Diary from the French Court, Book 5

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This is book 5 from the personal diary of Fannys own life and experience at the French Court. Taking us on a midnight walk through he madness of kings and the life and death, agony and pain, joy and wonders of life in England and France during the time of the French Revolution.

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At Brighton again, the “Famous Miss Burney.”

Brighthelmstone, Oct. 26.

My journey was incidentless——but the moment I came into Brighthelmstone I was met by Mrs. Thrale, who had most eagerly been waiting for me a long while, and therefore I dismounted, and walked home with her. It would be very superfluous to tell you how she received me, for you cannot but know, from her impatient letters, what I had reason to expect of kindness and welcome.

Dr. Johnson received me, too, with his usual goodness, and with a salute so loud, that the two young beaus, Cotton and Swinerton, have never done laughing about it.

Mrs. Thrale spent two or three hours in my room, talking over all her affairs, and then we wished each other bon repos, and—retired. Grandissima conclusion!

Oh, but let me not forget that a fine note came from Mr. Pepys, who is here with his family, saying he was pressde de vivre, and entreating to see Mrs. and Miss T., Dr. Johnson, and Cecilia at his house the next day. I hate mightily this method of naming me from my heroines, of whose honour I think I am more jealous than of my own.

Oct. 27

The Pepyses came to visit me in form, but I was dressing; in the evening, however, Mrs. and Miss T. took me to them. Dr. Johnson would not go; he told me it was my day, and I should be crowned, for Mr. Pepys was wild about “Cecilia.” We found at Mr. Pepys’ nobody but his wife, his brother, Dr. Pepys,2 and Dr. Pepys’ lady, Countess of Rothes. Mr. Pepys received me with such distinction, that it was very evident how much the book, with the most flattering opinion of it, was in his head; however, he behaved very prettily, and only mentioned it by allusions; most particularly upon the character of Meadows, which he took various opportunities of pronouncing to be the “best hit possible” upon the present race of fine gentlemen. We did not stay with them long, but called upon Miss Benson, and proceeded to the rooms. Mr. Pepys was very unwilling to part with us, and wanted to frighten me from going, by saying,—
“And has Miss Burney the courage to venture to the Rooms? I wonder she dares!”

I did not seem to understand him, though to mistake him was impossible. However, I thought of him again when I was at the rooms, for most violent was the staring and whispering as I passed and repassed! insomuch that I shall by no means be in any haste to go again to them. Susan and Sophy Thrale, who were with their aunt, Mrs. Scott, told Queeny upon our return that they heard nothing said, whichever way they turned, but “That’s she!” “That’s the famous Miss Burney!” I shall certainly escape going any more, if it is in my power.

Now, what think you of this? was it not highly insolent?—and from a man who has behaved to me hitherto with the utmost deference, good-nature, and civility, and given me a thousand reasons, by every possible opportunity, to think myself very high indeed in his good opinion and good graces? But these rich men think themselves the constant prey of all portionless girls, and are always upon their guard, and suspicious of some design to take them in. This sort of disposition I had very early observed in Mr. Crutchley, and therefore I had been more distant and cold with him than with anybody I ever met with; but latterly his character had risen so much in my mind, and his behaviour was so much improved, that I had let things take their own course, and no more shunned than I sought him; for I evidently saw his doubts concerning me and my plots were all at an end, and his civility and attentions were daily increasing, so that I had become very comfortable with him, and well pleased with his society.

I need not, I think, add that I determined to see as little of this most fearful and haughty gentleman in future as was in my power, since no good qualities can compensate for such arrogance of suspicion; and, therefore, as I had reason enough to suppose he would, in haste, resume his own reserve, I resolved, without much effort, to be beforehand with him in resuming mine.

Monday, Oct. 28.

Mr. Pepys had but just left me, when Mrs. Thrale sent Susan with a particular request to see me in her dressing-room, where I found her with a milliner.

“Oh, Miss Burney,” she cried, “I could not help promising Mrs. Cockran that she should have a sight of you—she has begged it so hard.”
You may believe I stared; and the woman, whose eyes almost looked ready to eat me, eagerly came up to me, exclaiming,—

“Oh, ma’am, you don’t know what a favour this is to see you! I have longed for it so long! It is quite a comfort to me, indeed. Oh, ma’am, how clever you must be! All the ladies I deal with are quite distracted about ‘Cecilia,’—and I got it myself. Oh, ma’am, how sensible you must be! It does my heart good to see you.”

Dr. Johnson


Oct. 29.

We had a large party at home in the evening. I was presently engaged by Mr. Pepys, and he was joined by Mr. Coxe, and he by Miss Benson. Mr. Pepys led the conversation, and it was all upon criticism and poetry. The little set was broken up by my retreat, and Mr. Pepys joined Dr. Johnson, with whom he entered into an argument upon some lines of Gray, and upon Pope’s definition of wit, in which he was so roughly confuted, and so severely ridiculed, that he was hurt and piqued beyond all power of disguise, and, in the midst of the discourse, suddenly turned from him, and, wishing Mrs. Thrale good night, very abruptly withdrew.

Dr. Johnson was certainly right with respect to the argument and to reason; but his opposition was so warm, and his wit so satirical and exulting, that I was really quite grieved to see how unamiable he appeared, and how greatly he made himself dreaded by all, and by many abhorred. What pity that he will not curb the vehemence of his love of victory and superiority.
The sum of the dispute was this. Wit being talked of, Mr. Pepys repeated,—
“True wit is Nature to advantage dress’d, What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d.”
“That, sir,” cried Dr. Johnson, “is a definition both false and foolish. Let wit be dressed how it will, it will equally be wit, and neither the more nor the less for any advantage dress can give it.”

Mr. P.—But, sir, may not wit be so ill expressed, and so obscure, by a bad speaker, as to be lost?

Dr. J.—The fault, then, sir, must be with the hearer. If a man cannot distinguish wit from words, he little deserves to hear it.

Mr. P.—But, sir, what Pope means—
Dr. J.—Sir, what Pope means, if he means what he says, is both false and foolish. In the first place, ‘what oft was thought,’ is all the worse for being often thought, because to be wit, it ought to be newly thought.
Mr. P.—But, sir, ’tis the expression makes it new.

Dr. J.—How can the expression make it new? It may make it clear, or may make it elegant——but how new? You are confounding words with things.
Mr. P.—But, sir, if one man says a thing very ill, may not another man say it so much better that—
Dr. J.—That other man, sir, deserves but small praise for the amendment; he is but the tailor to the first man’s thoughts.
Mr. P.—True, sir, he may be but the tailor; but then the difference is as great as between a man in a gold lace suit and a man in a blanket.
Dr. J.—Just so, sir, I thank you for that; the difference is precisely such, since it consists neither in the gold lace suit nor the blanket, but in the man by whom they are worn.

This was the summary; the various contemptuous sarcasms intermixed would fill, and very unpleasantly, a quire.

A Cunning Runaway Heiress.

Oct. 30.
Lady Warren is immensely tall, and extremely beautiful; she is now but just nineteen, though she has been married two or three years. She is giddy, gay, chatty, good-humoured, and a little affected; she hazards all that occurs to her, seems to think the world at her feet, and is so young and gay and handsome that she is not much mistaken. She is, in short, an inferior Lady Honoria Pemberton;3 somewhat beneath her in parts and understanding, but strongly in that class of character. I had no conversation with her myself; but her voice is loud and deep, and all she said was for the whole room.

Marriages being talked of, “I’ll tell you,” cried she, “a story; that is, it sha’n’t be a story, but a fact. A lady of my acquaintance, who had 50,000L. fortune, ran away to Scotland with a gentleman she liked vastly; so she was a little doubtful of him, and had a mind to try him: so when they stopped to dine, and change horses, and all that, she said, ‘Now, as I have a great regard for you, I dare say you have for me—so I will tell you a secret: I have got no fortune at all, in reality, but only 5,000 pounds; for all the rest is a mere pretence: but if you like me for myself, and not for my fortune, you won’t mind that.’

So the gentleman said, ‘Oh, I don’t regard it at all, and you are the same charming angel that ever you was,’ and all those sort of things that people say to one, and then went out to see about the chaise.

So he did not come back; but when dinner was ready, the lady said ‘Pray, where is he?’ ‘Lor, ma’am,’ said they, ‘why, that gentleman has been gone ever so long!’ So she came back by herself; and now she’s married to somebody else, and has her 50,000 pounds fortune all safe.”

Saturday, November 2.

We went to Lady Shelley’s. Dr. Johnson, again, excepted in the invitation. He is almost constantly omitted, either from too much respect or too much fear. I am sorry for it, as he hates being alone, and as, though he scolds the others, he is well enough satisfied himself, and having given vent to all his own occasional anger or ill-humour, he is ready to begin again, and is never aware that those who have so been “downed” by him, never can much covet so triumphant a visitor. In contests of wit, the victor is as ill off in future consequences as the vanquished in present ridicule.

Dr Johnson, is such a bore

Monday, November 4.

This was a grand and busy day. Mr. Swinerton has been some time arranging a meeting for all our house, with Lady De Ferrars, whom you may remember as Charlotte Ellerker, and her lord and sisters: and this morning it took place, by mutual appointment, at his lodgings, where we met to breakfast. Dr. Johnson, who already knew Lord De Ferrars, and Mrs. and Miss Thrale, and myself, arrived first and then came the Lord and Lady, and Miss Ellerker and her youngest sister, Harriet. Lord De Ferrars is very ugly, but extremely well-bred, gentle, unassuming, sensible, and pleasing. His lady is much improved since we knew her in former days, and seems good-humoured, lively, and rather agreeable. Miss Ellerker is nothing altered.

I happened to be standing by Dr. Johnson when all the ladies came in; but, as I dread him before strangers, from the staring attention he attracts both for himself and all with whom he talks, I endeavoured to change my ground.
However, he kept prating a sort of comical nonsense that detained me some minutes whether I would or not; but when we were all taking places at the breakfast-table I made another effort to escape.

It proved vain; he drew his chair next to mine, and went rattling on in a humorous sort of comparison he was drawing of himself to me,—not one word of which could I enjoy, or can I remember, from the hurry I was in to get out of his way.

In short, I felt so awkward from being thus marked out, that I was reduced to whisper a request to Mr. Swinerton to put a chair between us, for which I presently made a space: for I have often known him stop all conversation with me, when he has ceased to have me for his next neighbour. Mr. Swinerton who is an extremely good-natured young man, and so intimate here that I make no scruple with him, instantly complied, and placed himself between us.

But no sooner was this done, than Dr. Johnson, half seriously, and very loudly, took him to task.
“‘How now, sir! what do you mean by this? Would you separate me from Miss Burney?”

Mr. Swinerton, a little startled, began some apologies, and Mrs. Thrale winked at him to give up the place; but he was willing to oblige me, though he grew more and more frightened every minute, and coloured violently as the Doctor continued his remonstrance, which he did with rather unmerciful raillery, upon his taking advantage of being in his own house to thus supplant him, and cram; but when he had borne it for about ten minutes, his face became so hot with the fear of hearing something worse, that he ran from the field, and took a chair between Lady De Ferrars and Mrs. Thrale.

I think I shall take warning by this failure, to trust only to my own expedients for avoiding his public notice in future. However it stopped here; for Lord De Ferrars came in, and took the disputed place without knowing of the contest, and all was quiet.


the Blanket of night and dream is where tomorrows amber day field is born

. . . Late as it was, it was settled we should go to the ball, the last for the season being this night. My own objections about going not being strong enough to combat the ado my mentioning them would have occasioned, I joined in the party, without demur.

The ball was half over, and all the company seated to tea. Mr. Wade4 came to receive us all, as usual, and we had a table procured for us, and went to tea ourselves, for something to do. When this repast was over, the company returned to their recreation. The room was very thin, and almost half the ladies danced with one another, though there were men enough present, I believe, had they chosen such exertion; but the Meadowses at balls are in crowds. Some of the ladies were in riding habits, and they made admirable men.

’Tis tonnish to be so much undressed at the last ball.

We walked a good way

None of our usual friends, the Shelleys, Hatsels, Dickens, or Pepys, were here, and we, therefore, made no party—but Mrs. Thrale and I stood at the top of the room to look on the dancing, and as we were thus disengaged, she was seized with a violent desire to make one among them, and I felt myself an equal inclination. She proposed, as so many women danced together, that we two should, and nothing should I have liked so well; but I begged her to give up the scheme, as that would have occasioned more fuss and observation than our dancing with all the men that ever were born.

While we were debating this matter, a gentleman suddenly said to me,—“Did you walk far this morning, Miss Burney?” And, looking at him, I saw Mr. Metcalf,5 whose graciousness rather surprised me, for he only made to Mrs. Thrale a cold and distant bow, and it seems he declares, aloud and around, his aversion to literary ladies. That he can endure, and even seek me is, I presume, only from the general perverseness of mankind, because he sees I have always turned from him; not, however, from disliking him, for he is a shrewd, sensible, keen, and very clever man; but merely from a dryness on his own side that has excited retaliation.
“Yes,” I answered, “we walked a good way.”

