. I was some minutes recovering; and when I then entreated her forgiveness, and cleared up, the voice with which she Spoke, in hoping I was well, told me she had caught a little of my sensation, for it was by no means steady. Indeed, at that moment, I longed to kneel and beseech her pardon for the displeasure I had felt in her long resistance of my resignation, for I think, now, it was from a real and truly honourable wish to attach me to her for ever. But I then suffered too much from a situation so ill adapted to my choice and disposition, to do justice to her opposition, or to enjoy its honour to myself. Now that I am so singularly, alas! nearly singularly happy, though wholly from my perseverance in that resignation, I feel all I owe her, and I feel more and more grateful for every mark of her condescension, either recollected or renewed.
She looked ill, pale, and harassed. The king was but just returned from his abortive visit to the Nore, and the inquietude she had sustained during that short separation, circumstanced many ways alarmingly, had evidently shaken her: I saw with much, with deep concern, her sunk eyes and spirits. I believe the sight of me raised not the latter. Mrs. Schwellenberg had not long been dead, and I have some reason to think she would not have been sorry to have had me supply the vacancy; for I had immediate notice sent me of her death by Miss Planta, so written as to persuade me it was a letter by command. But not all my duty, all my gratitude, could urge me, even one short fleeting moment, to weigh any interest against the soothing serenity, the unfading felicity, of a hermitage such as mine.
We spoke of poor Mrs. Schwelly,—and of her successor, Mlle. Backmeister,—and of mine, Mrs. Bremyere; and I could not but express my concern that her majesty had again been so unfortunate, for Mlle. Jacobi had just retired to Germany, ill and dissatisfied with everything in England. The Princess Augusta had recounted to me the whole narrative of her retirement, and its circumstances. The queen told me that the king had very handsomely taken care of her. But such frequent retirements are heavy weights upon the royal bounty.
I felt almost guilty when the subject was started; but not from any reproach, any allusion,-not a word was dropped that had not kindness and goodness for its basis and its superstructure at once. Page 143
"How is your little boy?" was one of the earliest questions. "is he here?" she added.
"O yes," I answered, misunderstanding her, "he is my shadow; I go nowhere without him."
"But here, I mean?"
"O no! ma'am, I did not dare presume—"
I stopped, for her look said it would be no presumption. And Miss Planta had already desired me to bring him to her next time; which I suspect was by higher order than her own suggestion.
She then inquired after my dear father, and so graciously, that I told her not only of his good health, but his occupations, his new work, a "Poetical History of Astronomy," and his consultations with Herschel.
She permitted me to speak a good deal of the Princess of Wurtemberg, whom they still all call princess royal. She told me she had worked her wedding garment, and entirely, and the real labour it had proved, from her steadiness to have no help, well knowing that three stitches done by any other would make it immediately said it was none of it by herself. "As the bride of a widower," she continued, "I know she ought to be in white and gold ; but as the king's eldest daughter she had a right to white and silver, which she preferred."
A little then we talked of the late great naval victory, and she said it was singularly encouraging to us that the three great victories at sea had been "against our three great enemies, successively : Lord Howe against the French, Lord St. Vincent against the Spaniards, and Lord Duncan against the Dutch."(150)
She spoke very feelingly of the difficult situation of the Orange family, now in England, upon this battle; and she repeated me the contents of' a letter from the Princess of Orange, whose character she much extolled, upon the occasion,
to the Princess Elizabeth, saying she could not bear to be the only person in England to withhold her congratulations to the king upon such an occasion, when no one owed him such obligations; but all she had to regret was that the Dutch had not fought with, not against, the English, and that the defeat had not fallen upon those who ought to be their joint enemies. She admired and pitied, inexpressibly, this poor fugitive princess.
I told her of a note my father had received from Lady Mary Duncan, in answer to his wishing her joy of her relation's prowess and success, in which he says, "Lady Mary has been, for some days past, like the rest of the nation drunk for joy." This led to more talk of this singular lady: and reciprocal stories of her oddities.
She then deigned to inquire very particularly about our new cottage,-its size, its number of rooms, and its grounds. I told her, honestly, it was excessively comfortable, though unfinished and unfitted up, for that it had innumerable little contrivances and conveniences, just adapted to our particular use and taste, as M. d'Arblay had been its sole architect and surveyor. "Then I dare say," she answered, "it is very commodious, for there are no people understand enjoyable accommodations more than French gentleman, when they have the arranging them themselves."
This was very kind, and encouraged me to talk a good deal of my partner, in his various works and employments ; and her manner of attention was even touchingly condescending, all circumstances considered. And she then related to me the works of two French priests, to whom she has herself been so good as to commit the fitting up of one of her apartments at Frogmore. And afterwards she gave me a description of what another French gentleman— elegantly and feelingly avoiding to say emigrant—had done in a room belonging to Mrs. Harcourt, at Sophia farm, where he had the sole superintendence of it, and has made it beautiful. When she asked about our field, I told her we hoped in time to buy it, as Mr. Locke had the extreme kindness to consent to part with it to us, when it should suit our convenience to purchase instead of renting it. I thought I saw a look of peculiar satisfaction at this, that seemed to convey pleasure in the implication thence to be drawn, that England was our decided, not forced or eventual residence. And she led me on to many minute particulars of our situation and way of living, with a sweetness of interest I can never forget. Page 145
Nor even here stopped the sensations of gratitude and pleasure she thus awoke. She spoke then of my beloved Susan ; asked if she were still in Ireland, and how the " pretty Norbury " did. She then a little embarrassed me by an inquiry "why Major Phillips went to Ireland?" for my answer, that he was persuaded he should improve his estate by superintending the agriculture of it himself, seemed dissatisfactory; however, she pressed it no further. But I cannot judge by what passed whether she concludes he is employed in a military way there, or whether she has heard that he has retired. She seemed kindly pleased at all I had to relate of my dear Norbury, and I delighted to call him back to her remembrance.
She talked a good deal of the Duchess of York, who continues the first favourite of the whole royal family. She told me of her beautiful works, lamented her indifferent health, and expatiated upon her admirable distribution of her time and plan of life, and charming qualities and character.
But what chiefly dwells upon me with pleasure is, that she spoke to me upon some subjects and persons that I know she would not for the world should be repeated, with just the same confidence, the same reliance upon my grateful discretion for her openness, that she honoured me with while she thought me established in her service for life. I need not tell my Susan how this binds me more than ever to her.
Very short to me seemed the time, though the whole conversation was serious, and her air thoughtful almost to sadness, when a page touched the door, and said something in German. The queen, who was then standing by the window, turned round to answer him, and then, with a sort of Congratulatory smile to me, said, "Now you will see what you don't expect—the king!"
I could indeed not expect it, for he was at Blackheath at a review, and he was returned only to dress for the levee. . .
THE KING AND HIS INFANT GRAND-DAUGHTER.
The king related very pleasantly- a little anecdote of Lady —. "She brought the little Princess Charlotte,"(151) he said "to me just before the review. 'She hoped,' she said, 'I should not take it ill, for, having mentioned it to the child,
she built so upon it that she had thought of nothing else.' Now this," cried he, laughing heartily, "was pretty strong! How can she know what a child is thinking of before it can speak?"
