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hat, though her life was at stake, she mustered | tempt for the lives of others where her own spirit to put the paper into the queen's hands. "I could not," so runs the Diary, "summon courage to present my memorial-my heart always failed me from seeing the queen's entire freedom from such an expectation. For though I was frequently so ill in her presence that I could hardly stand, I saw she concluded me, while life remained, inevitably hers."
At last with a trembling hand the paper was delivered. Then came the storm. Juno, as in the Eneid, delegated the work of vengeance to Alecto. The queen was calm and gentle; but Madame Schwellenberg raved like a maniac in the incurable ward of Bedlam. Such insolence! Such ingratitude! Such folly! Would Miss Burney bring utter destruction on herself and her family? Would she throw away the inestimable advantage of royal protection? Would she part with privileges which, once relinquished, could never be regained? It was idle to talk of health and life. If people could not live in the palace, the best thing that could befall them was to die in it. The resignation was not accepted. The language of the medical men became stronger and stronger. Dr. Burney's parental fears were fully roused; and he explicitly declared, in a letter meant to be shown to the queen, that his daughter must retire. The Schwellenberg raged like a wild-cat. "A scene almost horrible ensued," says Miss Burney. "She was too much enraged for disguise, and uttered the most furious expressions of indignant contempt at our proceedings. I am sure she would gladly have confined us both in the Bastile, had England such a misery, as a fit place to bring us to ourselves, from a daring so outrageous against imperial wishes." This passage deserves notice, as being the only one in the Diary, as far as we have observed, which shows Miss Burney to have been aware that she was a native of a free country, that she could not be pressed for a waiting-maid against her will, and that she had just as good a right to live, if she chose, in St. Martin's street, as Queen Charlotte had to live at St. James's.
The queen promised that, after the next birth-day, Miss Burney should be set at liberty. But the promise was ill kept; and her majesty showed displeasure at being reminded of it. At length Frances was informed that in a fortnight her attendance should cease. "I heard this," she says, "with a fearful presentiment I should surely never go through another fortnight, in so weak and languishing and painful a state of health. As the time of separation approached, the queen's cordiality rather diminished, and traces of internal displeasure appeared, sometimes arising from an opinion I ought rather to have struggled on, live or die, than to quit her. Yet I am sure she saw how poor was my own chance, except by a change in the mode of life, and at least ceased to wonder, though she could not approve." Sweet queen! What noble candour to admit that the undutifulness of people who did not think the honour of adjusting her tuckers worth the sacrifice of their own lives, was, though highly criminal, not altogether unnatural! We perfectly understand her majesty's con
pleasure was concerned. But what pleasure she can have found in having Miss Burney about her, it is not so easy to comprehend. That Miss Burney was an eminently skilful keeper of the robes is not very probable. Few wo men, indeed, had paid less attention to dress. Now and then, in the course of five years, she had been asked to read aloud or to write a copy of verses. But better readers might easily have been found: and her verses were worse than even the poet-laureate's birth-day odes. Perhaps that economy which was among her majesty's most conspicuous virtues, had something to do with her conduct on this occasion. Miss Burney had never hinted that she expected a retiring pension; and indeed would gladly have given the little that she had for freedom. But her majesty knew what the public thought, and what became her dignity. She could not for very shame suffer a woman of distinguished genius, who had quitted a lucrative career to wait on her, who had served her faithfully for a pittance during five years, and whose constitution had been impaired by labour and watching, to leave the court without some mark of royal liberality. George the Third, who, on all occasions where Miss Burney was concerned, seems to have behaved like an honest, good-natured gentleman, felt this, and said plainly that she was entitled to a provision. At length, in return for all the misery which she had undergone, and for the health which she had sacrificed, an annuity of one hundred pounds was granted to her, de pendent on the queen's pleasure.
Then the prison was opened, and Frances was free once more. Johnson, as Burke observed, might have added a striking page to his poem on the Vanity of Human Wishes, if he had lived to see his little Burney as she went into the palace and as she came out of it.