“Dr. Johnson,” said he, “told me in the morning you were no walker; but I informed him then I had had the pleasure of seeing you upon the Newmarket Hill.”
“Oh, he does not know,” cried I, “whether I am a walker or not—he does not see me walk, because he never walks himself.” . . .

Here he was called away by some gentleman, but presently came to me again.

“Miss Burney,” he said, “shall you dance?”
“No, sir, not to-night.”
“A gentleman,” he added, “has desired me to speak to you for him.”

Now, Susanna, for the grand moment!—the height—the zenith of my glory in the ton meridian! I again said I did not mean to dance, and to silence all objection, he expressively said,—
“Tis Captain Kaye6 who sends me.”
Is not this magnificent? Pray congratulate me!


my Refusal

I was really very much surprised, but repeated my refusal, with all customary civilities to soften it. He was leaving me with this answer, when this most flashy young officer, choosing to trust his cause to himself, came forward, and desired to be introduced to me. Mr. Metcalf performed that ceremony, and he then, with as much respect and deference as if soliciting a countess, said,—

“May I flatter myself you will do me the honour of dancing with me?”

I thanked him, and said the same thing over again. He looked much disappointed, and very unwilling to give up his plan.
“If you have not,” he said, “any particular dislike to dancing, it will be doing, not only me, but the whole room much honour, if you will make one in a set.”
“You do me much honour, sir,” I answered, “but I must beg you to excuse me.”
“I hope not,” cried he, “I hope out of charity you will dance, as it is the last ball, and the company is so thin.”
“Oh, it will do very well without me; Mr. Wade himself says he dies to-night a very respectable death.”
“And will you not have the goodness to help it on a little in its last stage?”
“No,” said I, laughing; “why should we wish it to be kept lingering?”

“Lingering!” repeated he, looking round at the dancers, “no, surely it is not quite so desperate; and if you will but join in, you will give it new existence.”

I was a little thrown off my guard at this unexpected earnestness, so different to the ton of the day, and I began hardly to know what to answer, my real objection being such as I could by no means publish, though his urgency and his politeness joined would have made me give up any other.
“This is a very quiet dance,” he continued, “there is nothing fatiguing in it.”
“You are very good,” said I, “but I cannot really dance to-night.”

I was sorry to seem so obstinate, but he was just the man to make every body inquire whom he danced with; and any one who wished for general attention could do no better than to be his partner. The ever-mischievous Mrs. Thrale, calling to Mr. Selwyn, who stood by us, said,—

“Why, here’s a man in love!—quite, downright in love with Miss Burney, if ever I saw one!”
“He is quite mortified, at least,” he answered; “I never saw a man look more mortified.”
“Well, he did not deserve it,” said she; “he knew how to beg, and he ought not to have been so served.”

I begged her to be silent, for Mr. Metcalf returned to me.

“Were you too much tired,” he said, “with your walk this morning, to try at a dance?”
I excused myself as well as I could, and we presently went into the card-room to vary the scene. When we returned to the ball-room I was very glad to see my new captain had just taken out Lady Anne Lindsay, who is here with Lady Margaret Fordyce, and who dances remarkably well, and was every way a more suitable partner for him. He was to leave the town, with his regiment, the next day.

Mrs. Thrale took me out to walk with her. We met Lady De Ferrars and Miss Ellerker in our ramble, and the very moment the ball was mentioned, this dear and queer creature called out,—
“Ay, there was a sad ado, ladies dancing with ladies, and all sorts of odd things; and that handsome and fine Mr. Kaye broke his heart almost to dance with Miss Burney; but she refused him, and so, in despair, he took out Lady Anne Lindsay.”

Dr. Johnson held in General Dread.


Mr. Metcalf called upon Dr. Johnson, and took him out for an airing. Mr. Hamilton is gone, and Mr. Metcalf is now the only person out of this house that voluntarily communicates with the doctor. He has been in a terrible severe humour of late, and has really frightened all the people, till they almost ran from him. To me only I think he is now kind, for Mrs. Thrale fares worse than anybody. ’Tis very strange and very melancholy that he will not a little more accommodate his manners and language to those of other people. He likes Mr. Metcalf, however, and so do I, for he is very clever and entertaining when he pleases.

Poor Dr. Delap confessed to us, that the reason he now came so seldom, though he formerly almost lived with us when at this place, was his being too unwell to cope with Dr. Johnson.
And the other day Mr. Selwyn having refused an invitation from Mr. Hamilton to meet the doctor, because he preferred being here upon a day when he was out, suddenly rose at the time he was expected to return, and said he must run away, “for fear the doctor should call him to account.”

Short, Fat, Handsome Miss Monckton: Ducal Indifference.

Sunday, November 10

Brings in a new person. The Honourable Miss Monckton,7 who is here with her mother, the Dowager Lady Galway, has sent various messages of her earnest desire to be acquainted with Mrs. Thrale and your humble servant to command. Dr. Johnson ‘she already knew,’ for she is one of those who stand foremost in collecting all extraordinary or curious people to her London conversaziones, which, like those of Mrs. Vesey, mix the rank and file literature, and exclude all beside. Well—after divers intimations of this sort, it was at last settled that Lady De Ferrars should bring her here this morning.

In the evening came Lady De Ferrars, Miss Monckton, and Miss Ellerker. Miss Monckton is between thirty and forty very short, very fat, but handsome; splendidly and fantastically dressed, rouged not unbecomingly, yet evidently and palpably desirous of gaining notice and admiration. She has an easy levity in her air, manner, voice, and discourse, that speak all within to be comfortable; and her rage of seeing anything curious may be satisfied, if she pleases, by looking in a mirror.

I can give you no account of the conversation, as it was broken, and not entertaining. Miss Monckton went early, having another engagement, but the other ladies stayed very late. She told us, however, one story extremely well worth recalling. The Duke of Devonshire was standing near a very fine glass lustre in a corner of a room, at an assembly, and in a house of people who, Miss Monckton said, were by no means in a style of life to hold expense as immaterial; and, by carelessly lolling back, he threw the lustre down and it was broke. He shewed not, however, the smallest concern or confusion at the accident, but coolly said, “I wonder how I did that!” He then removed to the opposite corner, and to shew, I suppose, he had forgotten what he had done, leaned his head in the same manner, and down came the opposite lustre! He looked at it very calmly, and, with a philosophical dryness, merely said, “This is singular enough!” and walked to another part of the room, without either distress or apology.

December 8.
Now for Miss Monckton’s assembly.

I had begged Mrs. Thrale to call for me,8 that I might have her countenance and assistance upon my entrance. Miss Thrale came also. Every thing was in a new style. We got out of the coach into a hall full of servants, not one of which inquired our names, or took any notice of us. We proceeded, and went upstairs, and, when we arrived at a door, stopped and looked behind us. No servant had followed or preceded us. We deliberated what was to be done. To announce ourselves was rather awkward, neither could we be sure we were going into the right apartment. I proposed going up higher, till we met with somebody; Miss Thrale thought we should go down and call some of the servants; but Mrs. Thrale, after a ridiculous consultation, determined to try her fortune by opening the door. This being done, we entered a room full of tea-things, and one maid-servant.
“Well,” cried Mrs. Thrale, laughing, “what is to be done now? I suppose we are come so early that nothing is ready.”
The maid stared, but said,—“There’s company in the next room.”

Miss Monckton’s Assembly: Sacques and Ruffles.

Then we considered again how to make ourselves known; and then Mrs. Thrale again resolved to take courage and enter. She therefore opened another door, and went into another apartment. I held back, but looked after, and observing that she made no curtsey, concluded she was gone into some wrong place. Miss Thrale followed, and after her went little I, wondering who was to receive, or what was to become of us.

Miss Monckton lives with her mother, the old Dowager Lady Galway, in a noble house in Charles-street, Berkeleysquare, The room was large and magnificent. There was not much company, for we were very early. Lady Galway sat at the side of the fire, and received nobody. She seems very old, and was dressed with a little round white cap, and not a single hair, no cushlori, roll, nor any thing else but the little round cap, which was flat upon her forehead. Such part of the company as already knew her made their compliments to her where she sat, and the rest were never taken up to her, but belonged wholly to Miss Monckton.
Miss Monckton’s own manner of receiving her guests was scarce more laborious; for she kept her seat when they entered, and only turned round her head to nod it, and say “How do you do?” after which they found what accommodation they could for themselves.

As soon, however, as she perceived Mrs. and Miss Thrale, which was not till they had been some minutes in the room, she arose to welcome them, contrary to her general Custom, and merely because it was their first visit. Our long train making my entrance some time after theirs, gave me the advantage of being immediately seen by her, and she advanced to me with quickness, and very politely thanked me for coming, and said,—
“I fear you think me very rude for taking the liberty of sending to you.”
“No, indeed, you did me much honour,” quoth I.

She then broke further into her general rules, by making way for me to a good place, and seating me herself, and then taking a chair next me, and beginning a little chat. I really felt myself much obliged to her for this seasonable attention, for I was presently separated from Mrs. Thrale, and entirely surrounded by strangers, all dressed superbly, and all looking saucily; and as nobody’s names were spoken, I had no chance to discover any acquaintances. Mr. Metcalf, indeed, came and spoke to me the instant I came in, and I should have been very happy to have had him for my neighbour; but he was engaged in attending to Dr. Johnson, who was standing near the fire, and environed with listeners.

Some new people now coming in, and placing themselves in a regular way, Miss Monckton exclaimed,—“My whole care is to prevent a circle;” and hastily rising, she pulled about the chairs, and planted the people in groups, with as dexterous a disorder as you would desire to see.

The company in general were dressed with more brilliancy than at any rout I ever was at, as most of them were going to the Duchess of Cumberland’s, and attired for that purpose. Just behind me sat Mrs. Hampden, still very beautiful, but insufferably affected. Another lady, in full dress, and very pretty, came in soon after, and got herself a chair just before me; and then a conversation began between her and Mrs. Hampden, of which I will give you a specimen.

“How disagreeable these sacques are! I am so incommoded with these nasty ruffles! I am going to Cumberland House—are you?”
“To be sure,” said Mrs. Hampden, “what else, do you think, would make me bear this weight of dress? I can’t bear a sacque.”
“Why, I thought you said you should always wear them?”
“Oh, yes, but I have changed my mind since then—as many people do.”
“Well, I think it vastly disagreeable indeed,” said the other, “you can’t think how I am encumbered with these ruffles!”
“Oh I am quite oppressed with them,” said Mrs. Hampden, “I can hardly bear myself up.”
“And I dined in this way!” cried the other; “only think—dining in a sacque!”
“Oh,” answered Mrs. Hampden, “it really puts me quite out of spirits.”

After this they found some subject less popular, and the lady unknown leaned over me, without any ceremony, to whisper with Mrs. Hampden. I should have offered her my place if she had made any apology, but as it was, I thought she might take her own way. In the course of the evening, however, I had the pleasure to observe a striking change in her manners; for as soon as she picked up, I know not how, my name, she ceased her whispering, looked at me with the civilest smiles, spoke to me two or three times, and calling to a fine beau, said—
“Do pray sit this way, that you may screen Miss Burney as well as me from that fire.”

I did not, however, sufficiently like her beginning, to accept her challenge of talking, and only coldly answered by yes, no, or a bow.

Old wits

Then came in Sir Joshua Reynolds, and he soon drew a chair near mine, and from that time I was never without some friend at my elbow.
“Have you seen,” said he, “Mrs. Montagu lately?”
“No, not very lately.”
“But within these few months?”
“No, not since last year.”
“Oh, you must see her, then. You ought to see and to hear her—’t will be worth your while. Have you heard of the fine long letter she has written?”
“Yes, but I have not met with it.”
“I have.”

“And who is it to?”

“The old Duchess of Portland.
She desired Mrs. Montagu’s opinion of ‘Cecilia,’ and she has written it at full length. I was in a party at her grace’s, and heard of nothing but you. She is so delighted, and so sensibly, so rationally, that I only wish you could have heard her. And old Mrs. Delany had been forced to begin it, though she had said she should never read any more; however, when we met, she was reading it already for the third time.”

After this Mrs. Burke saw me, and with much civility and softness of manner, came and talked with me, while her husband without seeing me, went behind my chair to speak to Mrs Hampden.

Miss Monckton, returning to me, then said—
“Miss Burney, I had the pleasure yesterday of seeing Mrs. Greville.”10
I suppose she concluded I was very intimate with her.
“I have not seen her,” said I, “in many years.”
“I know, however,” cried she, looking surprised, “she is your godmother.”
“But she does not do her duty and answer for me, for I never see her.”
“Oh, you have answered very well for yourself! But I know by that your name is Fanny.”

The flirtation of Burke

She then tripped to somebody else, and Mr. Burke very quietly came from Mrs. Hampden, and sat down in the vacant place at my side. I could then wait no longer, for I found he was more near-sighted than myself; I, therefore, turned towards him and bowed: he seemed quite amazed, and really made me ashamed, however delighted, by the expressive civility and distinction with which he instantly rose to return my bow, and stood the whole time he was making his compliments upon seeing me, and calling himself the blindest of men for not finding me out sooner. And Mrs. Burke, who was seated near me, said, loud enough for me to hear her—

“See, see what a flirtation Mr. Burke is beginning with Miss Burney and before my face too!”

