Diary from the French Court, Book II

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This is book 2 in the series depicting the personal diary of Fannys own life and experience at the French Court, the madness of kings and the life and death, agony and pain, joy and wonders of the French Revolution.

Photography and web adaptation by Mike Koontz
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To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

Chapters and pages, library and language menu to the left of the screen

A Queer


and evening

lay waiting

all naked]

A Queer Adventure.

St. Martin’s Street, January.

On Thursday, I had another adventure, and one that has made me grin ever since. A gentleman inquiring for my father, was asked into the parlour. The then inhabitants were only my mother and me. In entered a square old gentleman, well-wigged, formal, grave and important. He seated himself. My mother asked if he had any message for my father? “No, none.”
Then he regarded me with a certain dry kind of attention for some time; after which, turning suddenly to my mother, he demanded,
“Pray, ma’am, is this your daughter?”
“Yes, sir.”
“O! this is Evelina, is it?”
“No, sir,” cried I, staring at him, and glad none of you were in the way to say “Yes.”
“No?” repeated he, incredulous; “is not your name Evelina, ma’am?”
“Dear, no, sir,” again quoth I, staring harder.
“Ma’am,” cried he, drily; “I beg your pardon! I had understood your name was Evelina.”

Soon: after, he went away.

And when he put down his card, who should it prove but Dr. Franklin.1 Was it not queer?

An Evening at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s

A Demonstrative “Evelina” Enthusiast.
Now to this grand visit, which was become more tremendous than ever because of the pamphlet 2 business, and I felt almost ashamed to see Sir Joshua, and could not but conclude he would think of it too.
My mother, who changed her mind, came with me. My father promised to come before the Opera was half over.
We found the Miss Palmers alone. We were, for near an hour, quite easy, chatty, and comfortable; no pointed speech was made, and no starer entered. But when I asked the elder Miss Palmer if she would allow me to look at some of her drawings, she said,

“Not unless you will let me see something of yours.”
“Of mine?” quoth I. “Oh! I have nothing to show.”
“I am sure you have; you must have.”
“No, indeed; I don’t draw at all.”
“Draw? No, but I mean some of your writing.”
“Oh, I never write—except letters.”
“Letters? those are the very things I want to see.”
“Oh, not such as you mean.”
“Oh now, don’t say so; I am sure you are about something and if you would but show me—”
“No, no, I am about nothing—I am quite out of conceit with writing.” I had my thoughts full of the vile Warley.
“You out of conceit?” exclaimed she; “nay, then, if you are, who should be otherwise!”

Just then, Mrs. and Miss Horneck were announced. You may suppose I thought directly of the one hundred and sixty miles3—and may take it for granted I looked them very boldly in the face! Mrs. Horneck seated herself by my mother. Miss Palmer introduced me to her and her daughter, who seated herself next me; but not one word passed between us!
Mrs. Horneck, as I found in the course of the evening, is an exceedingly sensible, well-bred woman. Her daughter is very beautiful; but was low-spirited and silent during the whole visit. She was, indeed, very unhappy, as Miss Palmer informed me, upon account of some ill news she had lately heard of the affairs of a gentleman to whom she is shortly to be married.
Not long after came a whole troop, consisting of Mr. Cholmondeley!—perilous name!—Miss Cholmondeley, and Miss Fanny Cholmondeley, his daughters, and Miss Forrest. Mrs. Cholmondeley, I found, was engaged elsewhere, but soon expected.4 Now here was a trick of Sir Joshua, to make me meet all these people.
Mr. Cholmondeley is a clergyman; nothing shining either in person or manners, but rather somewhat grim in the first, and glum in the last. Yet he appears to have humour himself, and to enjoy it much in others.

Miss Cholmondeley I saw too little of to mention.

Miss Fanny Cholmondeley is a rather pretty, pale girl; very young and inartificial, and though tall and grown up, treated by her family as a child, and seemingly well content to really think herself such. She followed me whichever way I turned, and though she was too modest to stare, never ceased watching me the whole evening.
Miss Forrest is an immensely tall and not handsome young woman. Further I know not.
Next came my father, all gaiety and spirits. Then Mr. William Burke.5
Soon after, Sir Joshua returned home. He paid his compliments to everybody, and then brought a chair next mine, and said,

“So you were afraid to come among us?”
I don’t know if I wrote to you a speech to that purpose, which I made to the Miss Palmers? and which, I suppose, they had repeated to him. He went on, saying I might as well fear hobgoblins, and that I had only to hold up my head to be above them all.
After this address, his behaviour was exactly what my wishes would have dictated to him, for my own ease and quietness; for he never once even alluded to my book, but conversed rationally, gaily, and serenely: and so I became more comfortable than I had been ever since the first entrance of company. Our confab was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. King; a gentleman who is, it seems, for ever with the Burkes;—and presently Lord Palmerston6 was announced.

Well, while this was going forward, a violent rapping bespoke, I was sure, Mrs. Cholmondeley, and I ran from the standers, and turning my back against the door, looked over Miss Palmer’s cards; for you may well imagine, I was really in a tremor at a meeting which so long has been in agitation, and with the person who, of all persons, has been most warm and enthusiastic for my book.
She had not, however, been in the room half an instant, ere my father came up to me, and tapping me on the shoulder, said, “Fanny, here’s a lady who wishes to speak to you.”
I curtsied in silence, she too curtsied, and fixed her eyes full on my face: and then tapping me with her fan, she cried,

“Come, come, you must not look grave upon me.”

Upon this, I te-he’d; she now looked at me yet more earnestly, and, after an odd silence, said, abruptly—
“But is it true?”
“What, ma’am?”
“It can’t be!—tell me, though, is it true?”
I could only simper.
“Why don’t you tell me?—but it can’t be-I don’t believe it!—no, you are an impostor!”

Sir Joshua and Lord Palmerston were both at her side—oh, how notably silly must I look! She again repeated her question of “Is it true?” and I again affected not to understand her: and then Sir Joshua, taking hold on her arm, attempted to pull her away, saying
“Come, come, Mrs. Cholmondeley, I won’t have her overpowered here!”
I love Sir Joshua much for this. But Mrs. Cholmondeley, turning to him, said, with quickness and vehemence:—
“Why, I a’n’t going to kill her! don’t be afraid, I sha’n’t compliment her!—I can’t, indeed!”
Then, taking my hand, she led me through them all, to another part of the room, where again she examined my phiz, and viewed and reviewed my whole person.
“Now,” said she, “do tell me; is it true?”
“What, ma’am?—I don’t-I don’t know what—”
“Pho! what,—why you know what: in short, can you read? and can you write?”
“No, ma’am!”
“I thought so,” cried she, “I have suspected it was a trick, some time, and now I am sure of it. You are too young by half!—it can’t be!”

I laughed, and would have got away, but she would not let me.
“No,” cried she, “one thing you must, at least, tell me;—are you very conceited? Come, answer me,” continued she. “You won’t? Mrs. Burney, Dr. Burney,—come here,—tell me if she is not very conceited?—if she is not eat up with conceit by this time?”
They were both pleased to answer “Not half enough.”
“Well,” exclaimed she, “that is the most wonderful part of all! Why, that is yet more extraordinary than writing the book.”

I then got away from her, and again looked over Miss Palmer’s cards: but she was after me in a minute,
“Pray, Miss Burney,” cried she, aloud, “do you know any thing of this game?”
“No, ma’am.”
“No?” repeated she, “ma foi, that’s pity!”7
This raised such a laugh, I was forced to move on; yet everybody seemed to be afraid to laugh, too, and studying to be delicate, as if they had been cautioned; which, I have since found, was really the case, and by Sir Joshua himself.
Again, however, she was at my side.
“What game do you like, Miss Burney?” cried she.
“I play at none, ma’am.”
“No? Pardie, I wonder at that! Did you ever know such a toad?”
Again I moved on, and got behind Mr. W. Burke, who, turning round to me, said,—
“This is not very politic in us, Miss Burney, to play at cards, and have you listen to our follies.”
There’s for you! I am to pass for a censoress now.

Mrs. Cholmondeley hunted me quite round the card-table, from chair to chair, repeating various speeches of Madame Duval; and when, at last, I got behind a sofa, out of her reach, she called out aloud, “Polly, Polly! only think! Miss has danced with a Lord.”
Some time after, contriving to again get near me, she began flirting her fan, and exclaiming, “Well, miss, I have had a beau, I assure you! ay, and a very pretty beau too, though I don’t know if his lodgings were so prettily furnished, and everything, as Mr. Smith’s.”8
Then, applying to Mr. Cholmondeley, she said, “Pray, sir, what is become of my lottery ticket?”
“I don’t know,” answered he.
“Pardie” cried she, “you don’t know nothing.”

I had now again made off, and, after much rambling, I at last seated myself near the card-table: but Mrs. Cholmondeley was after me in a minute, and drew a chair next mine. I now found it impossible to escape, and therefore forced myself to sit still. Lord Palmerston and Sir Joshua, in a few moments, seated themselves by us.
I must now write dialogue-fashion, to avoid the enormous length of Mrs. C.‘s name.

Mrs. C.—I have been very ill; monstrous ill indeed or else I should have been at your house long ago. Sir Joshua, pray how do you do? you know, I suppose, that I don’t come, to see you?
Sir Joshua could only laugh, though this was her first address to him.
Mrs. C.—Pray, miss, what’s your name?
F.B.—Frances, ma’am.

Mrs. C.—Fanny? Well, all the Fanny’s are excellent and yet, my name is Mary! Pray, Miss Palmers, how are you?—though I hardly know if I shall speak to you to-night, I thought I should have never got here! I have been so out of humour with the people for keeping me. If you but knew, cried I, to whom I am going to-night, and who I shall see to-night, you would not dare keep me muzzing here!
During all these pointed speeches, her penetrating eyes were fixed upon me; and what could I do?—what, indeed, could anybody do, but colour and simper?—all the company watching us, though all, very delicately, avoided joining the confab.
Mrs. C.—My Lord Palmerston, I was told to-night that nobody could see your lordship for me, for that you supped at my house every night. Dear, bless me, no! cried I, not every night! and I looked as confused as I was able; but I am afraid I did not blush, though I tried hard for it.

Then, again, turning to me,
That Mr. What-d’ye-call-him, in Fleet-street, is a mighty silly fellow;—perhaps you don’t know who I mean?—one T. Lowndes,—but maybe you don’t know such a person?
FB.—No, indeed, I do not!—that I can safely say.
Mrs. C.—I could get nothing from him: but I told him I hoped he gave a good price; and he answered me that he always did things genteel. What trouble and tagging we had! Mr. [I cannot recollect the name she mentioned] laid a wager the writer was a man:—I said I was sure it was a woman: but now we are both out; for it’s a girl!

In this comical, queer, flighty, whimsical manner she ran on, till we were summoned to supper; for we were not allowed to break up before: and then, when Sir Joshua and almost everybody was gone down stairs, she changed her tone, and, with a face and voice both grave, said:
“Well, Miss Burney, you must give me leave to say one thing to you; yet, perhaps you won’t, neither, will you?”
“What is it, ma’am?”
“Why it is, that I admire you more than any human being and that I can’t help!”
Then suddenly rising, she hurried down stairs.

While we were upon the stairs, I heard Miss Palmer say to Miss Fanny Cholmondeley, “Well, you don’t find Miss Burney quite so tremendous as you expected?”
Sir Joshua made me sit next him at supper; Mr. William Burke was at my other side; though, afterwards, I lost the knight of Plimton,9 who, as he eats no suppers, made way for Mr. Gwatkin,10 and, as the table was crowded, himself stood at the fire. He was extremely polite and flattering in his manners to me, and entirely avoided all mention or hint at “Evelina” the whole evening: indeed, I think I have met more scrupulous delicacy from Sir Joshua than from anybody, although I have heard more of his approbation than of almost any other person’s.
Mr. W. Burke was immensely attentive at table; but, lest he should be thought a Mr. Smith for his pains, he took care, whoever he helped, to add, “You know I am all for the ladies!”
I was glad I was not next Mrs. Cholmondeley; but she frequently, and very provokingly, addressed herself to me; once she called out aloud, “Pray, Miss Burney, is there anything new coming out?” And another time, “Well, I wish people who can entertain me would entertain me!”
These sort of pointed speeches are almost worse than direct attacks, for there is no knowing how to look, or what to say, especially where the eyes of a whole company mark the object for Whom they are meant. To the last of these speeches I made no sort of answer but Sir Joshua very good-naturedly turned it from me, by saying,
“Well, let everyone do what they can in their different ways; do you begin yourself.”
“Oh, I can’t!” cried she; “I have tried, but I can’t.”
“Oh, so you think, then,” answered he, “that all the world is made only to entertain you?”

A very lively dialogue ensued. But I grow tired of writing. One thing, however, I must mention, which, at the time, frightened me wofully.
“Pray, Sir Joshua,” asked Lord Palmerston, “what is this ‘Warley’ that is just come out?”
Was not this a cruel question? I felt in such a twitter!
“Why, I don’t know,” answered he; “but the reviewers, my lord, speak very well of it.”
Mrs. C.—Who wrote it?
Sir Joshua.—Mr. Huddisford.

Mrs. C.—O! I don’t like it at all, then! Huddisford what a name! Miss Burney, pray can you conceive anything of such a name as Huddisford?
I could not speak a word, and I dare say I looked no-how. But was it not an unlucky reference to me? Sir Joshua attempted a kind of vindication of him; but Lord Palmerston said, drily,
“I think, Sir Joshua, it is dedicated to you?”
“Yes, my lord,” answered he.
“Oh, your servant! Is it so?” cried Mrs. Cholmondeley; “then you need say no more!”
Sir Joshua laughed, and the subject, to my great relief, was dropped.
When we broke up to depart, which was not till near two in the morning, Mrs. Cholmondeley went up to my mother, and begged her permission to visit in St. Martin’s-street. Then, as she left the room, she said to me, with a droll sort of threatening look,
“You have not got rid of me yet, I have been forcing myself into your house.”
I must own I was not at all displeased at this, as I had very much and very reasonably feared that she would have been by then as sick of me from disappointment, as she was before eager for me from curiosity.
When we came away, Offy Palmer, laughing, said to me,

“I think this will be a breaking-in to you!”
“Ah,” cried I, “if I had known of your party!”
“You would have been sick in bed, I suppose?”

I would not answer “No,” yet I was glad it was over.
And so concludeth this memorable evening.

Monday, Monday

[You always



On Monday last, my father sent a note to Mrs. Cholmondeley, to propose our waiting on her the Wednesday following; she accepted the proposal, and accordingly on Wednesday evening, my father, mother, and self went to Hertford-street. I should have told you that Mrs. Cholmondeley, when my father some time ago called on her, sent me a message, that if I would go to see her, I should not again be stared at or worried; and she acknowledged that my visit at Sir Joshua’s had been a formidable one, and that I was watched the whole evening; but that upon the whole, the company behaved extremely well, for they only ogled!