The pleasures, so long untasted, of liberty, of friendship, of domestic affection, were almost too acute for her shattered frame. But happy days and tranquil nights soon restored the health which the queen's toilette and Madame Schwellenberg's card-table had impaired. Kind and anxious faces surrounded the invalid. Conversation the most polished and brilliant revived her spirits. Travelling was recommended to her; and she rambled by easy journeys from cathedral to cathedral, and from watering-place to watering-place. She crossed the New Forest, and visited Stonehenge and Wilton, the cliffs of Lyme, and the beautiful valley of Sidmouth. Thence she journeyed by Powderham Castle, and by the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, to Bath, and from Bath when the winter was approaching, returned well and cheerful to London. There she visited her old dungeon, and found her successor already far on the way to the grave, and kept to strict duty, from morning till midnight, with a sprained ankle and a nervous fever.
At this time England swarmed with French exiles, driven from their country by the Revolution. A colony of these refugees settled a Juniper Hall, in Surrey, not far from Norbury Park, where Mr. Lock, an intimate friend of the Burney family resided. Frances visited
gration than Petion or Marat. But such a woman as Miss Burney could not long resist the fascination of that remarkable society. She had lived with Johnson and Windham, with Mrs. Montague and Mrs. Thrale. Yet she was forced to own that she had never heard conversation before. The most animated eloquence, the keenest observation, the most sparkling wit, the most courtly grace, were united to charm her. For Madame de Staël was there, and M. de Talleyrand. There, too, was M. de Narbonne, a noble representative of French aristocracy; and with M. de Narbonne was his friend and follower, General D'Arblay, an honourable and amiable man, with a handsome person, frank, soldier-like manners, and some taste for letters.
Norbury, and was introduced to the strangers. | countrymen of his wife. The First Consul, of She had strong prejudices against them; for course, would not hear of such a condition. her toryism was far beyond, we do not say that and ordered the general's commission to be inof Mr. Pitt, but that of Mr. Reeves; and the stantly revoked. inmates of Juniper Hall were all attached to the constitution of 1791, and were therefore more detested by the royalists of the first emi-out; and remained in France ten years, cut off from almost all intercourse with the land of her birth. At length, when Napoleon was on his march to Moscow, she with great difficulty ob tained from his ministers permission to visit her own country, in company with her son, who was a native of England. She returned in time to receive the last blessing of her father, who died in his eighty-seventh year. In 1814 she published her last novel, The Wanderer, a book which no judicious friend to her memory will attempt to draw from the oblivion into which it has justly fallen. In the same year her son Alexander was sent to Cambridge. He obtained an honourable place among the wran glers of his year, and was elected a fellow of Christ's College. But his reputation at the University was higher than might be inferred from his academical contests. His French education had not fitted him for the examinations of the Senate-House; but in pure mathe matics, we have been assured by some of his competitors that he had very few equals. He went into the church, and it was thought likely that he would attain high eminence as a preacher; but he died before his mother. All that we have heard of him leads us to believe that he was such a son as such a mother deserved to have. In 1832, Madame D'Arblay published the "Memoirs of her Father," and, on the 6th of January, 1840, she died, in her eighty-eighth year.
The prejudices which Frances had conceived against the constitutional royalists of France rapidly vanished. She listened with rapture to Talleyrand and Madame de Staël, joined with M. D'Arblay in execrating the Jacobins, and in weeping for the unhappy Bourbons, took French lessons from him, fell in love with him, and married him on no better provision than a precarious annuity of one hundred pounds.
Here the Diary stops for the present. We will, therefore, bring our narrative to a speedy close, by rapidly recounting the most imporfant events which we know to have befallen Madame D'Arblay during the latter part of her life.
M. D'Arblay's fortune had perished in the general wreck of the French Revolution; and in a foreign country his talents, whatever they may have been, could scarcely make him rich. The task of providing for the family devolved on his wife. In the year 1796, she published by subscription her third novel, Camilla. It was impatiently expected by the public; and the sum which she obtained by it was, we believe, greater than had ever at that time been received for a novel. We have heard that she cleared more than three thousand guineas. But we give this merely as a rumour. Camilla. however, never attained popularity like that which Evelina and Cecilia had enjoyed; and it must be allowed that there was a perceptible falling off, not indeed in humour, or in power of portraying character, but in grace and purity of style.
