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parish register of Lynn, in Norfolk, that truth, it was followed up by such immeFrances, the second daughter of Charles diate and important consequences, that Burney, was born in the summer of 1752 ;* neither Miss Burney nor her family could and that consequently she was at the time ever extricate themselves from it: it was, of the publication of . Evelina' (1778) —not as we have said, the main cause of the kind seventeen, but-between twenty-five and of enthusiasm excited by the book and for twenty-six years old. This, it is obvious, its author: it was, as we have just seen, changes the whole aspect of the affair - the prominent topic of Johnson's admira. the miracle is reduced to a very ordinary tion, and of that of the literary world. It fact. Whatever be the merit of the novel, was one of the alleged motives of the royal it would not, as the work of a woman of five- favour subsequently shown to her : in short, and-twenty, have excited the wonder and it was the foundation of her fame and her enthusiasm that it did, when supposed to fortune; and it niust be admitted, in excuse be written, in the circumstances stated, by for her perseverance in this false position, a girl of seventeen : the foregoing dialogue, that a retreat would have required an exer-, for instance, between Dr. Johnson and Mrs. tion of verve and spirit from which even Thrale never could have happened, But the sturdiest moralist might have shrunk. this is not all. The original story, of the We are convinced that this unlucky sefather's ulter ignorance of the work, has cret caused her many awkward embarrassbeen essentially modified. It is now ad- ments and many anxious moments, and mitted that she told him of it, and even ob- had an injurious effect both on her own tained his previous sanction to its publica- personal manners and the style of her subtion ; but still, in order to keep up the ori- sequent works. It is impossible in reading ginal delusion, we are asked to believe that her journals not to be struck by the everthough thus told of the novel and thus sanc- lasting conflict between her inordinate aptioning its publication, he never saw a line petite for praise and her professed uneasiof it-never inquired its name, and had not ness at any mention of her works. Much even the curiosiiy to ask whether it had of this uneasiness was no doubt mere affecactually been published or not—that this tation, put on as a kind of cloak, under state of things lasted for six months--and which she might enjoy her vanity more dethat Miss Burney never knew by what cently; but there was also probably some means her father discovered the profound real trepidation at bottom. We cannot secret that the new novel which was mal- conceive a more painful catastrophe than ing so much noise under the title of. Eve- if, on one of those numerous occasions lina' was in fact that very publication to where a crowd of eminent admirers were which he had consented the year before; celebrating her precocious talents, the truth and which (though anonymously) was dedi-, had by any accident transpired, and it had cated to himself. How or with whom this appeared that this artless girl and her amiadeception originated, it were now idle to ble family had been guilty of so enormous inquire. It perhaps began in some, if not a deception on the public as the subtracinnocent, at least rery venial attempt at tion of one-third from her real years. We preserving the author's incognito till the fate ! can therefore very well imagine the mixof the work should be decided : it then was ture of fright and vanity with which she probably persisted in from vanity; and it must have heard the bold and voluble Mrs. was subsequently aided in the eyes of the Cholmondeley descanting on her youth, world by the personal appearance of the and pronouncing her with such marked emheroine, which both in figure and feature phasis not a woman, but a girl'-a giri continued, long after she had attained wo- of 27! manhood, to be remarkably childish. Even But though it is possible that this decepup to 1787 the last date to which these rol- tion began in accident or thoughtlessness, umes carry us, when she had attained the we cannot doubt that the natural predispomature age of 35, we find her still playing sition of her mind was towards artifice and off all the little airs and manners of Miss manæuvring. It was early remarked as in her Teens.'
a prominent defect in her novels that all But whatever may have been the motive her heroines were exhibited as the victims or excuse for the original deviation from of trifling annoyances and imaginary diffi
culties, from which two words of candour * Sce Quarterly Review, vol. xlix., where and common sense would have extricated it is stated from the parish register that she was them. The same error runs through her baptized in July, 1752. In the introduction to the Memoirs her age is (for the first time by her or her thrown into confusions, embarrassments,
own memoirs. She represents herself as friends) stated, and it appears that she was born on the 13th June, 1752.
terrors, miseries, and so forth, by the most
ordinary occurrences of common life. If him add, “So, this is Sir Philip's kindness!" she is spoken to, she is in a flutter of mo- and her answer. “I wish you no worse luck!” dest agitation ; if not spoken to, she is still Now, what think you of this ?—was it not more alarmed at such ominous silence. If highly insolent ?--and from a man who has be
haved to me hitherto with the utmost defercomplimented, she is inclined to creep under ence, good nature, and civility, and given me a the chair : if not attended to she retreats thousand reasons, by every possible opportuniinto indignant seclusion. She is afraid to ty, to think myself very high indeed in his good make tea at an evening party, lest she opinion and good graces? But these rich men should appear too obtrusive; and if she think themselves the constant prey of all pordoes not, she is in still worse agonies, lest tionless girls, and are always upon their guard, she should be thought supercilious.
and suspicious of some design to take them in.
