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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 into 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.
And who can blame them? Who can won
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 mortified 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 grati tude for being permitted to purchase, by the The man who, even when hard pressed by surrender of health, wealth, freedom, domestic hunger, sells his birthright for a mess of pot-affection, and literary fame, the privilege of tage, is unwise. But what shall we say of him standing behind a royal chair, and holding a who parts with his birthright, and does not get pair of royal gloves. even the pottage in return? It is not necessary to inquire whether opulence be an ade-der that princes should be under such a dela quate 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 St. Martin's Street would have afforded her every comfort, must have been found scanty at St. James's. We cannot venture to speak confidently of the price of millinery and jew-out of himself with delight. Not such are the ellery; 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.
sion, 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 berself in the net.
It is not strange, indeed, that an invitation to court should have caused a fluttering in the bosom of an inexperienced woman. But it was the duty of the parent to watch over the child, and to show her that on the 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
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 exqui site 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, of 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 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.
For 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 And now began a slavery of five years, of Burney was the only woman of her time who five years taken from the best part of life, and could have described the death of Harrel, thou- wasted in menial drudgery, or in recreations sands might have been found more expert in duller than even menial drudgery, under gall tying ribbors and filling snuff-boxes. To granting restraints and amid unfriendly or uninter
esting 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 rung 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 neck-handkerchief. 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 toad-eater, as illiterate as a chamber-maid, 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 execracle 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 authoress of Evelina and Cecilia. Frances detested cards, and indeed knew nothing about them, but she soon found 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 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 undressing the queen, and was then at liberty to retire, and dream that she was chatting with her brother by the quiet hearth in St. 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 ner a check 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 Grubb Street, a crossing in want of a sweeper, a parish workhouse, 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 the sleep which had no limit 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? Is this the bait which enticed me? 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 with a thread, I am dragged up and down, with broken and humbled spirit, at the heels of those to whom, in my 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. A half-witted French Protestant minister talked oddly about conjugal fidelity. An unlucky member of the household mentioned a passage in the Morning Herald reflecting on the queen, and forthwith Madame Schwellenberg began to storm in bad English, and told him that he had made her "what you call perspire!"
A more important occurrence was the royal visit to Oxford. Miss Burney went in the queen's train to Nuneham, was utterly neg lected there in the crowd, and could with difficulty find a servant to show the way to her bed-room, or a hair-dresser to arrange her curls. She had the honour of entering Oxford in the last of a long string of carriages which formed the royal-procession, of walking after the queen all day through refectories and chapels, and of standing half dead with fatigue and hunger, while her august mistress was seated at an excellent cold collation. At Mag dalene College, Frances was left for a moment in a parlour, where she sank down on a chair A good-natured equerry saw that she vas ex hausted, and shared with her some apricots
and suavity of her ordinary deportment. She shudders when Burke enters the Hall at the head of the Commons. She pronounces him the cruel oppressor of an innocent man. She is at a loss to conceive how the managers can look at the defendant, and not blush. Wind
offer her refreshment. "But," says she, "I could not break bread with him." Then, again, she exclaims-“ Ah, Mr. Windham, how came you ever engaged in so cruel, so unjust a cause?" "Mr. Burke saw me," she says,
and bread, which he had wisely put into his Hastings with a presumptuous vehemence and pockets. At that moment the door opened; acrimony quite inconsistent with the modesty the queen entered; the wearied attendants sprang up; the bread and fruit were hastily concealed. "I found,” says poor Miss Burney, that our appetites were to be supposed annihilated, at the same moment that our strength was to be invincible." Yet Oxford, seen even under such disadvan-ham comes to her from the manager's box to tages, "revived in her," to use her own words, "a consciousness to pleasure which had long lain nearly dormant." She forgot, during one moment, that she was a waiting-maid, and felt as a woman of true genius might be expected to feel amid venerable remains of antiquity," and he bowed with the most marked civility beautiful works of art, vast repositories of of manner." This, be it observed, was just knowledge, and memorials of the illustrious after his opening speech, a speech which had dead. Had she still been what she was before produced a mighty effect, and which certainly her father induced her to take the most fatal no other orator that ever lived could have step of her life, we can easily imagine what made. "My curtsy," she continues, "was the pleasure she would have derived from a visit most ungrateful, distant, and cold; I could not to the noblest of English cities. She might, do otherwise; so hurt I felt to see him at the indeed, have been forced to travel in a hack-head of such a cause." Now, not only had chaise, and might not have worn so fine a gown of Chambery gauze as that in which she tottered after the royal party; but with what delight would she then have paced the cloisters of Magdalene, compared the antique gloom of Merton with the splendour of Christ Church, and looked down from the dome of the Radcliffe Library on the magnificent sea of turrets and battlements below! How gladly would learned men have laid aside for a few hours Pindar's Odes and Aristotle's ethics to escort the authoress of Cecilia from college to college? What neat little banquets would she have found set out in their monastic cells? With what eagerness would pictures, medals, and illuminated missals have been brought forth from the most mysterious cabinets for her amusement? How much she would have had to hear and to tell about Johnson as she walked over Pembroke, and about Reynolds in the ante-chapel of New College! But these indulgences were not for one who had sold herself into bondage.