Well, we were received by Mrs. Cholmondeley with great politeness, and in a manner that showed she intended to throw aside Madame Duval, and to conduct herself towards me in a new style.
Mr. and Misses Cholmondeley and Miss Forrest were with her; but who else think you?—why Mrs. Sheridan! I was absolutely charmed at the sight of her. I think her quite as beautiful as ever, and even more captivating; for she has now a look of ease and happiness that animates her whole face.
Miss Linley was with her; she is very handsome, but nothing near her sister: the elegance of Mrs. Sheridan’s beauty is unequalled by any I ever saw, except Mrs. Crewe.11 I was pleased with her in all respects. She is much more lively and agreeable than I had any idea of finding her; she was very gay, and very unaffected, and totally free from airs of any kind. Miss Linley was very much out of spirits; she did not speak three words the whole evening, and looked wholly unmoved at all that passed. Indeed, she appeared to be heavy and inanimate.

Mrs. Cholmondeley sat next me. She is determined, I believe, to make me like her: and she will, I believe, have full success; for she is very clever, very entertaining, and very much unlike anybody else.
The first subject started was the Opera, and all joined in the praise of Pacchierotti.12 Mrs. Sheridan declared she could not hear him without tears, and that he was the first Italian singer who ever affected her to such a degree.
Then they talked of the intended marriage of the Duke of Dorset, to Miss Cumberland, and many ridiculous anecdotes were related. The conversation naturally fell upon Mr. Cumberland13, and he was finely cut up!

“What a man is that!” said Mrs. Cholmondeley: “I cannot bear him—so querulous, so dissatisfied, so determined to like nobody, and nothing but himself!”

After this, Miss More14 was mentioned and I was asked what I thought of her?
“Don’t be formal with me if you are, I sha’n’t like you!”
“I have no hope that you will any way!”
“Oh, fie! fie! but as to Miss More—I don’t like her at all: that is, I detest her! She does nothing but flatter and fawn; and then she thinks ill of nobody. Oh, there’s no supporting the company of professed flatterers. She gives me such doses of it, that I cannot endure her; but I always sit still and make no answer, but receive it as if I thought it my due: that is the only way to quiet her.15 She is really detestable. I hope, Miss Burney, you don’t think I admire all geniuses? The only person I flatter,” continued she, “is Garrick; and he likes it so much, that it pays one by the spirits it gives him. Other people that I like, I dare not flatter.”

A rat-tat-tat-tat ensued, and the Earl of Harcourt was announced. When he had paid his compliments to Mrs. Cholmondeley, speaking of the lady from whose house he was just come, he said,

“Mrs. Vesey16 Is vastly agreeable, but her fear of ceremony is really troublesome; for her eagerness to break a circle is such, that she insists upon everybody’s sitting with their backs one to another; that is, the chairs are drawn into little parties of three together, in a confused manner, all over the room.”
“Why, then,” said my father, “they may have the pleasure of caballing and cutting up one another, even in the same room.”
“Oh, I like the notion of all things,” cried Mrs. Cholmondeley, “I shall certainly adopt it.”

In the middle of a circle

Then she drew her chair into the middle of our circle. Lord Harcourt turned his round, and his back to most of us, and my father did the same. You can’t imagine a more absurd sight.
Just then the door opened, and Mr. Sheridan entered.

Was I not in luck? Not that I believe the meeting was accidental; but I had more wished to meet him and his wife than any people I know not.
I could not endure my ridiculous situation, but replaced myself in an orderly manner immediately. Mr. Sheridan stared at the mall, and Mrs. Cholmondeley said she intended it as a hint for a comedy.

Mr. Sheridan has a very fine figure, and a good though I don’t think a handsome face. He is tall, and very upright, and his appearance and address are at once manly and fashionable, without the smallest tincture of foppery or modish graces. In short, I like him vastly, and think him every way worthy his beautiful companion.
And let me tell you what I know will give you as much pleasure as it gave me,—that, by all I Could observe in the course of the evening, and we stayed very late, they are extremly happy in each other: he evidently adores her, and she as evidently idolises him. The world has by no means done him justice.
When he had paid his compliments to all his acquaintance, he went behind the sofa on which Mrs. Sheridan and Miss Offy Cholmondeley were seated, and entered into earnest conversation with them.
Upon Lord Harcourt’s again paying Mrs. Cholmondeley some compliment, she said,

“Well, my lord, after this I shall be quite sublime for some days! I shan’t descend into common life till—till Saturday. And then I shall drop into the vulgar style—I shall be in the ma foi way.”
I do really believe she could not resist this, for she had seemed determined to be quiet.
When next there was a rat-tat, Mrs. Cholmondeley and Lord Harcourt, and my father again, at the command of the former, moved into the middle of the room, and then Sir Joshua Reynolds and Dr. Warton17 entered.
No further company came. You may imagine there was a general roar at the breaking of the circle, and when they got into order, Mr. Sheridan seated himself in the place Mrs. Cholmondeley had left, between my father and myself.

And now I must tell you a little conversation which I did not hear myself till I came home; it was between Mr. Sheridan and my father.

“Dr. Burney,” cried the former, “have you no older daughters? Can this possibly be the authoress of ‘Evelina’?”
And then he said abundance of fine things, and begged my father to introduce him to me.
“Why, it will be a very formidable thing to her,” answered he, “to be introduced to you.”
“Well then, by and by,” returned he.

Some time after this, my eyes happening to meet his, he waived the ceremony of introduction, and in a low voice said,

“I have been telling Dr. Burney that I have long expected to see in Miss Burney a lady of the gravest appearance, with the quickest parts.”
I was never much more astonished than at this unexpected address, as among all my numerous puffers the name of Sheridan has never reached me, and I did really imagine he had never deigned to look at my trash.
Of course I could make no verbal answer, and he proceeded then to speak of “Evelina” in terms of the highest praise but I was in such a ferment from surprise, not to say pleasure that I have no recollection of his expressions. I only remember telling him that I was much amazed he had spared time to read it, and that he repeatedly called it a most surprising book; and sometime after he added, “But I hope, Miss Burney, you don’t intend to throw away your pen?”
“You should take care, sir,” said I, “what you say: for you know not what weight it may have.”
He wished it might have any, he said, and soon after turned again to my father.
I protest, since the approbation of the Streathamites, I have met with none so flattering to me as this of Mr. Sheridan, in so very unexpected.

About this time Mrs. Cholmondeley was making much sport by wishing for an acrostic on her name. She said she had several times begged for one in vain, and began to entertain thoughts of writing one herself.
“For,” said she, “I am very famous for my rhymes, though I never made a line of poetry in my life.”
“An acrostic on your name,” said Mr. Sheridan, “would be a very formidable task; it must be so long that I think it should be divided into cantos.”
“Miss Burney,” cried Sir Joshua, who was now reseated, “Are not you a writer of verses?”

F.B.—No, sir.
Mrs C.—O don’t believe her. I have made a resolution not to believe anything she says.
Mr. S.—I think a lady should not write verses till she is past receiving them.
Mrs. C.—(rising and stalking majestically towards him).-Mr. Sheridan, pray, sir, what may you mean by this insinuation; did I not say I writ verses?
Mr. S.—Oh, but you—
Mrs. C.—Say no more, sir! You have made your meaning but too plain already. There now, I think that’s a speech for a tragedy.
Some time after, Sir Joshua, returning to his standing-place, entered into confab with Miss Linley and your slave upon various matters, during which Mr. Sheridan, joining us, said,

“Sir Joshua, I have been telling Miss Burney that she must not suffer her pen to lie idle—ought she?”
Sir J.—No, indeed, ought she not.

Mr. S.—Do you then, Sir Joshua, persuade her. But perhaps you have begun something? May we ask? Will you answer a question candidly?
F.B.—I don’t know, but as candidly as Mrs. Candour I think I certainly shall.
Mr. S.—What then are you about now?
F.B.—Why, twirling my fan, I think!

Mr. S.—No, no; but what are you about at home? However, it is not a fair question, so I won’t press it.
Yet he looked very inquisitive; but I was glad to get off without any downright answer.
Sir J.—Anything in the dialogue way, I think, she must succeed in; and I am sure invention will not be wanting.
Mr. S.—No, indeed; I think, and say, she should write a comedy.
SIr J.—I am sure I think so; and hope she will.
I could only answer by incredulous exclamations.

“Consider” continued Sir Joshua, “you have already had all the applause and fame you can have given you in the closet; but the acclamation of a theatre will be new to you.”
And then he put down his trumpet, and began a violent clapping of his hands.
I actually shook from head to foot! I felt myself already in Drury Lane, amidst the hubbub of a first night.
“Oh, no!” cried I, “there may be a noise, but it will be just the reverse.” And I returned his salute with a hissing.
Mr. Sheridan joined Sir Joshua very warmly.

“O sir,” cried I, “you should not run on so, you don’t know what mischief you may do!”
Mr. S.—I wish I may—I shall be very glad to be accessory.
Sir J.—She has, certainly, something of a knack at characters; where she got it I don’t know, and how she got it, I can’t imagine; but she certainly has it. And to throw it away is—
Mr. S.—Oh, she won’t, she will write a comedy, she has promised me she will!
F.B.—Oh! if you both run on in this manner, I shall—
I was going to say get under the chair, but Mr. Sheridan, interrupting me with a laugh, said,
“Set about one? very well, that’s right.”
“Ay,” cried Sir Joshua, “that’s very right. And You (to Mr. Sheridan) would take anything of hers, would you not? unsight, unseen?”18 What a point blank question! who but Sir Joshua would have ventured it!
“Yes,” answered Mr. Sheridan, with quickness, “and make her a bow and my best thanks into the bargain.”

Now my dear Susy, tell me, did you ever hear the fellow to such a speech as this! it was all I could do to sit it.
“Mr. Sheridan,” I exclaimed, “are you not mocking me?”
“No, upon my honour! this is what I have meditated to say to you the first time I should have the pleasure of seeing you.”
To be sure, as Mrs. Thrale says, if folks are to be spoilt, there is nothing in the world so pleasant as spoiling! But I was never so much astonished, and seldom have been so much delighted, as by this attack of Mr. Sheridan. Afterwards he took my father aside, and formally repeated his opinion that I should write for the stage, and his desire to see my play, with encomiums the most flattering of “Evelina.”
And now, my dear Susy, if I should attempt the stage, I think I may be fairly acquitted of presumption, and however I may fall, that I was strongly pressed to try by Mrs. Thrale, and by Mr. Sheridan, the most successful and powerful of all dramatic living authors, will abundantly excuse my temerity.

February, An Aristocratic Radical of the Last Century.

Streatham, February.—I have been here so long, My dearest Susan, Without writing a word, that now I hardly know where or how to begin, But I will try to draw up a concise account of what has passed for this last fortnight, and then endeavour to be more minute.
Mrs. Thrale and Dr. Johnson vied with each other in the kindness of their reception of me. Mr. Thrale was, as usual at first, cold and quiet, but soon, as usual also, warmed into sociality.
The next day Sir Philip Jennings Clerke came. He is not at all a man of letters, but extremely well-bred, nay, elegant, in his manners, and sensible and agreeable in his conversation. He is a professed minority man, and very active and zealous in the opposition. He had, when I came, a bill in agitation concerning contractors—too long a matter to explain upon paper—but which was levelled against bribery and corruption in the ministry, and which he was to make a motion upon in The House of Commons the next week.19
Men of such different principles as Dr. Johnson and Sir Philip you may imagine, can not have much sympathy or cordiality in their political debates; however, the very superior abilities of the former, and the remarkable good breeding of the latter have kept both upon good terms; though they have had several arguments, in which each has exerted his utmost force for conquest.
The heads of one of their debates I must try to remember, because I should be sorry to forget. Sir Philip explained his bill; Dr. Johnson at first scoffed at it; Mr. Thrale betted a guinea the motion would not pass, and Sir Philip, that he should divide a hundred and fifty upon it.
Sir Philip, addressing himself to Mrs. Thrale, hoped she would not suffer the Tories to warp her judgment, and told me he hoped my father had not tainted my principles; and then he further explained his bill, and indeed made it appear so equitable, that Mrs. Thrale gave in to it, and wished her husband to vote for it. He still bung back; but, to our general surprise, Dr. Johnson having made more particular inquiries into its merits, first softened towards it, and then declared it a very rational and fair bill, and joined with Mrs. Thrale in soliciting Mr. Thrale’s vote.

Sir Philip was, and with very good reason, quite delighted. He opened upon politics more amply, and freely declared his opinions, which were so strongly against the government, and so much bordering upon the republican principles, that Dr. Johnson suddenly took fire; he called back his recantation begged Mr. Thrale not to vote for Sir Philip’s bill, and grew very animated against his antagonist.
“The bill,” said he, “ought to be opposed by all honest men! in itself, and considered simply it is equitable, and I would forward it; but when we find what a faction it is to support and encourage, it ought not to be listened to. All men should oppose it who do not wish well to sedition!”
These, and several other expressions yet more strong, he made use of; and had Sir Philip had less unalterable politeness, I believe they would have had a vehement quarrel. He maintained his ground, however, with calmness and steadiness, though he had neither argument nor wit at all equal to such an opponent.

Dr. Johnson pursued him with unabating vigour and dexterity, and at length, though he could not convince, he so entirely baffled him, that Sir Philip was self-compelled to be quiet—which, with a very good grace, he confessed.
Dr. Johnson then, recollecting himself, and thinking, as he owned afterwards, that the dispute grew too serious, with a skill all his own, suddenly and unexpectedly turned it to burlesque; and taking Sir Philip by the hand at the moment we arose after supper, and were separating for the night.
“Sir Philip,” said he, “you are too liberal a man for the party to which you belong; I shall have much pride in the honour of converting you; for I really believe, if you were not spoiled by bad company, the spirit of faction would not have possessed you. Go, then, sir, to the House, but make not your motion! Give up your bill, and surprise the world by turning to the side of truth and reason. Rise, sir, when they least expect you, and address your fellow-patriots to this purpose:—‘Gentlemen, I have, for many a weary day, been deceived and seduced by you. I have now opened my eyes; I see that you are all scoundrels—the subversion of all government is your aim. Gentlemen, I will no longer herd among rascals in whose infamy my name and character must be included. I therefore renounce you all, gentlemen, as you deserve to be renounced.’”
Then, shaking his hand heartily, he added,

“Go, sir, go to bed; meditate upon this recantation, and rise in the morning a more honest man than you laid down.”

Dearest Father


is my


my way]

On Thursday,
while my dear father was here, who should be announced but Mr. Murphy;20 the man of all other strangers to me whom I most longed to see.

He is tall and well made, has a very gentlemanlike appearance, and a quietness of manner upon his first address that, to me, is very pleasing. His face looks sensible, and his deportment is perfectly easy and polite.
When he had been welcomed by Mrs. Thrale, and had gone through the reception-salutations of Dr. Johnson and my father, Mrs. Thrale, advancing to me, said,

“But here is a lady I must introduce to you, Mr. Murphy here is another F. B.”
“Indeed!” cried he, taking my hand; “is this a sister of Miss Brown’s?”
“No, no; this is Miss Burney.”
“What!” cried he, staring; “is this—is this—this is not the lady that—that—”
“Yes, but it is,” answered she, laughing.
“‘No, you don’t say so? You don’t mean the lady that—”
“Yes yes I do; no less a lady, I assure you.”