-Vol ii., pp. 24, 25. The most trifling incident—a word or a look-if it concerns her own important We would not justify Mr. Crutchley's self, is treated with all the pomp of history; rudeness in showing in the lady's presence and the idlest and most trivial conversa: any pique at the flattering proposition made tions are registered with more detail and to him; but it might be suggested, in excare than if they were evidence in a court tenuation, that Miss Burney began the fray of justice on some momentous cause. The by • drily expressing her own dissatisfacenormous extent of this prolixity will be tion; and it must be observed, moreover, superabundantly shown by the following that the 'portionless girl' was now in her instance. After Mr. Thrale's death, a nine-and-twenticth year, and somewhat oldyoung gentleman, of the name of Crutcher
, we believe, than the reluctant swain. ley, who had been his ward, and was now It seems, however, that the poor man had one of his executors, made a visit to Streat- no swainish thoughts in his head, and was ham, where Miss Burney had previously quite at a loss to guess the cause of ļhe recome to console the widow, who, as it sentment with which Miss Burney visited turned out, did not need much consolation. bim-as appears throughout sixteen or sevThis visit produces the following scene - enteen martal pages of such dialogne as
•Sunday morning nobody went to church but Mr. Crutchley, Miss Thrale, and myself; and Why, Miss Burney! why, what's the some time after, when I was sauntering upon matter ?"" the lawn before the house, Mr. Crutchley joined "“Nothing." me. We were returning together into the «“Why, are you stricken, or smitten, or house, when Mrs. Thrale, popping her head out ill ?" of her dressing-room window, called out, “How None of the three." nicely these men domesticate among us, Miss Are
affronted ?" Burney! Why, they take to us as natural as · Not a word. Then again he called to Miss life!"
Thrale,• “Well, well,” cried Mr. Crutchley, “I have "Why, Queeny-why, she's quite in a rage! sent for my horse, and I shall release you early What have you done to her ?" to-morrow morning. I think yonder comes Sir · I still sulked on, vexed to he teased; but, Philip."
though with a gaiety that showed he had no Oh! you'll have enough to do with him," suspicion of the cause, he grew more and more cried she, laughing: “he is well prepared to urgent, trying every means to make me tell him plague you, I assure you."
what was the matier, till at last, much provok• Is he ?-and what about ?"
ed, I said, «“Why, about Miss Burney. He asked me •“I must be strangely in want of a confident the other day what was my present establish- indeed, to take you
for one!!' ment. 'Mr. Crutchley and Miss Burney,'I an. * Then Miss Thrale, stimulated by him, came swered. “How well those two names go to- to inquire if I had really taken anything amiss gether,' cried he; 'I think they can't do better of her. No, I assured her. than make a match of it: I will consent, I am Is it of me, then ?" cried Mr. Crutchley, sure,' he added; and to-day, I dare say, you as if sure I should say no; but I made no other will hear enough of it.”.
answer than desiring him to desist questioning I leave you to judge if I was pleased at this me. stuff thus communicated; but Mrs. Thrale, ««So I will," cried he; “only clear me, — with all her excellence, can give up no occasion only say it is not me.”. of making sport, however unseasonable, or even " I shall say nothing about the matter; so painful.