We have heard that, about this time, a tragedy by Madame D'Arblay was performed without success. We do not know whether it was ever printed; nor indeed have we had time to make any researches into its history or merits.
During the short time which followed the treaty of Amiens, M. D'Arblay visited France. Lauriston and La Fayette represented his claims to the French government, and obtained a promise that he should be reinstated in his military rank. M. D'Arblay, however, insisted that he should never be required to serve against the
Madame D'Arblay joined her husband at Paris a short time before the war of 103 broke
We now turn from the life of Madame D'Arblay to her writings. There can, we ap prehend, be little difference of opinion as to the nature of her merit, whatever differences may exist as to its degree. She was emphati cally what Johnson called her, a character monger. It was in the exhibition of human passions and whims that her strength lay; and in this department of art she had, we think, very distinguished skill.
But in order that we may, according to our duty as kings-at-arms, versed in the laws of literary precedence, marshal her to the exact seat in which she is entitled, we must carry one examination somewhat further.
There is, in one respect, a remarkable ana logy between the faces and the minds of men. No two faces are alike; and yet very few faces deviate very widely from the common standard Among the eighteen hundred thousand human beings who inhabit London, there is not one who could be taken by his acquaintance for another; yet we may walk from Paddington to Mile-end without seeing one person in whom any feature is so overcharged that we turn around to stare at it. An infinite number of varieties lies between limits which are not very far asunder. The specimens which pass those limits on either side, form a very small mino rity.
It is the same with the characters of men Here, too, the variety passes all enumeration. But the cases in which the deviation from the
common standard is striking and grotesque, are very few. In one mind avarice predominates; in another, pride; in a third, love of pleasure -just as in one countenance the nose is the most marked feature, while in others the chief expression lies in the brow, or in the lines of the mouth. But there are very few countenances in which nose, brow, and mouth do not contribute, though in unequal degrees, to the general effect; and so there are few characters in which one over-grown propensity makes all others utterly insignificant.
It is evident that a portrait-painter, who was able only to represent faces and figures such as those which we pay money to see at fairs, would not, however spirited his execution might be, take rank among the highest artists. He must always be placed below those who have the skill to seize peculiarities which do not amount to deformity. The slighter those peculiarities the greater is the merit of the limner who can catch them and transfer them to his canvass. To paint Daniel Lambert or the Living Skeleton, the Pig-faced lady or the Siamese Twins, so that nobody can mistake them, is an exploit within the reach of a signpainter. A third-rate artist might give us the squint of Wilkes, and the depressed nose and protuberant cheeks of Gibbon. It would require a much higher degree of skill to paint two such men as Mr. Canning and Sir Thomas Lawrence, so that nobody who had ever seen them could for a moment hesitate to assign each picture to its original. Here the mere caricaturist would be quite at fault. He would find in neither face any thing on which he could lay hold for the purpose of making a distinction. Two ample bald foreheads, two regular profiles, two full faces of the same oval form, would bafle his art; and he would be reduced to the miserable shift of writing their names at the foot of his picture. Yet there was a great difference; and a person who had seen them once, would no more have mistaken one of them for the other than he would have mistaken Mr. Pitt for Mr. Fox. But the difference lay in delicate lineaments and shades, reserved for pencils of a rare order.
This distinction runs through all the imitative arts. Foote's mimicry was exquisitely ludicrous, but it was all caricature. He could take off only some strange peculiarity, a stammer or a lisp, a Northumbrian burr or an Irish brogue, a stoop or a shuffle. "If a man," said Johnson," hops on one leg, Foote can hop on one leg." Garrick, on the other hand, could seize those differences of manner and pronunciation, which, though highly characteristic, are yet too slight to be described. Foote, we have no doubt, could have made the Haymarket theatre shake with laughter by imitating a dialogue between a Scotchman and a Somersetshireman. But Garrick could have imitated a dialogue between two fashionable men, both models of the best breeding, Lord Chesterfield for example, and Lord Albemarle; so that no person could doubt which was which, although no person could say that in any point either Lord Chesterfield or Lord Albemarle spoke or moved otherwise than in conformity with the usages of the best society.