These ceremonies over, he sat down by me, and began a conversation which you, my dearest Susy, would be glad to hear, for my sake, word for word; but which I really could not listen to with sufficient ease, from shame at his warm eulogiums, to remember with any accuracy. The general substance, however, take as I recollect it.

After many most eloquent compliments upon the book, too delicate either to shock or sicken the nicest ear, he very emphatically congratulated me upon its most universal success, said, “he was now too late to speak of it, since he could only echo the voice of the whole nation” and added, with a laugh, “I had hoped to have made some merit of my enthusiasm; but the moment I went about to hear what others say, I found myself merely one in a multitude.”

He then told me that, notwithstanding his admiration, he was the man who had dared to find some faults with so favourite and fashionable a work. I entreated him to tell me what they were, and assured him nothing would make me so happy as to correct them under his direction. He then enumerated them: and I will tell you what they are, that you may not conclude I write nothing but the fairer part of my adventures, which I really always relate very honestly, though so fair they are at this time, that it hardly seems possible they should not be dressed up.

The masquerade he thought too long, and that something might be spared from Harrel’s grand assembly; he did not like Morrice’s part of the pantheon; and he wished the conclusion either more happy or more miserable “for in a work of imagination,” said he, “there is no medium.”

I was not easy enough to answer him, or I have much, though perhaps not good for much, to say in defence of following life and nature as much in the conclusion as in the progress of a tale; and when is life and nature completely happy or miserable?

Looking very archly at me, and around him, he said,—
“Are you sitting here for characters? Nothing, by the way, struck me more in reading your book than the admirable skill with which your ingenious characters make themselves known by their own words.”

He then went on to tell me that I had done the most wonderful of wonders in pleasing the old wits, particularly the Duchess of Portland and Mrs. Delany, who resisted reading the book till they were teased into it, and, since they began, could do nothing else—and he failed not to point out, with his utmost eloquence, the difficulty of giving satisfaction to those who piqued themselves upon being past receiving it.
“But,” said he, “I have one other fault to find, and a more material one than any I have mentioned.”
“I am the more obliged to you. What is it?”
“The disposal of this book. I have much advice to offer to you upon that subject. Why did not you send for your own friend out of the city? he would have taken care you should not part with it so much below par.”

He meant Mr. Briggs.

Sir Joshua Reynolds now joined us.

conversations and masquerades

“Are you telling her,” said he, “of our conversation with the old wits? I am glad you hear it from Mr. Burke, Miss Burney, for he can tell it so much better than I can, and remember their very words.”
“Nothing else would they talk of for three whole hours,” said he, “and we were there at the third reading of the bill.”
“I believe I was in good hands,” said I, “if they talked of it to you?”
“Why, yes,” answered Sir Joshua, laughing, “we joined in from time to time. Gibbon says he read the whole five volumes in a day.”

“’Tis impossible,” cried Mr. Burke, “it cost me three days and you know I never parted with it from the time I first opened it.”

Soon after the parties changed again and young Mr. Burke12 came and sat by me. He is a very civil and obliging, and a sensible and agreeable young man. Old Lady Galway trotted from her corner, in the middle of the evening, and leaning her hands upon the backs of two chairs, put her little round head through two fine high dressed ladies on purpose to peep at me, and then trotted back to her place! Ha, ha!
Miss Monckton now came to us again, and I congratulated her upon her power in making Dr. Johnson sit in a group upon which she immediately said to him,—
“Sir, Miss Burney says you like best to sit in a circle.”
“Does she?” said he, laughing; “Ay, never mind what she says. Don’t you know she is a writer of romances?”
“Yes, that I do, indeed,” said Miss Monckton, and every one joined in a laugh that put me horribly out of countenance.
“She may write romances and speak truth,” said my dear Sir Joshua, who, as well as young Burke, and Mr. Metcalf, and two strangers, joined now in our little party.

the finest


of her

“But, indeed, Dr. Johnson,” said Miss Monckton, “you must see Mrs. Siddons. Won’t you see her in some fine part?”
“Why, if I must, madam, I’ve no choice.”
“She says, sir, she shall be very much afraid of you.”
“Madam, that cannot be true.”
“Not true,” cried Miss Monckton, staring, “yes it is.”
“It cannot be, madam.”
“But she said so to me; I heard her say it myself.”

“Madam, it is not possible! remember, therefore, in future, that even fiction should be supported by probability.”
Miss Monckton looked all amazement, but insisted upon the—truth of what she had said.
“I do not believe, madam,” said he, warmly, “she knows my name.”
“Oh, that is rating her too low,” said a gentleman stranger.
“By not knowing my name,” continued he, “I do not mean so literally; but that, when she sees it abused in a newspaper, she may possibly recollect that she has seen it abused in a newspaper before.”
“Well, sir,” said Miss Monckton, “but you must see her for all this.”

“Well, madam, if you desire it, I will go. See her I shall not, nor hear her; but I’ll go, and that will do. The last time I was at a play, I was ordered there by Mrs. Abington, or Mrs. Somebody, I do not well remember who; but I placed myself in the middle of the first row of the front boxes, to show that when I was called I came.”

The talk upon this matter went on very long, and with great spirit. At last, a large party of ladies arose at the same time’, and I tripped after them; Miss Monckton, however, made me come back, for she said I must else wait in the other room till those ladies’ carriages drove away.

When I returned, Sir Joshua came and desired he might convey me home; I declined the offer, and he pressed it a good deal, drolly saying,

“Why, I am old enough, a’n’t I?” And when he found me stout, he said to Dr. Johnson,—“Sir, is not this very hard? Nobody thinks me very young, yet Miss Burney won’t give me the privilege of age in letting me see her home? She says I a’n’t old enough.”13

I had never said any such thing.

“Ay, sir,” said the doctor, “did I not tell you she was a writer of romances?”

Mrs. Walsingham.

December 15.

To-day, by an invitation of ten days standing, I waited upon Mrs. Walsingham. She is a woman high in fame for her talents,14 and a wit by birth, as the daughter of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams.

She has the character of being only civil to people of birth, fame, or wealth, and extremely insolent to all others. Of this, however, I could see nothing, since she at least took care to invite no company to her own house whom she was disposed to disdain. Her reception of me appeared rather singular. She was violently dressed,—a large hoop, flowers in her small and full dressed cap, ribands and ornaments extremely shown, and a fan in her hand. She was very polite, said much of her particular pleasure in seeing me, and kept advancing to me near, that involuntarily I retreated from her, not knowing her design, and kept, therefore, getting further and further back as she came forward, till I was stopped from any power of moving by the wainscot. I then necessarily stood still, and she saluted me.

We then quietly sat down, and my father began a very lively conversation upon various subjects; she kept it up with attention and good breeding, often referring to me, and seeming curious to know my notions.
The rest of the company who came to dinner were Mrs. Montagu, Mr. Percy, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, his lady and daughter, and Sir Joshua Reynolds and Miss Palmer. I was excessively glad to see the latter, who clung to me all the visit, and took off from its formality and grandeur by her chatting and intimacy.

Mrs. Walsingham lives in a splendid house in Stratford place, elegantly fitted up, chiefly by her own paintings and drawings, which are reckoned extremely clever. I hate that word, but cannot think of another.
We did not stay late, for my father and I were both engaged to Miss Monckton’s; so was Sir Joshua, who accompanied us.

Mrs. Siddons.

I was extremely happy to have my dear father with me at Miss Monckton’s. We found Mrs. Siddons, the actress, there. She is a woman of excellent character, and therefore I am very glad she is thus patronised, since Mrs. Abington, and so many frail fair ones, have been thus noticed by the great. She behaved with great propriety; very calm, modest, quiet, and unaffected——She has a very fine countenance, and her eyes look both intelligent and soft. She has, however, a steadiness in her manner and deportment by no means engaging. Mrs. Thrale, who was there, said,—“Why, this is a leaden goddess we are all worshipping! however, we shall soon gild it.”

A lady who sat near me then began a dialogue with Mr. Erskine,15 who had placed himself exactly opposite to Mrs. Siddons; and they debated together upon her manner of studying her parts, disputing upon the point with great warmth, yet not only forbearing to ask Mrs. Siddons herself which was right, but quite over-powering her with their loquacity, when she attempted, unasked, to explain the matter. Most vehement praise of all she did followed, and the lady turned to me, and said,—
“What invitation, Miss Burney, is here, for genius to display itself!—Everybody, I hear, is at work for Mrs. Siddons; but if you would work for her, what an inducement to excel you would both of you have!—Dr. Burney

“Oh, pray, ma’am,” cried I, “don’t say to him—”
“Oh, but I will!—if my influence can do you any mischief, you may depend upon having it.”

She then repeated what she had said to my father, and he instantly said,—
“Your ladyship may be sure of my interest.”

I whispered afterwards to know who she was, and heard she Was Lady Lucan.

Dr. Johnson’s Inmates at Bolt-court.

On Tuesday, Dec. 24, I went in the evening to call on Mrs. Thrale, and tore myself away from her to go to Bolt-court to see Dr. Johnson, who is very unwell. He received me with great kindness, and bade me come oftener, which I will try to contrive. He told me he heard of nothing but me, call upon him who would; and, though he pretended to growl, he was evidently delighted for me. His usual set, Mrs. Williams and Mrs. De Mullins, were with him; and some queer man of a parson who, after grinning at me some time, said,—
“Pray, Mrs. De Mullins, is the fifth volume of ‘Cecilia’ at home yet? Dr. Johnson made me read it, ma’am.”
“Sir, he did it much honour.”
“Made you, sir?” said the doctor, “you give an ill account of your own taste or understanding, if you wanted any making to read such a book as ‘Cecilia.’”
“Oh, sir, I don’t mean that; for I am sure I left every thing in the world to go on with it.”

A shilling was now wanted for some purpose or other, and none of them happened to have one; I begged that I might lend one.
“Ay, do,” said the doctor, “I will borrow of you; authors are like privateers, always fair game for one another.”
“True, sir,” said the parson, “one author is always robbing another.”

“I don’t know that, sir,” cried the doctor; “there sits an author who, to my knowledge, has robbed nobody. I have never once caught her at a theft. The rogue keeps her resources to herself!”

The two Mr. Cambridges improve upon Acquaintance.

In the morning Mr. Cambridge came, and made a long visit. He is entertaining, original, and well-bred; somewhat formal, but extremely civil and obliging, and, I believe, remarkably honourable and strict in his principles and actions. I wished I could have been easy and chatty with him as I hear he is so much my friend, and as I like him very much; but, in truth, he listens to every syllable I utter with so grave a deference, that it intimidates and silences me. When he was about taking leave, he said,—
“Shall you go to Mrs. Ord’s tomorrow?”
“Yes, sir.”
“I thought so,” said he, smiling, “and hoped it. Where shall you go to-night?”
“No where,—I shall be at home.”
“At home? Are you sure?”


“Why, then, Miss Burney, my son18 and I dine today in your neighbourhood, at the Archbishop of York’s, and, if you please, we will come here in the evening.”

This was agreed to. And our evening was really a charming one. The two Mr. Cambridges came at about eight o’clock, and the good Mr. Hoole19 was here. My father came downstairs to them in high spirits and good humour, and he and the elder Mr. Cambridge not only talked enough for us all, but so well and so pleasantly that no person present had even a wish to speak for himself. Mr. Cambridge has the best stock of good stories I almost ever heard; and, though a little too precise in his manner, he is always well-bred, and almost always entertaining. Our sweet father kept up the ball with him admirably, whether in anecdotes, serious disquisitions, philosophy, or fun; for all which Mr. Cambridge has both talents and inclination.
The son rises extremely in my opinion and liking. He is sensible, rational, and highly cultivated; very modest in all he asserts, and attentive and pleasing in his behaviour; and he is wholly free from the coxcombical airs, either of impertinence, or negligence and nonchalance, that almost all the young men I meet, except also young Burke, are tainted with. What chiefly, however, pleased me in him was observing that he quite adores his father. He attended to all his stories with a face that never told he had heard them before; and, though he spoke but little himself, he seemed as well entertained as if he had been the leading person in the company,—a post which, nevertheless, I believe he could extremely well sustain; and, no doubt, much the better for being in no haste to aspire to it.

I have seldom, altogether, had an evening with which I have been better pleased.

Saturday, Dec. 28.

My father and I dined and spent the day at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s, after many preceding disappointments. I had a whispering conversation with Mrs. Reynolds, which made me laugh, from her excessive oddness and absurdity.

“I had the most unfortunate thing in the world happen to me,” she said, “about Mrs. Montagu, and I always am in some distress or misfortune with that lady.
She did me the honour to invite me to dine with her last week,—and I am sure there is nobody in the world can be more obliged to Mrs. Montagu taking such notice of any body;—but just when the day came I was so unlucky as to be ill, and that, you know, made it quite improper to go to dine with Mrs. Montagu, for fear of disagreeable consequences.