do pray be at rest.” ““I am very much obliged to him, indeed!" 16. Well, but it can't be me, I know; only say cried I, drily; and Mr. Crutchley called out, that. It's Queeny, I dare say.” “ Thank him!-thank him ! ”in a voice of pride
No, indeed." and of pique that spoke him mortally angry. «« Then it's you,” cried Miss Thrale; " and
* I instantly came into the house, leaving him to' I'm glad of it, with all my heart !". talk it out with Mrs. Thrale, to whom I heard He then grew quite violent, and at last went
on with his questions till, by being quite silent «« But was it at dinner, or before dinner ?" to them, he could no longer doubt who it was. ““Is it not enough that it is over? I am He seemed then wholly amazed, and entreated sorry you knew anything of the matter, and I to know what he had done; but I tried only to am obliged to you for taking so much trouble avoid him, and keep out of his way,
about it; so there let it rest.” –Vol. ii., pp. • He was presently, however, with us again; 27-37. and when he came to my side, and found me really trying to talk of other matters with Miss
And this kind of stuff is the staple comThrale, and avoid him, he called out,
modity of the whole Diary. The utter Upon my life, this is too bad! Do tell me, inanity and worthlessness of the greater Miss Burney, what is the matter? If you won't, portion of the dialogues, with which Miss I protest I'll call Mrs. Thrale, and make her Burney expands her volumes, have a tenwork at you herself.” I assure you,” answered I, “that will be ent to what is nevertheless a very serious
dency to render us, at first sight, indifferto no purpose; for I must offend myself by telling it, and therefore I shall mention it to no
offence, the unpardonable breach of conbody."
fidence, in thus stealthily treasuring up for But what in the world have I done ?!! publication every idle word which was ut
Nothing; you have done nothing.” tered in the unsuspicious freedom of pri"" What have I said, then? Only let me vate society. She anticipated in her youth beg your pardon,-only let me know what it is, faults that more usually accompany a gosthat I may beg your pardon." "He was not
, however, to be so dismissed. Şiping' widowhood.' She was išle, vanAgain he threatened me with Mrs. Thrale, but dering about from house to house ; and not again I assured him nothing could less answer
only idle, but a tattler also, and a busybody, to him.
speaking things which she ought not. We "Well, but,” cried he; “if you will not let need not here discuss under what peculiar me know my crime, why, I must never speak circumstances, or to what limited extent, to you any more.”
such a practice might be justifiable, beVery well, if you please we'll proclaim
cause there are in Miss Burney's case no a mutual silence henceforward.”
extenuating circumstances whatsoever. • “Oh,” cried he, “you, I suppose, will be ready enough; but to me that would be a loss The parties are all chatting in private inof very great pleasure. If you would tell me, tercourse, sometimes on personal subjects, however, I am sure I could explain it off, because always in the confidence thạt there is no I am sure it has been done undesignedly.” tale-bearer by to repeat elsewhere any.
*“ No, it does not admit of any explanation ; thing that may bave been said to the anso pray don't mention it any more. Only tell me what part of the day it was." still less that there is a deliberate spy, who
noyance or disparagement of other parties, · Whether this unconsciousness was real, or only to draw me in so that he might come to the writes it all down, first for the amusement point, and make his apology with greater ease, of her own friends, and eventually for pubI know not; but I assured him it was in vain he lication to all the world. We can call this asked, and again desired him to puzzle himself by no softer name than treachery; and the with no further recollections.
editor who has thought fit to publish this "" Oh,” cried he; but I shall think of every- insipid, yet sometimes, we fear, malicious thing I have ever said to you for this half-year. trash, not only injures the author's characI am sure, whatever it was, it must have been unmeant and unguarded.”
ter, but, we think, compromises her own. "" That, Sir, I never doubted; and probably She will probably say in her defence that you thought me hard enough to hear anything Madame D'Arblay intended-perhaps diwithout minding it.”.
rected—that it should be published; but ““Good Heaven, Miss Burney! why, there even if that be so, her niece should have had is nobody I would not sooner offend, --nobody more tenderness for her memory than to in the world !"
have obeyed such an injunction. «“Well, ma'am, I hope we are now friends ?” «« Yes !” cried I.
This we say on general principles, and “And is it all quite over ?”
feel ourselves bound not to permit such a Entirely."
breach of good faith to pass uncensured; "Why, then, do, pray,” cried he, laughing, but we admit that individually there is not “ be so good as to let me know what was our
much harm done. Miss Burney is in genequarrel?”
ral so absorbed in the merits of Miss Bur*** No—no, I shan't!" (cried I, laughing too, ney, that the faults or foibles of her acat the absurdity of quarrelling and seeming not quaintance occupy a very secondary place to know what for ;) "" it is all over, and that is in her thoughts or pages, and her little maenough."
