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know what kind of deportment suited her high station, and self-command enough to maintain that deportment invariably. She was, in her intercourse with Miss Burney, generally gracious and affable, sometimes, when displeased, cold and reserved, but never, under any circumstances, rude, peevish, or violent. She knew how to dispense, gracefully and skillfully, those little civilities which, when paid by a sovereign, are prized at many times their intrinsic value; how to pay a compliment; how to lend a book; how to ask after a relation. But she seems to have been utterly regardless of the comfort, the health, the life of her attendants, when her own convenience was concerned. Weak, feverish, hardly able to stand, Frances had still to rise before seven, in order to dress the sweet queen, and sit up till midnight, in order to undress the sweet queen. The indisposition of the handmaid could not, and did not, escape the notice of her royal mistress. But the established doctrine of the court was, that all sickness was to be considered as a pretence until it proved fatal. The only way in which the invalid could clear herself from suspicion of malingering, as it is called in the arm)', was to go on lacing and unlacing till she dropped down dead at the royal feet. "This," Miss Burney wrote, when she was suffering cruelly from sickness, watching, and labour, " is by no means from hardness jfheart; far otherwise. There is ho hardness of heart in any one of them; but it is prejudice, and want of personal experience."
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 t.ould 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 Tiontract of service, would be the result of her connection wifc. the court. What advantage he expected we do not know, nor did he probacy know himself. But, whatever he expected,
he certainly got nothing. Miss Burney had been hired for board, lodging, and two hundred a year. Board, lodging, and two hundred a year she had duly received. We have looked carefully through the Diary, in the. hope of finding some trace of those extraordinary benefactions on which the doctor reckoned. But we can discover only a promise, never performed, of a gown; and for this promise Miss Burney was expected to return thanks such as might have suited the beggar with whom St. Martin, in the legend, divided his cloak. The experience of four years was, however, insufficient to dispel the illusion which had taken possession of the doctor's mind; and between the dear father and the sweet queen there seemed to be little doubt that some day or other Frances would drop down a corpse. Six months had elapsed since the interview between the parent and the daughter. The resignation was not sent in. The sufferer grew worse and worse. She took bark; but it soon ceased to produce a beneficial effect. She was stimulated with wine; she was soothed with opium, but in vain. Her breath began to fail. The whisper that she was in a decline spread through the court. The pains in her side became so severe that she was forced to crawl from the card-table of the old fury to whom she was tethered, three or.four times in an evening, for the purpose of taking hartshorn. Had she been a negro slave, a humane planter would have excused her from work. But her 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.
But there had arisen in literary and fashionable society, a general feejing of compassion for Miss Burney, and of indignation both against her father and the queen. "Is it possible," said a great French lady to the doctor, "that your daughter is in a situation where slid is never allowed a holiday?" Horace Walpole 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 stajr 1 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. Wrindham spoke to Dr. Burney; but found him still irresolute. "I will set Vie 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 daughter must resign or die.
At last paternal affectiou, 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 Aat, though her lift was at slake, she mustered 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 Moeid, 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 t 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 |jer 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 timeoTseparation 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
tempt for the lives of others where her own 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 women, 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 eppy 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. 8he 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 10 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 &P Juniper Hall, in Surrey, not far from Norbury Park, where Mr. Lock, an intimate friend of the Burney family resided. Frances visited
Norbury, and was introduced to the strangers. She had strong prejudices against them; for her toryism was far beyond, we do not say that of Mr. Pitt, but that of Mr. Reeves; and the inmates of Juniper Hall were all attached to the constitution of 1791, and were therefore more detested by the royalists of the first emi. 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 Stac'l 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 per? jn, frank, soldier-like manners, and some taste for letters.
The prejudices which Frances had conceived against the constitutional royalists of France rapidly vanished. She listened with rapture to Talleyrand and Madame de Stacl, 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 important 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. Lauristonand La Fayette represented hisclaims to the French government, and obtained a promise that he should be reinstated in his military rank. M. D'Arblay, however, insisted that he Ruoum never be required to serve against the
countrymen of his wife. The First Consul, of course, would not hear of such a conditioa* and ordered the general's commission to be instantly revoked.