I was very happy at the fondness they both expressed for the little princess, "A sweet little creature," the king called her; "A most lovely child," the queen turned to me to add and the king said he had taken her upon his horse, and given her a little ride, before the regiment rode up to him. "'TIS very odd," he added, "but she always knows me on horseback, and never else." "Yes," said the queen, "when his majesty comes to her on horseback, she claps her little bands, and endeavours to say 'Gampa!' immediately." I was much pleased that she is brought up to such simple and affectionate acknowledgment of relationship.
The king then inquired about my father, and with a look of interest and kindness that regularly accompanies his mention of that most dear person. He asked after his health, his spirits, and his occupations, waiting for long answers to each inquiry, The queen anticipated my relation of his astronomic work, and he seemed much pleased with the design, as well as at hearing that his protg Dr. Herschel, had been consulted.
I was then a little surprised by finding he had heard of "Clarentine."(152) He asked me, smilingly, some questions about it, and if it were true, what he suspected, that my young sister had a mind to do as I had done, and bring out a work in secret? I was very much pleased then when the queen said, "I have seen it, sir, and it is very pretty." . . .
ADMIRAL DUNCAN'S VICTORY. THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF ORANGE.
I then, by her majesty's kind appointment, returned to my lovely and loved Princess Augusta. Her hairdresser was just gone, and she was proceeding in equipping herself "If you can bear to see all this work," cried she, "pray come and sit with me, my dear Madame d'Arblay."
Nothing could be more expeditious than her attiring herself, nothing more careless than her examination how it succeeded. But judge my confusion and embarrassment, when, upon my saying I came to petition for the rest of the Story,
she had just begun, and her answering by inquiring what it was about, I could not tell! It had entirely escaped my memory; and though I sought every way I could suggest to recall it, I so entirely failed, that after her repeated demands, I was compelled honestly to own that the commotion I had been put in by my interview with their majesties had really driven it from my mind.
She bore this with the true good humour of good sense but I was most excessively ashamed.
She then resumed the reigning subject of the day, Admiral Duncan's victory and this led to speak again of the Orange family; but she checked what seemed occurring to her about them, till her wardrobe-woman had done and was -dismissed ; then, hurrying her away, while she sat down by me, putting on her long and superb diamond earrings herself, and without even turning towards a glass, she said, "I don't like much to talk of that family before the servants, for I am told they already think the king too good to them."
The Princess of Orange is, I find, a great favourite with them all ; the Prince Frederick also, I believe, they like very much; but the prince himself, she said, " has never, in fact, had his education finished. He was married quite a ',-,'boy - but, being married, concluded himself a man, and not only turned off all his instructors, but thought it unnecessary to ask, or hear, counsel or advice of any one. He is like a fallow field,-that is, not of a soil that can't be improved ;:but one that has been left quite to itself, and therefore has no materials put in it for improvement."
She then told me that she had hindered him, with great faculty, from going to a great dinner, given at the Mansion House. upon the victory of Admiral Duncan. It was not, she said, that he did not feel for his country in that defeat, but that he never weighed the impropriety of his public appearance upon an occasion of rejoicing at it, nor the Ill effect the history of his so doing would produce in Holland. She had the kindness of heart to take upon herself preventing him "for no one," says she, "that is about him dares ever speak to him, to give him any hint of advice; which is a great "Misfortune: to him, poor man, for it makes him never know what is said or thought of him." She related with a great deal of humour her arguments to dissuade him, and his nave manner of combating them. But though she conquered at last, she did not convince, Page 148
The Princess of Orange, she told me, had a most superior understanding and might guide him sensibly and honourably, but he was so jealous of being thought led by her counsel' that he never listened to it at all. She gave me to understand that this unhappy princess had had a life of uninterrupted indulgence and prosperity till the late revolution - and that the suddenness of such adversity had rather soured her mind, which, had it met sorrow and evil by any gradations, would have been equal to bearing them even nobly - but so quick a transition from affluence, and power, and wealth, and grandeur, to a fugitive and dependent state, had almost overpowered her.
A door was now opened from an inner apartment, where, I believe, was the grand collation for the Princess Sophia's birthday, and a tall thin young man appeared at it, peeping and staring, but not entering.
"O! How do you do, Ernest?" cried the princess; "I hope you are well; only pray do shut the door."
He did not obey, nor move, either forwards or backwards, but kept peering and peeping. She called to him again, beseeching him to shut the door- but he was determined to first gratify his curiosity, and, when he had looked as long as he thought pleasant, he entered the apartment; but Princess Augusta, instead of receiving and welcoming him, only said, "Good-bye, my dear Ernest; I shall see you again at the play."
He then marched on, finding himself so little desired, and only saying, "No, you won't; I hate the play."
I had risen when I found it one of the princes, and with a motion of readiness to depart - but my dear princess would not let me. When we were alone again, "Ernest," she said, "has a very good heart; only he speaks without taking time to think." She then gave me an instance. The Orange family by some chance were all assembled with our royal family when the news of the great victory at sea arrived; or at least upon the same day. "We were all," said she, " distressed for them upon SO trying an occasion and at supper we talked, of' course, Of every other subject; but Ernest, quite uneasy at the forbearance, said to me, 'You don't think I won't drink Duncan's health to-night?' 'Hush!' cried I. 'That's very hard indeed!' said he, quite loud. I saw the princess of
orange looking at him, and was sure she had heard him; I trod upon his foot, and made him turn to her. She looked so disturbed, that he saw she had understood him, and he coloured very high. The Princess of Orange then said, 'I hope my being here will be no restraint upon anybody: I know what must be the subject of everybody's thoughts, and I beg I may not prevent its being so of their discourse.' Poor Ernest now was so sorry, he was ready to die, and the tears started into his eyes; and he would not have given his toast after this for all the world."
SOME NOTABLE ACTRESSES.
The play they were going to was "The Merchant of Venice," to see a new actress, just now much talked of—Miss Betterton; and the king, hearing she was extremely frightened at the thoughts of appearing before him, desired she might choose her own part for the first exhibition in his presence. She fixed upon Portia.
In speaking of Miss Farren's marriage with the Earl of Derby, she displayed that sweet mind which her state and station has so wholly escaped sullying; for, far from expressing either horror, or resentment, or derision at an actress being elevated to the rank of second countess of England, she told me, with an air of satisfaction, that she was informed she had behaved extremely well since her marriage, and done many generous and charitable actions.
She spoke with pleasure, too, of the high marriage made by another actress, Miss Wallis, who has preserved a spotless character, and is now the wife of a man of fortune and family Mr Campbell.
In mentioning Mrs. Siddons, and her great and affecting powers, she much surprised me by intelligence that she had bought the proprietorship of Sadler's-wells. I could not hear it without some amusement it seemed, I said, so extraordinary a combination—so degrading a one, indeed,-that of the first tragic actress, the living Melpomene, and something so burlesque as Sadler's-wells. She laughed, and said it offered her a very ludicrous image, for Mrs. Siddons and Sadler's-wells," said she, " seems to me as ill-fitted as the dish they call a toad in a hole which I never saw, but always think of with anger, - -putting a noble sirloin of beef into .1 ,'poor, Paltry batter-pudding! Page 150
THE DUKE OF CLARENCE.
The door now again opened, and another royal personage put in his head - and upon the princess saying, "How d'ye do, William?" I recollected the Duke of Clarence.
I rose, of course, and he made a civil bow to my curtsey The princess asked him about the House of Lords the preceding evening, where I found he had spoken very handsomely and generously in eulogium of Admiral Duncan. Finding he was inclined to stay, the princess said to me,
"Madame d'Arblay, I beg you will sit down."