So this vexed me very much, for I had nobody to send to her that was proper to appear before Mrs. Montagu; for to own the truth, you must know I have no servant but a maid, and I could not think of sending such a person to Mrs. Montagu. So I thought it best to send a charman, and to tell him only to ring at the bell, and to wait for no answer; because then the porter might tell Mrs. Montagu my servant brought the note, for the porter could not tell but he might be my servant.

“But my maid was so stupid, she took the shilling I gave her for the charman, and went to a green-shop, and bid the woman send somebody with the note, and she left the shilling with her; so the green-woman, I suppose, thought she might keep the shilling, and instead of sending a charman she sent her own errand-girl; and she was all dirt and rags. But this is not all; for, when the girl got to the house, nothing would serve her but she would give the note to Mrs. Montagu, and wait for an answer; so then, you know, Mrs. Montagu saw this ragged green-shop girl. I was never so shocked in my life, for when she brought me back the note I knew at once how it all was. Only think what a mortification, to have Mrs. Montagu see such a person as that! She must think it very odd of me indeed to send a green-shop girl to such a house as hers!”

Friday, (Jan. 17, 1783.)

Now for this grand interview with Soame Jenyns.21 I went with my dear father who was quite enchanted at the affair. Dear soul, how he feeds upon all that brings fame to “Cecilia!” his eagerness upon this subject, and his pleasure in it, are truly enthusiastic, and, I think, rather increase by fulness than grow satiated.

We were late; there was a good deal of company, not in groups, nor yet in a circle, but seated square round the room, in order following,—Miss Ellerker, Mrs. Soame Jenyns, Mrs. Thrale, her daughter, Mrs. Buller, Mr. Cambridge, senior, Mr. Soame Jenyns, Mr. Selwin, Mr. Cambridge, junior, Miss Burgoyne, a lady or two I knew not, and three or four men.
Mrs. Ord almost ran to the door to receive us, and every creature of this company, contrary to all present custom in large meetings, stood up.
“Why have you been so late?” cried Mrs. Ord, “we have been waiting for you this hour. I was afraid there was some mistake.”
“My father could not come sooner.”

Mr. Soame


Eulogy on


“But why would not you let me send my coach for you? Mr. Soame Jenyns has been dying with impatience; some of us thought you would not come; others thought it only coquetry; but come, let us repair the time as we can, and introduce you to one another without further delay.”

You may believe how happy I felt at this “some thought,” and “others,” which instantly betrayed that everybody was apprised they were to see this famous rencounter; and lest I should mark it less, every body still stood up. Mr. Jenyns now, with all the speed in his power, hastened up to me, and began a long harangue of which I know hardly a word, upon the pleasure and favour, and honour, and what not, of meeting me, and upon the delight, and information, and amusement of reading “Cecilia.”
I made all possible reverences, and tried to get to a seat, but Mrs. Ord, when I turned from him, took my hand, and leading me to the top of the room, presented me to Mrs. Jenyns. Reverences were repeated here, in silence, however, so they did very well. I then hoped to escape to Mrs. Thrale, who held out her hand to me, pointing to a chair by her own, and saying,—
“Must I, too, make interest to be introduced to Miss Burney?”

This, however, was not allowed; Mrs. Ord again took my hand, and parading me to the sofa, said,—

“Come, Miss Burney, and let me place you by Mrs. Buller.”
I was glad, by this time, to be placed any where, for not till then did the company seat themselves.
Mr. Cambridge, Sen., then came up to speak to me, but had hardly asked how I did before Mrs. Ord brought Mr. Jenyns to me again, and made him my right-hand neighbour, saying,—
“There! now I have put you fairly together, I have done with you.”

Mr. Soame Jenyns then, thus called upon—could he do less?—began an eulogy unrivalled, I think, for extravagance of praise. All creation was open to me; no human being ever began that book and had power to put it down; pathos, humour, interest, moral—O heavens! I heard, however, but the leading words; though every body else, the whole roon, being silent, doubtless heard how they hung together. Had I been carried to a theatre to hear an oration upon my own performances, I could hardly have felt more confounded.
I bowed my head during the first two or three sentences, by way of marking that I thought them over; but over they were not the more. I then turned away, but I only met Mrs. Buller, who took up the panegyric where Mr. Jenyns stopped for breath.

In short, the things that were said, with the attention of the whole company, would have drawn blushes into the cheeks of Agujari or Garrick. I was almost upon the point of running away. I changed so often from hot to cold that I really felt myself in a fever and an ague. I never even attempted to speak to them, and I looked with all the frigidity I possibly could, in hopes they would tire of bestowing such honours on a subject so ungrateful.

One moment I had hopes that Mr. G. Cambridge, in Christian charity, was coming to offer some interruption; for, when these speeches were in their height, he came and sat down on a chair immediately opposite Miss Thrale, and equally near, in profile, to me; but he merely said, “I hope Dr. Burney has not wanted his pamphlet?” Even Mrs. Thrale would not come near me, and told me afterwards it had been such a settled thing before my arrival, that I was to belong to Mr. Soame Jenyns, that she did not dare.
The moment they were gone, “Well, Miss Burney,” said Mrs. Ord, “have you and Mr. Jenyns had a great deal of conversation together?”
“O yes, a great deal on my part!”
“Why you don’t look quite recovered from it yet—did not you like it?”
“O yes, it was perfectly agreeable to me!”
“Did he oppress you?” cried Mr. Cambridge, and then he began a very warm praise of him for his talents, wit, and understanding, his knowledge, writings, and humour.

I should have been very ready to have joined with him, had I not feared he meant an implied reproach to me, for not being more grateful for the praise of a man such as he described. I am sorry he was present if that is the case; but the truth is, the evening was not merely disagreeable but painful to me.


While Mr. George Cambridge was here Pacchierotti called-very grave, but very sweet. Mr. G. C. asked if he spoke English.
“O, very well,” cried I, “pray try him; he is very amiable, and I fancy you will like him.”
Pacchierotti began with complaining of the variable weather.
“I cannot,” he said, “be well such an inconsistent day.”
We laughed at the word “inconsistent,” and Mr. Cambridge said,—

“It is curious to see what new modes all languages may take in the hands of foreigners. The natives dare not try such experiments; and, therefore, we all talk pretty much alike; but a foreigner is obliged to hazard new expressions, and very often he shews us a force and power in our words, by an unusual adaptation of them, that we were not ourselves aware they would admit.”

And then, to draw Pacchierotti out, he began a dispute, of the different merits of Italy and England; defending his own country merely to make him abuse it; while Pacchierotti most eagerly took up the gauntlet on the part of Italy.


wet and


“This is a climate,” said Pacchierotti, “never in the same case for half an hour at a time; it shall be fair, and wet, and dry, and humid, forty times in a morning in the least. I am tired to be so played with, sir, by your climate.”
“We have one thing, however, Mr. Pacchierotti,” he answered, “which I hope you allow makes some amends, and that is our verdure; in Italy you cannot boast that.”
“But it seem to me, sir, to be of no utility so much evergreen is rather too much for my humble opinion.”
“And then your insects, Mr. Pacchierotti! those alone are a most dreadful drawback upon the comfort of your fine climate.”
“I must own,” said Pacchierotti, “Italy is rather disagreeable for the insects; but is it not better, sir, than an atmosphere so bad as they cannot live in it?”
“Why, as I can’t defend our atmosphere, I must shift my ground, and talk to you of our fires, which draw together society.”
“O indeed, good sir, your societies are not very invigorating! Twenty people of your gentlemen and ladies to sit about a fire, and not to pronounce one word, is very dull!”

We laughed heartily at this retort courteous.

Sunday, January 19

And now for Mrs. Delany. I spent one hour with Mrs. Thrale, and then called for Mrs. Chapone,23 and we proceeded together to St. James’s-place.
Mrs. Delany was alone in her drawing-room, which is entirely hung round with pictures of her own painting, and Ornaments of her own designing. She came to the door to receive us. She is still tall, though some of her height may be lost: not much, however, for she is remarkably upright. She has no remains of beauty in feature, but in countenance I never but once saw more, and that was in my sweet maternal grandmother. Benevolence, softness, piety, and gentleness are all resident in her face; and the resemblance with which she struck me to my dear grandmother, in her first appearance, grew so much stronger from all that came from her mind, which seems to contain nothing but purity and native humility, that I almost longed to embrace her; and I am sure if I had the recollection of that saint-like woman would have been so strong that I should never have refrained from crying over her.
Mrs. Chapone presented me to her, and taking my hand, she said,

Raptures of

the “Old Wits”

over “Cecilia.”

“You must pardon me if I give you an old-fashioned reception, for I know nothing new.” And she saluted me. I did not, as with Mrs. Walsingham, retreat from her.
“Can you forgive, Miss Burney,” she continued, “this great liberty I have taken with you, of asking for your company to dinner? I wished so impatiently to see one from whom I have received such extraordinary pleasure, that, as I could not be alone this morning, I could not bear to put it off to another day; and, if you had been so good to come in the evening, I might, perhaps, have had company; and I hear so ill that I cannot, as I wish to do, attend to more than one at a time; for age makes me stupid even more than I am by nature; and how grieved and mortified I must have been to know I had Miss Burney in the room, and not to hear her!”

She then mentioned her regret that we could not stay and spend the evening with her, which had been told her in our card of accepting her invitation, as we were both engaged, which, for my part, I heartily regretted.

“I am particularly sorry,” she added, “on account of the Duchess dowager of Portland, who is so good as to come to me in an evening, as she knows I am too infirm to wait upon her grace myself: and she wished so much to see Miss Burney. But she said she would come as early as possible.”

Soon after we went to dinner, which was plain, neat, well cooked, and elegantly served. When it was over, I began to speak; and now, my Chesington auditors, look to yourselves!
“Will you give me leave, ma’am, to ask if you remember any body of the name of Crisp?”
“Crisp?” cried she, “What! Mrs. Ann Crisp?”
“Yes, ma’am.”

“O surely! extremely well! a charming, an excellent woman she was; we were very good friends once; I visited her at Burford, and her sister Mrs. Gast.”
Then came my turn, and I talked of the brother——but I won’t write what I said. Mrs. Delany said she knew him but very little; and by no means so much as she should have liked. I reminded her of a letter he wrote her from abroad, which she immediately recollected.

This Chesingtonian talk lasted till we went upstairs, and then she shewed me the new art which she had invented. It is staining paper of all possible colours, and then cutting it out, so finely, and delicately, that when it is pasted on paper or vellum, it has all the appearance of being pencilled, except that, by being raised, it has still a richer and more natural look. The effect is extremely beautiful. She invented it at twenty-five! She told me she did four flowers the first year; sixteen the second; and the third, one hundred and sixty; and after that many more. They are all from nature, and consist of the most curious flowers, plants, and weeds, that are to (be found. She has been supplied with patterns from all the great gardens, and all the great florists in the kingdom. Her plan was to finish one thousand; but, alas! her eyes now fail her though she has only twenty undone of her task.

About seven o’clock, the Duchess dowager of Portland came. She is not near so old as Mrs. Delany; nor, to me, is her face by any means so pleasing; but yet there is sweetness, and dignity, and intelligence in it. Mrs. Delany received her with the same respectful ceremony as if it was her first visit, though she regularly goes to her every evening. But what she at first took as an honour and condescension, she has so much of true humility of mind, that no use can make her see in any other light. She immediately presented me to her. Her grace courtesied and smiled with the most flattering air of pleasure, and said she was particularly happy in meeting with me. We then took our places, and Mrs. Delany said,—

“Miss Burney, ma’am, is acquainted with Mr. Crisp, whom your grace knew so well; and she tells me he and his sister have been so good as to remember me, and to mention me to her.”

The duchess instantly asked me a thousand questions about him—where he lived, how he had his health, and whether his fondness for the polite arts still continued. She said he was one of the most ingenious and agreeable men she had ever known, and regretted his having sequestered himself so much from the society of his former friends.

In the course of this conversation I found the duchess very charming, high-bred, courteous, sensible, and spirited; not merely free from pride, but free from affability—its most mortifying deputy.
After this she asked me if I had seen Mrs. Siddons, and what I thought of her. I answered that I admired her very much.
“If Miss Burney approves her,” said the duchess, “no approbation, I am sure, can do her so much credit; for no one can so perfectly judge of characters or of human nature.”
“Ah, ma’am,” cried Mrs. Delany, archly, “and does your grace remember protesting you would never read ‘Cecilia?’”
“Yes,” said she, laughing, “I declared that five volumes could never be attacked; but since I began I have read it three times.”

“O terrible!” cried I, “to make them out fifteen.”

a matter

of Imagination

“The reason,” continued she, “I held out so long against reading them, was remembering the cry there was in favour of ‘Clarissa’ and ‘Sir Charles Grandison,’ when they came out, and those I never could read. I was teased into trying both of them; but I was disgusted with their tediousness, and could not read eleven letters, with all the effort I could make: so much about my sisters and my brothers, and all my uncles and my aunts!”