The same distinction is found in the drama and in fictitious narrative. Highest among those who have exhibited human nature by means of dialogue, stands Shakspeare. His variety is like the variety of nature, endless diversity, scarcely any monstrosity. The characters of which he has given us an impression as vivid as that which we receive from the characters of our own associates, are to be reckoned by scores. Yet in all these scores hardly one character is to be found which deviates widely from the common standard, and which we should call very eccentric if we met it in real life.
The silly notion that every man has one ruling passion, and that this clue, once known, unravels all the mysteries of his conduct, finds no countenance in the plays of Shakspeare. There man appears as he is, made up of a crowd of passions, which contend for the mastery over him, and govern him in turn. What is Hamlet's ruling passion? Or Othello's? Or Harry the Fifth's? Or Wolsey's? Or Lear's ? Or Shylock's? Or Benedick's? Or Macbeth's? Or that of Cassius? Or that of Falconbridge? But we might go on for ever. Take a single example-Shylock. Is he so eager for money as to be indifferent to revenge! Or so eager for revenge as to be indifferent to money? Or so bent on both together as to be indifferent to the honour of his nation and the law of Moses? All his propensities are mingled with each other; so that, in trying to apportion to each its proper part, we find the same difficulty which constantly meets us in real life. A superficial critic may say, that hatred is Shylock's ruling passion. But how many passions have amalgamated to form that hatred? It is partly the result of wounded pride: Antonio has called him dog. It is partly the result of covetousness: Antonio has hindered him of half a million, and, when Antonio is gone, there will be no limit to the gains of usury. It is partly the result of national and religious feeling: Antonio has spit on the Jewish gaberdine; and the oath of revenge has been sworn by the Jewish Sabbath. We might go through all the characters which we have mentioned, and through fifty more in the same way; for it is the constant manner of Shakspeare to represent the human mind as lying, not under the absolute dominion of one domestic propensity, but under a mixed government, in which a hundred pow ers balance each other. Admirable as he was in all parts of his art, we most adinire him for this, that, while he has left us a greater number of striking portraits than all other dramatists put together, he has scarcely left us a single caricature.
Shakspeare has had neither equal nor second. But among the writers who, in the point which we have noticed, have approached nearest to the manner of the great master, we have no hesitation in placing Jane Austen, a woman of whom England is justly proud. She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace, all such as we meet every day. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminat ed from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings. There are, for example, four clergymen, none of whom we
should be surprised to find in any parsonage in out some allusion to the hoarding of money; the kingdom, Mr. Edward Ferrars, Mr. Henry or Mr. Hobson, without betraying the self-inTilney, Mr. Edmund Bertram, and Mr. Elton. dulgence and self-importance of a purse-proud They are all specimens of the upper part of the upstart; or Mr. Simkins, without uttering some middle class. They have all been liberally sneaking remark for the purpose of currying educated. They all lie under the restraints of favour with his customers; or Mr. Meadows, the same sacred profession. They are all without expressing apathy and weariness of young. They are all in love. Not one of them life; or Mr. Albany, without declaiming about has any hobby-horse, to use the phrase of the vices of the rich and the misery of the Sterne. Not one has a ruling passion, such as poor; or Mrs. Belfield, without some inde we read of in Pope. Who would not have ex- licate eulogy on her son; or Lady Margaret, pected them to be insipid likenesses of each without indicating jealousy of her husband other? No such thing. Harpagon is not more Morrice is all skipping, officious impertinence, unlike to Jourdain, Joseph Surface is not more Mr. Gosport all sarcasm, Lady Honoria all unlike to Sir Lucius O'Trigger, than every one lively prattle, Miss Larolles all silly prattle. of Miss Austen's young divines to all his re- If ever Madame D'Arblay aimed at more, as in verend brethren. And almost all this is done the character of Monckton, we do not think by touches so delicate, that they elude analysis, that she succeeded well. that they defy the powers of description, and that we know them to exist only by the general effect to which they have contributed.