"Pray, madam," said the duke, with a formal motion of his hand, "let me beg you to be seated."
"You know—you recollect Madame d'Arblay, don't you, William ?" said the princess. He bowed civilly an affirmative, and then began talking to me of Chesington. How I grieved poor dear Kitty was gone! How great would have been her gratification to have heard that he mentioned her, and with an air of kindness, as if he had really entered into the solid goodness of her character. I was much Surprised and much pleased, yet not without some perplexity and some embarrassment, as his knowledge of the excellent Kitty was from her being the dupe of the mistress of his aide-de-camp.
The princess, however, saved me any confusion beyond apprehension, for she asked not one question. He moved on towards the next apartment, and we were again alone.
She then talked to me a great deal of him, and gave me, admirably, his character. She is very partial to him, but by no means blindly. He had very good parts, she said, but seldom did them justice. "If he has something of high importance to do," she continued, "he will exert himself to the utmost, and do it really well; but otherwise, he is so fond of his ease, he lets everything take its course. He can just do a great deal or nothing. However, I really think, if he takes pains, he may make something of a speaker by and by in the House."
She related a visit he had made at Lady Mary Duncan's, at Hampton Court, upon hearing Admiral Duncan was there and told me the whole and most minute particulars of the battle, as they were repeated by his royal highness from the admiral's own account. But You will dispense with the martial detail from me. "Lady Mary," cried she, "is much Page 151
enchanted with her gallant nephew. 'I used to look,' says she, 'for honour and glory from my other side, the T—s ; but I receive it only from the Duncans ! As to the T-s, what good do they do their country?—why, they play all day at tennis, and learn with vast skill to notch and scotch and go one! And that's what their country gets from them!"'
I thought now I should certainly be dismissed, for a page came to the door to announce that the Duke of York was arrived : but she only said, "Very well; pray shut the door," which seemed her gentle manner of having it understood she would not be disturbed, as she used the same words when messages were brought her from the Princesses Elizabeth and Mary.
She spoke again of the Duchess of York with the same fondness as at Windsor. "I told you before," she said, "I loved her like one of my own sisters, and I can tell you no more: and she knows it; for one day she was taken ill, and fainted, and we put her upon one of our beds, and got her everything we could think of ourselves, and let nobody else wait upon her ; and when she revived she said to my brother, 'These are my sisters—I am sure they are! they must be my own!"
PRINCESS SOPHIA OF GLOUCESTER.
Our next and last interruption, I think, was from a very gentle tap at the door, and a "May I come in?" from a soft voice, while the lock was turned, and a youthful and very lovely female put in her head.
The princess immediately rose, and said, " "O yes," and held out her two hands to her; turning at the same time to me, and saying, "Princess Sophia."
I found it was the Duke of Gloucester's(154) daughter. She is very fat, with very fine eyes, a bright, even dazzling bloom, fine teeth, a beautiful skin, and a look of extreme modesty and sweetness. She curtseyed to me so distinguishingly, that I was almost confused by her condescension, fearing she 'Might imagine, from finding me seated with the Princess 'Augusta, and in such close conference, I was somebody.
"You look so fine and so grand," cried she, examining the princess's attire, which was very superb in silver and diamonds, "that I am almost afraid to come near you!" Her own dress was perfectly simple, though remarkably elegant.
O!—I hate myself when so fine cried Princess Augusta; "I cannot bear it but there is no help—the people at the play always expect it."
They then conversed a little while, both standing ; and then Princess Augusta said, "Give my love to the duke (meaning of Gloucester), "and I hope I shall see him bye and bye; and to William."(155) (meaning the duke's son). And this, which was not a positive request that she would prolong her visit, was understood; and the lovely cousin made her curtsey and retired.
To me, again, she made another, so gravely low and civil, that I really blushed to receive it, from added fear of being mistaken. I accompanied her to the door, and shut it for her; and the moment she was out of the room, and out of sight of the Princess Augusta, she turned round to me, and with a smile of extreme Civility, and a voice very soft, said, "I am so happy to see you!—I have longed for it a great, great while—for I have read you with such delight and instruction, so often."
I was very much surprised indeed; I expressed my sense of her goodness as well as I could; and she curtseyed again, and glided away. "How infinitely gracious is all your royal highness's House to me!" cried I, as I returned to my charming princess; who again made me take my seat next her own, and again renewed her discourse.
I stayed on with this delightful princess till near four o'clock, when she descended to dinner. I then accompanied her to the head of the stairs, saying, "I feel quite low that this is over! How I wish it might be repeated in half a year instead of a year!"
"I'm sure, and so do I!" were the last kind words she condescendingly uttered.
I then made a little visit to Miss Planta, who was extremely friendly, and asked me why I should wait another year before I came. I told her I had leave for an annual visit, and could not presume to encroach beyond such a permission. However, as she proposed my calling upon her when I happened to be in town, I begged her to take some opportunity to hint my wish of admission, if possible, more frequently.
Very soon afterwards I had a letter from Miss Planta, saying she had mentioned to her majesty my regret of the
long intervals of annual admissions; and that her majesty had most graciously answered, "She should be very glad to see me whenever I came to town."
DIARY RESUMED: (Addressed to Mrs. Phillips.)
INDIGNATION AGAINST TALLEYRAND.
Westhamble, Jan. 18, 1798-I am very impatient to know if the invasion threat affects your part of Ireland. Our 'Oracle' is of opinion the French soldiers will not go to Ireland, though there flattered with much help, because they can expect but little advantage, after all the accounts spread by the Opposition of its starving condition ; but that they will come to England, though sure of contest, at least, because there they expect the very road to be paved with gold.
Nevertheless, how I wish my heart's beloved here! to share with us at least the same fears, instead of the division of apprehension we must now mutually be tormented with. I own I am sometimes affrighted enough. These sanguine and sanguinary wretches will risk all for the smallest hope of plunder ; and Barras assures them they have only to enter England to be lords of wealth unbounded.
But Talleyrand!—how like myself must you have felt at his conduct! indignant—amazed—ashamed! Our first prepossession against him was instinct—he conquered it by pains indefatigable to win us, and he succeeded astonishingly, for we became partial to him almost to fondness. The part he now acts against England may be justified, perhaps, by the spirit of revenge ; but the part he submits to perform of coadjutor with the worst of villains—with Barras—Rewbel—Merlin—marks some internal atrocity of character that disgusts as much as disappoints me. And now, a last stroke, which appears in yesterday's paper, gives the finishing hand to his portrait in my eyes. He has sent (and written) the letter which exhorts the King of Prussia to order the Duke of Brunswick to banish and drive from his dominions all the emigrants there in asylum —and among these are the Archbishop of Rennes (his uncle) and—his own mother!
Poor M. de Narbonne! how will he be shocked and let down! where he now is we cannot conjecture: all emigrants are exiled from the Canton of Berne, where he resided; I feel extremely disturbed about him. If that wretch Talleyrand has Page 154
not given him some private Intimation to escape, and where to be safe, he must be a monster.
THE D'ARBLAY MAISONNETTE.
This very day, I thank God ! we paid the last of our work men. Our house now is our own fairly —that it is our own madly too you will all think, when I tell you the small remnant of our income that has outlived this payment. However, if the Carmagnols do not seize our walls, we despair not of enjoying, in defiance of all straitness and strictness, our dear dwelling to our hearts' content. But we are reducing our expenses and way of life, in order to go on, in a manner you would laugh to see, though almost cry to hear. But I never forget Dr. Johnson's words. When somebody said that a certain person "had no turn for economy," he answered, "Sir, you might as well say that he has no turn for honesty."