He then said he was very glad of the honour of seeing me. I sneaked away. When we came upstairs, Mrs. Thrale charged me to make myself agreeable to Mr. Murphy.
“He may be of use to you, in what I am most eager for, your writing a play: he knows stage business so well; and if you but take a fancy to one another, he may be more able to serve you than all of us put together. My ambition is, that Johnson should write your prologue, and Murphy your epilogue, then I shall be quite happy.”
At tea-time, when I went into the library, I found Johnson reading, and Mrs. Thrale in close conference with Mr. Murphy.
“If I,” said Mr. Murphy, looking very archly, “had written a certain book—a book I won’t name, but a book I have lately read—I would next write a comedy.”
“Good,” cried Mrs. Thrale, colouring with pleasure; “you think so too?”
“Yes, indeed; I thought so while I was reading it; it struck me repeatedly.”
“Don’t look at me, Miss Burney,” cried Mrs. Thrale, “for this is no doing of mine. Well, I wonder what Miss Burney will do twenty years hence, when she can blush no more; for now she can never hear the name of her book.”

Mr. M.—Nay, I name no book; at least no author: how can I, for I don’t know the author; there is no name given to it: I only say, whoever wrote that book ought to write a comedy. Dr. Johnson might write it for aught I know.
F. B.—Oh, yes!

Mr. M.—Nay, I have often told him he does not know his own strength, or he would write a comedy, and so I think.
Dr. J. (laughing)—Suppose Burney and I begin together?
Mr. M.—Ah, I wish you would! I wish you would Beaumont and Fletcher us!
F.B.—My father asked me, this morning, how my head stood. If he should have asked me this evening, I don’t know what answer I must have made.
Mr. M.—I have no wish to turn anybody’s head: I speak what I really think;—comedy is the forte of that book. I laughed over it most violently: and if the author—I won’t say who [all the time looking away from me]—will write a comedy I will most readily, and with great pleasure, give any advice or assistance in my power.
“Well, now you are a sweet man!” cried Mrs. Thrale, who looked ready to kiss him. “Did not I tell you, Miss Burney, that Mr. Murphy was the man?”
Mr. M.—All I can do, I shall be very happy to do; and at least I will undertake to say I can tell what the sovereigns of the upper gallery will bear: for they are the most formidable part of an audience. I have had so much experience in this sort of work, that I believe I can always tell what will be hissed at least. And if Miss Burney will write, and will show me—
Dr. J.—Come, come, have done with this now; why should you overpower her? Let’s have no more of it. I don’t mean to dissent from what you say; I think well of it, and approve of it; but you have said enough of it.
Mr. Murphy, who equally loves and reverences Dr. Johnson, instantly changed the subject.
Yesterday, at night, I asked Dr. Johnson if he would permit me to take a great liberty with him? He assented with the most encouraging smile. And then I said,

“I believe, sir, you heard part of what passed between Mr. Murphy and me the other evening, concerning—a comedy. Now, if I should make such an attempt, would you be so good as to allow me, any time before Michaelmas, to put it in the coach, for you to look over as you go to town?”
“To be sure, my dear!—What, have you begun a comedy then?”
I told him how the affair stood. He then gave me advice which just accorded with my wishes, viz., not to make known that I had any such intention; to keep my own counsel; not to whisper even the name of it; to raise no expectations, which were always prejudicial, and finally, to have it performed while the town knew nothing of whose it was. I readily assured him of my hearty concurrence in his opinion; but he somewhat distressed me when I told him that Mr. Murphy must be in my confidence, as he had offered his services, by desiring he might be the last to see it.

What I shall do, I know not, for he has, himself, begged to be the first. Mrs. Thrale, however, shall guide me between them. He spoke highly of Mr. Murphy, too, for he really loves him. He said he would not have it in the coach, but I should read it to him; however, I could sooner drown or hang!
When I would have offered some apology for the attempt, he stopt me, and desired I would never make any.
“For,” said he, “if it succeeds, it makes its own apology, if not——”
“If not,” quoth I, “I cannot do worse than Dr. Goldsmith, when his play21 failed,—go home and cry.”

He laughed, but told me, repeatedly (I mean twice, which, for him, is very remarkable), that I might depend upon all the service in his power; and, he added, it would be well to make Murphy the last judge, “for he knows the stage,” he said, “and I am quite ignorant of it.”
Afterwards, grasping my hand with the most affectionate warmth, he said,
“I wish you success! I wish you well! my dear little Burney!”

When, at length, I told him I could stay no longer, and bid him good night, he said, “There is none like you, my dear little Burney! there is none like you!—good night, my darling!”


[The beautiful


at times]

I find Miss Streatfield 22a very amiable girl, and extremely handsome; not so wise as I expected, but very well; however, had she not chanced to have had so uncommon an education, with respect to literature or learning, I believe she would not have made her way among the wits by the force of her natural parts.
Mr. Seward, you know, told me that she had tears at command, and I begin to think so too, for when Mrs. Thrale, who had previously told me I should see her cry, began coaxing her to stay, and saying, “If you go, I shall know you don’t love me so well as Lady Gresham,”—she did cry, not loud indeed, nor much, but the tears came into her eyes, and rolled down her fine cheeks.
“Come hither, Miss Burney,” cried Mrs. Thrale, “come and see Miss Streatfield cry!”

I thought it a mere badinage. I went to them, but when I saw real tears, I was shocked, and saying “No, I won’t look at her,” ran away frightened, lest she should think I laughed at her, which Mrs. Thrale did so openly, that, as I told her, had she served me so, I should have been affronted with her ever after.
Miss Streatfield, however, whether from a sweetness not to be ruffled, or from not perceiving there was any room for taking offence, gently wiped her eyes, and was perfectly composed!

through the wild and the snow

Streatham, May, Friday. Once more, my dearest Susy, I will attempt journalising, and endeavour, according to my promise, to keep up something of the kind during our absence, however brief and curtailed.

To-day, while Mrs. Thrale was chatting with me in my room, we saw Mr. Murphy drive into the courtyard. Down stairs flew Mrs. Thrale, but, in a few minutes, up she flew again, ‘crying,
“Mr. Murphy is crazy for your play—he won’t let me rest for it—do pray let me run away with the first act.”

Little as I like to have it seen in this unfinished state, she was too urgent to be resisted, so off she made with it.
I did not shew my phiz till I was summoned to dinner. Mr. Murphy, probably out of flummery, made us wait some minutes, and, when he did come, said,

“I had much ado not to keep you all longer, for I could hardly get away from some new acquaintances I was just making.”
As he could not stay to sleep here, he had only time, after dinner, to finish the first act. He was pleased to commend it very liberally; he has pointed out two places where he thinks I might enlarge, but has not criticised one word; on the contrary, the dialogue he has honoured with high praise.

Brighthelmstone, May 26. The road from Streatham hither is beautiful: Mr., Mrs., Miss Thrale, and Miss Susan Thrale, and I, travelled in a coach, with four horses, and two of the servants in a chaise, besides two men on horseback; so we were obliged to stop for some time at three places on the road.
We got home by about nine o’clock. Mr. Thrale’s house is in West Street, which is the court end of the town here, as well as in London. ’Tis a neat, small house, and I have a snug comfortable room to myself. The sea is not many yards from our windows. Our journey was delightfully pleasant, the day being heavenly, the roads in fine order, the prospects charming, and everybody good-humoured and cheerful.
Thursday. Just before we went to dinner, a chaise drove up to the door, and from it issued Mr. Murphy. He met with, a very joyful reception; and Mr. Thrale, for the first time in his life, said he was “a good fellow”: for he makes it a sort of rule to salute him with the title of “scoundrel,” or “rascal.” They are very old friends; and I question if Mr. Thrale loves any man so well.

He made me many very flattering speeches, of his eagerness to go on with my play, to know what became of the several characters, and to what place I should next conduct them; assuring me that the first act had run in his head ever since he had read it.
In the evening we all, adjourned to Major H—‘s, where, besides his own family, we found Lord Mordaunt, son to the Earl of Peterborough,—a pretty, languid, tonnish young man; Mr. Fisher, who is said to be a scholar, but is nothing enchanting as a gentleman; young Fitzgerald, as much the thing as ever; and Mr. Lucius Corcannon.

Mr. Murphy was the life of the party: he was in good spirits, and extremely entertaining; he told a million of stories, admirably well; but stories won’t do upon paper, therefore I shall not attempt to present you with them.
This morning, as soon as breakfast was over, Mr. Murphy said,
“I must now go to the seat by the seaside, with my new set of acquaintance, from whom I expect no little entertainment.”

“Ay,” said Mrs. Thrale, “and there you’ll find us all! I believe this rogue means me for Lady Smatter; but Mrs. Voluble23 must speak the epilogue, Mr. Murphy.”
“That must depend upon who performs the part,” answered he.
“Don’t talk of it now,” cried I, “for Mr. Thrale knows nothing of it.”
“I think,” cried Mr. Murphy, “you might touch upon his character in ‘Censor.’”
“Ay,” cried Mr. Thrale, “I expect a knock some time or other; but, when it comes, I’ll carry all my myrmidons to cat-call!”
Mr. Murphy then made me fetch him the second act, and walked off with it.

The clowns




We afterwards went on the parade, where the soldiers were mustering, and found Captain Fuller’s men all half intoxicated, and laughing so violently as we passed by them, that they could hardly stand upright. The captain stormed at them most angrily; but, turning to us, said,
“These poor fellows have just been paid their arrears, and it is so unusual to them to have a sixpence in their pockets, that they know not how to keep it there.”
The wind being extremely high, our caps and gowns were blown about most abominably; and this increased the risibility of the merry light infantry. Captain ‘Fuller’s desire to keep order made me laugh as much as the men’s incapacity to obey him; for, finding our flying drapery provoked their mirth, he went up to the biggest grinner, and, shaking him violently by the shoulders, said, “What do you laugh for, sirrah? do you laugh at the ladies?” and, as soon as he had given the reprimand, it struck him to be so ridiculous, that he was obliged to turn quick round, and commit the very fault he was attacking most furiously.

Mr. Murphy Considers the Dialogue is Charming: a Censorious Lady.

After tea, the bishop, his lady, Lord Mordaunt, and Mrs. H— seated themselves to play at whist, and Mr. Murphy, coming up to me, said,

“I have had no opportunity, Miss Burney, to tell you how much I have been entertained this morning, but I have a great deal to say to you about it; I am extremely pleased with it, indeed. The dialogue is charming; and the—”
“What’s that?” cried Mrs. Thrale, “Mr. Murphy always flirting with Miss Burney? And here, too, where everybody’s watched!”

And she cast her eyes towards Mrs. H—, who is as censorious a country lady as ever locked up all her ideas in a country town. She has told us sneering anecdotes of every woman and every officer in Brighthelm stone. Mr. Murphy, checked by Mrs. Thrale’s exclamation, stopt the conversation, and said he must run away, but would return in half-an-hour.
“Don’t expect, however, Miss Burney,” he said, “I shall bring with me what you are thinking of; no, I can’t part with it yet!”
What! at it again cried Mrs. Thrale.
“This flirting is incessant; but it’s all to Mr. Murphy’s credit.”

Mrs. Thrale told me afterwards, that she made these speeches to divert the attention of the company from our subject; for that she found they were all upon the watch the moment Mr. Murphy addressed me, and that the bishop and his lady almost threw down their cards, from eagerness to discover what he meant.
The supper was very gay: Mrs. Thrale was in high spirits, and her wit flashed with incessant brilliancy; Mr. Murphy told several stories with admirable humour; and the Bishop of Peterborough was a worthy third in contributing towards general entertainment. He turns out most gaily sociable. Mrs. H—was discussed, and, poor lady, not very mercifully.
Mrs. Thrale says she lived upon the Steyn, for the pleasure of viewing, all day long, who walked with who, how often the same persons were seen together, and what visits were made by gentlemen to ladies, or ladies to gentlemen.

“She often tells me,” said the captain, “of my men. ‘Oh,’ she says, ‘Captain Fuller, your men are always after the ladies!’”
“Nay,” cried Mrs. Thrale, “I should have thought the officers might have contented her; but if she takes in the soldiers too, she must have business enough.”
“Oh, she gets no satisfaction by her complaints; for I only say, ‘Why, ma’am, we are all young!—all young and gay!—and how can we do better than follow the ladies?’”


[so fun

and healthy



Saturday, May 29.
After breakfast, Mrs. and Miss Thrale took me to Widget’s, the milliner and library-woman on the Steyn. After a little dawdling conversation, Captain Fuller came in to have a little chat. He said he had just gone through a great operation—“I have been,” he said, “cutting off the hair of all my men.”
“And why?
“Why, the Duke of Richmond ordered that it should be done, and the fellows swore that they would not submit to it; so I was forced to be the operator myself. I told them they would look as smart again when they had got on their caps; but it went much against them, they vowed, at first, they would not bear such usage; some said they would sooner be run through the body, and others, that the duke should as soon have their heads. I told them I would soon try that, and fell to work myself with them.”
“And how did they bear it?

“Oh, poor fellows, with great good-nature, when they found his honour was their barber: but I thought proper to submit to bearing all their oaths, and all their jokes; for they had no other comfort but to hope I should have enough of it, and such sort of wit. Three or four of them, however, escaped, but I shall find them out. I told them I had a good mind to cut my own hair off too, and then they would have a Captain Crop. I shall soothe them tomorrow with a present of new feathers for all their caps.”

“Hearts have at Ye All.”

Streatham, Sunday, June 13.
After church we all strolled the grounds, and the topic of our discourse was Miss Streatfield. Mrs. Thrale asserted that she had a power of captivation that was irresistible; that her beauty, joined to her softness, her caressing manners, her tearful eyes, and alluring looks, would insinuate her into the heart of any man she thought worth attacking.

Sir Philip24 declared himself of a totally different opinion, and quoted Dr. Johnson against her, who had told him that, taking away her Greek, she was as ignorant as a butterfly.
Mr. Seward declared her Greek was all against her, with him, for that, instead of reading Pope, Swift, or “The Spectator”—books from which she might derive useful knowledge and improvement—it had led her to devote all her reading time to the first eight books of Homer.

“But,” said Mrs. Thrale, “her Greek, you must own, has made all her celebrity:—you would have heard no more of her than of any other pretty girl, but for that.”
“What I object to,” said Sir Philip, “is her avowed preference for this parson. Surely it is very indelicate in any lady to let all the world know with whom she is in love!”
“The parson,” said the severe Mr. Seward, “I suppose, spoke first,—or she would as soon have been in love with you, or with me!”

You will easily believe I gave him no pleasant look. He wanted me to slacken my pace, and tell him, in confidence, my private opinion of her: but I told him, very truly, that as I knew her chiefly by account, not by acquaintance, I had not absolutely formed my opinion.
“Were I to live with her four days,” said this odd man, “I believe the fifth I should want to take her to church.”
“You’d be devilish tired of her, though,” said Sir Philip, “in half a year. A crying wife will never do!”
“Oh, yes,” cried he, “the pleasure of soothing her would make amends.”
“Ah,” cried Mrs. Thrale, “I would insure her power of crying herself into any of your hearts she pleased. I made her cry to Miss Burney, to show how beautiful she looked in tears.”
“If I had been her,” said Mr. Seward, “I would never have visited you again.”
“Oh, but she liked it,” answered Mrs. T., “for she knows how well she does it. Miss Burney would have run away, but she came forward on purpose to show herself. I would have done so by nobody else—but Sophy Streatfield is never happier than when the tears trickle from her fine eyes in company.”

“Suppose, Miss Burney,” said Mr. Seward, “we make her the heroine of our comedy? and call it ‘Hearts have at ye all?’”
“Excellent,” cried I, “it can’t be better.”