About eighteen months after the visit to Oxford, another event diversified the wearisome life which Frances led at court. Warren Hastings was brought to the bar of the House of Peers. The queen and princesses were present when the trial commenced, and Miss Burney was permitted to attend. During the subsequent proceedings a day-rule for the same purpose was occasionally granted to her; for the queen took the strongest interest in the trial, and, when she could not go herself to Westminster Hall, liked to receive a report of what passed from a person who had singular powers of observation, and who was, moreover, personally acquainted with some of the most distinguished managers. The portion of the Diary which relates to this celebrated proceeding is lively and picturesque. Yet we read it, we own, with pain; for it seems to us to prove that the fine understanding of Frances Burney was beginning to feel the pernicious influence of a mode of life which is as incoinpatible with health of mind as the air of the Pomptine marshes is with health of body. From the first day she espouses the cause of
Burke treated her with constant kindness, but the very last act which he performed on the day on which he was turned out of the Pay Office, about four years before this trial, was to make Dr. Burney organist of Chelsea Hos pital. When, at the Westminster election, Dr. Burney was divided between his gratitude for this favour and his tory opinions, Burke in the noblest manner disclaimed all right to exact a sacrifice of principle. 64 You have little or no obligations to me," he wrote; but if you had as many as I really wish it were in my power, as it certainly is my desire, to lay on you, I hope you do not think me capable of confer ring them, in order to subject your mind or your affairs to a painful and mischievous ser vitude." Was this a man to be uncivilly treated by a daughter of Dr. Burney, because she chose to differ from him respecting a vast and most complicated question, which he had stu died deeply during many years, and which she had never studied at all? It is clear from Miss Burney's own statement, that when she be haved so unkindly to Mr. Burke, she did not even know of what Hastings was accused One thing, however, she must have known, that Burke had been able to convince a House of Commons, bitterly prejudiced against him, that the charges were well-founded; and that Pitt and Dundas had concurred with Fox and Sheridan in supporting the impeachment. Surely a woman of far inferior abilities to Miss Burney might have been expected to see that this never could have happened unless there had been a strong case against the late governor-general. And there was, as all rea sonable meu now admit, a strong case against him. That there were great public services to be set off against his great crimes, is perfectly true. But his services and his crimes were equally unknown to the lady who so confidently asserted his perfect innocence, and imputed to his accusers, that is to say, to all the greatest men of all parties in the state, not merely error, but gross injustice and barbarity.
She had, it is true, occasionally seen Mr. Hastings, and had found his manners and con versation agreeable. But surely she could not
be so weak as to infer from the gentleness of his deportment in a drawing-room that he was incapable of committing a great state crime, under the influence of ambition and revenge. A silly Miss, fresh from a boarding-school, might fall into such a mistake; but the woman who had drawn the character of Mr. Monckton should have known better.