No, by no means enough: I must really lice is generally so obscure in its object, beg you to tell me; I am uneasy till I know. and so tedious in its process that, though a Was it that silly joke of mine at dinner ?" few surviving friends of certain parties may
""No, I assure you, it was no joke!" be offended, there are but two or three in
stances in which we think it worth while to really below it, and whether from vanity, enter a specific protest. These occur or ignorance, or shyness, seems to have done chiefly during the period of Miss Burney's it with a mixture of remissness and assumpdomestication in Queen Charlotte's family, tion which exercised all the indulgence of to which we shall now lead our reader's her gentle and tolerant mistress. These attention.
circumstances naturally occasioned her Miss Burney was in the summer of 1786 some petty distresses, which her peculiar appointed second Keeper of the Robes to propensity inflates and aggrandizes into the Queen. This appointment she owed such serious calamities that a hasty reader partly, it is said, to her literary reputation, would conclude from her evidence that a but much more, we believe, io the friend-court life, even under the best of sovereigns, ship of the venerable Mrs. Delany, with is one of intolerable mortification and misewhom, after Mrs. Thrale's miserable més- ry. The fact may be so abstractedly; but alliance with Piozzi, Miss Burney had be- assuredly Miss Burney's miseries were come very intimate. This good old lady, chiefly of her own manufacture. This, to born in 1700, and the widow of the cele prevent misapprehension about what is callbrated Dr. Delany, lived in great intimacy od the Court, deserves some elucidation. with the old Duchess of Portland (grand- First, Miss Burney had officially nothing daughter of Lord Treasurer Oxford, and to do with the Court, properly so called, Prior's 'Lovely, noble, little Peggy',) and and what she saw of the Court were the through her had become known to their glimpses, through half opened doors and Majesties, who, when the Duchess's death down long passages, of a distant and humdeprived Mrs. Delany of her usual country ble spectator ; her place was entirely dovisit to Bulstrode, fitted up and appropriat- mestic- in fact, menial ; and, though in ed to her use, as a summer residence, a daily personal altendance, she never was small house belonging to the King, close admitted for a moment into the private soto the gate of Windsor Castle, where they cietij of the Sovereign-not even to stand often made her morning visits, and whence in an outer room to listen to the evening she was frequently invited to the domestic music, nor, when Mrs. Siddons was once evenings of the royal family. The elegant invited to the Castle to read a play, could and considerate benevolence of their Ma- Miss Burney find out a convenient adjoina jesties to this venerable relique of the days ing room where she might overhear the of Addison, Pope, and Swift, was made recital : though that favour was granted to more generally known about twenty years Mrs. Schwellenberg (iii. 427.) Her real ago by the publication of Mrs. Delany's let position was that which in ordinary life ters ; and the best part of the present work would be called lady's-maid ; and, though is its minute corroboration of the amiable such menial offices about the person of the feelings and unaffected urbanity and conde. Sovereign do not derogate from, but indeed scension of those illustrious personages and rather confirm, the character of gentility in their whole family, not merely to Mrs. De. the holders, yet they exclude them from the lany but indeed to every one who entered or royal circle, either in public or in private. approached their domestic circle ;--but There is a well-known instance in which more of this hereafter. At Mrs. Delany's a lady of rank, appointed by special favour their Majesties saw Miss Burney, and on a to a very profitable sinecure of this class; vacancy in the office of Keeper of the found to her great mortification, that she Robes, caused by the retirement to her could no longer go to Court, as her birth enown country of a Mrs. Haggerdorn, who titled her, and as she had done during all had originally accompanied the Queen to her previous life. England, Miss Burney was appointed as This inferior position was evidently à sistant, or, as she would have had it, great grievance to Miss Burney, who was colleague of Mrs. Schwellenberg--a name marvellously discomposed at finding that preserved in that lively satire, the 'Heroic there was a bell in her room by which the Epistle,' and bespattered in the filthy and Queen could ring for her, and who repreforgotten libels of Peter Pindar. The main sents herself as blushing when the Treasuobject of the selection of Miss Burney for rer of the Household paid her her salary, the place—the satisfaction of Mrs. Delany, the Treasurer himself, as Miss Burney fanand the facilitating her intercourse with her cied, blushing also at having to offer such royal friends-was no doubt accomplished, an indignity to the author of Evelina.' but in all other respects the choice seems
One is, at first, somewhat surprised at not to have been very fortunate. Miss Bur- finding that the Queen, having attached a ney thought herself above her business, literary lady to her service, appears to have though we rather suspect that she was talked so little to her on literary subjects:
This, as we shall see presently, was a great, verse of what was intended ; namely that disappointment to Miss Burney; but there · Bryant knew everything from the creation are two evident reasons for it—first, her ap- of the world doun to the deluge, but nothpointed station and duties were not easily ing since.' The Queen, she says, lent her reconcilable with literary topics, and the Queen's good sense had a tendency to keep : An old Scotch ballad to read, that had lately every person and thing in their proper pla
been printed in Germany, with an introductory ces—but, secondly, some little advances essay upon the resemblance still subsisting be. made by the Queen in that direction were ballad is entitled the "Gaberlunzie Man.' It
tween the German and Scotch languages. The discouraged by Miss Burney's own mala- had to me no recommendation, save its curidresse. It is remarkable how little of litera- osity in a vocabulary and glossary, that pointed ture Miss Burney seems herself to have out the similitude of the two languages.'had-how little, at least, the memoirs show. Vol. iii., p. 164. She hardly ever alludes to a book except · Evelina' and · Cecilia !' She appears
Most persons who had never before seen not to have read Cumberland's Observer
• The Gaberlunzie Man' would have probaa work in which she herself, and most of bly been struck with its happy though not her friends, are alluded to—iill the Queen very delicate humour, its very clear versiread some passages to her, and afterwards fication, and the curiosity of such a ballad lent her the volumes. The first she seems having been written by a king-James V. to have heard of Hawkins' · Life of John- of Scotland. But as to the German pamson'—which we would have supposed she phlet which the Queen showed her, it had would have been most impatient to read been printed to illustrate a philological fact was from the King, who
• talked it over
-and it satisfied even Miss Burney as to with great candour and openness. One that fact-yet she complains that it did not night that the Queen was explaining to do something else—we know not what! Mrs. Schwellenberg a passage in Cowper's have been very slight; but she had been so
In short her general literature seems to • Task.' published about two years before, she turned to Miss Burney, and asked her fétée and flattered as a first-rate author, if she knew the poem?
Only by charac that we are not at all surprised to find that ter,' was the answer. Her taste for Shaks. she expected that the Queen intended to peare may be gathered from the following make her a kind of literary aide-de-camp :eulogy on Hamlet
Wednesday, August 17th.–From the time • How noble a play it is, considered in
that the Queen condescended to desire to place
parts; how wild and how improbable taken as a whole ? me in immediate attendance upon her own perBut there are speeches, from time to time, of such son, I had always secretly concluded she meant exquisite beauty of language, sentiment, and me for her English Reader ; since the real dupathos, that I could wade through the most ties of my office would have had a far greater thorny of roads to arrive at thein, especially than by myself. This idea had made the prospect
promise of being fulfilled by thousands of others when, in meeting with them, I meet at the same time with a sympathy like Mrs. Delany's in feel of reading 10 her extremely awful to me: an ing and enjoying them.'—Vol. ij., p. 238.
exhibition, at any rate, is painful to me, but one
in which I considered Her Majesty as a judge, To complain of the wildness and im- interested for herselt in the sentence she should probability of a romantic drama, of which pronounce, and gratified or disappointed accord
ing to its tenour-this was an exhibition formidtwo mad people and a ghost are the able indeed, and must have been considered as chief ingredients, seems somewhat hyper- such by anybody in similar circumstances. critical; and the thorny roads' through * Not a book, not a pamphlet, not a news which one is to ‘wade' (with the help of paper, bad I ever seen near the Queen, for the Mrs. Delany's sympathy,) to certain speech- first week, without feeling a panic; I always es in Hamlet, look to us like a confusion of expected to be called upon. She frequently bid ideas as well as of metaphors. Now and be the worst reading I could have, because full
me give her the papers; I felt that they would then she makes literary blunders, slight in of danger, in matter as well as manner : howthemselves, but rather strange in a profess-ever, she always read them herself. ed author. Living within ten yards of St. • To-day [17th Aug.] after she was dressed, George's Chapel, she calls it a “Cathedral.' Mrs. Schwellenberg went to her own room; and A lively allusion made by one of Jacob the Queen, instead of leaving me, as usual, to Bryant's friends to his antediluvian studies, go to mine, desired me to follow her to her sitshe thus mystifies : Bryant is a good helping her to arrange her work, which is chair,
ting dressing-room. She then employed me in scholar, and knows all things whatever up covers done in ribbon ; and then told me to fetch to Noah, but not a single thing beyond her a volume of the Spectator. I obeyed with the Flood.' This sounds like the very re- perfect tranquillity. She let me stand by her a