Giddy Miss Brown.

At dinner we had three persons added to our company,—my dear father, Miss Streatfield, and Miss Brown.

Miss Brown, as I foresaw, proved the queen of the day. Miss Streatfield requires longer time to make conquests. She is, indeed, much more really beautiful than Fanny Brown; but Fanny Brown is much more showy, and her open, good-humoured, gay, laughing face inspires an almost immediate wish of conversing and merry-making with her. Indeed, the two days she spent here have raised her greatly in my regard. She is a charming girl, and so natural, and easy, and sweet-tempered, that there is no being half an hour in her company without ardently wishing her well.
Next day at breakfast, our party was Sir Philip, Mr. Fuller, Miss Streatfield, Miss Brown, the Thrales, and I.

The first office performed was dressing Miss Brown. She had put on bright, jonquil ribbons. Mrs. Thrale exclaimed against them immediately; Mr. Fuller half joined her, and away she went, and brought green ribbons of her own, which she made Miss Brown run up stairs with to put on. This she did with the utmost good humour; but dress is the last thing in which she excels; for she has lived so much abroad, and so much with foreigners at home, that she never appears habited as an Englishwoman, nor as a high-bred foreigner, but rather as an Italian Opera-dancer; and her wild, careless, giddy manner, her loud hearty laugh, and general negligence of appearance, contribute to give her that air and look. I like her so much, that I am quite sorry she is not better advised, either by her own or some friend’s judgment.
Miss Brown, however, was queen of the breakfast:
for though her giddiness made everybody take liberties with her, her good-humour made everybody love her, and her gaiety made everybody desirous to associate with her. Sir Philip played with her as with a young and sportive kitten; Mr. Fuller laughed and chatted with her; and Mr. Seward, when here, teases and torments her. The truth is, he cannot bear her, and she, in return, equally fears and dislikes him, but still she cannot help attracting his notice.

surreal spring, and life so wild and beautiful

surface mirrors

[or is it

make belief


what is


Wednesday, June 16.
—We had at breakfast a scene, of its sort, the most curious I ever saw.

The persons were Sir Philip, Mr. Seward, Dr. Delap,25 Miss Streatfield, Mrs. and Miss Thrale, and I. The discourse turning I know not how, upon Miss Streatfield, Mrs. Thrale said,
“Ay I made her cry once for Miss Burney as pretty as could be, but nobody does cry so pretty as the S. S. I’m sure, when she cried for Seward, I never saw her look half so lovely.”
“For Seward?” cried Sir Philip; “did she cry for Seward? What a happy dog! I hope she’ll never cry for me, for if she does, I won’t answer for the consequences!”
“Seward,” said Mrs. Thrale, “had affronted Johnson, and then Johnson affronted Seward, and then the S. S. cried.”26
“Oh,” cried Sir Philip, “that I had but been here!”

“Nay,” answered Mrs. Thrale, “you’d only have seen how like three fools three sensible persons behaved: for my part, I was quite sick of it, and of them too.”
Sir P.—But what did Seward do? was he not melted?
Mrs. T.—Not he; he was thinking only of his own affront, and taking fire at that.
Mr. S.—Why, yes, I did take fire, for I went and planted my back to it.
S.S.—And Mrs. Thrale kept stuffing me with toast-and-water.
Sir P.—But what did Seward do with himself? Was not he in extacy? What did he do or say?
Mr. S.—Oh, I said pho, pho, don’t let’s have any more of this,—it’s making it of too much consequence: no more piping, pray.
Sir P.—Well, I have heard so much of these tears, that I would give the universe to have a sight of them.
Mrs. T.—Well, she shall cry again if you like it.
S.S.—No, pray, Mrs. Thrale.

Sir P.—Oh, pray, do! pray let me see a little of it.
Mrs. T.—Yes, do cry a little, Sopby [in a wheedling voice], pray do! Consider, now, you are going today, and it’s very hard if you won’t cry a little: indeed, S. S., you ought to cry.

Now for the wonder of wonders. When Mrs. Thrale, in a coaxing voice, suited to a nurse soothing a baby, had run on for some time,—while all the rest of us, in laughter, joined in the request,—two crystal tears came into the soft eyes of the S. S., and rolled gently down her cheeks! Such a sight I never saw before, nor could I have believed. She offered not to conceal or dissipate them: on the contrary, she really contrived to have them seen by everybody. She looked, indeed, uncommonly handsome; for her pretty face was not, like Chloe’s, blubbered; it was smooth and elegant, and neither her features nor complexion were at all ruffled; nay, indeed, she was smiling all the time.
“Look, look!” cried Mrs. Thrale; “see if the tears are not come already.”
Loud and rude bursts of laughter broke from us all at once. How, indeed, could they be restrained? Yet we all stared, and looked and relooked again and again, twenty times, ere we could believe our eyes. Sir Philip, I thought, would have died in convulsions; for his laughter and his politeness, struggling furiously with one another, made him almost black in the face. Mr. Seward looked half vexed that her crying for him was now so much lowered in its flattery, yet grinned incessantly; Miss Thrale laughed as much as contempt would allow her: but Dr. Delap seemed petrified with astonishment.
When our mirth abated, Sir Philip, colouring violently with his efforts to speak, said,

“I thank you, ma’am, I’m much obliged to you.”
But I really believe he spoke without knowing what he was saying.
“What a wonderful command,” said Dr. Delap, very gravely, “that lady must have over herself!”
She now took out a handkerchief, and wiped her eyes.
“Sir Philip,” cried Mr. Seward, “how can you suffer her to dry her own eyes?—you, who sit next her?”
“I dare not dry them for her,” answered he, “because I am not the right man.”
“But if I sat next her,” returned he, “she would not dry them herself.”
“I wish,” cried Dr. Delap, “I had a bottle to put them in; ’tis a thousand pities they should be wasted.”
“There, now,” said Mrs. Thrale, “she looks for all the world as if nothing had happened; for, you know, nothing has happened!”
“Would you cry, Miss Burney,” said Sir Philip, “if we asked you?”
“She can cry, I doubt not,” said Mr. Seward, “on any Proper occasion.”
“But I must know,” said I, “what for.”

I did not say this loud enough for the S. S. to hear me, but if I had, she would not have taken it for the reflection it meant. She seemed, the whole time, totally insensible to the numerous strange and, indeed, impertinent speeches which were made and to be very well satisfied that she was only manifesting a tenderness of disposition, that increased her beauty of countenance. At least, I can put no other construction upon her conduct which was, without exception, the strangest I ever saw. Without any pretence of affliction,—to weep merely because she was bid, though bid in a manner to forbid any one else,—to be in good spirits all the time,—to see the whole company expiring of laughter at her tears, without being at all offended, and, at last, to dry them up, and go on with the same sort of conversation she held before they started!

“Everything a Bore.”

Sunday, June 20.

—While I was sitting with Mr. Thrale, in the library, Mr. Seward entered. As soon as the first inquiries were over, he spoke about what he calls our comedy, and he pressed and teazed me to set about it. But he grew, in the evening, so queer, so ennuye, that, in a fit of absurdity, I called him “Mr. Dry;” and the name took so with Mrs. Thrale, that I know not when he will lose it. Indeed, there is something in this young man’s alternate drollery and lassitude, entertaining qualities and wearying complaints, that provoke me to more pertness than I practise to almost anybody.
The play, he said, should have the double title of “The Indifferent Man, or Everything a Bore;” and I protested Mr. Dry should be the hero. And then we ran on, jointly planning a succession of ridiculous scenes;—he lashing himself pretty freely though not half so freely, or so much to the purpose, as I lashed him; for I attacked him, through the channel of Mr. Dry, upon his ennui, his causeless melancholy, his complaining languors, his yawning inattention, and his restless discontent. You may easily imagine I was in pretty high spirits to go so far: in truth, nothing else could either have prompted or excused my facetiousness: and his own manners are so cavalier, that they always, with me, stimulate a sympathising return.
He repeatedly begged me to go to work, and commit the projected scenes to paper: but I thought that might be carrying the jest too far; for as I was in no humour to spare him, written raillery might, perhaps, have been less to his taste than verbal.

He challenged me to meet him the next morning, before breakfast, in the library, that we might work together at some scenes, but I thought it as well to let the matter drop, and did not make my entry till they were all assembled.
He, however, ran upon nothing else; and, as soon as we happened to be left together, he again attacked me.

“Come,” said he, “have you nothing ready yet? I dare say you have half an act in your pocket.”
“No,” quoth I, “I have quite forgot the whole business; I was only in the humour for it last night.”
“How shall it begin?” cried he; “with Mr. Dry in his study?—his slippers just on, his hair about his ears,—exclaiming, ‘O what a bore is life!—What is to be done next?”
“Next?” cried I, “what, before he has done anything at all?”
“Oh, he has dressed himself, you know.—Well, then he takes up a book—”
“For example, this,” cried I, giving him Clarendon’s History.

He took it up in character, and flinging it away, cried
“No—this will never do,—a history by a party writer is vidious.”
I then gave him Robertson’s “America.”

“This,” cried he, “is of all reading the most melancholy;—an account of possessions we have lost by our own folly.”
I then gave him Baretti’s “Spanish Travels.”

“Who,” cried he, flinging it aside, “can read travels by a fellow who never speaks a word of truth.”
Then I gave him a volume of “Clarissa.”

“Pho,” cried he, “a novel writ by a bookseller!—there is but one novel now one can bear to read,—and that’s written by a young lady.”
I hastened to stop him with Dalrymple’s Memoirs, and then proceeded to give him various others, upon all which he made severe, splenetic, yet comical comments;—and we continued thus employed till he was summoned to accompany Mr. Thrale to town.
The next morning, Wednesday, I had some very serious talk with Mr. Seward,—and such as gave me no inclination for railery, though it was concerning his ennui on the contrary, I resolved, at that moment, never to rally him upon that subject again, for his account of himself filled me with compassion.

He told me that he had never been well for three hours in a day in his life, and that when he was thought only tired he was really so ill that he believed scarce another man would stay in company. I was quite shocked at this account, and told him, honestly, that I had done him so little justice as to attribute all his languors to affectation.

Proposed Match Between Mr. Seward and the Weeper-at-Will.

When Mrs. Thrale joined us, Mr. Seward told us he had just seen Dr. Jebb.—Sir Richard, I mean,—and that he had advised him to marry.
“No,” cried Mrs. Thrale, “that will do nothing for you; but if you should marry, I have a wife for you.”
“Who?” cried he, “the S. S.?”
“The S. S.?—no!—she’s the last person for you,—her extreme softness, and tenderness, and weeping, would add languor to languor, and irritate all your disorders; ’twould be drink to a dropsical man.”
“No, no,—it would soothe me.”
“Not a whit! it would only fatigue you. The wife for you is Lady Anne Lindsay. She has birth, wit, and beauty, she has no fortune, and she’d readily accept you; and she is such a spirit that she’d animate you, I warrant you! O, she would trim you well! you’d be all alive presently. She’d take all the care of the money affairs,—and allow you out of them eighteen pence a week! That’s the wife for you!”

Mr. Seward was by no means “agreeable” to the proposal; he turned the conversation upon the S. S., and gave us an account of two visits he had made her, and spoke in favour of her manner of living, temper, and character. When he had run on in this strain for some time, Mrs. Thrale cried,
“Well, so you are grown very fond of her?”
“Oh dear, no!” answered he, drily, “not at all!”
“Why, I began to think,” said Mrs. Thrale, “you intended to supplant the parson.”
“No, I don’t: I don’t know what sort of an old woman she’d make; the tears won’t do then. Besides, I don’t think her so sensible as I used to do.”
“But she’s very pleasing,” cried I, “and very amiable.”
“Yes, she’s pleasing,—that’s certain; but I don’t think she reads much; the Greek has spoilt her.”
“Well, but you can read for yourself.”
“That’s true; but does she work well?”
“I believe she does, and that’s a better thing.”
“Ay; so it is,” said he, saucily, “for ladies; ladies should rather write than read.”
“But authors,” cried I, “before they write should read.”

Returning again to the S. S., and being again rallied about her by Mrs. Thrale, who said she believed at last he would end there,—he said,
“Why, if I must marry—if I was bid to choose between that and racking on the wheel, I believe I should go to her.”

We all laughed at this exquisite compliment; but, as he said, it was a compliment, for though it proved no passion for her, it proved a preference.
“However,” he continued, “it won’t do.”
“Upon my word,” exclaimed I, “you settle it all your own way!—the lady would be ready at any rate!”
“Oh yes! any man might marry Sophy Streatfield.”

I quite stopt to exclaim against him.
“I mean,” said he, “if he’d pay his court to her.”

Oh the dating

[Fanny Burney


Mr. Crisp.]

Friday, July 30.

—This seems a strange, unseasonable period for my undertaking, but yet, my dear daddy, when you have read my conversation with Mr. Sheridan, I believe you will agree that I must have been wholly insensible, nay, almost ungrateful, to resist encouragement such as he gave me—nay, more than encouragement, entreaties, all of which he warmly repeated to my father.
Now, as to the play itself, I own I had wished to have been the bearer of it when I visit Chesington; but you seem so urgent, and my father himself is so desirous to carry it you, that I have given that plan up.
O my dear daddy, if your next letter were to contain your real opinion of it, how should I dread to open it! Be, however, as honest as your good nature and delicacy will allow you to be, and assure yourself I shall be very certain that all your criticisms will proceed from your earnest wishes to obviate those of others, and that you would have much more pleasure in being my panegyrist.
As to Mrs. Gast, I should be glad to know what I would refuse to a sister of yours. Make her, therefore, of your coterie, if she is with you while the piece is in your possession.

And now let me tell you what I wish in regard to this affair. I should like that your first reading should have nothing to do with me—that you should go quick through it, or let my father read it to you—forgetting all the time, as much as you can, that Fannikin is the writer, or even that it is a play in manuscript, and capable of alterations;—and then, when you have done, I should like to have three lines, telling me, as nearly as you can trust my candour, its general effect. After that take it to your own desk, and lash it at your leisure.

Fanny Burney to Dr. Burney.

The fatal knell, then, is knolled, and down among the dead men sink the poor “Witlings”—for ever, and for ever, and for ever!
I give a sigh, whether I will or not, to their memory! for, however worthless, they were mes enfans. You, my dear sir, who enjoyed, I really think, even more than myself, the astonishing success of my first attempt, would, I believe, even more than myself, be hurt at the failure of my second; and I am sure I speak from the bottom of a very honest heart, when I most solemnly declare, that upon your account any disgrace would mortify and afflict me more than upon my own; for whatever appears with your knowledge, will be naturally supposed to have met with your approbation, and, perhaps, your assistance; therefore, though all particular censure would fall where it ought—upon me—yet any general censure of the whole, and the plan, would cruelly, but certainly involve you in its severity.
You bid me open my heart to you,—and so, my dearest sir, I will, for it is the greatest happiness of my life that I dare be sincere to you. I expected many objections to be raised—a thousand errors to be pointed out—and a million of alterations to be proposed; but the suppression of the piece were words I did not expect; indeed, after the warm approbation of Mrs. Thrale, and the repeated commendations and flattery of Mr. Murphy, how could I?
I do not, therefore, pretend to wish you should think a decision, for which I was so little prepared, has given me no disturbance; for I must be a far more egregious witling than any of those I tried to draw, to imagine you could ever credit that I wrote without some remote hope of success now—though I literally did when I composed “Evelina”!
But my mortification is not at throwing away the characters, or the contrivance;—it is all at throwing away the time,—which I with difficulty stole, and which I have buried in the mere trouble of writing.