“But if your grace had gone on with ‘Clarissa,’” said Mrs. Chapone, “the latter part must certainly have affected you, and charmed you.”24
“O, I hate any thing so dismal! Every body that did read it had melancholy faces for a week. ‘Cecilia’ is as pathetic as I can bear, and more sometimes; yet, in the midst of the sorrow, there is a spirit in the writing, a fire in the whole composition, that keep off that heavy depression given by Richardson. Cry, to be sure, we did. Mrs. Delany, shall you ever forget how we cried? But then we had so much laughter to make us amends, we were never left to sink under our concern.”
I am really ashamed to write on.

“For my part,” said Mrs. Chapone, “when I first read it, I did not cry at all; I was in an agitation that half killed me, that shook all nerves, and made me unable to sleep at nights, from the suspense I was in! but I could not cry, for excess of eagerness.”
“I only wish,” said the duchess, “Miss Burney could have been in some corner, amusing herself with listening to us, when Lord Weymouth, and the Bishop of Exeter, and Mr. Lightfoot, and Mrs. Delany, and I, were all discussing the point—of the name. So earnest we were, she must have been diverted with us. Nothing, the nearest our own hearts and interests, could have been debated more warmly. The bishop was quite as eager as any of us; but what cooled us a little, at last, was Mr. Lightfoot’s thinking we were seriously going to quarrel; and while Mrs. Delany and I were disputing about Mrs. Delvile, he very gravely said, ‘Why, ladies, this is only a matter of imagination; it is not a fact: don’t be so earnest.’”

“Ah, ma’am,” said Mrs. Delany, “how hard your grace was upon Mrs. Delvile: so elegant, so sensible, so judicious, so charming a woman.”

“O, I hate her,” cried the duchess, “resisting that sweet Cecilia; coaxing her, too, all the time, with such hypocritical flattery.”
“I shall never forget,” said Mrs. Delany, “your grace’s earnestness when we came to that part where Mrs. Delvile bursts a blood vessel. Down dropped the book, and just with the same energy as if your grace had heard some real and important news, You called out, ‘I’m glad of it with all my heart!’”
“What disputes, too,” said Mrs. Chapone, “there are about Briggs. I was in a room some time ago where somebody said there could be no such character; and a poor little mean city man, who was there, started up and said, ‘But there is though, for I’ve one myself!’”
“The Harrels!—O, then the Harrels!” cried Mrs. Delany.

“If you speak of the Harrels, and of the morality of the book,” cried the duchess, with a solemn sort of voice, “we shall, indeed, never give Miss Burney her due: so striking, so pure, so genuine, so instructive.”

“Yes,” cried Mrs. Chapone, “let us complain how we will of the torture she has given our nerves, we must all join in saying she has bettered us by every line.”
“No book,” said Mrs. Delany, “ever was so useful as this, because none other that is so good was ever so much read.”

I think I need now write no more. I could, indeed, hear no more; for this last so serious praise, from characters so respectable, so moral, and so aged, quite affected me; and though I had wished a thousand times during the discourse to run out of the room, when they gave me finally this solemn sanction to the meaning and intention of my writing, I found it not without difficulty that I could keep the tears out of my eyes; and when I told what had passed to our sweet father, his cup quite ran over.

The duchess had the good sense and judgment to feel she had drawn up her panegyric to a climax, and therefore here she stopped; so, however, did not we, for our coach was ready.

Fanny Burney to Mr. Crisp
April 12, 1783.

My dearest—dearest daddy,
I am more grieved at the long and most disappointing continuation of your illness than I know how to tell you; and though my last account, I thank heaven, is better, I find you still suffer so much, that my congratulations in my letter to Susan, upon what I thought your recovery, must have appeared quite crazy, if you did not know me as well as you do, and were not sure what affliction the discovery of my mistake would bring to myself. I think I never yet so much wished to be at Chesington, as at this time, that I might see how you go on, and not be kept in such painful suspense from post to post.

Why did you tell me of the Deladys, Portlands, Cambridges, etc., as if any of them came into competition with yourself? When you are better, I shall send you a most fierce and sharp remonstrance upon this subject. At present I must be content with saying, I will undoubtedly accept your most kind invitation as soon as I possibly can.



Meantime, if my letters will give you any amusement, I will write oftener than ever, and supply you with all the prog I get myself.
Susan, who is my reader, must be your writer, and let me know if such tittle-tattle as I can collect serves to divert some of those many moments of languor and weariness that creep between pain and ease, and that call more for mental food than for bodily medicine. Your love to your Fannikin, I well know, makes all trash interesting to you that seems to concern her; and I have no greater pleasure, when absent, than in letting you and my dear Susan be acquainted with my proceedings. I don’t mean by this to exclude the rest of the dear Chesington set—far from it—but a sister and a daddy must come first.

God bless and restore you, my most dear daddy! You know not how kindly I take your thinking of me, and inquiring about me, in an illness that might so well make you forget us all; but Susan assures me your heart is as affectionate as ever to your ever and ever faithful and loving child, F. B.

[Mr. Crisp’s illness became so alarming, that Miss Burney hastened to Chesington, where she had been only a few days when her valued friend breathed his last. In reply to a letter, in which she had given Dr. Burney an account of Mr. Crisp’s increasing sufferings, the doctor wrote:
“Ah! my dear Fanny, your last letter has broke all our hearts! your former accounts kept off despair; but this brings it back in all its horrors. I wish, if it were possible, that you would let him know how much I loved him, and how heavily I shall feel his loss when all this hurry subsides, and lets me have time to brood over my sorrows. I have always thought that, in many particulars, his equal was not to be found. His wit, learning, taste, penetration, and, when well, his conviviality, pleasantry, and kindness of heart to me and mine, will ever be thought of with the most profound and desponding regret.”
After the last mournful duties had been performed at Chesington Miss Burney returned to her father’s house in St. Martin’s-street; but some time elapsed ere she recovered composure sufficient to resume her journal.]

Thursday, June 19.

We heard today that Dr. Johnson had been taken ill, in a way that gave a dreadful shock to himself, and a most anxious alarm to his friends. Mr. Seward brought the news here, and my father and I instantly went to his house. He had earnestly desired me, when we lived so much together at Streatham, to see him frequently if he should be ill. He saw my father, but he had medical people with him, and could not admit me upstairs, but he sent me down a most kind message, that he thanked me for calling, and when he was better should hope to see me often. I had the satisfaction to hear from Mrs. Williams that the physicians had pronounced him to be in no danger, and expected a speedy recovery.
The stroke was confined to his tongue. Mrs. Williams told me a most striking and touching circumstance that attended the attack. It was at about four o’clock in the morning: he found himself with a paralytic affection; he rose, and composed in his own mind a Latin prayer to the Almighty, “that whatever were the sufferings for which he must prepare himself, it would please Him, through the grace and mediation of our blessed Saviour, to spare his intellects, and let them all fall upon his body.” When he had composed this, internally, he endeavoured to speak it aloud, but found his voice was gone.

Dr. Johnson


by Paralysis.

June 20.

I Went in the morning to Dr. Johnson, and heard a good account of him. Dr. Rose, Dr. Dunbar, and Sam Rose, the Doctor’s son, dined with us. We expected the rest of our party early though the absence of Dr. Johnson, whom they were all invited to meet, took off the spirit of the evening.

July 1.
I had the satisfaction to hear from Sir Joshua that Dr. Johnson had dined with him at the Club. I look upon him, therefore, now, as quite recovered. I called the next morning to congratulate him, and found him very gay and very good-humoured.

Photography by Mike Koontz

July 15.

To-day my father, my mother, and I, went by appointment to dine and spend the day at Twickenham with the Cambridges. Soon after our arrival Mr. C. asked if we should like to walk, to which we most readily agreed.
We had not strolled far before we were followed by Mr. George. No sooner did his father perceive him, than, hastily coming up to my side, he began a separate conversation with me; and leaving his son the charge of all the rest, he made me walk off with him from them all. It was really a droll manoeuvre, but he seemed to enjoy it highly, and though he said not a word of his design, I am sure it reminded me of his own old trick to his son, when listening to a dull story, in saying to the relator,—“Tell the rest of that to George.” And if George was in as good-humour with his party as his father was with his why, all were well pleased. As soon as we had fairly got away from them, Mr. Cambridge, with the kindest smiles of satisfaction, said,—“I give you my word I never was more pleased at any thing in my life than I am now at having you here today.”

I told him that I had felt so glad at seeing him again, after so long an absence, that I had really half a mind to have made up to him myself, and shook hands.

A Pleasant



the Cambridges.

“You cannot imagine,” said he, “how you flatter me!—and there is nothing, I do assure you, of which I am prouder, than seeing you have got the better of your fear of me, and feeling that I am not afraid of you.”

“Of me, sir?—but how should you be?”

“Nay, I give you my word, if I was not conscious of the greatest purity of mind, I should more fear you than any body in the world. You know everything, everybody,” he continued, “so wonderfully well!”

We then, I know not how, fell into discussing the characters of forward and flippant women; and I told him it was my fortune to be, in general, a very great favourite with them, though I felt so little gratitude for that honour, that the smallest discernment would show them it was all thrown away.
“Why, it is very difficult,” said he, “for a woman to get rid of those forward characters without making them her enemies. But with a man it is different. Now I have a very peculiar happiness, which I will tell you. I never took very much to a very amiable woman but I found she took also to me, and I have the good fortune to be in the perfect confidence of some of the first women in this kingdom; but then there are a great many women that I dislike, and think very impertinent and foolish, and, do you know, they all dislike me too!—they absolutely cannot bear me! Now, I don’t know, of those two things, which is the greatest happiness.”

How characteristic this!—do you not hear him saying it?

We now renewed our conversation upon various of our acquaintances, particularly Mr. Pepys, Mr. Langton, and Mrs. Montagu. We stayed in this field, sitting and sauntering, near an hour. We then went to a stile, just by the riverside, where the prospect is very beautiful, and there we seated ourselves. Nothing could be more pleasant, though the wind was so high I was almost blown into the water.

He now traced to me great part of his life and conduct in former times, and told me a thousand excellent anecdotes of himself and his associates. He summed them all up in a way that gave me equal esteem and regard for him, in saying he found society the only thing for lasting happiness; that, if he had not met a woman he could permanently love, he must with every other advantage have been miserable—but that such was his good fortune, that “to and at this moment,” he said, “there is no sight so pleasing to me as seeing Mrs. Cambridge enter a room; and that after having been married to her for forty years. And the next most pleasing sight to me is an amiable woman.”

a sensual


to herself


interests me

He then assured me that almost all the felicity of his life both had consisted, and did still consist, in female society. It was, indeed, he said, very rare but there was nothing like it.

“And if agreeable women,” cried I, “are rare, much more so, I think, are agreeable men; at least, among my acquaintance they are very few, indeed, that are highly agreeable.”

“Yes, and when they are so,” said he, “it is difficult for you to have their society with any intimacy or comfort; there are always so many reasons why you cannot know them.”
We continued chatting until we came to the end of the meadow, and there we stopped, and again were joined by the company.
Mr. Cambridge now proposed the water, to which I eagerly agreed.

We had an exceeding pleasant excursion. We went up the river beyond the Duke of Montagu’s, and the water was smooth and delightful. Methinks I should like much to sail from the very source to the mouth of the Thames. . . .
After dinner we again repaired to the lawn, in a general body; but—we—had scarce moved ten paces, before Mr. Cambridge again walked off with me, to a seat that had a very fine view of Petersham wood, and there we renewed our confabulation.
He now shewed me a note from Mr. Gibbon, sent to engage himself to Twickenham on the unfortunate day he got his ducking.26 It is the most affected little piece of writing I ever saw. He shall attend him, he says, at Twickenham, and upon the water, as soon as the weather is propitious, and the Thames, that amiable creature, is ready, to receive him.

Nothing, to be sure, could be so apt as such a reception as that “amiable creature” happened to give him! Mr. Cambridge said it was “God’s revenge against conceit.”

Tuesday, December 9

This evening at Mrs. Vesey’s, Mr. George Cambridge came, and took the chair half beside me. I told him of some new members for Dr. Johnson’s club!27
“I think,” said he, “it sounds more like some club that one reads of in the ‘Spectator,’ than like a real club in these times; for the forfeits of a whole year will not amount to those of a single night in other clubs. Does Pepys belong to it?”
“Oh no! he is quite of another party! He is head man on the side of the defenders of Lord Lyttelton. Besides, he has had enough of Dr. Johnson; for they had a grand battle upon the ‘Life of Lyttelton,’ at Streatham.”
“And had they really a serious quarrel? I never imagined it had amounted to that.”
“Yes, serious enough, I assure you. I never saw Dr. Johnson really in a passion but then: and dreadful, indeed, it was to see. I wished myself away a thousand times. It was a frightful scene. He so red, poor Mr. Pepys so pale!”

“But how did it begin? What did he say?”