We know nothing yet of our taxes-nothing- of our assessments; but we are of good courage, and so pleased with our maisonnette, we think nothing too dear for it, provided we can but exist in it. I should like much to know how you stand affected about the assessment, and about the invasion. O that all these public troubles would accelerate Your return! private blessings they would then, at least, prove. Ah, my Susan, how do I yearn for some little ray upon this subject!
Charles and his family are at Bath, and Charlotte is gone to them for a fortnight. All accounts that reach me of all the house and race are well. Mr. Locke gives us very-frequent peeps indeed, and looks with such benevolent pleasure at our dear cottage and its environs! and seems to say, "I brought all this to bear," and to feel happy in the noble trust he placed in our self-belief that he might venture to show that kind courage without which we could never have been united. All this retrospection is expressed by his penetrating eyes it every visit. He rarely alights ; but I frequently enter the phaeton, and take a conversation in an airing. And when he comes without his precious Amelia, he indulges my Alex in being our third.
INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCESSES.
And now I have to prepare another Court relation for MY dearest Susanna. I received on Wednesday morn a letter from our dearest Page 155
father, telling me he feared he should be forced to quit his Chelsea apartments, from a new arrangement among the officers, and wishing me to represent his difficulties, his books, health, time of life, and other circumstances, through Miss Planta, to the queen. M. d'Arblay and I both thought that, if I had any chance of being of the smallest use, it would be by endeavouring to obtain an audience-not by letter; and as the most remote hope of success was sufficient to urge -every exertion, we settled that I should set out instantly for Chelsea ; and a chaise, therefore, we sent for from Dorking, and I set off at noon. M. d'A. would not go, as we knew not what accommodation I might find ; and I could not, uninvited and unexpected, take my little darling boy; so I went not merrily, though never more willingly.
My dear father was at home, and, I could see, by no means surprised by my appearance, though he had not hinted at desiring it. Of course he was not very angry nor sorry, and we communed together upon his apprehensions, and settled our plan. I was to endeavour to represent his case to the queen, in hopes it might reach his majesty, and procure some order in his favour.
I wrote to Miss Planta, merely to say I was come to pass three days at Chelsea, and, presuming upon the gracious permission of her majesty, I ventured to make known my arrival, ,in the hope it might possibly procure me the honour of admittance. The next morning, Thursday, I had a note from Miss Planta, to say that she had the pleasure to acquaint ',.",me her majesty desired I would be at the Queen's house next day at ten o'clock.
Miss Planta conducted me immediately, by order, to the Princess Elizabeth, who received me alone, and kept me tte—tte till I was summoned to the queen, which was near ,.an hour. She was all condescension and openness, and inquired into my way of life and plans, with a sort of kindness that I am sure belonged to a real wish to find them happy and prosperous. When I mentioned how much of our time was mutually given to books and writing, M. d'Arblay being as great a scribbler as myself, she good-naturedly exclaimed, "How fortunate he should have so much the same taste!"
"It was that, in fact," I answered, "which united us for our acquaintance began, in intimacy, by reading French together, and writing themes, both French and English, for each other's correction." Page 156
"Pray," cried she, " if it is not impertinent, may I ask to what religion you shall bring up your son?"
"The Protestant," I replied; telling her it was M. d'Arblay's own wish, since he was an Englishman born, he should be an Englishman bred,—with much more upon the subject that my Susan knows untold.
She then inquired why M. d'Arblay was not naturalised. This was truly kind, for it looked like wishing our permanently fixing in this his adopted country. I answered that he found he could not be naturalised as a catholic, which had made him relinquish the plan; for though he was firmly persuaded the real difference between the two religions was trifling, and such as even appeared to him, in the little he had had opportunity to examine, to be in favour of Protestantism, he could not bring himself to study the matter with a view of changing that seemed actuated by interest ; nor could I wish it, earnest as I was for his naturalisation. But he hoped, ere long, to be able to be naturalised as an Irishman, that clause of religion not being there insisted upon , or else to become a denizen, which was next best, and which did not meddle with religion at all. She made me talk to her a great deal of my little boy, and my father, and M. d'Arblay; and when Miss Planta came to fetch me to her majesty, she desired to see me again before my departure.
The queen was in her White closet, working at a round table, with the four remaining princesses, Augusta, Mary, Sophia, and Amelia. She received me most sweetly, and with a look of far better spirits than upon my last admission. She permitted me, in the most gracious manner, to inquire about the princess royal, now Duchess of WUrtemberg, and gave me an account of her that I hope is not flattered ; for it seemed happy, and such as reconciled them all to the separation. When she deigned to inquire,- herself, after my dear father, you may be sure of the eagerness With which I seized the moment for relating his embarrassment and difficulties. She heard me with a benevolence that assured me, though she made no speech, my history would not be forgotten, nor remembered vainly. I was highly satisfied with her look and manner. The Princesses Mary and Amelia had a little opening between them , and when the queen was conversing with some lady who was teaching the Princess Sophia some work, they began a whispering conversation with me about my little Page 157
boy. How tall is he?—how old is he?—Is he fat or thin?—is he like you or M. d'Arblay? etc.—with sweet vivacity of interest,- -the lovely Princess Amelia finishing her listening to my every answer with a "dear little thing!" that made me long to embrace her as I have done in her childhood. She is now full as tall as princess royal, and as much formed ; she looks seventeen, though only fourteen, but has an innocence, an Hebe blush, an air of modest candour, and a gentleness so caressingly inviting, of voice and eye, that I have seldom seen a more captivating young creature.
Then they talked of my new house, and inquired about every room it contained; and then of our grounds, and they were mightily diverted with the mixtures of roses and cabbages, sweet briars, and potatoes, etc.
The queen, catching the domestic theme, presently made inquiries herself, both as to the building and the child, asking, with respect to the latter, "Is he here?" as if she meant in the palace. I told her I had come so unexpectedly myself upon my father's difficulties, that I had not this time brought my little shadow. I believed, however, I should fetch him, as, if I lengthened my stay, M. d'Arblay would come also. "To be sure!" she said, as if feeling the trio's full objections to separating.
She asked if I had seen a play just come out, called "He's much to Blame;" and, on my negative, began to relate to me its plot and characters, and the representation and its effect ; and, warming herself by her own account and my attention, she presently entered into a very minute history of each act, and a criticism upon some incidents, with a spirit and judiciousness that were charming. She is delightful in discourse when animated by her subject, and speaking to auditors with whom, neither from circumstance nor suspicion, she has restraint. But when, as occasionally she deigned to ask my opinion of the several actors she brought in review, I answered I had never seen them,—neither Mrs. Pope, Miss Betterton, Mr. Murray, etc.,—she really looked almost concerned. She knows my fondness for the theatre, and I did not fear to say my inability to indulge it was almost my only regret in my hermit life. "I, too," she graciously said, "prefer plays to all other amusements."
By degrees all the princesses retired, except the Princess Augusta. She then spoke more openly upon less public matters,-in particular upon the affair, then just recent, of the Page 158
Duke of Norfolk, who, you may have heard, had drunk, at the Whig Club, "To the majesty of the people," in consequence of which the king had erased his name from the privy council. His grace had been caricatured drinking from a silver tankard with the burnt bread still in flames touching his mouth, and exclaiming, "Pshaw! my toast has burnt my mouth."
