Journals and Letters: Burney, Frances
Peter Sabor, Frances Burney
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Written during a seventy-year period, from 1768 to 1839, Frances Burney's letters and journals provide a unique insight into her life and times. Distinguished by their remarkable range and variety, they record Burney's experience of English court life and later, in France, the final stages of the Napoleonic Wars. From the self-centered and irreverent writings of a precocious young girl to the more sober reflections of a mature woman, this collection demonstrates Burney's marvelous ability to capture the changing times around her and create brilliantly candid portraits of those she encountered during the course of her eventful life.
This edition includes an informative introduction, as well as a chronology, selected reading list, index, and full contextual annotations. The versions of the texts in this collection are based on the manuscripts or printed sources that Burney herself approved.
painful period to me. Rejoiced, relieved as I felt, that my long struggles now ended, I yet had much personal regret in quitting my Royal Mistress – though not my place! – But I must simply, now, write facts. I had soon the pleasure to receive Mlle Jacobi. She brought with her a young German, as her maid, who proved to be her neice!2 but so poor, she could not live when her Aunt left Germany! Mr Best, a messenger of the King’s, brought her to Windsor, and Mrs Best, his Wife, accompanied him. I
her fears, was insisting upon carrying them as far as to the house – till he saw I took part with Miss Planta, and he then was compelled to let us lug in 10 Volumes as we could. The King was already returned from the Terrace, the page in waiting told us; – ‘O, then,’ said, Miss Planta, ‘you are too late!’ I went into my old Dining Parlour, – while she said she would see if any one could obtain the Queen’s commands for another time. – I did not stay 5 minutes – ruminating upon the Dinners – ‘gone
to Dr Burney 8 November 17961 Bookham I had intended writing to my dearest Father by a return of Goods; but I find it impossible to defer the overflowings of my Heart at his most kind and generous indignation with the Reviewer.2 What Censure can ever so much hurt as such compensation can heal? And, in fact, the praise is so strong, that, were it neatly put together, the writer might challenge my best Enthusiasts to find it insufficient; the truth, however, is, that the criticisms come forward,
– if urged or provoked, – he could subdue in a moment. Precisely opposite to the Window at which I was so civilly placed, the Chief Consul stationed himself, after making his round, and there he presented some swords of Honour – spreading out one Arm, with an air and mein which, during that action, changed, to my view, his look from that of Scholastic severity, to one that was highly military and commanding. Just as the Consular band – with their brazen Drums, as well as Trumpets, marched facing
was to put it into the Exhibition,5 to which I will not consent. … [17 December] Pacchierotti called, and most earnestly begged me to write a note to him the next morning, with my opinion of Mrs Siddons, and he was so serious, that I could not deny him, though not very fond of the task: I will try, however, now, to recollect what I said, as the opinion I gave was a very honest one. To Mr Pacchierotti. ‘I must confess my admiration of Mrs Siddons does not keep pace with that of the Town; yet I