would certainly have been rejected. We see, therefore, that the loyalty of the minister, who was then generally regarded as the most heroic champion of his prince, was lukewarm, indeed, when compared with the boiling zeal which filled the pages of the back-stairs and the women of the bed-chamber. Of the regency bill, Pitt's own bill, Miss Burney speaks with hor. The truth is, that she had been too long at ror. "I shuddered," she says, "to hear it court. She was sinking into a slavery worse named." And again-"O, how dreadful will than that of the body. The iron was beginning be the day when that unhappy bill takes place' to enter into the soul. Accustomed during I cannot approve the plan of it." The truth many months to watch the eye of a mistress, is, that Mr. Pitt, whether a wise and upright to receive with boundless gratitude the slightest statesman or not, was a statesman; and whatmark of royal condescension, to feel wretched ever motives he might have for imposing reat every symptom of royal displeasure, to asso- strictions on the regent, felt that in some way ciate only with spirits long tamed and broken or other there must be some provision made in, she was degenerating into something fit for for the execution of some part of the kingly her place. Queen Charlotte was a violent par- office, or that no government would be left in tisan of Hastings; had received presents from the country. But this was a matter of which him, and had so far departed from the severity the household never thought. It never occurred, of her virtue as to lend her countenance to his as far as we can see, to the exons and keepers wife, whose conduct had certainly been as re- of the robes, that it was necessary that there prehensible as that of any of the frail beauties should be somewhere or other a power in the who were then rigidly excluded from the Eng- state to pass laws, to preserve order, to pardon lish court. The king, it was well known, criminals, to fill up offices, to negotiate with took the same side. To the king and queen foreign governments, to command the army all the members of the household looked sub- and navy. Nay, these enlightened politicians, missively for guidance. The impeachment, and Miss Burney among the rest, seem to have therefore, was an atrocious persecution; the thought that any person who considered the managers were rascals; the defendant was the subject with reference to the public interest, most deserving and the worst used man in the showed himself to be a bad-hearted man. Nokingdom. This was the cant of the whole body wonders at this in a gentleman-usher; palace, from gold stick in waiting, down to the but it is melancholy to see genius sinking into table-deckers and yeomen of the silver scul- such debasement. lery; and Miss Burney canted like the rest, though in livelier tones, and with less bitter feelings.
During more than two years after the king's recovery, Frances dragged on a miserable existence at the palace. The consolations which The account which she has given of the had for a time mitigated the wretchedness of king's illness, contains much excellent narra-servitude, were one by one withdrawn. Mrs. tive and description, and will, we think, be Delany, whose society had been a great remore valued by the historians of a future age source when the court was at Windsor, was than any equal portion of Pepy's or Evelyn's now dead. One of the gentlemen at the royal Diaries. That account shows, also, how affec-establishment, Colonel Digby, appears to have tionate and compassionate her nature was. been a man of sense, of taste, of some readBut it shows also, we must say, that her waying, and of prepossessing manners. Agreeable of life was rapidly impairing her powers of reasoning, and her sense of justice. We do not mean to discuss, in this place, the question, whether the views of Mr. Pitt or those of Mr. Fox respecting the regency were the more correct. It is, indeed, quite needless to discuss that question for the censure of Miss Burney | falls alike on Pitt and Fox, on majority and minority. She is angry with the House of Commons for presuming to inquire whether the king was mad or not, and whether there was a chance of him recovering his senses. "A melancholy day," she writes; "news bad both at home and abroad. At home the dear unhappy king still worse; abroad new examinations voted of the physicians. Good heavens! what an insult does this seem from parliamentary power, to investigate and bring forth to the world every circumstance of such a malady as is ever held sacred to secrecy in the most private families! How indignant we all feel here no words can say." It is proper to observe, that the motion which roused all this indignation at Kew was made by Mr. Pitt himself; and that, if withstood by Mr. Pitt, it VOL. V.-74
associates were scarce in the prison-house, and he and Miss Burney were therefore naturally attached to each other. She owns that she valued him as a friend; and it would not have been strange if his attentions had led her to entertain for him a sentiment warmer than friendship. He quitted the court, and married in a way which astonished Miss Burney greatly, and which evidently wounded her feelings, and lowered him more in her esteem. The palace grew duller and duller; Madame Schwellen berg became more and more savage and inso lent. And now the health of poor Frances began to give way; and all who saw her pale face, her emaciated figure, and her feeble walk, predicted that her sufferings would soon be over.