“Oh, Dr. Johnson came to the point without much ceremony. He called out aloud, before a large company, at dinner, ‘What have you to say, sir, to me or of me? Come forth, man! I hear you object to my “Life of Lord Lyttelton. What are your objections? If you have anything to say, let’s hear it. Come forth, man, when I call you!’”
“What a call, indeed! Why, then, he fairly bullied him into a quarrel!”
“Yes. And I was the more sorry, because Mr. Pepys had begged of me, before they met, not to let Lord Lyttelton be mentioned. Now I had no more power to prevent it than this macaroon cake in my hand.”
“It was behaving ill to Mrs. Thrale, certainly, to quarrel in her house.”
“Yes; but he never repeated it; though he wished of all things to have gone through just such another scene with Mrs. Montagu, and to refrain was an act of heroic forbearance.”
“Why, I rather wonder he did not; for she was the head of the set of Lytteltonians.”
“Oh, he knows that; he calls Mr. Pepys only her prime minister.”
“And what does he call her?

“Queen,’ to be sure! ‘Queen of the blues.’ She came to Streatham one morning, and I saw he was dying to attack her. But he had made a promise to Mrs. Thrale to have no more quarrels in her house, and so he forced himself to forbear. Indeed he was very much concerned, when it was over, for what had passed; and very candid and generous in acknowledging it. He is too noble to adhere to wrong.”
“And how did Mrs. Montagu herself behave?”
“Very stately, indeed, at first. She turned from him very stiffly, and with a most distant air, and without even courteseying to him, and with a firm intention to keep to what she had publicly declared—that she would never speak to him more! However, he went up to her himself, longing to begin! and very roughly said,—‘Well, madam, what’s become of your fine new house? I hear no more of it.’
“But how did she bear this?”
“Why she was obliged to answer him; and she soon grew so frightened—as everybody else does—that she was as civil as ever.”

He laughed heartily at this account. But I told him Dr. Johnson was now much softened. He had acquainted me, when I saw him last, that he had written to her upon the death of Mrs. Williams, because she had allowed her something yearly, which now ceased. ‘And I had a very kind answer from her,’ said he.
“‘Well then, sir,’ cried I, ‘I hope peace now will be again proclaimed.’”
“‘Why, I am now,’ said he, ‘come to that time when I wish all bitterness and animosity to be at an end. I have never done her any serious harm—nor would I; though I could give her a bite!—but she must provoke me much first. In volatile talk, indeed, I may have spoken of her not much to her mind; for in the tumult of conversation malice is apt to grow sprightly! and there, I hope, I am not yet decrepid!’”

He quite laughed aloud at this characteristic speech.
I most readily assured the doctor that I had never yet seen him limp.

Friday, April 23, 1784.

The sweet and most bewitching Mrs. Locke called upon me in the evening, with her son George. I let her in and did so rejoice I had not gone to Mrs. Vesey’s. But I rejoiced for only a short time; she came but to take leave, for she was going to Norbury the very next morning. I was quite heavy all the evening. She does truly interest both head and heart. I love her already. And she was so kind, so caressing, so soft; pressed me so much to fix a time for going to Norbury; said such sweet things of Mrs. Phillips; and kissed me so affectionately in quitting me, that I was quite melted by her.

the coward


no power

What a charm has London lost for me by her departure sweet creature that she is; born and bred to dispense pleasure and delight to all who see or know her! She, Mrs. Thrale and Mrs. Delany, in their several ways all excellent, possess the joint powers of winning the affections, while they delight the intellects, to the highest summit I can even conceive of human attraction. The heart-fascination of Mrs. Thrale, indeed, few know——but those few must confess and must feel her sweetness, to them, is as captivating as her wit is brilliant to all.

The second marriages
Mrs. Thrale to Fanny Burney

Mortimer-St., Cavendish-Sq.
Tuesday Night, May 1784.

I am come, dearest Burney.
It is neither dream nor fiction, though I love you dearly, or I would not have come. Absence and distance do nothing towards wearing out real affection so you shall always find it in your true and tender H. L. T.
I am somewhat shaken bodily, but ’tis the mental shocks that have made me unable to bear the corporeal ones. ’Tis past ten o’clock, however, and I must lay myself down with the sweet expectation of seeing my charming friend in the morning to breakfast. I love Dr. Burney too well to fear him, and he loves me too well to say a word which should make me love him less.

May 17.

Let me now, my Susy, acquaint you a little more connectedly than I have done of late how I have gone on. The rest of that week I devoted almost wholly to sweet Mrs. Thrale, whose society was truly the most delightful of cordials to me, however, at times, mixed with bitters the least palatable. Were I not sensible of her goodness, and full of incurable affection for her, should I not be a monster? . . .

The end

of July

I parted most reluctantly with my dear Mrs. Thrale, whom, when or how I shall see again heaven only knows! but in sorrow we parted—on my side in real affliction.

[Towards the end of July in this year, Mrs. Thrale’s second marriage took place with Mr. Piozzi, and Miss Burney went about the same time to Norbury Park, where she passed some weeks with Mr and Mrs. Locke. The following “sketch” of a letter, and memorandum of what had recently passed between Mrs. Piozzi and herself, is from the journal of that period.]

Fanny Burney to Mrs. Piozzi

Norbury Park,
Aug. 10, 1784.

When my wondering eyes first looked over the letter I received last night, my mind instantly dictated a high-spirited vindication of the consistency, integrity, and faithfulness of the friendship thus abruptly reproached and cast away. But a sleepless night gave me leisure to recollect that you were ever as generous as precipitate, and that your own heart would do justice to mine, in the cooler judgment of future reflection. Committing myself, therefore, to that period, I determined Simply to assure you, that if my last letter hurt either you or Mr. Piozzi, I am no less sorry than surprised; and that if it offended you, I sincerely beg your pardon.

Not to that time, however, can I wait to acknowledge the pain an accusation so unexpected has caused me, nor the heartfelt satisfaction with which I shall receive, when you are able to write it, a softer renewal of regard.
May heaven direct and bless you! F. B.

a note

Mrs. Piozzi to Fanny Burney
Wellbeck-St., NO, 33, Cavendish-Sq.,
Friday, Aug. 13, 1784.

Give yourself no serious concern, sweetest Burney. All is well, and I am too happy myself to make a friend otherwise; quiet your kind heart immediately, and love my husband if you love his and your H. L. Piozzi.


To this kind note, F. B. wrote the warmest and most affectionate and heartfelt reply; but never received another word!

And here and thus stopped a correspondence of six years of almost unequalled partiality, and fondness on her side; and affection, gratitude, admiration, and sincerity on that of ‘F. B., who could only conjecture the cessation to be caused by the resentment of Piozzi, when informed of her constant opposition to the union.]

A happy


the happy


Friday, Oct. 8.

I set off with my dear father for Chesington, where we passed five days very comfortably; my father was all good humour, all himself,—such as you and I mean by that word. The next day we had the blessing of your Dover letter28 and on Thursday, Oct.:14, I arrived at dear Norbury Park at about seven o’clock, after a pleasant ride in the dark. Locke most kindly and cordially welcomed me; he came out upon the steps to receive me, and his beloved Fredy29 waited for me in the vestibule. Oh, with what tenderness did she take me to her bosom! I felt melted with her kindness, but I could not express a joy like hers, for my heart was very full of my dearest Susan, whose image seemed before me upon the spot where we had so lately been together. They told me that Madame de la Fite, her daughter, and Mr. Hinde, were in the house; but as I am now, I hope, come for a long time, I did not vex at hearing this. Their first inquiries were if I had not heard from Boulogne.30

I fully expected a letter, but none came; but Sunday I depended upon one. The post, however, did not arrive before we went to church. Madame de la Fite, seeing my sorrowful looks, good naturedly asked Mrs. Locke what could be set about to divert a little la pauvre Mademoiselle Beurney? and proposed reading a drama of Madame de Genlis. I approved it much, preferring it greatly to conversation and accordingly, she and her daughter, each taking characters to themselves, read “La Rosire de Salency.” It is a very interesting and touchingly simple little drama. I was so much pleased that they afterwards regularly read one every evening while they stayed.

Next morning I went up stairs as usual, to treat myself with a solo of impatience for the post, and at about twelve o’clock I heard Mrs. Locke stepping along the passage. I was sure of good news, for I knew, if there was bad, poor Mr. Locke would have brought it. She came in, with three letters in her hand, and three thousand dimples in her cheeks and chin! Oh, my dear Susy, what a sight to me was your hand! I hardly cared for the letter; I hardly desired to open it; the direction alone almost satisfied me sufficiently. How did Mrs. Locke embrace me! I half kissed her to death. O Then came dear Mr. Locke, his eyes brighter than ever—“Well, how does she do?”

This question forced me to open my letter; all was just as I could wish, except that I regretted the having written the day before such a lamentation. I was so congratulated! I shook hands with Mr. Locke; the two dear little girls came jumping to wish me joy and Mrs. Locke ordered a fiddler, that they might have a dance in the evening, which had been promised them from the time of Mademoiselle de la Fite’s arrival, but postponed from day to day, by general desire, on account of my uneasiness.

in the



are naked

Monday, Oct. 25

Mr. Hinde and Madame and Mademoiselle de la Fite all left us. They were all so good humoured and so happy, there was no being glad; though how to be sorry at remaining alone with this family, I really know not. Both the De la Fites went away in tears. I love them for it.
Wednesday, Nov. 3

This day has brought ine another sweet letter from my Susy. What a set of broken-fortuned, broken-charactered people of fashion are about you at Boulogne.31 The accounts are at once curious and melancholy to me.
Nothing can be more truly pleasant than our present lives. I bury all disquietudes in immediate enjoyment; an enjoyment more fitted to my secret mind than any I had ever hoped to attain. We are so perfectly tranquil, that not a particle of our whole frames seems ruffled or discomposed., Mr. Locke is gayer and more sportive than I ever have seen him; his Freddy seems made up of happiness; and the two dear little girls are in spirits almost ecstatic; and all from that internal contentment which Norbury Park seems to have gathered from all corners of the world into its own sphere.

Our mornings, if fine, are to ourselves, as Mr. Locke rides out; if bad, we assemble in the picture room. We have two books in public reading: Madame de Sevigne’s “Letters,” and Cook’s last “Voyage.” Mrs. Locke reads the French, myself the English.

Our conversations, too, are such as I could almost wish to last for ever. Mr. Locke has been all himself,—all instruction, information, and intelligence,—since we have been left alone; and the invariable sweetness, as well as judgment, of all he says, leaves, indeed, nothing to wish. They will not let me go while I can stay, and I am now most willing to stay till I must go. The serenity of a life like this, smoothes the whole internal surface of the mind. My own I assure you, begins to feel quite glossy. To see Mrs. Locke so entirely restored to total health, and to see her adoring husband lose all his torturing Solicitude, while he retains his Unparalleled tenderness-these are sights to anticipate a taste of paradise, if paradise has any felicity consonant to our now ideas.

Tuesday, Nov 9

This is Mr. William Locke’s birthday; he is now seventeen. He came home, with his brothers, to keep it, three days ago. May they all be as long-lived and as happy as they are now sweet and amiable! This sweet place is beautiful even yet, though no longer of a beauty young and blooming, such as you left it; but the character Of the prospect is so ‘grand that winter cannot annihilate its charms, though it greatly diminishes them. The variety of the grounds, and the striking form of the hills, always afford something new to observe, and contain something lasting to admire. Were I, however, in a desert, people such as these would make it gay and cheery.

Fanny Burney to Mrs. Locke.
St. Martin’s-St.,
Nov. 14.

. . . I had a very unpleasant morning after I left you. When the coach and I had waited upon my father, I made the visit I mentioned to you. O what a visit!—all that I presupposed of attack, inquiry, and acrimony, was nothing to what passed. Rage more intemperate I have not often seen; and the shrill voice of feeble old age, screaming with unavailing passion is horrible. She had long looked upon Mrs. Thrale as a kind of protege, whom she had fondled as a child, and whose fame, as she grew into notice, she was always proud to hear of, and help to exalt. She is a woman (I can well attest!) of most furious passions herself, however at liberty she thinks she may be to show no sort of mercy to those of another.
Once, had I been less disturbed, I could have laughed; for she declared with great vehemence, that if she had suspected “the wretch of any intention to marry the man, she would have ordered her own postchaise, and followed her to prevent it!”
Alas, poor Lady F.

She then called upon me, to hear my story; which, most painfully to myself, I related. She expressed herself very sorry for me, till I came to an avowal of my letter after the marriage she then flew out into new choler. “I am amazed you would write to her, Miss Burney! I wonder you could think of it any more.”
I told her, I had thought myself so much indebted to her patience with my opposition to all her views and wishes for the whole tine of her long conflict, that, although I was the first to acknowledge her last action indefensible, I should be the last to forget all that had made me love her before it was committed.

This by no means satisfied her, and she poured forth again a torrent of unrelenting abuse. Some company, at last, came in, and I hastily took my leave. She called after me to fix some day for a longer visit; but I pretended not to hear, and ran down stairs, heartily resolving that necessity alone should ever force me into her presence again.
When I came home—before I could get upstairs—I was summoned to Miss Streatfield, whom I met with as little pleasure as Lady F., since I had never seen her, nor indeed anybody, from the time this cruel transaction has been published.