Fanny Burney to Mr. Crisp.

Well! there are plays that are to be saved, and plays that are not to be saved! so good night, Mr. Dabbler!—good night, Lady Smatter,—Mrs. Sapient,—Mrs. Voluble,—Mrs. Wheedle,—Censor,—Cecilia,—Beaufort,—and you, you great oaf, Bobby!—good night! good night!
And good morning, Miss Fanny Burney!—I hope you have opened your eyes for some time, and will not close them in so drowsy a fit again—at least till the full of the moon.

I won’t tell you, I have been absolutely ravished with delight at the fall of the curtain; but I intend to take the affair in the tant mieux manner, and to console myself for your censure by this greatest proof I have ever received of the sincerity, candour, and, let me add, esteem, of my dear daddy. And as I happen to love myself rather more than my play, this consolation is not a very trifling one.
As to all you say of my reputation and so forth, I perceive the kindness of your endeavours to put me in humour with myself, and prevent my taking huff, which, if I did, I should deserve to receive, upon any future trial, hollow praise from you,—and the rest from the public.
The only bad thing in this affair is, that I cannot take the comfort of my poor friend Dabbler, by calling you a crabbed fellow, because you write with almost more kindness than ever; neither can I (though I try hard) persuade myself that you have not a grain of taste in your whole composition. This, however, seriously I do believe, that when my two daddies put their heads together to concert for me that hissing, groaning, catcalling epistle they sent me, they felt as sorry for poor little Miss Bayes as she could possibly do for herself.27

“Quite what we call,” and “give me leave to tell you.”

We had Lady Ladd at Streatham; Mr. Stephen Fuller, the sensible, but deaf old gentleman I have formerly mentioned, dined here also; as did Mr. R—,28 whose trite, settled, tonish emptiness of discourse is a never-failing source of laughter and diversion.
“Well, I say, what, Miss Burney, so you had a very good party last Tuesday?—what we call the family party—in that sort of way? Pray who had you?”
“Mr. Chamier.”29
“Mr. Chamier, ay? Give me leave to tell you, Miss Burney, that Mr. Chamier is what we call a very sensible man!”
“Certainly. And Mr. Pepys.”30
“Mr. Pepys? Ay, very good—very good in that sort of way. I am quite sorry I could not be here; but I was so much indisposed—quite what we call the nursing party.”
“I’m very sorry; but I hope little Sharp31 is well?

“Ma’am, your most humble! you’re a very good lady, indeed!—quite what we call a good lady! Little Sharp is perfectly well: that sort of attention, and things of that sort,——the bow-wow system is very well. But pray, Miss Burney, give me leave to ask, in that sort of way, had you anybody else?”
“Yes, Lady Ladd and Mr. Seward.”
“So, so!—quite the family system! Give me leave to tell you, Miss Burney, this commands attention!—what we call a respectable invitation! I am sorry I could not come, indeed; for we young men, Miss Burney, we make it what we call a sort of rule to take notice of this sort of attention. But I was extremely indisposed, indeed—what we call the walnut system had quite——Pray what’s the news, Miss Burney?—in that sort of way, is there any news?”
“None, that I have heard. Have you heard any?”
“Why, very bad! very bad, indeed!—quite what we call poor old England! I was told, in town,—fact—fact, I assure you—that these Dons intend us an invasion this very month, they and the Monsieurs intend us the respectable salute this very month;—the powder system, in that sort of way! Give me leave to tell you, Miss Burney, this is what we call a disagreeable visit, in that sort of way.”

I think, if possible, his language looks more absurd upon paper even than it sounds in conversation, from the perpetual recurrence of the same words and expressions—

The Crying Beauty and her Mother.

Brighthelmstone, October 12.

—On Tuesday Mr., Mrs., Miss Thrale, and “yours, ma’am, yours,” set out on their expedition. The day was very pleasant, and the journey delightful.
We dined very comfortably at Sevenoaks, and thence made but one stage to Tunbridge. It was so dark when we went through the town that I could see it very indistinctly. The Wells, however, are about seven miles yet further, so that we saw that night nothing; but I assure you, I felt that I was entering into a new country pretty roughly, for the roads were so sidelum and jumblum, as Miss L— called those of Teignmouth, that I expected an overturn every minute. Safely, however, we reached the Sussex Hotel, at Tunbridge Wells.
Having looked at our rooms, and arranged our affairs, we proceeded to Mount Ephraim, where Miss Streatfield resides. We found her with only her mother, and spent the evening there.

Mrs. Streatfield is very—very little, but perfectly well made, thin, genteel, and delicate. She has been quite beautiful, and has still so much of beauty left, that to call it only the remains of a fine face seems hardly doing her justice. She is very lively, and an excellent mimic, and is, I think, as much superior to her daughter in natural gifts as her daughter is to her in acquired ones: and how infinitely preferable are parts without education to education without parts!

The fair S. S. is really in higher beauty than I have ever yet seen her; and she was so caressing, so soft, so amiable, that I felt myself insensibly inclining to her with an affectionate regard. “If it was not for that little, gush,” as Dr. Delap said, I should certainly have taken a very great fancy to her; but tears so ready—oh, they blot out my fair opinion of her! Yet whenever I am with her, I like, nay, almost love her, for her manners are exceedingly captivating; but when I quit her, I do not find that she improves by being thought over—no, nor talked over; for Mrs. Thrale, who is always disposed to half adore her in her presence, can never converse about her without exciting her own contempt by recapitulating what has passed. This, however, must always be certain, whatever may be doubtful, that she is a girl in no respect like any other.

But I have not yet done with the mother: I have told you of her vivacity and her mimicry, but her character is yet not half told. She has a kind of whimsical conceit and odd affectation, that, joined to a very singular sort of humour, makes her always seem to be rehearsing some scene in a comedy. She takes off, if she mentions them, all her own children, and, though she quite adores them, renders them ridiculous with all her power. She laughs at herself for her smallness and for her vagaries, just with the same ease and ridicule as if she were speaking of some other person; and, while perpetually hinting at being old and broken, she is continually frisking, flaunting, and playing tricks, like a young coquet.
When I was introduced to her by Mrs. Thrale, who said, “Give me leave, ma’am, to present to you a friend of your daughter’s—Miss Burney,” she advanced to me with a tripping pace, and, taking one of my fingers, said, “Allow me, ma’am, will you, to create a little—acquaintance with you.”
And, indeed, I readily entered into an alliance with her, for I found nothing at Tunbridge half so entertaining, except, indeed, Miss Birch, of whom hereafter.

in each heart beat there is silence and fiery fire

My prodigy

[my love

my secret


and sensuous]

Tunbridge Wells is a place that to me appeared very singular; the country is all rock, and every part of it is either up or down hill, scarce ten yards square being level ground in the whole place: the houses, too, are scattered about in a strange wild manner, and look as if they had been dropt where they stand by accident, for they form neither streets nor squares, but seem strewed promiscuously, except, indeed, where the shopkeepers live, who have got two or three dirty little lanes, much like dirty little lanes in other places.
In the evening we all went to the rooms. The rooms, as they are called, consisted for this evening, of only one apartment, as there was not company enough to make more necessary, and a very plain, unadorned, and ordinary apartment that was.

The next morning we had the company of two young ladies at breakfast—the S. S. and a Miss Birch, a little girl but ten years old, whom the S. S. invited, well foreseeing how much we should all be obliged to her. This Miss Birch is a niece of the charming Mrs. Pleydell,32 and so like her, that I should have taken her for her daughter, yet she is not, now, quite so handsome; but as she will soon know how to display her beauty to the utmost advantage, I fancy, in a few years, she will yet more resemble her lovely and most bewitching aunt. Everybody, she said, tells her how like she is to her aunt Pleydell.

As you, therefore, have seen that sweet woman, only imagine her ten years old, and you will see her sweet niece. Nor does the resemblance rest with the person; she sings like her, laughs like her, talks like her, caresses like her, and alternately softens and animates just like her. Her conversation is not merely like that of a woman already, but like that of a most uncommonly informed, cultivated, and sagacious woman; and at the same time that her understanding is thus wonderfully premature, she can, at pleasure, throw off all this rationality, and make herself a mere playful, giddy, romping child. One moment, with mingled gravity and sarcasm, she discusses characters, and the next, with schoolgirl spirits, she jumps round the room; then, suddenly, she asks, “Do you know such or such a song?” and instantly, with mixed grace and buffoonery, singles out an object, and sings it; and then, before there has been time to applaud her, she runs into the middle of the room, to try some new step in a dance; and after all this, without waiting till her vagaries grow tiresome, she flings herself, with an affectionate air upon somebody’s lap, and there, composed and thoughtful, she continues quiet till she again enters into rational conversation.
Her voice is really charming—infinitely the most powerful, as well as sweet, I ever heard at her age. Were she well and constantly taught, she might, I should think, do anything,—for two or three Italian songs, which she learnt out of only five months’ teaching by Parsons, she sung like a little angel, with respect to taste, feeling, and expression; but she now learns of nobody, and is so fond of French songs, for the sake, she says, of the sentiment, that I fear she will have her wonderful abilities all thrown away. Oh, how I wish my father had the charge of her!

She has spent four years out of her little life in France, which has made her distractedly fond of the French operas, “Rose et Colas,” “Annette et Lubin,” etc., and she told us the story quite through of several I never heard of, always singing the sujet when she came to the airs, and comically changing parts in the duets. She speaks French with the same fluency as English, and every now and then, addressing herself to the S. S.—“Que je vous adore!”—“Ah, permettez que je me mette a vos pieds!” etc., with a dying languor that was equally laughable and lovely.
When I found, by her taught songs, what a delightful singer she was capable of becoming, I really had not patience to hear her little French airs, and entreated her to give them up, but the little rogue instantly began pestering me with them, singing one after another with a comical sort of malice, and following me round the room, when I said I would not listen to her, to say, “But is not this pretty?—and this?—and this?” singing away with all her might and main.
She sung without any accompaniment, as we had no instrument; but the S. S. says she plays too, very well. Indeed, I fancy she can do well whatever she pleases.

We hardly knew how to get away from her when the carriage was ready to take us from Tunbridge, and Mrs. Thrale was so much enchanted with her that she went on the Pantiles and bought her a very beautiful inkstand.
“I don’t mean, Miss Birch,” she said, when she gave it her, “to present you this toy as to a child, but merely to beg you will do me the favour to accept something that may make you now and then remember us.”

She was much delighted with this present, and told me, in a whisper, that she should put a drawing of it in her journal.
So you see, Susy, other children have had this whim. But something being said of novels, the S. S. said—

“Selina, do you ever read them?”—And, with a sigh, the little girl answered—
“But too often!——I wish I did not.”

The only thing I did not like in this seducing little creature was our leave-taking. The S. S. had, as we expected, her fine eyes suffused with tears, and nothing would serve the little Selina, who admires the S. S. passionately, but that she, also, must weep—and weep, therefore, she did, and that in a manner as pretty to look at, as soft, as melting, and as little to her discomposure, as the weeping of her fair exemplar. The child’s success in this pathetic art made the tears of both appear to the whole party to be lodged, as the English merchant says, “very near the eyes!”
Doubtful as it is whether we shall ever see this sweet syren again, nothing, as Mrs. Thrale said to her, can be more certain than that we shall hear of her again, let her go whither she will.
Charmed as we all were with her, we all agreed that to have the care of her would be distraction! “She seems the girl in the world,” Mrs. Thrale wisely said, “to attain the highest reach of human perfection as a man’s mistress!—as such she would be a second Cleopatra, and have the world at her command.”

Poor thing! I hope to heaven she will escape such sovereignty and such honours!

the shades of many views, how we see, think, breath and live


[to follow


and mind


only real cure]

We left Tunbridge Wells, and got, by dinner time, to our first stage, Uckfield. Our next stage brought us to Brighthelmstone, where I fancy we shall stay till the Parliament calls away Mr. Thrale.33

The morning after our arrival, our first visit was from Mr Kipping, the apothecary, a character so curious that Foote34 designed him for his next piece, before he knew he had already written his last. He is a prating, good-humoured old gossip, who runs on in as incoherent and unconnected a style of discourse as Rose Fuller, though not so tonish.
The rest of the morning we spent, as usual at this place, upon the Steyn, and in booksellers’ shops. Mrs. Thrale entered all our names at Thomas’s, the fashionable bookseller; but we find he has now a rival, situated also upon the Steyn, who seems to carry away all the custom and all the company. This is a Mr. Bowen, who is just come from London, and who seems just the man to carry the world before him as a shop-keeper. Extremely civil, attentive to watch opportunities Of obliging, and assiduous to make use of them—skilful in discovering the taste or turn of mind of his customers, and adroit in putting in their way just such temptations as they are least able to withstand. Mrs. Thrale, at the same time that she sees his management and contrivance, so much admires his sagacity and dexterity, that, though open-eyed, she is as easily wrought upon to part with her money, as any of the many dupes in this place, whom he persuades to require indispensably whatever he shows them. He did not, however, then at all suspect who I was, for he showed me nothing but schemes for raffles, and books, pocket-cases, etc., which weie put up for those purposes. It is plain I can have no authoress air, since so discerning a bookseller thought me a fine lady spendthrift, who only wanted occasions to get rid of money.

Sunday morning, as we came out of church, we saw Mrs. Cumberland, one of her sons, and both her daughters. Mrs. Thrale spoke to them, but I believe they did not recollect me. They are reckoned the flashers of the place, yet everybody laughs at them for their airs, affectations, and tonish graces and impertinences.
In the evening, Mrs. Dickens, a lady of Mrs. Thrale’s acquaintance, invited us to drink tea at the rooms with her, which we did, and found them much more full and lively than the preceding night. The folks of most consequence with respect to rank, were Lady Pembroke and Lady Di Beauclerk,35 both of whom have still very pleasing remains of the beauty for which they have been so much admired. But the present beauty, whose remains our children (i.e. nieces) may talk of, is a Mrs. Musters, an exceedingly pretty woman, who is the reigning toast of the season.
While Mrs. Thrale, Mrs. Dickens, and I were walking about after tea, we were joined by a Mr. Cure, a gentleman of the former’s acquaintance. After a little while he said—

“Miss Thrale is very much grown since she was here last year; and besides, I think she’s vastly altered.”
“Do you, sir,” cried she, “I can’t say I think so.”
“Oh vastly!—but young ladies at that age are always altering. To tell you the truth, I did not know her at all.”

This, for a little while, passed quietly; but soon after, he exclaimed,
“Ma’am, do you know I have not yet read ‘Evelina?”
“Have not you so, sir?” cried she, laughing.
“No, and I think I never shall, for there’s no getting it. The booksellers say they never can keep it a moment, and the folks that hire it keep lending it from one to another in such a manner that it is never returned to the library. It’s very provoking.”
“But,” said Mrs. Thrale, “what makes you exclaim about it so to me?”
“Why, because, if you recollect, the last thing you said to me when we parted last year, was—be sure you read ‘Evelina.’ So as soon as I saw you I recollected it all again. But I wish Miss Thrale would turn more this way.”
“Why, what do you mean, Mr. Cure? do you know Miss Thrale now?”
“Yes, to be sure,” answered he, looking full at me, “though I protest I should not have guessed at her had I seen her with anybody but you.”
“Oh ho!” cried Mrs. Thrale, laughing, “so you mean Miss Burney all this time.”