This led me to speak of his great brick house, which is our immediate vis—vis. And much then ensued upon Lady —— concerning whom she opened to me very completely, allowing all I said of her uncommon excellence as a mother, but adding, "Though she is certainly very clever, she thinks herself so a little too much, and instructs others at every word. I was so tired with her beginning everything with 'I think,' that, at last, just as she said so, I stopped her, and cried., 'O, I know what you think, Lady ——!' Really, one is obliged to be quite sharp with her to keep her In her place." . . .
Lady C—, she had been informed, had a considerable sum in the French funds, which she endeavoured from time to time to recover, but upon her last effort, she had the following query put to her agent by order of the Directory: how much she would have deducted from the principal, as a contribution towards the loan raising for the army of England? If Lady C— were not mother-in-law to a minister who sees the king almost daily, I should think this a made story.
When, after about an hour and a half's audience, *she dismissed me, she most graciously asked my stay at Chelsea, and desired I would inform Miss Planta before I returned home. This gave me the most gratifying feeling, and much hope for my dearest father.
ROYAL CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS THE WAR.
Returning then, according to my permission, to Princess Elizabeth, she again took up her netting, and made me sit by her. We talked a good deal of the new-married daughter of Lady Templetown, and she was happy, she said, to hear from me that the ceremony was performed by her own favourite Bishop of Durham, for she was sure a blessing would attend his joining their hands. She asked me much of my little man, and told me several things of the Princess Charlotte, her niece, and our future queen; she seems very fond of her, and says 'tis a lovely child, and extremely like the Prince Of Page 159
Wales. "She is just two years old," said she, "and speaks very prettily, though not plainly. I flatter myself Aunt Liby, as she calls me, is a great favourite with her."
My dearest Princess Augusta soon after came in, and, after staying a few minutes, and giving some message to her sister, said, "And when you leave Elizabeth, my dear Madame d'Arblay, I hope you'll come to me."
This happened almost immediately, and I found her hurrying over the duty of her toilette, which she presently despatched, though she was going to a public concert of Ancient Music, and without scarcely once looking in the glass, from haste to have done, and from a freedom from vanity I never saw quite equalled in any young woman of any class. She then dismissed her hairdresser and wardrobe-woman, and made me sit by her.
Almost immediately we began upon the voluntary contributions to the support of the war; and when I mentioned the queen's munificent donation of five thousand pounds a-year for its support, and my admiration of it, from my peculiar knowledge, through my long residence under the royal roof, of the many claims which her majesty's benevolence, as well as state, had raised upon her powers, she seemed much gratified by the justice I did her royal mother, and exclaimed eagerly "I do assure you, my dear Madame d'Arblay, people ought to know more how good the queen is, for they don't know it half." And then she told me that she only by accident had learnt almost all that she knew of the queen's bounties. "And the most I gathered," she continued, laughing, "was, to tell you the real truth, by my own impertinence - for when we were at Cheltenham, Lady Courtown (the queen's lady-in-waiting for the country) put her pocket-book down on the table, when I was alone with her, by some chance open at a page where mamma's name was written : so, not guessing at any secret commission, I took it up, and read-Given by her majesty's commands—so much, and so much, and so much. And I was quite surprised. However, Lady Courtown made me promise never to mention it to the queen ; so I never have. But I long it should be known, for all that; though I would not take such a liberty as to spread it of my own judgment."
I then mentioned my own difficulties formerly, when her Majesty, upon my ill state of health's urging my resigning the honour of belonging to the royal household, so graciously Page 160
settled upon me a pension, that I had been forbidden to name it. I had been quite distressed in not avowing what I so gratefully felt, and hearing questions and surmises and remarks I had no power to answer. She seemed instantly to comprehend that my silence might do wrong, on such an occasion, to the queen, for she smiled, and with great quickness cried, "O, I dare say you felt quite guilty in holding your tongue." And she was quite pleased with the permission afterwards granted me to be explicit.
When I spoke of her own and her royal sisters' contributions, one hundred pounds per annum, she blushed, bat seemed ready to enter upon the subject, even confidentially, and related its whole history. No one ever advised or named it to them, as they have none of them any separate establishment, but all hang upon the queen, from whose pin-money they are provided for till they marry, or have an household of their own granted by Parliament. "Yet we all longed to subscribe," cried she, "and thought it quite right, if other young ladies did, not to be left out. But the difficulty was, how to do what would not be improper for us, and yet not to be generous at mamma's expense, for that would only have been unjust. So we consulted some of our friends, and then fixed upon one hundred pounds a-piece; and when we asked the queen's leave, she was so good as to approve it. So then we spoke to the king, and he said it was but little, but he wished particularly nobody should subscribe what would really distress them ; and that, if that was all we could conveniently do, and regularly continue, he approved it more than to have us make a greater exertion, and either bring ourselves into difficulties or not go on. But he was not at all angry."
She then gave me the history of the contribution of her brothers. The Prince of Wales could not give in his name without the leave of his creditors. "But Ernest," cried she, "gives three hundred pounds a-year, and that's a tenth of his income, for the king allows him three thousand pounds."
All this leading to discourse upon loyalty, and then its contrast, democracy, she narrated to me at full length a lecture of Therwall's, which had been repeated to her by M. de Guiffardire. It was very curious from her mouth. But she is candour in its whitest purity, wherever it is possible to display it, in discriminating between good and bad, and abstracting rays of light even from the darkest shades. So she did even from Therwall. Page 161
She made me, as usual, talk of my little boy, and was much amused by hearing that, imitating what he heard from me, he called his father "mon ami," and tutoyed him, drinking his health at dinner, as his father does to me—" la sant."
When at length the Princess Augusta gave me the bow of cong she spoke of seeing me again soon: I said I should therefore lengthen my stay in town, and induce M. d'Arblay to come and bring my boy.
"We shall see you then certainly," said she, smiling, "and do pray, my dear Madame d'Arblay, bring your little boy with you. And don't say anything to him," cried she, as I was departing; "let us see him quite natural."
I understood her gracious, and let me say rational, desire, that the child should not be impressed with any awe of the royal presence. I assured her I must obey, for he was so young, so wild, and so unused to present himself, except as a plaything, that it would not be even in my power to make him orderly. . . .
My dear father was extremely pleased with what I had to tell him, and hurried me back to Westhamble, to provide myself with baggage for sojourning with him. My two Alexanders, you will believe, were now warmly invited to Chelsea, and we all returned thither together, accompanied by Betty Nurse.
INVITATION TO THE PLAY. MRS SCHWELLENBERG'S SUCCESSOR.
I shall Complete my next Court visit before I enter upon aught else. I received, very soon, a note from Madame Bremyere, who is my successor. [I have told you poor Mlle. Jacobi is returned to Germany, I think; and that her niece, La Bettina, is to marry a rich English merchant and settle in London.] This note says Mrs Bremyere has received the queen's commands to invite Madame d'Arblay to the play tomorrow night "-with her own desire I would drink coffee in her apartment before we went to the theatre. Could anything More sweetly mark the real kindness of the queen than this remembrance of my fondness for plays ?