A line must be drawn, we conceive, between artists of this class, and those poets and novelists whose skill lies in the exhibiting of what Ben Jonson called humours. The words of Ben are so much to the purpose, that we will quote them:—
"When some one peculiar quality
Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw
We are, therefore, forced to refuse Madame D'Arblay a place in the highest rank of art; but we cannot deny that, in the rank to which she belonged, she had few equals, and scarcely any superior. The variety of humours which is to be found in her novels is immense; and though the talk of each person separately is monotonous, the general effect is not monotony, but a very lively and agreeable diversity. Her plots are rudely constructed and improbable, if we consider them in themselves. But they are admirably framed for the purpose of ex hibiting striking groups of eccentric characters, each governed by his own peculiar whim, each talking his own peculiar jargon, and each bringing out by opposition the peculiar oddiWe will give one examties of all the rest. ple out of many which occur to us. bability is violated in order to bring Mr. Del But when we have vile, Mr. Briggs, Mr. Hobson, and Mr. Albany into a room together. them there, we soon forget probability in the exquisitely ludicrous effect which is produced by the conflict of four old fools, each raging with a monomania of his own, each talking a dialect of his own, and each inflaming all the others anew every time he opens his mouth.
Madame D'Arblay was most successful in comedy, and indeed in comedy which bordered on farce. But we are inclined to infer from some passages, both in Cecilia and Camilla, that she might have attained equal distinction in the pathetic. We have formed this judg ment less from those ambitious scenes of dis tress which lie near the catastrophe of each of those novels than from some exquisite strokes of natural tenderness which take us here and, there by surprise. We would mention as ex amples, Mrs. Hill's account of her little boy's death in Cecilia, and the parting of Sir Hugh Tyrold and Camilla, when the honest baronet thinks himself dying.
There are undoubtedly persons, in whom humours such as Ben describes have attained a complete ascendency. The avarice of Elwes, the insane desire of Sir Egerton Brydges for a barony to which he had no more right than to the crown of Spain, the malevolence which long meditation on imaginary wrongs generated in the gloomy mind of Bellingham, are instances. The feeling which animated Clarkson and other virtuous men against the slavetrade and slavery, is an instance of a more honourable kind.
Seeing that such humours exist, we cannot deny that they are proper subjects for the imitations of art. But we conceive that the imitation of such humours, however skilful and amusing, is not an achievement of the highest order; and, as such humours are rare in real life, they ought, we conceive, to be sparingly introduced into works which profess to be pictures of real life. Nevertheless, a writer may show so much genius in the exhibition of these humours, as to be fairly entitled to a distinguished and permanent rank among classics. The chief seats of all, however, the places on the dais and under the canopy, are reserved for the few who have excelled in the difficult art of portraying characters in which no single feature is extravagantly overcharged.
If we have expounded the law soundly, we can have no difficulty in applying it to the particular case before us. Madame D'Arblay has left us scarcely any thing but humours. Almost every one of her men and women has some one propensity developed to a morbid degree. In Cecilia, for example, Mr. Delvile never opens his lips without some allusion to his own birth and station; or Mr. Briggs, with
It is melancholy to think that the whole fame of Madame D'Arblay rests on what she did dur ing the early half of her life, and that every thing which she published during the fort three years which preceded her death, lowered her reputation. Yet we have no reason to think that at the time when her faculties caght to have been in their maturity, they were smitten with any blight. In the Wanderer, we catch now and then a gleam of her genius. Even i the Memoirs of her Father, there is no trace of
dotage. They are very bad; but they are so, as it seems to us, not from a decay of power, but from a total perversion of power.