Not that I dreaded her violence, for she is as gentle as a lamb but there were causes enough for dread of another nature. However fortunately and unexpectedly, she never named the subject, but prattled away upon nothing but her own affairs; and so, methinks, have I done too, and just as if I knew you wished to hear them. Do you?—I ask only for decency’s sake.

Norbury Park, Sunday, Nov. 28.

Last Thursday, my father set me down at Bolt-court, while he went on upon business. I was anxious to again see poor Dr. Johnson, who has had terrible health since his return from Lichfield. He let me in, though very ill. He was alone, which I much rejoiced at; for I had a longer and more satisfactory conversation with him than I have had for many months. He was in rather better spirits, too, than I had lately seen him, but he told me he was going to try what sleeping out of town might do for him.

“I remember,” said he, “that my wife, when she was near her end, poor woman, was also advised to sleep out of town, and when she was carried to the lodgings that had been prepared for her, she complained that the staircase was in very bad condition—for the plaster was beaten off the wall in many places.

‘Oh,’ said the man of the house, ‘that’s nothing but by the knocks against it of the coffins of the poor souls that have died in the lodgings.’”



failing Health

He laughed, though not without apparent secret anguish, in telling me this. I felt extremely shocked, but, willing to confine my words at least to the literal story, I only exclaimed against the unfeeling absurdity of such a confession.

“Such a confession,” cried he, “to a person then coming to try his lodgings for her health, contains, indeed, more absurdity than we can well lay our account for.”
I had seen Miss Thrale the day before.
“So,” said he, “did I.”
I then said,—“Do you ever, sir, hear from her mother?”

“No,” cried he, “nor write to her. I drive her quite from my mind. If I meet with one of her letters, I burn it instantly. I have burnt all I can find. I never speak of her, and I desire never to hear of her more. I drive her, as I said, wholly from my mind.”
Yet, wholly to change this discourse, I gave him a history of the Bristol milk-woman, and told him the tales I had heard of her writing so wonderfully, though she had read nothing but Young and Milton “though those,” I continued, “could never possibly, I should think, be the first authors with anybody. Would children understand them? and grown people who have not read are children in literature.”
“Doubtless,” said he; “but there is nothing so little comprehended among mankind as what is genius. They give to it all, when it can be but a part. Genius is nothing more than knowing the use of tools—but there must be tools for it to use: a man who has spent all his life in this room will give a very poor account of what is contained in the next.”

“Certainly, sir; yet there is such a thing as invention. Shakspeare could never have seen a Caliban.”

“No; but he had seen a man, and knew, therefore, how to vary him to a monster. A man who would draw a monstrous cow, must first know what a cow commonly is; or how can he tell that to give her an ass’s head or an elephant’s tusk will make her monstrous. Suppose you show me a man who is a very expert carpenter; another will say he was born to be a carpenter—but what if he had never seen any wood? Let two men, one with genius, the other with none, look at an overturned waggon; he who has no genius, will think of the waggon only as he sees it, overturned, and walk on; he who has genius, will paint it to himself before it was overturned—standing still, and moving on, and heavy loaded, and empty; but both must see the waggon, to think of it at all.”

He then animated, and talked on, upon this milk-woman, upon a once as famous shoemaker, and upon our immortal Shakspeare, with as much fire, spirit, wit, and truth of criticism and judgment, as ever yet I have heard him. How delightfully bright are his faculties, though the poor and infirm machine that contains them seems alarmingly giving way.

Yet, all brilliant as he was, I saw him growing worse, and offered to go, which, for the first time I ever remember, he did not oppose; but, most kindly pressing both my hands,—

“Be not,” he said, in a voice of even tenderness, “be not longer in coming again for my letting you go now.”

a man

always die

I assured him I would be the sooner, and was running off, but he called me back, in a solemn voice, and, in a manner the most energetic, said,—
“Remember me in your prayers!”
I longed to ask him to remember me, but did not dare. I gave him my promise, and, very heavily indeed, I left him. Great, good, and excellent that he is, how short a time will he be our boast! Ah, my dear Susy, I see he is going! This winter will never conduct him to a more genial season here! Elsewhere, who shall hope a fairer? I wish I had bid him pray for me, but it seemed to me presumptuous.

Wednesday, Dec. 8.

At night my father brought us the most dismal tidings of dear Dr. Johnson. Dr. Warren had seen him, and told him to take what opium he pleased! He had thanked and taken leave of all his physicians. Alas!—I shall lose him, and he will take no leave of me!32 My father was deeply depressed; he has himself tried in vain for admission this week. Yet some people see him—the Hooles, Mr. Sastres, Mr. Langton;—but then they must be in the house, watching for one moment, whole hours. I hear from every one he is now perfectly resigned to his approaching fate, and no longer in terror of death. I am thankfully happy in hearing that he speaks himself now of the change his mind has undergone, from its dark horror—and says—“He feels the irradiation of hope,” Good, and pious, and excellent Christian—who shall feel it if not he?

Dec. 11.

We had a party to dinner, by long appointment, for which, indeed, none of us were well disposed, the apprehension of hearing news only of death being hard upon us all. The party was, Dr. Rose, Dr. Gillies, Dr. Garthshore, and Charles.
The day could not be well—but mark the night.

My father, in the morning, saw this first of men! I had not his account till bed-time; he feared over-exciting me. He would not, he said, but have seen him for worlds! He happened to be better, and admitted him. He was up, and very composed. He took his hand very kindly, asked after all his family, and then, in particular, how Fanny did? “I hope,” he said, “Fanny did not take it amiss that I did not see her? I was very bad!”

a farewell

and Hello

Amiss!—what a Word! Oh that I had been present to have answered it! My father stayed, I suppose, half an hour, and then was coming away. He again took his hand, and encouraged him to come again to him; and when he was taking leave, said—“Tell Fanny to pray for me!”

Ah! dear Dr. Johnson! might I but have your prayers! After which, still grasping his hand, he made a prayer for himself,—the most fervent, pious, humble, eloquent, and touching, my father says, that ever was composed. Oh, would I had heard it! He ended it with Amen! in which my father joined, and was echoed by all present. And again, when my father was leaving him, he brightened up, something of his arch look returned, and he said—“I think I shall throw the ball at Fanny yet!”

Little more passed ere my father came away, decided, most tenderly, not to tell me this till our party was done.

This most earnestly increased my desire to see him; this kind and frequent mention of me melted me into double sorrow and regret. I would give the world I had but gone to him that day! It was, however, impossible, and the day was over before I knew he had said what I look upon as a call to me. This morning, after church time, I went. Frank34 said he was very ill, and saw nobody; I told him I had understood by my father the day before that he meant to see me.

He then let me in. I went into his room up stairs; he was in his bedroom. I saw it crowded, and ran hastily down. Frank told me his master had refused seeing even Mr. Langton.

I told him merely to say I had called, but by no means to press my admission. His own feelings were all that should be consulted; his tenderness, I knew, would be equal, whether he was able to see me or not.

I went into the parlour, preferring being alone in the cold, to any company with a fire. Here I waited long, here and upon the stairs, which I ascended and descended to meet again with Frank, and make inquiries; but I met him not. At last, upon Dr. Johnson’s ringing his bell, I saw Frank enter his room, and Mr. Langton follow. “Who’s that?” I heard him say; they answered, “Mr. Langton,” and I found he did not return.

Soon after, all the rest went away but a Mrs. Davis, a good sort of woman, whom this truly charitable soul had sent for to take a dinner at his house. I then went and waited with her by the fire; it was, however, between three and four o’clock before I got any answer. Mr. Langton then came himself. He could not look at me, and I turned away from him. Mrs. Davis asked how the doctor was? “Going on to death very fast!” was his mournful answer. “Has he taken,” said she, “anything?” “Nothing at all! We carried him some bread and milk—he refused it, and said—‘The less the better.’” She asked more questions, by which I found his faculties were perfect, his mind composed, and his dissolution was quick drawing on. . . .


so Sweet


we meet


I could not immediately go on, and it is now long since I have written at all; but I will go back to this afflicting theme, which I can now better bear.

Mr. Langton was, I believe, a quarter of an hour in the room before I suspected he meant to speak to me, never looking near me. At last he said—
“This poor man, I understand, ma’am, desired yesterday to see you.”
“My understanding that, sir, brought me here today.”
“Poor man! it is a pity he did not know himself better, and that you should have had this trouble.”
“Trouble!” cried I; “I would have come a hundred times to see him the hundredth and first!”
“He hopes, now, you will excuse him; he is very sorry not to see you; but he desired me to come and speak to you myself, and tell you he hopes you will excuse him, for he feels himself too weak for such an interview.”

I hastily got up, left him my most affectionate respects, and every good wish I could half utter, and ran back to the coach. Ah, my Susy! I have never been to Bolt-court since! I then drove to poor Miss Strange,35 to make inquiries of the maid but Andrew ran out to the coach door, and told me all hope was at an end. In short, the next day was fatal to both!—the same day!

December 20.

This day was the ever-honoured, ever-lamented Dr. Johnson committed to the earth. Oh, how sad a day to me! My father attended, and so did Charles.36 I could not keep my eyes dry all day; nor can I now, in the recollecting it; but let me pass over what to mourn is now so vain!

December 30.

In the evening I went to Mrs. Chapone. I was late, on account of the coach, and all her party was assembled. This was the first time I had seen any of them, except Mrs. Ord, since last spring. I was received with the utmost kindness by them all, but chiefly by Mrs. Chapone herself, who has really, I believe, a sincere regard for me. I had talk with all of them, except Mrs. Levison, with whom I have merely a courtesying acquaintance. But I was very sad within; the loss of dear Dr. Johnson—the flight of Mrs. Thrale, the death of poor Miss Kitty Cambridge, and of poor, good Miss Strange,—all these home and bosom strokes, which had all struck me since my last meeting this society, were revolving in my mind the whole time I stayed.

Sir Lucas Pepys talked to me a great deal of Mrs. Thrale, and read me a letter from her, which seems to shew her gay and happy. I hope it shews not false colours. No one else named her——but poor Dr. Johnson was discussed repeatedly. How melancholy will all these circumstances render these once so pleasant meetings.

1 “Memoirs of Dr. Burney,” vol. ii. p. 110.]

2 The physician, afterwards Sir Lucas Pepys.—ED.]

3 A character in “Cecilia.”—ED.]

4 The master of the ceremonies.]

5 Philip Metcalf, elected member of Parliament for Horsham, together with Mr. Crutchley, in 1784.—ED.]

6 Miss Burney had seen this gentleman a few days previously and thus speaks of him in her “Diary.”—“Mr. Kaye of the Dragoons,—a baronet’s son, and a very tall, handsome, and agreeable-looking young man; and, is the folks say, it is he for whom all the belles here are sighing. I was glad to see he seemed quite free from the nonchalance, impertinence of the times.”—ED.]

7 Afterwards Countess of Cork and Orrery.]

8 The Thrales and Fanny were now again in London, whither they returned from Brighton, November 20. Mrs. Thrale had taken a house in Argyle-street,—ED.]

9 Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, daughter of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford; married, in 1734, to the second Duke of Portland, She inherited from her father a taste for literature. She was the constant associate of Mrs. Delaney, and an old friend of Mr. Crisp. Of Mrs. Delany we shall give some account hereafter—ED.]

10 Mrs. Greville’s maiden name was Frances Macartney.—ED.]

11 The miserly guardian of Cecilia, in Fanny’s novel. Among the “Fragments of the journal of Charlotte Anne Burney,” appended to the “Early Diary,” occurs the following passage, written at the end of 1782. “Fanny’s Cecilia came out last summer, and is as much liked and read I believe as any book ever was. She had 250 pounds for it from Payne and Cadell. Most people say she ought to have had a thousand. It is now going into the third edition, though Payne owns that they printed 2,000 at the first edition, and Lowndes told me five hundred was the common number for a novel.” (“Early Diary,” vol. ii. P. 307.)—ED.]

12 Richard Burke, the only son of the great Edmund. He died in 1794, before his father.—ED.]

13 Sir Joshua Reynolds was then in his sixtieth year; he was born in 1723.—ED.]

14 She copied pictures cleverly and painted portraits.—ED.]

15 Probably the Hon. Thomas Erskine, afterwards Lord Chancellor.—ED.]

16 Richard Owen Cambridge, a gentleman admired for his wit in conversation, and esteemed as an author. “He wrote a burlesque poem called ‘The Scribleriad,’ and was a principal contributor to the periodical paper called ‘The World.’” He died in 1802, at his villa on the banks of the Thames, near Twickenham, aged eighty-five years.—ED.]

17 Mrs. Ord was a famous blue-stocking and giver of literary parties, and a constant friend of Fanny’s—ED.]

18 The Rev. George Owen Cambridge, second son of Richard Owen Cambridge, whose works he edited, and whose memoir he wrote. He died at Twickenham in 1841.—ED.]