My dear father lent me his carriage, and I was now introduced to the successor of Mrs. Schwellenberg, Mlle. Bachmeister, a German, brought over by M. de Luc, who travelled to Germany to accompany her hither. I found she was the lady I had seen with the queen and princesses,
ing some work. Not having been to the so-long-known apartments since the death of Mrs. Schwellenberg, I knew not how they were arranged, and had concluded Madame Bremyere possessed those of Mrs. Schwellenberg. Thither, therefore, I went, and was received, to my great surprise, by this lady, who was equally surprised by my entrance, though without any doubt who I might be, from having seen me with the queen, and from knowing I was to join the play-party to my ci-devant box. I inquired if I had made any mistake, but though she could not say no, she would not suffer Me to rectify it, but sent to ask Madame Bremyere to meet me in her room.
Mlle. Bachmeister is extremely genteel in her figure, though extremely plain in her face; her voice is gentle and penetrating; her manners are soft, yet dignified, and she appears to be both a feeling and a cultivated character. I could not but lament such had not been the former possessor of an apartment I had so often entered with the most cruel antipathy. I liked her exceedingly; she is a marked gentlewoman in her whole deportment, though whether so from birth, education, or only mind, I am ignorant.
Since she gave me so pleasant a prejudice in her favour, you will be sure our acquaintance began with some spirit. We talked much of the situation she filled; and I thought it my duty to cast the whole of my resignation of one so similar upon ill health. Mrs. Bremyere soon joined us, and we took up Miss Barbara Planta in our way to the theatre.
When the king entered, followed by the queen and his lovely daughters, and the orchestra struck up " God save the king," and the people all called for the singers, who filled the stage to sing it, the emotion I was suddenly filled with so powerfully possessed me, that I wished I could, for a minute or two, have flown from the box, to have sobbed; I was so gratefully delighted at the sight before me, and so enraptured at the continued enthusiasm of the no longer volatile people for their worthy, revered sovereign, that I really suffered from the restraint I felt of being forced to behave decorously.
The play was the "Heir at Law," by Colman the younger. I liked it extremely. It has a good deal of character, a happy plot, much interest in the under parts, and is combined, I think, by real genius, though open to innumerable partial criticisms. I heard a gentleman's voice from the next box call softly to Miss Barbara Planta, "Who is that lady?" and Page 163
heard her answer my name, and him rejoin, "I thought so." I found it was Lord Aylesbury, who also has resigned, and was at the play only for the pleasure of sitting opposite his late royal mistress. . . .
MADAME D'ARBLAY's LITTLE BOY AT COURT.
About a week after this theatrical regale, I went to the Queen's house, to make known I had only a few more days to remain at Chelsea. I arrived just as the royal family had set out for Windsor; but Miss Bacbmeister, fortunately, had only ascended her coach to follow. I alighted, and went to tell my errand. Mrs. Bremyere, Mrs. Cheveley, and Miss Planta were her party. The latter promised to speak for me to the queen; but, gathering I had my little boy, in my father's carriage, she made me send for him. They took him in, and loaded him with bonbons and admiration, and would have loaded him with caresses to boot, but the little wretch resisted that part of the entertainment. Upon their return from Windsor, you will not suppose me made very unhappy to receive the following billet:—
March 8th, 1798. My dear friend,-The queen has commanded me to acquaint you that she desires you will be at the Queen's house on Thursday morning at ten o'clock, with your lovely boy. You are desired to come upstairs in Princess Elizabeth's apartments, and her majesty will send for you as soon as she can see you. Adieu! Yours most affectionately, M. Planta.
A little before ten, you will easily believe, we were at the ,Queen's house, and were immediately ushered into the apartment of the Princess Elizabeth, who, to show she expected my little man, had some playthings upon one of her many tables; for her royal highness has at least twenty in her principal room. The child, in a new muslin frock, sash, etc.' did not look to much disadvantage, and she examined him with the most good-humoured pleasure, and, finding him too shy to be seized, had the graciousness, as well as sense, to play round and court him by sportive wiles, instead of being offended at his insensibility to her royal notice. She ran about the room, peeped at him through chairs, clapped her hands, half caught without touching him, and showed a skill Page 164
and a sweetness that made one almost sigh she should have no call for her maternal propensities.
There came in presently Miss D-, a young lady about thirteen, who seems in some measure under the protection of her royal highness, who had rescued her poor injured and amiable mother, Lady D-, from extreme distress, into which she had been involved by her unworthy husband's connexion with the infamous Lady W-, who, more hardhearted than even bailiffs, had forced certain of those gentry, in an execution she had ordered in Sir H. D-'s house, to seize even all the children's playthings ! as well as their clothes, and that when Lady D— had but just lain in, and was nearly dying! This charming princess, who had been particularly acquainted with Lady D- during her own illness at Kew Palace, where the queen permitted the intercourse, came forward upon this distress, and gave her a small independent house in the neighbourhood of Kew, with every advantage she could annex to it. But she is now lately no more, and, by the sort of reception given to her daughter, I fancy the princess transfers to her that kind benevolence the mother no longer wants.
just then, Miss Planta came to summon us to the Princess Augusta. She received me with her customary sweetness, and called the little boy to her. He went fearfully and cautiously, yet with a look of curiosity at the state of her head, and the operations of her friseur, that seemed to draw him on more powerfully than her commands. He would not, however, be touched, always flying to my side at the least attempt to take his hand. This would much have vexed me, if I had not seen the ready allowance she made for his retired life, and total want of use to the sight of anybody out of our family, except the Lockes, amongst whom I told her his peculiar preference for Amelia. "Come then," cried she, "come hither, my dear, and tell me all about her,—is she very good to you?—do you like her very much?"
He was now examining her fine carpet, and no answer was to be procured. I would have apologised, but she would not let me. "'Tis so natural," she cried, '"that he should be more amused with those shapes and colours than with my stupid questions."
Princess Mary now came in, and, earnestly looking at him, exclaimed, "He's beautiful!—what eyes!—do look at his eyes!" Page 165
"Come hither, my dear," again cried Princess Augusta, "come hither;" and, catching him to her for a Moment, and, holding up his hair. to lift up his face and made him look at her, she smiled very archly, and cried, "O ! horrid eyes! shocking eyes!—take them away!"
Princess Elizabeth then entered, attended by a page, who was loaded With playthings which she had been sending for. You may suppose him caught now! He seized upon dogs, horses, chaise, a cobbler, a watchman, and all he could grasp but would not give his little person or cheeks, to my great confusion, for any of them.
I was fain to call him a little savage, a wild deer, a creature just caught from the woods, and whatever could indicate his rustic life, and apprehension of new faces,—to prevent their being hurt ; and their excessive good nature helped all my excuses, nay, made them needless, except to myself. .
Princess Elizabeth now began playing upon an organ she had brought him, which he flew to seize. "Ay, do! that's right, my dear," cried Princess Augusta, stopping her ears at some discordant sounds; "take it to mon ami, to frighten the cats out of his garden."
And now, last of all, came in Princess Amelia, and, strange to relate ! the child was instantly delighted with her! She came first up to me, and, to my inexpressible surprise and enchantment, she gave me her sweet beautiful face to kiss!—an honour I had thought now for ever over, though she had so frequently gratified me with it formerly. Still more touched, however, than astonished, I would have kissed her hand, but, withdrawing it, saying, "No, no,—you know I hate that!" she again presented me her ruby lips, and with an expression of -such ingenuous sweetness and innocence as was truly captivating. She is and will be another Princess Augusta.