Mr. Cure looked aghast. As soon, I suppose, as he was able, he repeated, in a low voice, “Miss Burney! so then that lady is the authoress of ‘Evelina’ all this time.”
And, rather abruptly, he left us and joined another party.

I suppose he told his story to as many as he talked to, for, in a short time, I found myself so violently stared at that I could hardly look any way without being put quite out of countenance,—particularly by young Mr. Cumberland, a handsome, soft-looking youth, who fixed his eyes upon me incessantly, though but the evening before, when I saw him at Hicks’s, he looked as if it would have been a diminution of his dignity to have regarded me twice. One thing proved quite disagreeable to me, and that was the whole behaviour of the whole tribe of the Cumberlands, which I must explain.
Mr. Cumberland,36 when he saw Mrs. Thrale, flew with eagerness to her and made her take his seat, and he talked to her, with great friendliness and intimacy, as he has been always accustomed to do,—and inquired very particularly concerning her daughter, expressing an earnest desire to see her. But when, some time after, Mrs. Thrale said, “Oh, there is my daughter, with Miss Burney,” he changed the discourse abruptly,—never came near Miss Thrale, and neither then nor since, when he has met Mrs. Thrale, has again mentioned her name: and the whole evening he seemed determined to avoid us both.
Mrs. Cumberland contented herself with only looking at me as at a person she had no reason or business to know.

The two daughters, but especially the eldest, as well as the son, were by no means so quiet; they stared at me every time I came near them as if I had been a thing for a show; surveyed me from head to foot, and then again, and again returned to my face, with so determined and so unabating a curiosity, that it really made me uncomfortable.
All the folks here impute the whole of this conduct to its having transpired that I am to bring out a play this season; for Mr. Cumberland, though in all other respects an agreeable and a good man, is so notorious for hating and envying and spiting all authors in the dramatic line, that he is hardly decent in his behaviour towards them.
He has little reason, at present at least, to bear me any ill-will; but if he is capable of such weakness and malignity as to have taken an aversion to me merely because I can make use of pen and ink, he deserves not to hear of my having suppressed my play, or of anything else that can gratify so illiberal a disposition.
Dr. Johnson, Mr. Cholmondeley, and Mr. and Mrs. Thrale have all repeatedly said to me, “Cumberland no doubt hates you heartily by this time;” but it always appeared to me a speech of mingled fun and flattery, and I never dreamed of its being possible to be true.

A few days since, after tea at Mrs. Dickens’s, we all went to the rooms. There was a great deal of company, and among them the Cumberlands. The eldest of the girls, who was walking with Mrs. Musters, quite turned round her whole person every time we passed each other, to keep me in sight, and stare at me as long as possible; so did her brother.
I never saw anything so ill-bred and impertinent; I protest I was ready to quit the rooms to avoid them—till at last Miss Thrale, catching Miss Cumberland’s eye, gave her so full, determined, and downing a stare, that whether cured by shame or by resentment, she forbore from that time to look at either of us. Miss Thrale, with a sort of good-natured dryness, said, “Whenever you are disturbed with any of these starers, apply to me,—I’ll warrant I’ll cure them. I dare say the girl hates me for it; but what shall I be the worse for that? I would have served master Dickey37 so too, only I could not catch his eye.”

Oct. 20—We have had a visit from Dr. Delap. He told me that he had another tragedy, and that I should have it to read.

He was very curious to see Mr. Cumberland, who, it seems, has given evident marks of displeasure at his name whenever Mrs. Thrale has mentioned it. That poor man is so wonderfully narrow-minded in his authorship capacity, though otherwise good, humane and generous, that he changes countenance at either seeing or hearing of any writer whatsoever. Mrs. Thrale, with whom, this foible excepted, he is a great favourite, is so enraged with him for his littleness of soul in this respect, that merely to plague him, she vowed at the rooms she would walk all the evening between Dr. Delap and me. I wished so little to increase his unpleasant feelings, that I determined to keep with Miss Thrale and Miss Dickens entirely. One time, though, Mrs. Thrale, when she was sitting by Dr. Delap, called me suddenly to her, and when I was seated, said, “Now let’s see if Mr. Cumberland will come and speak to me!” But he always turns resolutely another way when he sees her with either of us; though at all other times he is particularly fond of her company.
“It would actually serve him right,” says she, “to make Dr. Delap and you strut at each side of me, one with a dagger, and the other with a mask, as tragedy and comedy.”
“I think, Miss Burney,” said the doctor, “you and I seem to stand in the same predicament. What shall we do for the poor man? suppose we burn a play apiece?”
“Depend upon it,” said Mrs. Thrale, “he has heard, in town, that you are both to bring one out this season, and perhaps one of his own may be deferred on that account.”

On the announcement of the carriage, we went into the next room for our cloaks, where Mrs. Thrale and Mr. Cumberland were in deep conversation.
“Oh, here’s Miss Burney!” said Mrs. Thrale aloud. Mr Cumberland turned round, but withdrew his eyes instantly; and I, determined not to interrupt them, made Miss Thrale walk away with me. In about ten minutes she left him and we all came home.
As soon as we were in the carriage,
“It has been,” said Mrs. Thrale, warmly, “all I could do not to affront Mr. Cumberland to-night!”
“Oh, I hope not,” cried I, “I would not have you for the world!”
“Why, I have refrained; but with great difficulty.”

And then she told me the conversation she had just had with him. As soon as I made off, he said, with a spiteful tone of voice,
“Oh, that young lady is an author, I hear!”
“Yes,” answered Mrs. Thrale, “author of ‘Evelina.’”
“Humph,—I am told it has some humour!”
“Ay, indeed! Johnson says nothing like it has appeared for years!”
“So,” cried he, biting his lips, and waving uneasily in his chair, “so, so!”
“Yes,” continued she, “and Sir Joshua Reynolds told Mr. Thrale he would give fifty pounds to know the author!”
“So, so—oh, vastly well!” cried he, putting his hand on his forehead.
“Nay,” added she, “Burke himself sat up all night to finish it!”

This seemed quite too much for him; he put both his hands to his face, and waving backwards and forwards, said,
“Oh, vastly well!—this will do for anything!” with a tone as much as to say, Pray, no more!

Then Mrs. Thrale bid him good night, longing, she said, to call Miss Thrale first, and say, “So you won’t speak to my daughter?—why, she is no author.”

speak to me, sweet wilderness, hear my song spread through cloud and trees

His views

[just another




but, they are

his own]

October 20.

—I must now have the honour to present to you a new acquaintance, who this day dined here.

Mr. B——y,38 an Irish gentleman, late a commissary in Germany. He is between sixty and seventy, but means to pass for about thirty; gallant, complaisant, obsequious, and humble to the fair sex, for whom he has an awful reverence; but when not immediately addressing them, swaggering, blustering, puffing, and domineering. These are his two apparent characters; but the real man is worthy, moral, religious, though conceited and parading.
He is as fond of quotations as my poor Lady Smatter,39 and, like her, knows little beyond a song, and always blunders about the author of that. His whole conversation consists in little French phrases, picked up during his residence abroad, and in anecdotes and story-telling, which are sure to be retold daily and daily in the same words.

Speaking of the ball in the evening, to which we were all going, “Ah, madam!” said he to Mrs. Thrale, “there was a time when—fol-derol, fol-derol [rising, and dancing and Singing], fol-derol!—I could dance with the best of them; but now a man, forty and upwards, as my Lord Ligonier used to say—but—fol-derol!—there was a time!”
“Ay, so there was, Mr. B——y,” said Mrs. Thrale, “and I think you and I together made a very venerable appearance!”
“Ah! madam, I remember once, at Bath, I was called out to dance with one of the finest young ladies I ever saw. I was just preparing to do my best, when a gentleman of my acquaintance was so cruel as to whisper me—‘B——y! the eyes of all Europe are upon you!’ for that was the phrase of the times. ‘B——y!’ says he, ‘the eyes of all Europe are upon you!’—I vow, ma’am, enough to make a man tremble!-fol-derol, fol-derol! [dancing]—the eyes of all Europe are upon you!—I declare, ma’am, enough to put a man out of countenance.”

I am absolutely almost ill with laughing. This Mr. B——y half convulses me; yet I cannot make you laugh by writing his speeches, because it is the manner which accompanies them, that, more than the matter, renders them so peculiarly ridiculous. His extreme pomposity, the solemn stiffness of his person, the conceited twinkling of his little old eyes, and the quaint importance of his delivery, are so much more like some pragmatical old coxcomb represented on the stage, than like anything in real and common life, that I think, were I a man, I should sometimes be betrayed into clapping him for acting so well. As it is, I am sure no character in any comedy I ever saw has made me laugh more extravagantly.
He dines and spends the evening here constantly, to my great satisfaction.

At dinner, when Mrs. Thrale offers him a seat next her, he regularly says,
“But where are les charmantes?” meaning Miss T. and me. “I can do nothing till they are accommodated!”
And, whenever he drinks a glass of wine, he never fails to touch either Mrs. Thrale’s, or my glass, with “est-il permis?”
But at the same time that he is so courteous, he is proud to a most sublime excess, and thinks every person to whom he speaks honoured beyond measure by his notice, nay, he does not even look at anybody without evidently displaying that such notice is more the effect of his benign condescension, than of any pretension on their part to deserve such a mark of his perceiving their existence. But you will think me mad about this man.

Nov. 3

—Last Monday we went again to the ball. Mr. B——y, who was there, and seated himself next to Lady Pembroke, at the top of the room, looked most sublimely happy! He continues still to afford me the highest diversion.

As he is notorious for his contempt of all artists, whom he looks upon with little more respect than upon day-labourers, the other day, when painting was discussed, he spoke of Sir Joshua Reynolds as if he had been upon a level with a carpenter or farrier.
“Did you ever,” said Mrs. Thrale, “see his Nativity?”
“No, madam,—but I know his pictures very well; I knew him many years ago, in Minorca; he drew my picture there; and then he knew how to take a moderate price; but now, I vow, ma’am, ’tis scandalous—scandalous indeed! to pay a fellow here seventy guineas for scratching out a head!”
“Sir,” cried Dr. Delap, “you must not run down Sir Joshua Reynolds, because he is Miss Burney’s friend.”
“Sir,” answered he, “I don’t want to run the man down; I like him well enough in his proper place; he is as decent as any man of that sort I ever knew; but for all that, sir, his prices are shameful. Why, he would not (looking at the poor doctor with an enraged contempt) he would not do your head under seventy guineas!”
“Well,” said Mrs. Thrale, “he had one portrait at the last exhibition, that I think hardly could be paid enough for; it was of a Mr. Stuart; I had never done admiring it.”
“What stuff is this, ma’am!” cried Mr. B——y, “how can two or three dabs of paint ever be worth such a sum as that?”
“Sir,” said Mr. Selwyn40 (always willing to draw him out), “you know not how much he is improved since you knew him in Minorca; he is now the finest painter, perhaps, in the world.”
“Pho, pho, sir,” cried he, “how can you talk so? you, Mr. Selwin, who have seen so many capital pictures abroad?”
“Come, come, sir,” said the ever odd Dr. Delap, “you must not go on so undervaluing him, for, I tell you, he is a friend of Miss Burney’s.”
“Sir,” said Mr. B——y, “I tell you again I have no objection to the man; I have dined in his company two or three times; a very decent man he is, fit to keep company with gentlemen; but, ma’am, what are all your modern dabblers put together to one ancient? nothing!—a set of—not a Rubens among them! I vow, ma’am, not a Rubens among them!”. . . .

To go on with the subject I left off with last—my favourite subject you will think it——Mr. B——y. I must inform you that his commendation was more astonishing to me than anybody’s could be, as I had really taken it for granted he had hardly noticed my existence. But he has also spoken very well of Dr. Delap—that is to say, in a very condescending manner. “That Mr. Delap,” said he, “seems a good sort of man; I wish all the cloth were like him; but, lackaday! ’tis no such thing; the clergy in general are but odd dogs.”
Whenever plays are mentioned, we have also a regular speech about them. “I never,” he says, “go to a tragedy,—it’s too affecting; tragedy enough in real life: tragedies are only fit for fair females; for my part, I cannot bear to see Othello tearing about in that violent manner—and fair little Desdemona, ma’am, ’tis too affecting! to see your kings and your princes tearing their pretty locks,—oh, there’s no standing it! ‘A straw-crown’d monarch,’—what is that, Mrs. Thrale?
‘A straw-crown’d monarch in mock majesty.’
“I can’t recollect now where that is; but for my part, I really cannot bear to see such sights. And then out come the white handkerchiefs, and all their pretty eyes are wiping, and then come poison and daggers, and all that kind of thing,—O ma’am, ’tis too much; but yet the fair tender hearts, the pretty little females, all like it!”
This speech, word for word, I have already heard from him literally four times.
When Mr. Garrick was mentioned, he honoured him with much the same style of compliment as he had done Sir Joshua Reynolds.

“Ay, ay,” said he, “that Garrick was another of those fellows that people run mad about. Ma’am, ’tis a shaine to think of such things! an actor living like a person of quality scandalous! I vow, scandalous!”
“Well,—commend me to Mr. B——y!” cried Mrs. Thrale “for he is your only man to put down all the people that everybody else sets up.”
“Why, ma’am,” answered he, “I like all these people very well in their proper places; but to see such a set of poor beings living like persons of quality,—’tis preposterous! common sense, madam, common sense is against that kind of thing. As to Garrick, he was a very good mimic, an entertaining fellow enough, and all that kind of thing——but for an actor to live like a person of quality—oh, scandalous!”

Some time after the musical tribe was mentioned. He was at cards at the time with Mr. Selwyn, Dr. Delap, and Mr. Thrale, while we “fair females,” as he always calls us, were speaking of Agujari.41 He constrained himself from flying out as long as he was able; but upon our mentioning her having fifty pounds a song, he suddenly, in a great rage, called out, “Catgut and rosin! ma’am, ’tis scandalous!” . . .

The other day, at dinner, the subject was married life, and among various husbands and wives Lord L— being mentioned, Mr. B——y pronounced his panegyric, and called him his friend. Mr. Selwyn, though with much gentleness, differed from him in opinion, and declared he could not think well of him, as he knew his lady, who was an amiable woman, was used very ill by him.
“How, sir?” cried Mr. B——y.
“I have known him,” answered Mr. Selwyn, “frequently pinch her till she has been ready to cry with pain, though she has endeavoured to prevent its being observed.”
“And I,” said Mrs. Thrale, “know that he pulled her nose, in his frantic brutality, till he broke-some of the vessels of it, and when she was dying she still found the torture he had given her by it so great, that it was one of her last complaints.”