Frances uniformly speaks of her royal mistress and of the princesses with respect and affection. The princesses seem to have well deserved all the praise which is bestowed on them in the Diary. They were, we doubt not, most amiable women. But "the sweet queen," as she is constantly called in these volumes, is not by any means an object of admiration to us. She had undoubtedly sense enough to
know what kind of deportment suited her high he certainly got nothing. Miss Burney had station, and self-command enough to maintain been hired for board, lodging, and two hundred that deportment invariably. She was, in her a year. Board, lodging, and two hundred a intercourse with Miss Burney, generally gra- year she had duly received. We have looked cious and affable, sometimes, when displeased, carefully through the Diary, in the hope of cold and reserved, but never, under any cir- finding some trace of those extraordinary be cumstances, rude, peevish, or violent. She nefactions on which the doctor reckoned. But knew how to dispense, gracefully and skillfully, we can discover only a promise, never per those little civilities which, when paid by a formed, of a gown; and for this promise Miss sovereign, are prized at many times their in- Burney was expected to return thanks such as trinsic value; how to pay a compliment; how might have suited the beggar with whom St. to lend a book; how to ask after a relation. Martin, in the legend, divided his cloak. The But she seems to have been utterly regardless experience of four years was, however, insuffi of the comfort, the health, the life of her at- cient to dispel the illusion which had taken tendants, when her own convenience was con- possession of the doctor's mind; and between cerned. Weak, feverish, hardly able to stand, the dear father and the sweet queen there Frances had still to rise before seven, in order seemed to be little doubt that some day or other to dress the sweet queen, and sit up till mid- Frances would drop down a corpse. Six night, in order to undress the sweet queen. months had elapsed since the interview be The indisposition of the handmaid could not, tween the parent and the daughter. The resig and did not, escape the notice of her royal nation was not sent in. The sufferer grew mistress. But the established doctrine of the worse and worse. She took bark; but it soon court was, that all sickness was to be con- ceased to produce a beneficial effect. She was sidered as a pretence until it proved fatal. The stimulated with wine; she was soothed with only way in which the invalid could clear her- opium, but in vain. Her breath began to fail. self from suspicion of malingering, as it is The whisper that she was in a decline spread called in the army, was to go on lacing and through the court. The pains in her side be unlacing till she dropped down dead at the came so severe that she was forced to crawl royal feet. "This," Miss Burney wrote, when from the card-table of the old fury to whom she was suffering cruelly from sickness, watch- she was tethered, three or four times in an ing, and labour, "is by no means from hardness evening, for the purpose of taking hartshorn of heart; far otherwise. There is no hardness Had she been a negro slave, a humane planter of heart in any one of them; but it is preju- would have excused her from work. But her dice, and want of personal experience." majesty showed no mercy. Thrice a day the accursed bell still rang; the queen was still to be dressed for the morning at seven, and to be dressed for the day at noon, and to be undressed at eleven at night.
Many strangers sympathized with the bodily and mental sufferings of this distinguished woman. All who saw her saw that her frame was sinking, that her heart was breaking. The last, it should seem, to observe the change was her father. At length, in spite of himself, his eyes were opened. In May 1790, his daughter had an interview of three hours with him, the only long interview which they had since he took her to Windsor in 1786. She told him that she was miserable, that she was worn with attendance and want of sleep, that she had no comfort in life, nothing to love, nothing to hope, that her family and friends were to her as though they were not, and were remembered by her as men remember the dead. From daybreak to midnight the same killing labour, the same recreations, more hateful than labour itself, followed each other without variety, without any interval of liberty and repose.
The doctor was greatly dejected by this news; but was too good-natured a man not to say that, if she wished to resign, his house and arms were open to her. Still, however, he could not bear to remove her from the court. His veneration for royalty amounted, in truth, to idolatry. It can be compared only to the grovelling superstition of those Syrian devotees who made their children pass through the fire to Moloch. When he induced his daughter to accept the place of keeper of the robes, he entertained, as she tells us, a hope that some worldly advantage or other, not set down in the contract of service, would be the result of her connection wit.. the court. What advantage he expected we do not know, nor did he probably know himself. But, whatever he expected,
But there had arisen in literary and fashionable society, a general feeling of compassion for Miss Burney, and of indignation both against her father and the queen. "Is it pos sible," said a great French lady to the doctor, "that your daughter is in a situation where she is never allowed a holiday?" Horace Wal pole wrote to Frances to express his sympathy. Boswell, boiling over with good-natured rage, almost forced an entrance into the palace to see her. "My dear ma'am, why do you stay! It won't do, ma'am; you must resign. We can put up with it no longer. Some very violent measures, I assure you, will be taken. We shall address Dr. Burney in a body.” Burke and Reynolds, though less noisy, were zealous in the same cause. Windham spoke to Dr. Burney; but found him still irresolute. “I will set the Literary Club upon him,” cried Windham, "Miss Burney has some very true admirers there, and I am sure they will eagerly assist." Indeed, the Burney family seems to have been apprehensive that some public affront, such as the doctor's unpardonable folly, to use the mildest term, had richly deserved, would be put upon him. The medical men spoke out, and plainly told him that his daugh ter must resign or die.
At last paternal affection, medical authority, and the voice of all London crying shame, triumphed over Dr. Burney's love of courts. He determined that Frances should write a letter of resignation. It was with difficulty