The truth is, that Madame D'Arblay's style underwent a gradual and most pernicious change-a change which, in degree at least, we believe to be unexampled in literary history, and of which it may be useful to trace the progress.
When she wrote her letters to Mr. Crisp, her early journals, and the novel of Evelina, her style was not indeed brilliant or energetic; but it was easy, clear, and free from all offensive faults. When she wrote Cecilia she aimed higher. She had then lived much in a circle of which Johnson was the centre; and she was herself one of his most submissive wor shippers. It seems never to have crossed her mind that the style even of his best writings was by no means faultless, and that even had it been faultless, it might not be wise in her to imitate it. Phraseology which is proper in a disquisition on the Unities, or in a preface to a dictionary, may be quite out of place in a tale of fashionable life. Old gentlemen do not criti-familiar. cise the reigning modes, nor do young gentlemen make love with the balanced epithets and sonorous cadences which, on occasions of great dignity, a skilful writer may use with happy effect.
In an evil hour the authoress of Evelina took the Rambler for her model. This would not have been wise even if she could have imitated her pattern as well as Hawkesworth did. But such imitation was beyond her power. She had her own style. It was a tolerably good one; one which might, without any violent change, have been improved into a very good She determined to throw it away, and to adopt a style in which she could attain excellence only by achieving an almost miraculous victory over nature and over habit. She could cease to be Fanny Burney; it was not so easy to become Samuel Johnson.
In Cecilia the change of manner began to appear. But in Cecilia the imitation of Johnson, though not always in the best taste, is sometimes eminently happy; and the passages which are so verbose as to be positively offensive, are few. There were people who whispered that Johnson had assisted his young friend, and that the novel owed all its finest passages to his hand. This was merely a fabrication of envy. Miss Burney's real excellences were as much beyond the reach of Johnson as his real excellences were beyond her reach. He could no more have written the masquerade scene, or the Vauxhall scene, than she could have written the Life of Cowley or the Review of Soame Jenyns. But we have not the smallest doubt that he revised Cecilia, and that he retouched the style of many passages. We know that he was in the habit of giving assistance of this kind most freely. Goldsmith, Hawkesworth, Boswell, Lord Hailes, Mrs. Williams, were among those who obtained his help. Nay, he even corrected the poetry of Mr. Crabbe, whom, we believe, he had never seen. When Miss Burney thought of writing a comedy, he promised to give her his best counsel, though he owned that he was not
particularly well qualified to advise on matters
When next Madame D'Arblay appeared be-
But there was to be a still deeper descent. After the publication of Camilla, Madame D'Arblay resided ten years at Paris. During those years there was scarcely any intercourse between France and England. It was with difficulty that a short letter could occasionally be transmitted. All Madame D'Arblay's com panions were French. She must have written, spoken, thought, in French. Ovid expressed his fear that a shorter exile might have affected the purity of his Latin. During a shorter exile, Gibbon unlearned his native English. Madame D'Arblay had carried a bad style to France. She brought back a style which we are really at a loss to describe. It is a sort of broken Johnsonese, a barbarous patois, bearing the same relation to the language of Rasselas which the gibberish of the negroes of Jamaica bears to the English of the House of Lords. Sometimes it reminds us of the finest, that is to say, the vilest parts, of Mr. Galt's novels; sometimes of the perorations of Exeter Hall; sometimes of the leading articles of the Morning Post. But it most resembles the puffs of Mr. Rowland and Dr. Gross. It matters rot what ideas are clothed in such a style. The genius of Shakspeare and Bacon united would not save a work so written from general derision.
It is only by means of specimens that we can enable our readers to judge how widely Madame D'Arblay's three styles differ from each other.
The following passage was written before she became intimate with Johnson. It is from Evelina:
"His son seems weaker in his understand. ing, and more gay in his temper; but his gayety is that of the foolish overgrown schoolboy, whose mirth consists in noise and disturbance. He disdains his father for his close attention to business and love of money, though he seems himself to have no talents, spirit, or generosity to make him superior to either. His chief de light appears to be in tormenting and ridiculing his sisters, who in return most cordially de