The general, who is all for love and gallantry, far from attempting to vindicate his friend, quite swelled with indignation on this account, and, after a pause, big with anger, exclaimed,
“Wretched doings, sir, wretched doings!”
“Nay, I have known him,” added Mr. Selwyn, “insist upon handing her to her carriage, and then, with an affected kindness, pretend to kiss her hand, instead of which he has almost bit a piece out of it.”
“Pitiful!—pitiful! sir,” cried the General, “I know nothing more shabby!”
“He was equally inhuman to his daughter,” said Mrs. Thrale, “for, in one of his rages, he almost throttled her.”
“Wretched doings!” again exclaimed Mr. B——y, “what! cruel to a fair female! Oh fie! fie! fie!—a fellow who can be cruel to females and children, or animals, must be a pitiful fellow indeed. I wish we had had him here in the sea. I should like to have had him stripped, and that kind of thing, and been well banged by ten of our clippers here with a cat-o’-nine-tails. Cruel to a fair female? Oh fie! fie! fie!”

I know not how this may read, but I assure you its sound was ludicrous enough.
However, I have never yet told you his most favourite story, though we have regularly heard it three or four times a day—and this is about his health.
“Some years ago,” he says,—“let’s see, how many? in the year ‘71,—ay, ‘71, ‘72—thereabouts—I was taken very ill, and, by ill-luck, I was persuaded to ask advice of one of these Dr. Gallipots:—oh, how I hate them all! Sir, they are the vilest pick-pockets—know nothing, sir! nothing in the world! poor ignorant mortals! and then they pretend—In short, sir, I hate them all!—I have suffered so much by them, sir—lost four years of the happiness of my life—let’s see, ‘71, ‘72, ‘73, ‘74—ay, four years, sir!—mistook my case, sir!—and all that kind of thing. Why, sir, my feet swelled as big as two horses’ heads! I vow I will never consult one of these Dr. Gallipot fellows again! lost me, sir, four years of the happiness of my life!—why, I grew quite an object!——you would hardly have known me!—lost all the calves of my legs!—had not an ounce of flesh left!—and as to the rouge—why, my face was the colour of that candle!—those deuced Gallipot fellows!—why, they robbed me of four years—let me see, ay, ‘71, ‘72—”
And then it was all given again!

We had a large party of gentlemen to dinner. Among them was Mr. Hamilton, commonly called Single-speech Hamilton, from having made one remarkable speech in the House of Commons against government, and receiving some douceur to be silent ever after. This Mr. Hamilton is extremely tall and handsome; has an air of haughty and fashionable superiority; is intelligent, dry, sarcastic, and clever. I should have received much pleasure from his conversational powers, had I not previously been prejudiced against him, by hearing that he is infinitely artful, double, and crafty.
The dinner conversation was too general to be well remembered; neither, indeed, shall I attempt more than partial scraps relating to matters of what passed when we adjourned to tea.

Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Selwyn, Mr. Tidy, and Mr. Thrale seated themselves to whist; the rest looked on: but the General, as he always does, took up the newspaper, and, with various comments, made aloud, as he went on reading to himself, diverted the whole company. Now he would cry, “Strange! strange that!”—presently, “What stuff! I don’t believe a word of it!”—a little after, “Mr. Bate,42 I wish your ears were cropped!”—then, “Ha! ha! ha! funnibus! funnibus! indeed!”—and, at last, in a great rage, he exclaimed, “What a fellow is this, to presume to arraign the conduct of persons of quality!”
Having diverted himself and us in this manner, till he had read every column methodically through, he began all over again, and presently called out, “Ha! ha! here’s a pretty thing!” and then, in a plaintive voice, languished out some wretched verses.

1 This was not the famous philosopher and statesman, but the Rev. Thomas Franklin, D.D., who was born in 1721, and died in 1784. He published various translations from the classics, as well as plays and miscellaneous works; but is best known for his translation of Sophocles, published in 1759.—ED.]
2 “Warley: a Satire,” then just published, by a Mr. Huddisford. “Dear little Burney’s” name was coupled in it with that of Sir Joshua Reynolds, in a manner which seemed to imply that Sir Joshua had special reasons for desiring her approbation. It will be remembered that, before he knew that Miss Burney was the author of “Evelina,” Sir Joshua had jestingly remarked that If the author proved to be a woman, he should be sure to make love to her. See ante, p. 94.—ED.]
3 Mrs. Horneck and Mrs. Bunbury (her eldest daughter) had declared that they would walk a hundred and sixty miles, to see the author of “Evelina.”—ED.]
4 See note 37 ante.—ED,]
5 A kinsman of the great Edmund Burke, and, like him, a politician and member of Parliament. Goldsmith has drawn his character in “Retaliation.”

“Here lies honest William, whose heart was a mint,
While the owner ne’er knew half the good that was in ’t;
The pupil of impulse, it forced him along,
His conduct still right, with his argument wrong
Still aiming at honour, yet fearing to roam,
The coachman was tipsy, the chariot drove home;
Would-you ask for his merits? alas! he had none;
What was good was spontaneous, his faults were his own.”—ED.]

6 Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, and father of the celebrated Lord Palmerston.—ED.]
7 Mrs. Cholmondeley imitates the language of Madame Duval, the French woman in “Evelina.”—ED.]
8 A character in “Evelina.”—ED.]
9 Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was born at Plympton, in Devonshire, in 1723—ED.]
10 Mr. Qwatkin afterwards married Miss Offy Palmer.—ED.]
11 Afterwards Lady Crewe; the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Greville, and a famous Political beauty. At a supper after the Westminster election on the Prince of Wales toasting, “True blue and Mrs. Crewe,” the lady responded, “True blue and all of you.”—ED.]
12 A celebrated Italian singer and intimate friend of the Burneys.—ED.]
13 See note [15: ante, p. xxvi. The intended marriage above referred to above came to nothing, Miss Cumberland, the eldest daughter of the dramatist subsequently marrying Lord Edward Bentinck, son of the Duke of Portland.—ED.]
14 Miss Hannah More, the authoress.—ED.]
15 Hannah More gave Dr. Johnson, when she was first introduced to him, such a surfeit of flattery, that at last, losing patience, he turned to her and said, “Madam, before you flatter a man so grossly to his face, you should consider whether or not your flattery is worth his having.”—ED.]
16 Mrs. Vesey was the lady at whose house were held the assemblies from which the term “blue-stocking” first came into use. (See ante.) Fanny writes of her in 1779, “She is an exceeding well-bred woman, and of agreeable manners; but all her name in the world must, I think, have been acquired by her dexterity and skill in selecting parties, and by her address in rendering them easy with one another—an art, however, that seems to imply no mean understanding.”—ED.]
17 Joseph Warton, author of the “Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope.”—ED.]
18 Sheridan was at this time manager of Drury-lane Theatre—ED.]
19 Sir P. J. Clerke’s bill was moved on the 12th of February. It passed the first and second readings, but was afterwards lost on the motion for going into committee. It was entitled a “Bill for restraining any person, being a member of the House of Commons, from being concerned himself, or any person in trust for him, in any contract made by the commissioners of his Majesty’s Treasury, the commissioners of the Navy, the board of Ordnance, or by any other person or persons for the public service, Unless the said contract shall be made at a public bidding.”—ED.]
20 Arthur Murphy, the well-known dramatic author, a very intimate friend of the Thrales. He was born in Ireland in 1727, and died at Knightsbridge in 1805. Among his most successful plays were “The Orphan of China” and “The Way to Keep Him.”—ED.]
21 “The Good-natured Man.”—ED]
22 Sophy Streatfield, a young lady who understood Greek, and was consequently looked upon as a prodigy of learning. Mrs. Thrale appears to have been slightly jealous of her about this time, though without serious cause. In January, 1779, she writes (in “Thraliana”): “Mr. Thrale has fallen in love, really and seriously, with Sophy Streatfield; but there is no wonder in that; she is very pretty, very gentle, soft and insinuating; hangs about him, dances round him, cries when she parts from him, squeezes his hand slily, and with her sweet eyes full of tears looks fondly in his face—and all for love of me, as she pretends, that I can hardly sometimes help laughing in her face. A man must not be a man, but an it, to resist such artillery.”—ED.]
23 Characters in the comedy which Fanny was then engaged upon.—ED.]
24 Sir Philip Jennings Clerke—ED.]
25 The Rev. John Delap, D.D., born 1725, died 1812. He was a man “of deep learning, but totally ignorant of life and manners,” and wrote several tragedies, two or three of which were acted, but generally without success,—ED.]
26 Mrs. Piozzi (then Mrs. Thrale) relates this story in her “Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson.” “I came into the room one evening where he [Johnson] and a gentleman [Seward], whose abilities we all respect exceedingly, were sitting. A lady [Miss Streatfield], who walked in two minutes before me, had blown ’em both into a flame by whispering something to Mr. S—d, which he endeavoured to explain away so as not to affront the doctor, whose suspicions were all alive. ‘And have a care, sir,’ said he, just as I came in, ‘the Old Lion will not bear to be tickled.’ The other was pale with rage, the lady wept at the confusion she had caused, and I could only say with Lady Macbeth—‘Soh! you’ve displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting with most admired disorder.’"—ED.]
27 The following note is in the hand-writing of Miss Burney, at a subsequent period. The objection of Mr. Crisp to the MS play of ‘The Witlings,’ was its resemblance to Moliere’s ‘Femmes Savantes,’ and consequent immense inferiority. It is, however, a curious fact, and to the author a consolatory one, that she had literally never read the ‘Femmes Savantes’ when she composed ‘The Witlings.’]
28 Mr. Rose Fuller.—ED.]
29 Anthony Chamier, M.P. for Tamworth, and an intimate friend of Dr. Burney’s. He was Under Secretary of State from 1775 till his death in 1780. We find him at one of Dr. Burney’s famous music-parties in 1775. Fanny writes of him then as “an extremely agreeable man, and the very pink of gallantry.” (“Early Diary,” vol, ii. p. 106.)—ED.]
30 Afterwards Sir William Weller Pepys, Master in Chancery, and brother of the physician, Sir Lucas Pepys. He was an ardent lover of literature, and gave “blue-stocking” parties, which Dr. Burney frequently attended. Fanny extols his urbanity and benevolence. See “Memoirs of Dr. Burney,” vol. ii. p. 285.—ED.]
31 His dog.—ED.]
32 Mrs. Pleydell was a friend of Dr. Burney’s, and greatly admired for her beauty and the sweetness of her disposition. She was the daughter of Governor Holwell, one of the survivors from the Black Hole of Calcutta.—ED.]
33 Mr. Thrale was Member of Parliament for Southwark.—ED.]
34 Samuel Foote, the famous actor and writer of farces,—ED.]
35 Lady Diana Spencer, eldest daughter of Charles, second Duke of Marlborough. She was born in 1734, married in 1760 to Viscount Bolingbroke, divorced from him in 1768, and married soon after to Dr. Johnson’s friend, Topham Beauclerk. Lady Di was an amateur artist, and the productions of her pencil were much admired by Horace Walpole and other persons of fashion. Elizabeth, Countess of Pembroke, was the sister of Lady Di Beauclerk, being the second daughter of the Duke of Marlborough.—ED.]
36 See note 15 ante.—ED.]
37 Young Cumberland, son of the author.—ED.]
38 General Blakeney.—ED.]
39 A character in Fanny’s suppressed comedy, “The Witlings.”—ED.]
40 Not the celebrated George Selwyn, but a wealthy banker of that name.—ED.]
41 Lucrezia Agujari was one of the most admired Italian singers of the day. She died at Parma in 1783.—ED.]
42 The Rev. Henry Bate, afterwards Sir Henry Bate Dudley, editor of the “Morning Post” from its establishment in 1772 till 1780, in which year his connection with that paper came to an end in consequence of a quarrel with his coadjutors. On the 1st of November, 1780, he brought out the “Morning Herald” in opposition to his old paper, the “Post.” He assumed the name of Dudley in 1784, was created a baronet in 1813, and died in 1824. Gainsborough has painted the portrait of this ornament of the Church, who was notorious, in his younger days, for his physical strength, and not less so for the very unclerical use which he made of it. He was popularly known as the “Fighting Parson.”—ED.]

and Earth answered me, with tears of rain and the strength of windswept storms

Diary from french court


Madame Darblay

Author(s), and photography

Michael Koontz
Madame Darblay
additional notes by W. C. Ward

To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

   Author page, Michael A Koontz
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    Question number 47 in our School of Fitness.
    Interestingly enough we actually uncover new scientific facts about the human body every single day.
    Things we thought we knew sometimes become nothing more than the incorrect truth of yesterday. All while we continually prove that life and nature, and biology itself is endlessly progressive and changing.
    So for today, I would like to know if we can still make the fact-based claim that the core temperature of the modern-day human body is still 37c on average?...
    Or has this well established scientific fact actually changed in the last 100 years?.

    Read on beyond the break and dig deeper into our fitness school question before you pony up the right answer.

  • The scientific correlation between our food choices environmental impact and bad human health.

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    Fitness is a science driven journey.
    And so is sustainability.

    So let us get it out of the way right away.
    Poor food choices remain a leading worldwide cause of mortality and bad health. But, poor food choices doesn't just harm our own health and longevity, bad food choices and the production that is needed to create the lackluster food that so many bases their entire food life on causes huge, unnecessary environmental degradation as well.

    So much so that the much needed (read essential to do) UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement is virtually impossible to fulfill unless we, as a global species make the switch to healthier, plant-based food choices.
    This article will display how different food groups directly connect 5 health outcomes and 5 aspects of environmental degradation with each other.

  • Available Fine Art & Lifestyle products. Art, design and photography by M & M. Our products are produced and sold by #Society6.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Your life is your on going art and history
    Contemporary art & products for a healthy fit life and planet.

    Each of us is the mere sum of our unique life choices, our thoughts, and way.
    Be it in person, or through the way we shape life around us. This uniqueness is evident even in our own persona, our style and life choices that takes place on this endless every day path that we call life.It is as such, ever-present in the way we build and shape the castle and life which we call our home.
    You can feel and see it, in the choices of your clothes, and other peoples fitness regime.
    It is persistent through our art choices and the way we train and live our very own healthy fit life.

    It is forever present inside our deeply individual thoughts, and it is perpetually stamped in the essence of our unique nature. Read on beyond the break and step into our lifestyle store where you can buy clothes and fine art and other lifestyle products, with art, design and photography by M & M.

  • Fitness school, question 44: What is the actual weight of one cm3 lean muscle mass, and will that weight per cm3 be able to also differ ever so minuscule between fit people and out of shape people (generally speaking that is).

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    A healthy life is a daily process created by making healthy science based choices.
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 44 in our School of Fitness.
    Time for a short and sweet little one.
    As stated in the subject line, lean muscle mass has another weight/density ratio than fat, so a body mass that is made up of more fat and less lean muscle mass will display a bigger mass at a lower body weight, while a body that has a greater amount of lean muscle mass will actually have a higher body weight compared to what its body mass might make you believe.

    Read on beyond the break and dwell deeper down into today's fitness school question.

  • Pressmeddelande: Biologiska mångfaldens dag 2019 tar en tur i naturen för en stund med naturfoto och fitness prat i Höga Kusten.

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    a Norse View & Scandinavian.fitness.
    Biologiska mångfaldens dag 2019, Höga Kusten, Sverige.

    Humlesafari, fladdermuslyssning, fjärilsbingo, krypletning och fågelvandring – den 22 maj uppmärksammas den internationella FN-dagen Biologiska mångfaldens dag med en mängd olika evenemang runt om i Sverige.