Madame D'Arblay joined her husband at Paris a short time before the war of lb03 broke out; and remained in France ten years, cut off from almost all intercourse wiih the land of her birth. At length, when Napoleotl was on his march to Moscow, she with great difficulty obtained from his ministers permission to visit her own country, in company with her son, who was a native of England. She re'turned 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 wranglers 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 mathematics, 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.
We now turn from the life of Madame D'Arblay to her writings. There can, we apprehend, be little difference of opinion as to the nature of her merit, whatever differences may exist as to its degree. She was emphatically 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 our examination somewhat further.
There is, in one respect, a remarkable analogy 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 minority.
It is the same with the characters of men. Here, too, the variety passes all enumeration But the cases in which the deviation from tht common standard is striking and grotesque, are very few. In one^mind avarice predominates; in anoiher, 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 pf the mouth. But there are very few countenances in which nose, brow, and month 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 whirh we pay money to see at fairs, would not, however spirited his execution might be, take rank among the highest arlists. 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 SirThumas 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 baffle 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 hurr 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 teize those differences of manner and pronunciation, which, though highly characteristic, are yet too slight to be described. Foote, we have no doubt, could hare made the Haymarket theatre shake with laughter by imitating a dialogue between a Scotchman and a 8omersetshireman. But Garrick could have imitated a dialogue between two fashionable men, both models of the best breeding, Lord Ohesterfield 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 usag»s 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 Shaltspeare. 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 ttiat 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 1 Or Othello's 1 Or Harry the Fifth's 1 OrWolsey's? Or Lear's? Or Shy lock's] Or Benedick's? OrMacbeth's? Or that of Cassius 1 Or that of Falconbridge T 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 ejjch 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. Bui how many passions have amalgamated to form that hatred? It is partly the result of wounded pride: Ahtonio 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 powers balance each other. Admirable as he was in all parts of his art, we most admire 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 ore all as perfectly discriminSt ed from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings. There are, for example, four clergymen, none of whom we "hould-be surprised lo find in any parsonage in the kingdom, Mr. Edward Ferrars, Mr. Henry Tilney, Mr. Edmund Bertram, and Mr. Elton. They are all specimens of the upper part of the middle class. They have all been liberally educated. They all lie under the restraints of the same sacred profession. They are all young. They are all in love. Not one of them has any hobby-horse, lo use the phrase of Sterne. Not one has a ruling passion, such as we read of in Pope. Who would not have expected them to be insipid likenesses of each other? No such thing. Harpagon is not more unlike to Jourdain, Joseph Surface is not more unlike to Sir Lucius O'Trigger, than everyone of Miss Austen's young divines to all his reverend brethren. And almost all this is done by touches so delicate, that they elude analysis, that they defy tlje 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:—
"Whim some one peculiar quality
.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 vhich 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 Clarksoti 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 exlravagantly 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
out some allusion to the hoarding of money; or Mr. Hobson, without betraying the self-indulgence and self-importance of a purse-proud upstart; or Mr. Simkins, without utlering some sneaking remark for the purpose of currying favour with his customers; or Mr. Meadows, without expressing apathy and weariness of life; or Mr. Albany, without declaiming about the vices of the rich and the misery of the poor; or Mrs. Belfield, without some indelicate eulogy on her son; or Lady Margaret, without indicating jealousy of her husband. Morrice is all skipping, officious impertinence,' Mr. Gosport all sarcasm, Lady Honoria all lively prattle, Miss Larolles all silly prattle. If ever«*fadame D'Arblay aimed at more, as in the character of Monckton, we do not think that she succeeded well.
We arc, therefore, forced to refuse Madame D'Arblay a place in the highest rank of art; but we cannot deny that, in the rank lo 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 exhibiting 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 oddities of all the rest. We will give one example out of many which occur to us. All probability is violated in order to bring Mr. Delvile, Mr. Briggs, Mr. Hobson, and Mr. Albany into a room together. But when we have 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 judgment less from those ambitious scenes of distress 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 examples, 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.
It is melancholy to think that the whole fame of Madame D'Arblay rests on what she did during the early half of her life, and that every thing which she published during the fortythree years which preceded her death, lowered her reputation. Yet we have no reason to think that at the time when her faculties ojght 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 in the Memoirs of her Father, there is no trace of