She then turned to the child, and his eyes met hers with a look of the same pleasure that they were sought. She stooped down to take his unresisting hands, and, exclaiming "Dear little thing!" took him in her arms, to his own as obvious content as hers.
"He likes her!" cried Princess Augusta, "a little rogue! see how he likes her!"
"Dear little thing!" with double the emphasis, repeated the young princess, now sitting down and taking him upon her knee; "and how does M. d'Arblay do?"
The child now left all his new playthings, his admired Page 166
carpet, and his privilege of jumping from room to room, for the gentle pleasure of sitting in her lap and receiving her caresses. I could not be very angry, you will believe, yet I would have given the world I could have made him equally grateful to the Princess Augusta. This last charming personage, I now found, was going to Sit for her picture—I fancy to send to the Duchess of Wurtemberg. She gave me leave to attend her with my bantling. The other princesses retired to dress for Court.
It was with great difficulty I could part my little love from his grand collection of new playthings, all of which he had dragged into the painting-room, and wanted now to pull them down-stairs to the queen's apartment. I persuaded him, however, to relinquish the design without a quarrel, by promising we would return for them.
HIS PRESENTATION TO THE QUEEN.
I was not a little anxious, you will believe, in this presentation of my unconsciously honoured rogue, who entered the White closet totally unimpressed with any awe, and only with a sensation of disappointment in not meeting again the gay young party, and variety of playthings, he had left above. The queen, nevertheless, was all condescending indulgence, and had a Noah's ark ready displayed upon the table for him.
But her look was serious and full of care, and, though perfectly gracious, none of her winning smiles brightened her countenance, and her voice was never cheerful. I have since known that the Irish conspiracy with France was just then discovered, and O'Connor that very morning taken.(156) No wonder she should have felt a shock that pervaded her whole mind and manners! If we all are struck with horror at such developments of treason, danger, and guilt, what must they prove to the royal family, at whom they are Page 167
regularly aimed ? How my heart has ached for them in that horrible business!
"And how does your papa do?" said the queen.
"He's at Telsea," answered the child.
"And how does grandDapa do?"
"He's in the toach," he replied.
"And what a pretty frock you've got on! who made it you, mamma, or little aunty?"
The little boy now grew restless, and pulled me about, with a desire to change his situation. I was a good deal embarrassed, as I saw the queen meant to enter into conversation as usual; which I knew to be impossible, unless he had some entertainment to occupy him. She perceived this soon, and had the goodness immediately to open Noah's ark herself, which she had meant he should take away with him to examine and possess at once. But he was now soon in raptures : and, as the various animals were produced, looked with a delight that danced in all his features; and when any appeared of which he knew the name, he capered with joy; such as, "O! a tow [cow]!" But at the dog, he clapped his little hands, and running close to her Majesty; leant upon her lap, exclaiming, "O, it's bow wow!"
"And do you know this, little man?" said the queen, showing him a cat.
"Yes," cried he, again jumping as he leant upon her, "its name is talled pussey!"
And at the appearance of Noah, in a green mantle, and leaning on a stick, he said, "At's (that's] the shepherd's boy!"
The queen now inquired about my dear father, and heard all I had to say relative to his apartments, with an air of interest, yet not as if it was new to her. I have great reason to believe the accommodation then arranging, and since settled, as to his continuance in the College, has been deeply influenced by some royal hint. . . .
I imagined she had just heard of the marriage of Charlotte, for she inquired after my sister Frances, whom she never had mentioned before since I quitted my post. I was obliged briefly to relate the transaction, seeking to adorn it by stating Mr. Broome's being the author of "Simkin's Letters." She agreed in their uncommon wit and humour.
My little rebel, meanwhile, finding his animals were not given into his own hands, but removed from their mischief, was struggling all this time to get at the Tunbridge-ware of Page 168
the queen's work-box, and, in defiance of all my efforts to prevent him, he seized one piece, which he called a hammer, and began violently knocking the table with it. I would fain have taken it away silently - but he resisted such grave authority, and so continually took it back, that the queen, to my great confusion, now gave it him. Soon, however, tired also of this, he ran away from me into the next room, which was their majesties' bedroom, and in which were all the jewels ready to take to St. James's, for the Court attire. I was excessively ashamed, and obliged to fetch him back in my arms, and there to keep him. "
"Get down, little man," said the queen; "you are too heavy for your mamma."
He took not the smallest notice of this admonition. The queen, accustomed to more implicit obedience, repeated it but he only nestled his little head in my neck, and worked' about his whole person, so that I with difficulty held him.
The queen now imagined he did not know whom she meant, and said, " What does he call you? Has he any particular name for you?"
He now lifted up his head, and, before I could answer, called out, in a fondling manner, "Mamma, mamma!"
"O!" said she, smiling, "he knows who I mean!"
His restlessness still interrupting all attention, in defiance of my earnest whispers for quietness, she now said, "Perhaps he is hungry?" and rang her bell, and ordered a page to bring some cakes.
He took one with great pleasure, and was content to stand down to eat it. I asked him if he had nothing to say for it; he nodded his little head, and composedly answered, "Sanky, queen!" This could not help amusing her, nor me, neither, for I had no expectation of quite so succinct an answer.
The carriages were now come for St. James's, and the Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth came into the apartment. The little monkey, in a fit of renewed lassitude after his cake, had flung himself on the floor, to repose at his ease. He rose, however, upon their appearance, and the sweet Princess Augusta said to the queen, "He has been so good, up-stairs, mamma, that nothing could be better behaved." I could have kissed her for this instinctive kindness, excited by a momentary view of my embarrassment at his little airs and liberties.
The queen heard her with an air of approving, as well as understanding, her motive, and spoke to me with the utmost Page 169
condescension of him, though I cannot recollect how, for I was a good deal fidgeted lest he should come to some disgrace, by any actual mischief or positive rebellion. I escaped pretty well, however, and they all left us with smiles and graciousness. . . .
You will not be much surprised to hear that papa came to help us out of the coach, at* our return to Chelsea, eager to know how our little rebel had conducted himself, and how he had been received. The sight of his playthings, you will believe, was not very disagreeable. The ark, watchman, and cobbler, I shall keep for him till he may himself judge their worth beyond their price.
MLLE. BACHMEISTER PRODUCES A FAVOURABLE IMPRESSION.
I returned to the Queen's house in the afternoon to drink coffee with Mlle. Bachmeister, whom I found alone, and spent a half-hour with very pleasantly, though very seriously, for her character is grave and feeling, and I fear she is not happy. Afterwards we were joined by Madame Bremyere, who is far more cheerful.
The play was called "Secrets Worth Knowing;" a new piece. In the next box to ours sat Mrs. Ariana Egerton, the bed-chamber-woman to her majesty, who used so frequently to visit me at Windsor. She soon recollected me, though she protested I looked so considerably in better health, she took me for my own Younger sister - and we had a great deal of chat together, very amicable and cordial. I so much respect her warm exertions for the emigrant ladies, that I addressed her with real pleasure, in pouring forth my praises for her kindness and benevolence.
When we returned to the Queen's house my father's carriage was not arrived, and I was obliged to detain Mlle. Bachmeister in conversation for full half an hour, while I waited ; but it served to increase my good disposition to her. She is really an interesting woman. Had she been in that place while I belonged to the queen, heaven knows if I had so struggled for deliverance , for poor Mrs. Schwellenberg so wore, wasted, and tortured all my little leisure, that my time for repose was, in fact, my time of greatest labour. So all is for the best! I have escaped offending lastingly the royal mistress I love and honour, and-I live at Westhamble with my two precious Alexanders.