    Den årligen återkommande bmf dagen är numera en av Sveriges största naturhögtider och 2019 arrangerar naturorganisationer, kommuner, skolor, myndigheter,företag och privatpersoner över 200 aktiviteter runt om i landet, från Kiruna i norr till Ystad i söder. Det görs både för att visa upp vår artrika natur och för att uppmärksamma en av vår tids stora ödesfrågor – den oroväckande snabba förlusten av biologisk mångfald.

    I Höga Kusten arrangerar Mike från a Norse View och Scandinavian.fitness en dagstur ut i naturen där vi blandar naturfoto i en vacker insjömiljö och faktabaserat prat om kost, träning och hälsa.

  • 'The solitude of lonesome birds nest and winters white caress'.. Thoughts from a moment in life, spring 2019.

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    You are life itself.
    And life resonates in response to you....

    At any point in time there is a history of past moments, both lived and never experienced which all lead up to and beyond the here and now.
    Strings of time and lives stretching further out from this particular point in time as wilderness own roadside of multiplying pathways reaches out, leading perpetually forward and away into the branching future.

  • Fitness school, question 43: Will a daily shower of daylight increase your body's capacity to deal with a long range of biological issues?

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    Fitness is built upon the science of you.
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 43 in our School of Fitness.
    You already know that getting outside for your daily daylight shower is tremendously good for #VitaminD production and keeping your circadian clock healthy & primed.
    But that is not all.

    Getting out and about in daylight also boost your t cell capacity.

    But what exactly does that mean?, read on beyond the break and dwell deeper down into today's fitness school question.

  • Fitness school, question 42: Will maintained fitness reduce menstrual pain for the majority of women?

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    Fitness is built upon the science of you.
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 42 in our School of Fitness.
    Fitness has been established in scientific studies in the last few years as a health-improving daily life painkiller.
    Making it even better is the fact that it comes completely free of cost and nerve-wracking & time-consuming doctors appointment and unhealthy side-effects. Lowering pain and debilitating health issues such as arthritis while fortifying your lifespan and health.

    But is that tremendous gratis painkiller effect applicable to menstrual pain too?.

  • Wildlife Facts: Camelopardalis, 'The camel that could have been a leopard'.. What animal am I talking about right now?

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes




     Arctic Sunrise - Year 4.5 Billion
    The camel that could have been a leopard.


    One of planet Earth´s most unique land-living animals still roaming about in the wild also happens to be one of the cutest and most enchanting, and gentle colossuses that have ever existed. Yet, somehow, despite the towering size and unique characteristics of these majestic critters they are also one of the lesser talked about wildlife stars. And so it happens that by now they are like so many other species highly endangered without anyone really paying attention.

    But perhaps that is the reward that life gave these majestic beings that float across the land they call home as if they are majestic land dwelling whales. A backseat in the human consciousness as we proceeded to decimate their global population with 40 or so % in less than 30 years.

  • Fitness school, question 41: The science of our human fitness anatomy. Scalenus Anterior, medius and posterior.

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    Fitness is built upon your own anatomy.
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 41 in our School of Fitness.
    Beneath the tasty, delicious joy and sexiness of a life built on plant-based food and fitness, the weights you lift, the miles you walk and run. The mountains you climb, and the sandbags you punch and kick there is not just a burning passion and increased life quality. Nor is it just a question of the enhanced health and joy you can touch and feel deep inside both body & mind.
    No, there is also this marvelously progressive thing called science. Because all the physical fitness things, the sweat and healthy living discipline that others see are ultimately powered by the all-encompassing facts of biological life.

  • Fitness school, question 40: The science of sugar and intestine tumors... In both mice & men.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Yet another study on food & health.

    Looking at the impact of sugar in food and beverages.

    Sugar is a much beloved sweetener. Craved like a lovers touch by most biological beings that dare to ever look into the abyss and allow its tastebuds to grace this natural force of addiction.

    But as much as all things living seemingly enjoy the taste of sugar and more modern artificial sweeteners. Scientifically speaking the bad health impact of sugar ( from obesity to diabetes and cancer risk, poor dental health and non existing nutritional value ) and other sweeteners have thankfully turned countless of humans into die hard "no sugar" please sentinels. So let us take a brief look at a brand new 2019 study and let us find out if this study too will add even more reasons to say no to sugar and other sweeteners in your food and beverages.

  • Fitness school, question 39: Telomeres, the fancy sounding tail that connects healthy fit aging with fitness activities. Dive right in as we take a look at recent studies.

    Quality time needed: 13 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 39 in our School of Fitness.
    I have talked about telomeres in years past, and fitness too obviously :).
    But such is the world of fitness, science, and health, it often revisits old "truths" and sometimes upends them because our knowledge has deepened, while new studies at other times will simply fortify and acknowledge what we already knew to be true.
    So what will happen today as we travel back to the world of that peachy sounding telomeres thingy that keeps wiggling its cute little tail inside of us? Let us find out.
    My Question:.
    For this particular study, published in European Heart Journal, Nov 2018, we´ll uncover what happens to the length of our telomeres when we do long distance endurance training, high-intensity sprint intervals, nothing at all or lift weights in a so-so way in the gym ( yeah, color me unimpressed by the strength plan in this study, but hold on to that thought as you read on because I will get back to the fairly inadequate strength training and why that too matters. ).
    The question, which option is the best for maintaining the length of our telomeres and what is the worst?.

  • Anthropocene & the survival of our brilliant but simpleminded species. Just another morning.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Breakfast stuff and morning thoughts.

    climate inaction is an existential threat.

    Nothing fancy or big worded to say today, I am just drinking some tasty fresh black coffee while various death metal songs keep pumping through my livingroom gear.
    Yes, what a glorious morning :).
    But while I am enjoying my morning routine, getting ready for the gym and my own workouts as well as the health and fitness regimes of today's PT clients I am also reading up on science and sustainability from around the world. And one of the pieces that stand out is a tonally laid-back piece by Swedish outlet DN. They spent the better part of a month or so following Swedish sustainability advocate Greta as she continues her quest to bring much-needed awareness to the sad state of the world and the essential, deep-rooted changes we as a species and global civilization urgently need to undertake.

  • Fitness school, question 38. Is obesity itself tied to diabetes type 2 and coronary artery disease?. Yes or no?.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 38 in our School of Fitness.
    Time for a short one.
    Obesity is no friend of the bettering of our health and longevity.
    Just as how the old school act of serious bulking never did anyone's health and fitness levels any favors. And pointing this scientific reality out is not about fat shaming. It´s about helping the world and its individuals turn the tide toward better health, and better fitness. And doing so does not remove peoples individual right to pick whatever body size and fat percentage that they so prefer.
    My Question:.
    We already know that obesity ( and a fat powered high BMI ) increases unhealthy factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And it often increases depression, drowsiness and general sedentary choices. Which indirectly leads to worse health in numerous ways. But if a person with a high fat powered BMI is deemed healthy as far as those traditional markers are concerned is excess fat itself still bad?
    Put in another way, will a higher amount of excess body fat still lead to worse health even if your bloodwork turns out ok and you do not feel depressed and drowsy and you do hit the gym?.

  • Fitness school, question 37: Can something as simple as a reduction of daily walking decrease our lean muscle mass in a noticeable way in just 2 weeks time?

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 37 in our School of Fitness.
    Yes, it is once again time for you to put your thinking cap on before you proceed without hesitation through the hallway of healthy fit wonders and science :).
    You already know that keeping fit and lifting your weekly weights and doing your daily cardio is nothing but a rejuvenating choice. It's good for your strength, duh.. It is wondrously good for your harty heart health, and it aids your cognitive and creative processes. It scientifically speaking lowers depression and tardy drowsiness. And if you have been keeping up with me over the years, you also know that keeping fit on a regular weekly basis also lowers your physical age by quite a noticeable margin too.
    But even small ordinary things like taking a daily walk carries with it a huge life long health and fitness impact.

    My Question:.
    What happens with our skeletal lean muscle mass for people above 70 years of age if they take a few thousand steps more or less per day for 2 weeks time?.
    Read on to reveal just how big the impact of that tiny change can be below the break.

  • Fitness School, Question 36, Will lifting weights 1-3 days per week be enough to lower cardiovascular related mortality?.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 36 in our School of Fitness.
    All forms of fitness activity is a tiny little pill of good health no matter who you are.
    But is the simple act of lifting weights one to three days per week enough to substantially lower the risk of cardiovascular related mortality?.
    Yup, that is how easy and straightforward question number 36 turned out to be. And why? Because we have a brand new study to lean back on when it comes down to the (obvious) answer.
    Read on to reveal the complete Q and A below the break.

  • Going beyond 1.5C. Our world and daily life behind the IPCC report.

    Quality time needed: 27 minutes

    Cause & Consequence.

    Life on Earth laid bare by the IPCC report.

    But before we head on over to the meaty real life data of our reckless modern day life, which the 2018 IPCC report painfully laid bare, walk with me as I step out on frosty cold northern shores for my morning walk.

    Just a Thursday, spent on northern shores.
    And this is the way I started this gorgeous little Autumn day.

  • Roundabouts in the milky way galaxy. The duality of a sustainable earth, and interplanetary living.

    Quality time needed: 14 minutes

    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    We see a brand new dawn.

    Life itself is this majestic mirror world of brilliance and incompetence. Eternally merging and reflected, individually disengaged yet perfectly synchronized and attached to each other and everything else.

    Like the leaf that finds itself stranded on the wayward peaks of a stormy ocean. They are each others counterpart, yet entirely different. Individual objects, entwined and interconnected. Disengaged and perfectly unique.

  • Into Autumn, the spider´s lullaby. Random thoughts on life from another gorgeous day.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    Together with a tiny little spider.

    And today, there´s officially a full-blown Autumn song playing out there in nature. Gorgeous and sunny, on a Sunday =). Wind free, except for the tiniest of breeze that you can almost not see or feel as it slowly makes it way through the crown of leaves that towers above.

    But it is, none the less, Autumn.
    The colors of the trees reveal it. The pale blue September moon that hangs high up in the middle of the day is another telltale.

  • The anatomy and fitness function of our gorgeous human ass ( The mighty three we call the Gluteus ).

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes

    The gorgeous strength of Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your lifelong guide.

    Fitness is as wonderful for your health as it is for landing you a more sculpted and capable body over time.
    But that will never change that even fit people (quite a lot of them) are doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Case in point the fit and good looking girl you can see in the IG video I am linking to, she obviously trains hard and regular while being in great shape, and she does know quite a few things about the body and the science of staying healthy and fit.
    Which is wonderful on all counts.
    But like so many other gym goers she is seemingly misinformed about a few things too ( on the other hand, so are we all :P ). Allowing wrongful information and knowledge to shape her choices and the choices of other people that gulps up everything we fit people believe to be true. However, if you are willing to listen to it the beautiful science of health and fitness will guide you towards a better body and better health and better workouts if you pay attention to real fitness science instead of personal opinions. You see, there is nothing wrong with the exercises she is doing. But outside of the wonderful world of human anatomy, there is no such thing as an upper or lower butt muscle as far as your exterior appearance goes, nor is there a meaningful difference as far as your practical fitness capacity and workout goes.

    Click through and let us talk about Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

  • Earth over shoot day is one of many events and situations during the year that signals the mindless gluttony of our evolving hybrid species.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Planet Earth - studies & life in the Anthropocene.

    A new way of life is needed.

    But what is it exactly? And why is something that sounds so cute something truly terrible that we need to take seriously as a global whole.
    To most people, it is more than likely just another ridiculous phrase keyboard warriors throw around once a year while they too waste this world to the point of no return.
    But this ever-moving yearly event day is anything but deadly essential.

    Every year this day signals the point in that year where we have used up all the naturally replenishing resources of this planet.
    And beyond this point, the planet is losing its inventory for the next year(s) ahead and it's capacity to restock.

    Which if we are talking about corporations and business leaders is something that would cause pretty much every corporate leader out there to die from a heart attack if it persistently happened to their business. But when its Earth, people just shrug their mindless shoulders and look the other way as if the greenhouse we are subsisting in isn't the singular thing that feeds and house us all.

  • Fitness facts: How and why does the range of motion in any given strength exercise matter?.

    Quality time needed: 10 minutes

    Diving down into a range of motion and squat study.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your gym guide.

    Right now, if you enter any given gym, the wonderful world of barbells will conjure up as many opinions as there are fitness girls on Instagram, no matter the subject.
    And plenty of opinions are exactly that, personal opinions, formed by peer pressure in the gym, on social media, or by fit vixens looking to make a bigger following by posting daily stuff which may or may not be factually correct.

    There are out of date school gym coaches still living in the past, badly informed parents, friends, big brothers, big sisters, commercial interests only looking out for the next conference call, as well as uninformed writers working for big tabloids which just happened to draw the assignment to make a puff piece on fitness.

    So let us instead look at science and what it actually has to teach us about the range of motion for any particular exercise. And for the purpose of this article, let us focus on a Squat centric use case since legs and ass are thankfully all the rage anyway :).

  • Moments from the Anthropocene, the fox and my morning coffee.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    The scent of black coffee.

    And wild breakfast companions.

    'Today' (another today ) while enjoying my first cup of coffee standing outside on my sun-drenched porch, I could hear something sneakily make its way through the underbrush and thick tall grass and florals that intermix with the deep dark, and thankfully, untouched old forest at the edge of my property.

    Fast forward just a little bit and I could start to see the movement in the thin youngling trees and the tall flowers. Something was out there, touching here and there making the wild plants and florals sway as it drew nearer me.

  • The savagery that is the carnivore dietary plan vs the science of health and fitness.

    Quality time needed: 15 minutes

    The error of your way.

    Could be spelled 'the carnivore diet'..

    A growing number of people in the world adopt healthy, fit living by going increasingly more vegetarian for a long range of personal reasons and or due to scientific reasons. Some of those reasons often include the substantial increase in cancer and diabetes risk that eating red meat and highly processed foods causes, or the impossible mathematics behind an entire world eating ever higher amounts of meat, or the incredible amount of pollution that animal food production causes.

    And facts are, that all those reasons are equally good, sound and true, so it does not even matter why you do it. It is a good and healthy choice to eat less red meat, and by doing so you will contribute towards a healthier you, and a healthier world.

  • Anthropocene: 12 vaquitas left in the world before they too face the ultimate end of line which is called extinction.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    The vaquitas are sadly not alone.

    This is the Lost World of Planet Earth.

    Around the world, the vaquitas are sadly not alone, there are countless of animal species, plants and all that´s facing the threat of extinction in ever greater numbers. And the pace is accelerating, so it´s not business as usual.
    Worse, this is all down to man-made issues.
    It got nothing to do with prey and predatory fluctuations. And it got nothing to do with natural events and Earths naturally changing cycles.

  • Let us talk about the concept of 'Half Earth' and why both Dr Cristiana Pașca Palmer, UN and I share the opinion that it is all about 'Whole Earth'.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes

    People & Planet is just a mutual ecosystem.

    The Lost World.

    A long and well established connective tissue in the way I talk and write, and think about health & fitness is that we are all connected through this global ecosystem we all share.
    Which is why I have over the years pointed out that living in a sustainable way is ultimately all about health. Individual health & planetary health. People that are opting to eat shit just isn't healthy.
    Neither from a planetary or individual perspective.

    Just as how healthy fit people that´s living unsustainable, just isn't healthy living people either.

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