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woman's duties; that she should pass her whole life under the restraints of a paltry etiquette, should sometimes fast till she was ready to swoon with hunger, should sometimes stand till her knees gave way with fatigue; that she should not dare to speak or move without considering how her mistress might like her words and gestures. Instead of those distinguished men and women, the flower of all political parties, with whom she had been in the habit of mixing on terms of equal friendship, she was to have for her perpetual companion the chief keeper of the robes, an old hag from Germany, of mean understanding, of insolent manners, and of temper which, naturally savage, had now been exasperated by disease. Now and then, indeed, poor Frances might console herself for the loss of Burke's and Windham's society, by joining in the "celestial colloquy sublime" of his Majesty's Equerries.

And what was the consideration for which she was to sell herself to this slavery? A peerage in her own right? A pension of two thousand a year for life? A seventy-four for her brother in the navy? A deanery for her brother in the church? Not so. The price at which she was valued was her board, her lodging, the attendance of a man-servant, and two hundred pounds a year.

The man who, even when hard pressed by hunger, sells his birthright for a mess of pottage, is unwise. But what shall we say of him who parts with his birthright, and does not get even the pottage in return? It is not necessary to inquire whether opulence be an adequate compensation for the sacrifice of bodily and mental freedom; for Frances Burney paid for leave to be a prisoner and a menial. It was evidently understood as one of the terms of her engagement, that, while she was a member of the royal household, she was not to appear before the public as an author; and, even had there been no such understanding, her avocations were such as left her no leisure for any considerable intellectual effort. That her place was incompatible with her literary pursuits was indeed frankly acknowledged by the King when she resigned. "She has given up, he said, “five years of her pen." That during those five years she might, without painful exertion, without any exertion that would not have been a pleasure, have earned enough to buy an annuity for life much larger than the precarious salary which she received at Court, is quite certain. The same income, too, which

in Saint Martin's Street would have afforded her every comfort, must have been found scanty at Saint James's. We cannot venture to speak confidently of the price of millinery and jewellery; but we are greatly deceived if a lady, who had to attend Queen Charlotte on many public occasions, could possibly save a farthing out of a salary of two hundred a year. The principle of the arrangement was, in short, simply this, that Frances Burney should become a slave, and should be rewarded by being made a beggar.

With what object their Majesties brought her to their palace, we must own ourselves unable to conceive. Their object could not be to encourage her literary exertions; for they took her from a situation in which it was almost certain that she would write, and put her into a situation in which it was impossible for her to write. Their object could not be to promote her pecuniary interest; for they took her from a situation where she was likely to become rich, and put her into a situation in which she could not but continue poor. Their object could not be to obtain an eminently useful waiting-maid; for it is clear that, though Miss Burney was the only woman of her time who could have described the death of Harrel, thousands might have been found more expert in tying ribands and filling snuff-boxes. To grant her a pension on the civil list would have been an act of judicious liberality, honourable to the Court. If this was impracticable, the next best thing was to let her alone. That the King and Queen meant her nothing but kindness, we do not in the least doubt. But their kindness was the kindness of persons raised high above the mass of mankind, accustomed to be addressed with profound deference, accustomed to see all who approach them mortiñed by their coldness and elated by their smiles. They fancied that to be noticed by them, to be near them, to serve them, was in itself a kind of happiness; and that Frances Burney ought to be full of gratitude for being permitted to purchase, by the surrender of health, wealth, freedom, domestic affection, and literary fame, the privilege of standing behind a royal chair, and holding a pair of royal gloves.

And who can blame them? Who can wonder that princes should be under such a delusion, when they are encouraged in it

by the very persons who suffer from it most cruelly? Was it to be expected that George the Third and Queen Charlotte should understand the interest of Frances Burney better, or promote it with more zeal, than herself and her father? No deception was practised. The conditions of the house of bondage were set forth with all simplicity. The hook was presented without a bait; the net was spread in sight of the bird: and the naked hook was greedily swallowed, and the silly bird made haste to entangle herself in the net.