(137) The most interesting account of the unfortunate expedition to Bantry Bay is to be found in Wolfe Tone's " Memoirs." Wolfe Tone, one of the leading members of the Irish Revolutionary party, had been for some time resident in Paris, engaged in negotiations with the Directory, with the view of obtaining French support for the Irish in their intended attempt to throw off the yoke of England. About the middle of December, 1796, a large French fleet, under the Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, sailed from Brest, having on board an army of f twenty-five thousand men, commanded by General Hoche, one of the ablest officers of the Republic. Wolfe Tone accompanied the troops in the capacity of adjutant to the general, But the fleet was dispersed by storms. The vessel which had General Hoche on board was obliged to put into the harbour of Rochelle, and comparatively few of the ships, with about six thousand troops on board, actually cast anchor in Bantry Bay. Even there, the wind was so 'Violent as to render landing impossible, and after a few days' delay the expedition returned to France.-ED.
(138) Edmund Burke died, at his house at Beaconsfield, half an hour after midnight on the morning Of Sunday, July 9, 1797. He was buried, July 15, in the parish church of Beaconsfield.-ED.
(139) Sold for the benefit of the nation.
(140) Dr. Johnson's negro servant. Johnson left him a comfortable annuity, on which he retired to Lichfield. He died in the infirmary at Stafford, February 13, 1801.-ED.
(141) The Garrick family resided in Lichfield. David Garrick was born in Hereford, but educated at Lichfield.-ED.
(142) Dr. Burney's little grandson, and the son of Captain James BAR Burney. after years, as readers of "Elia" will remember, Martin Burney was the friend of Charles Lamb.-ED.
(143) Since the death of his second wife, Dr. Burney had been engaged upon a "historical and didactic poem on astronomy." He had been urged to the undertaking by Fanny, who hoped that the interest of this new occupation might prove a relief to his sorrow. Astronomy Was a favourite subject with Dr. Burney, and he made great progress with the poem, which was for years his favourite recreation. At a later period, however, for some reason which his daughter never discovered, he relinquished the task and destroyed the manuscript.-ED.
(144) Ralph Broome, who married Charlotte Francis in 1798, wasthe author of "The Letters of Simpkin the Second, poetic recorder of all the proceedings upon the trial of Warren Hastings, Esq., in Westminster Hall," published by Stockdale, 1789. These letters, which had already appeared separately in "The World," form, as the title implies, a burlesque report of the trial, in rhymed verse. The author is very severe upon the managers, and proportionately favourable to Mr. Hastings. The letters are amusing and not without Wit, although in these respects "Simpkin the Second" falls decidedly short of "Simpkin the First," who is, of course, the Simple Simkin of Anstey's "New Bath Guide." upon which clever satire Broome had modelled his performance.-ED.
(145) Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, was a very singular character—- a compound of experimental philosopher, practical philanthropist, soldier and statesman. He was born at Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1753. A Tory during the struggle for American independence, he embarked for England before the close of the war. There he was well received by the government, but shortly afterwards he went to Bavaria, where he entered into the service of the Elector. He soon attained a high reputation by the reforms which he introduced in various departments, and was created a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, by the title of Count Rumford. Among his principal achievements in Bavaria were the reforms which he brought about in the army, and the measures which he instituted for the relief of the poor and the suppression of beggary. To Fanny, at present, Count Rumford was more interesting as the inventor of an improved Cooking range, by which the consumption of fuel was greatly reduced. See his "Life" by James Renwick, in Sparks'.s "Library of American Biography," Boston, 1845.-ED.
(146) The insurrection of the 18th of Fructidor (September 4, 1797). In 1795, on the dissolution of the Convention, the government of France was entrusted to a Directory of five persons, assisted by two councils—the Council of Ancients, and the Council of Five hundred. In course of time, the reactionary, or anti-revolutionary, party obtained a large majority in the councils, which were thus involved in continual disputes with the Directory. The army supported the Directory, and on the 4th Of September a large body of troops surrounded the Tuileries, and arrested a number of the most obnoxious members of the councils; many of these Were afterwards—not guillotined, but transported to South America.-ED. (147) The marriage of the princess royal and the hereditary prince of Wurtemberg, May 18, 1797.-ED. (148) In April, 797, a serious mutiny broke out in the fleet at Spithead. The sailors demanded increased pay and better food. Their demands were finally conceded, and they returned to their duty, May 14. A few days later, a still more alarming mutiny broke out in the fleet at the Nore. The mutineers hoisted the red flag, May 23, and, being joined by vessels from other squadrons, found themselves presently masters of eleven ships of the line, and thirteen frigates. With this powerful fleet they blocked the Thames, and put a stop to the river trade of London. Their demands were more extensive than those of the Spithead Mutineers, but government firmly refused further concessions, and in June the want of union and resolution among the men brought about the collapse of the mutiny. Ship after ship deserted the red flag, until the last vessel was steered into Sheerness harbour, and given up to the authorities. Several of the leaders were tried by court-martial and hanged ; the rest of the mutineers were pardoned.-ED.
(149) The decisive victory gained by Admiral Duncan over the Dutch fleet, off Camperdown, October 11, 1797. in January, 1795, the French army under General Pichegru had conquered Holland with little difficulty, meeting, indeed, with much sympathy from the inhabitants. The Prince of Orange and his family were forced to take refuge in England and the representatives of the Dutch people immediately assembling, proclaimed Holland a republic, under the protection of France. From that time Holland had been in alliance with France, and at war with England. Duncan was rewarded for his victory with a pension and a peerage—Viscount Duncan of Camperdown henceforward.-ED.
(150) Duncan's victory we have already noted. Lord Howe's was the great victory of June 1, 1794, over the French fleet commanded by Admiral Villaret-joyeuse. It was in this battle that the Vengeur went down, out Of which incident Barrere manufactured, for the benefit of the French people, that rousing story of the disabled ship refusing to strike its colours, and sinking while every man of the crew, With his last breath, shouted "Vive la Republique!" Magnificent, had it not been pure fiction! Lord St. Vincent (then Admiral Jervis) gained a complete victory over the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent, February 14, 1797. Spain, as well as Holland, was now in alliance with France: had made peace with France in 1795, and declared war against England in the following year. ,K Admiral Jervis received the title of Earl St. Vincent and a pension in consequence of his victory.-ED.
(151) Only child of the Prince and Princess of Wales, born January 7, 1796.-ED.
(152) A novel by Sarah Harriet Burney.-ED.
(153) The Duke of Cumberland, afterward, King of Hanover; fifth son of George III.; born 1771, died 1851.-ED.
(154) William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and brother of George III.-ED.
(155) William Frederick, afterwards Duke of Gloucester, and husband of the Princess Mary. He was born in 1776, and died in 1836.-ED.
(156) Arthur O'Connor, nephew and heir of Lord Longueville, was one of the Irish leaders, who took part in the negotiations between the Revolutionary party in Ireland and the French Directory. He and two or three of his associates were arrested at Margate (February 28, 1798), where they were attempting to hire a boat to take them to France. They were tried at Maidstone (May 21), and one of the party, on whom were found some compromising papers, including an address to the Directory, was convicted and hanged. O'Connor was acquitted, but immediately rearrested and detained in custody during the rising in Ireland.- ED.