19 John Hoole, the translator of Tasso.—ED.]

20 Frances Reynolds, the miniature painter—Sir Joshua’s sister—ED.]

21 Soame Jenyns was one of the most celebrated of the “old wits.” He was born in 1704; was for twenty-five years member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire; died in 1787. His principal works were “A Free Enquiry into the Origin of Evil,” and “A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion.” Boswell writes of him: “Jenyns was possessed of lively talents, and a style eminently pure and ‘easy’, and could very happily play with a light subject, either in prose or verse; but when he speculated on that most difficult and excruciating question, ‘The Origin of Evil,’ he ventured far beyond his depth, and, accordingly, was exposed by Johnson [in the ‘Literary Magazine’], both with acute argument and brilliant wit.”—ED.]

22 “Memoirs of Dr. Burney,” vol. iii. p. 169.]

23 Hester Mulso was born in 1727; she married, in 1760, an attorney named Chapone, who died within a year of the marriage. Among the many young ladies who surrounded and corresponded with Samuel Richardson, Hester was a first favourite. The great novelist’s letters to his “dear Miss Mulso” are very pleasant to read. Mrs. Chapone enjoyed considerable esteem as an authoress. Her “Letters on the Improvement of the Mind,” dedicated to Mrs. Montagu, went through several editions. We should like to praise them, but the truth must be owned—they are decidedly commonplace and “goody-goody.” Still, they are written in a spirit of tender earnestness, which raises our esteem for the writer, though it fails to reconcile us to the book. Mrs. Chapone died on Christmas-day, 1801.—ED.]

24 Truly said, “my dear Miss Mulso,” but if they cannot feel the wonderful charm and reality of “Clarissa” in the very first volume, they may as well leave it alone.—ED.]

25 In a corner of the nave of the quaint little church at Chesington is a large white marble tablet, marking the spot where Mr. Crisp lies buried. The following lines from the pen of Fanny’s father inscribed on it do not, it must be confessed, exhibit the doctor’s poetical talents by any means in a favourable light.

“In memory of SAMUEL CRISP, Esq., who died April 24, 1783, aged 76.

Reader, this cold and humble spot contains
The much lamented, much rever’d remains
Of one whose wisdom, learning, taste, and sense,
Good-humour’d wit and wide benevolence

Cheer’d and enlightened all this hamlet round,
Wherever genius, worth, or want was found.
To few it is that bounteous heav’n imparts
Such depth of knowledge, and such taste in arts

Such penetration, and enchanting pow’rs
Of brit’ning social and convivial hours.
Had he, through life, been blest by nature kind
With health robust of body as of mind,

With skill to serve and charm mankind, so great
In arts, in science, letters, church, or state,

His name the nation’s annals had enroll’d
And virtues to remotest ages told.”


[ Mr. Gibbon, “in stepping too lightly from, or to a boat of Mr. Cambridge’s, had slipt into the Thames; whence, however, he was intrepidly and immediately rescued, with no other mischief than a wet jacket, by one of that fearless, water-proof race, denominated, by Mr. Gibbon, the amphibious family of the Cambridges.” (“Memoir of Dr. Burney,” vol. ii. P. 341.)—ED.]

26 The “Essex Head” club, just founded by Dr. Johnson. The meetings were held thrice a week at the Essex Head, a tavern in Essex-street, Strand, kept by Samuel Greaves, an old servant of Mr. Thrale’s. Among the rule’s of the club, which were drawn up by Dr. Johnson, we find the following: “Every member present at the club shall spend at least sixpence; and every member who stays away shall forfeit threepence.” He ought to have added, “to be spent by the company in punch.” (See Goldsmith’s delightful essay on the London clubs.)—ED.]

27 The Lockes, of Norbury Park, Surrey, were friends of Fanny’s sister, Mrs. Phillips, and, subsequently, among the most constant and attached friends of Fanny herself.—ED.]

28 It must be borne in mind that the “Diary” is addressed to Fanny’s sister Susan (Mrs. Phillips),—ED.]

29 Mrs. Locke.—ED.]

30 Mrs. Phillips had lately gone to live at Boulogne for the benefit of her health.—ED.]

31 Mrs. Phillips returned in less than a twelvemonth from Boulogne, much recovered in health, and settled with her husband and family in a house at Mickleham, at the foot of Norbury Park.]

32 Fanny had called upon Dr. Johnson the same day, but he was too ill to see her.—ED.]

33 Sunday, December 12.—ED.]

34 Frank Barber, Dr. Johnson’s negro servant.——ED.]

35 Mary Bruce Strange, daughter of Sir Robert Strange, the celebrated engraver. She died, as Fanny tells us, on the same day with Dr. Johnson, December 13, 1784, aged thirty-five. The Stranges were old and very intimate friends of the Burneys—ED.]

36 Her brother—ED.]

Diary of French court


Madame Darblay

Author(s) and photography

Fanny Burney
Michael Koontz

To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

   Author page, Michael A Koontz
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Last Few Published Books and Articles

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 31, What´s up with that biceps, give us the lowdown.

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    Fitness School
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    Question number 31 in our School of Fitness.
    When we are talking and thinking about muscles and keeping fit, Biceps is not just one of the more iconic names in the world of fitness and the human anatomy, it is also a very visible muscle that truly pops on people that keep healthy fit. But where on your body can you actually locate your biceps muscle and more importantly is the name biceps only referring to one muscle or do we have more than one biceps on our body?
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  • A life of health & fitness. Life is a wondrous journey and this is a rough view of this years fitness journey ( the way I do it ).

    Quality time needed: 14 minutes

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    Every single day.
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    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    Fitness School
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    Fitness School
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    Question number 23 in our School of Fitness.
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  • The first day of 2018. A tiny micro-short story and the best fitness & health advice you will ever get in life. Let us kickstart 2018 and lay nothing but healthy fit days on the road ahead.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    The arrival of 2018
    And the best health & fitness advice you will ever get.
    Life in the Anthropocene, its just science baby, smiles, sweat and science :).

    Enjoy a healthy fit, and happy 2018 people, but before I start our shiny new year by giving you the single best health & fitness advice you´ll ever get in life, a tiny little micro-short story to welcome you to the rest of your life.
    "the dragon that climbed the world of ice"
    'I watched it climb
    the world of ice that towered us both
    its mighty tail stung the icy cavern beneath us, like a spear it was thrust into the chest of the icy mountain, sending splatter of man-sized ice blocks and snow that bled into the bottomless pit, while it drove its left and right limbs into the frosty mountain above us

    and slowly
    over the endless void of time

    the dragon climbed its way upward
    through a world of ice that tried to hold us captive

    we climbed
    endless step by endless step towards the moon and the stars to hunt them one by one'.

  • Life in the Anthropocene & saving the endangered Rhino. Kenyan ultra marathon providing the adventure of a lifetime and a world improving good cause.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Health & Fitness
    And the ultra marathon to save the Rhino.
    Life in the Anthropocene is all about our global and individual responsibility.

    And in some ways, I can not think about a much better and more current way to emphasize our individual and globally shared responsibility than the Kenyan Ultra Marathon taking place in 2018.
    It's like all the other sports competitions ever done about the individual responsibility to shape and form your ongoing life and fitness journey so that you can endure and conquer that particular challenge.
    But it is equally much a team effort, to better our planet and to save the Rhino.
    As such it serves as a proxy for our own health, and our modern day pollution, the local and global poverty, the gender and class-based inequality, the competition itself, and the endangered wildlife and all the species rapidly going extinct across the entire world.
    We are all responsible. Individually and globally.
    And in that spirit, this ultramarathon is not just about bringing together runners from all around the world, it is also a marathon to save the endangered Rhino from going extinct, and to better the entire world.

  • Naughty xmas poetry "There are secrets hiding, in the xmas tree" and a merry winter solstice to you guys.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes

    Winter solstice poetry
    a quality xmas
    and happy new year.

    Enjoy the rest of December people and make sure to allow yourselves and others the only gift truly worth something this xmas. And that is to breathe and exhale, relax and enjoy each and every moment.
    Do not suffocate each other or stress yourself out as you try in vain to achieve the perfect holiday, there is no such thing when it comes to the way we celebrate new years eve, winter solstice, xmas or whatever you call it.
    Chasing perfection and meaningless details are what kills that perfect day even before it starts. So just enjoy your day, yourself and each other the way you are.
    Have a good one and now, here is my perfect xmas in the shape of a naughty winter solstice poem ( and moment ) I am calling "There are secrets hiding, in the xmas tree", enjoy the read and the days ahead :).

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 18, will obesity increase my risk of developing Alzheimer?.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 18 in our School of Fitness.
    Obesity is no friend of any individuals longterm health. We all know that.
    But is cheering each other into obesity and being overweight also scientifically speaking, causing an increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer?.

  • Anthropocene: We have real global progress but also life diminishing quality for hundreds of million of people. Official UNICEF study.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes

    Global progress.
    And diminishing lives.
    Life in the Anthropocene.

    In a world of global progress in a lot of important aspects, we can never close our eyes to the simple fact that hundreds of millions of people around this beautiful world are witnessing how their lives are becoming increasingly worse.
    “In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”
    - Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research, and Policy.

  • Black Friday 20% off: fine art for the living room walls by yours truly.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes

    The art of living.
    Fine art for the living room walls by yours truly.
    Black Friday discount.

    You pick the size, the framing and whether you prefer the white margin or zero margins on your print and there you go, parcel on the way.
    Printing & shipping is handled by the Swedish fine art gallery Printler and they ship to all of Europe.
    And for Black Friday you´ll even get a 20% discount, valid until Monday 27 Nov.

  • 'At the bridge to Asgard, sprouts and roots grow the ever tree'. Here we live in the age of the Anthropocene.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    sprouts and roots
    A healthy you, is a healthy world.
    Life in the Anthropocene.

    'At the bridge to Asgard, sprouts and roots grow the ever tree' through the gates of life and death, and the turning of the Midgard snake.
    We walk beneath a starry sky, weaved by light and dark and obscured shades our eyes can not see.

    We melt and turn the tides of time, as we spill the soil between our fingers.
    It drips back down to where it came from, all while the ants and worms grow unseen layers of brand new soil.

  • Fitness & Health: 'Health at a Glance' is a European health report covering obesity around Europe in 2017.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes

    Health at a Glance
    A European health report 2017
    Fitness & Health.

    Health at a Glance is a European health report for 2017. And in it the United Kingdom is revealed to be Western Europes most obese nation.
    So, perhaps, fish and chips and beer just isnt the best of national food obsessions.
    Another important highlight that bounces right back at you is how obesity in the UK has increased by 92% since the 1990s ( it´s been increasing in every nation btw, but good ol England is leading the pack ).

    And since we also know by now that obesity & overweight is not just about a individual increase in body fat %, which would have been perfectly fine and all down to personal preferences in body composition and aesthetics, but instead is directly tied to a huge increase in several health issues, such as diabetes & cancer and severely decreased quality of life and longevity.

  • Anthropocene & the annual 'good country index' is back for its worldwide summary with the year 2017. And Scandinavia once again dominates.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes

    the good country index 2017
    Life beyond 2028.

    Sweden once again dominates the good country index, sort of making it an annual business as usual reveal in other words.
    Sweden is followed closely by another Scandinavian country, namely Denmark, which, is no real surprise, the Nordic nations can be found at the top of the world, year after year, after year in a long range of beneficial, quality of life metrics and studies.

  • 9 million annual deaths due to worldwide pollution in air, soil, water. Life in the Anthropocene.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes

    9 million
    annual deaths due to worldwide pollution
    The art of living.

    Every year the number of people that die prematurely due to worldwide pollution keep on increasing. And right now that pollution in water, soil, air, chemical or work-related pollution is already taking the life of 9 million people around the world.

    Let us think about that for one more second, every single year 9 million people end up dying prematurely due to the modern day pollution we all contribute to.

  • Health & Fitness science: Maintain healthy mitochondria through exercise-induced mitophagy.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    Health in muscles and heart.
    Life is your own art.

    New research once again showcases how exercise improves muscle health and, exercise capacity and how that positive mechanism with perpetual fitness regimes in the end greatly improves general health and longevity for each individual.
    Allowing continued fitness activity to become one of the finest predictors we have of general mortality and biological health and wellbeing in any given population and individual.
    This particular study was published in the journal Nature Communications and it digs deep down inside our bodies as it takes a long look at how exercise helps the body and mind keep healthy and strong by transforming and maintaining our body on a cellular level.

  • Anthropocene & the human health. Plastic litter in our salt, tap water, honey, fish & food. Land and soil and blood system.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    Plastic Litter
    Tap water, Sea salt & Food.
    Life in the Anthropocene.

    In Europe, 72% of all tap water contains 1.9 fibers of plastic litter per 500ml of water.
    That number increases to 94% of all tap water in the USA which contains 4.8 plastic litter fibers per 500ml of water. And worldwide 83% of all tap water contains plastic litter.
    But the issue of plastic contamination in our water is not just about tap water, nor is it, as we have previously talked about, only a concern with sea food. This is a growing man-made health issue which has been going on for a very long time and by now it is part of every aspect of society and our natural world.
    For instance, scientists found plastics in products in studies on Chinese Sea salt in 2015.

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