It is not strange indeed that an invitation to Court should have caused a fluttering in the bosom of an inexperienced young woman. But it was the duty of the parent to watch over the child, and to show her that on one side were only infantine vanities and chimerical hopes, on the other liberty, peace of mind, affluence, social enjoyments, honourable distinctions. Strange to say, the only hesitation was on the part of Frances. Dr. Burney was transported out of himself with delight. Not such are the raptures of a Circassian father who has sold his pretty daughter well to a Turkish slavemerchant. Yet Dr. Burney was an amiable man, a man of good abilities, a man who had seen much of the world. But he seems to have thought that going to Court was like going to heaven; that to see princes and princesses was a kind of beatific vision; that the exquisite felicity enjoyed by royal persons was not confined to themselves, but was communicated by some mysterious efflux or reflection to all who were suffered to stand at their toilettes, or to bear their trains. He overruled all his daughter's objections, and himself escorted her to her prison. The door closed. The key was turned. She, looking back with tender regret on all that she had left, and forward with anxiety and terror to the new life on which she was entering, was unable to speak or stand; and he went on his way homeward rejoicing in her marvellous prosperity. And now began a slavery of five years, of five years taken from the best part of life, and wasted in menial drudgery or in recreations duller than even menial drudgery, under galling restraints and amidst unfriendly or uninteresting companions. The history of an ordinary day was this. Miss Burney had to rise and dress herself early, that she might be ready to answer the royal bell, which rang at half after seven. Till about eight she attended in the Queen's

dressing-room, and had the honour of lacing her august mistress's stays, and of putting on the hoop, gown, and neckhandkerchief. The morning was chiefly spent in rummaging drawers and laying fine clothes in their proper places. Then the Queen was to be powdered and dressed for the day. Twice a week her Majesty's hair was curled and craped; and this operation appears to have added a full hour to the business of the toilette. It was generally three before Miss Burney was at liberty. Then she had two hours at her own disposal. To these hours we owe great part of her Diary. At five she had to attend her colleague, Madame Schwellenberg, a hateful old toadeater, as illiterate as a chambermaid, as proud as a whole German Chapter, rude, peevish, unable to bear solitude, unable to conduct herself with common decency in society. With this delightful associate, Frances Burney had to dine, and pass the evening. The pair generally remained together from five to eleven, and often had no other company the whole time, except during the hour from eight to nine, when the equerries came to tea. If poor Frances attempted to escape to her own apartment, and to forget her wretchedness over a book, the execrable old woman railed and stormed, and complained that she was neglected. Yet, when Frances stayed, she was constantly assailed with insolent reproaches. Literary fame was, in the eyes of the German crone, a blemish, a proof that the person who enjoyed it was meanly born, and out of the pale of good society. All her scanty stock of broken English was employed to express the contempt with which she regarded the author of Evelina and Cecilia. Frances detested cards, and indeed knew nothing about them; but she soon found that the least miserable way of passing an evening with Madame Schwellenberg was at the card-table, and consented, with patient sadness, to give hours, which might have called forth the laughter and the tears of many generations, to the king of clubs and the knave of spades. Between eleven and twelve the bell rang again. Miss Burney had to pass twenty minutes or half an hour in undressing the Queen, and was then at liberty to retire, and to dream that she was chatting with her brother by the quiet hearth in Saint Martin's Street, that she was the centre of an admiring assemblage at Mrs. Crewe's, that Burke was calling her the first woman of the age, or that Dilly was giving her a cheque for two thousand guineas.

Men, we must suppose, are less patient than women; for we are utterly at a loss to conceive how any human being could endure such a life, while there remained a vacant garret in Grub Street, a crossing in want of a sweeper, a parish work-house, or a parish vault. And it was for such a life that Frances Burney had given up liberty and peace, a happy fireside, attached friends, a wide and splendid circle of acquaintance, intellectual pursuits in which she was qualified to excel, and the sure hope of what to her would have been affluence.

There is nothing new under the sun. The last great master of Attic eloquence and Attic wit has left us a forcible and touching description of the misery of a man of letters, who, lured by hopes similar to those of Frances, had entered the service of one of the magnates of Rome. "Unhappy that I am," cries the victim of his own childish ambition: "would nothing content me but that I must leave mine old pursuits and mine old companions, and the life which was without care, and sleep which had no limits save mine own pleasure, and the walks which I was free to take where I listed, and fling myself into the lowest pit of a dungeon like this? And, O God! for what? Was there no way by which I might have enjoyed in freedom comforts even greater than those which I now earn by servitude? Like a lion which has been made so tame that men may lead him about by a thread, I am dragged up and down, with broken and humbled spirit, at the heels of those to whom, in mine own domain, I should have been an object of awe and wonder. And, worst of all, I feel that here I gain no credit, that here I give no pleasure. The talents and accomplishments, which charmed a far different circle, are here out of place. I am rude in the arts of palaces, and can ill bear comparison with those whose calling, from their youth up, has been to flatter and to sue. Have I, then, two lives, that, after I have wasted one in the service of others, there may yet remain to me a second, which I may live unto myself?"

Now and then, indeed, events occurred which disturbed the wretched monotony of Frances Burney's life. The Court moved from Kew to Windsor, and from Windsor back to Kew. One dull colonel went out of waiting, and another dull colonel came into waiting. An impertinent servant made a blunder about tea, and caused a misunderstanding between the gentlemen and the ladies.

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