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God! by his uncle : that generous, parental friend crushes every personalwish while danger hangs upon its indulgence.
Dear, kind, deserving Kitty Cooke! I was struck quite at heart with concern at her sudden and unexpected death.
I pity Mrs. R. with all my soul. She could have been so happy under your protection! And now two are unhappy, for those tyrants who rob others wilfully of all comfort take what they never enjoy. I question if even a vicious character is as internally wretched as an ill-natured one.
Dr. Burney to Madame d'Arblay.
Chelsea College, Thursday, 2 o'clock, September 28. My dear FANNY,-I read your letter pen in hand, and shall try to answer it by to-day's post. But first let me tell you that it was very unlikely to find me at home, for on Tuesday I went to Lord Chesterfield's at Bailie's, and arrived there in very good time for a four o'clock dinner; when, behold! I was informed by the porter that “both my Lord and Lady were in town, and did not return till Saturday!" Lord Chesterfield had unexpectedly been obliged to go to town by indisposition. Though I was asked to alight and take refreshment, I departed immediately, intending to dine and lie at Windsor, to be near Dr. Herschel, with whom a visit had been arranged by letter
But as I was now at liberty to make that visit at any time of the day I pleased, I drove through Slough in my way to Windsor, in order to ask at Dr. Herschel's. door when my visit would be least inconvenient to him—that night or next morning. The good soul was at dinner, but came to the door himself, to press me to
alight immediately and partake of his family repast; and this he did so heartily that I could not resist. I was introduced to the family at table, four ladies, and a little boy about the age and size of Martin. I was quite shocked at seeing so many females: I expected (not knowing that Herschel was married) only to have found Miss Herschel; but there was a very old lady, the mother, I believe, of Mrs. Herschel, who was at the head of the table herself, and a Scots lady (a Miss Wilson, daughter of Dr. Wilson, of Glasgow, an eminent astronomer), Miss Herschel, and the little boy. I expressed my concern and shame at disturbing them at this time of the day; told my story, at which they were so cruel as to rejoice, and went so far as to say they rejoiced at the accident which had brought me there, and hoped I would send my carriage away, and take a bed with them. They were sorry they had no stables for my horses. I thought it necessary, you may be sure, to faire la petite bouche, but in spite of my blushes I was obliged to submit to my trunk being taken in, and the car sent to the inn just by.
We soon grew acquainted, I mean the ladies and I; and before dinner was over we seemed old friends just met after a long absence. Mrs. Herschel is sensible, good-humoured, unpretending, and well-bred; Miss Herschel all shyness and virgin modesty; the Scots lady sensible and harmless, and the little boy entertaining, promising, and comical. Herschel, you know, and everybody knows, is one of the most pleasing and well-bred natural characters of the present age, as well as the greatest astronomer.
Your health was drunk after dinner (put that into your pocket); and after much social conversation and a few hearty laughs, the ladies proposed to take a walk, in order, I believe, to leave Herschel and me together. We
walked and talked round his great telescopes till it grew damp and dusk, then retreated into his study to philosophize.
I had a string of questions ready to ask, and astronomical difficulties to solve, which, with looking at curious books and instruments, filled up the time charmingly till tea, which being drank with the ladies, we two retired again to the starry. Now having paved the way, we began to talk of my poetical plan, and he pressed me to read what I had done. Heaven help his head! my eight books, of from 400 to 820 lines, would require two or three days to read. He made me unpack my trunk for my MS., from which I read him the titles of the chapters, and begged he would choose any book or character of a great astronomer he pleased. “Oh, let us have the beginning." I read him the first eighteen or twenty lines of the exordium, and then said I rather wished to come to modern times; I was more certain of my ground in high antiquity than after the time of Copernicus, and began my eighth chapter, entirely on Newton and his system. He gave me the greatest encouragement; said repeatedly that I perfectly understood what I was writing about; and only stopped me at two places : one was at a word too strong for what I had to describe, and the other at one too weak. The doctrine he allowed to be quite orthodox, concerning gravitation, refraction, reflection, optics, comets, magnitudes, distances, revolutions, &c. &c., but made a discovery to me which, had I known sooner, would have overset me, and prevented my reading any part of my work: he said he had almost always had an aversion to poetry, which he regarded as the arrangement of fine words, without any useful meaning or adherence to truth; but that, when truth and science were united to these fine words, he liked poetry very well;
and next morning, after breakfast, he made me read as much of another chapter on Des Cartes, &c., as the time would allow, as I had ordered my carriage at twelve. I read, talked, asked questions, and looked at books and instruments till near one, when I set off for Chelsea.
General de Lafayette to the Chevalier d'Arblay.
Trilmuld près Ploen, 16me Oct. 1797. JE savois bien d'avance que votre intérêt nous suivroit partout, mon cher d'Arblay, et je n'ai pas été surpris d'apprendre que vous avez été sans cesse óc. cupé de vos amis prisonniers ; ils ne vous oublioient pas dans leur captivité, et soit dans les premiers tems où nous fûmes quelquefois réunis, soit pendant les derniers quarante mois où nous avons été totalement et constamment separés,-Maubourg et moi pensions avec la plus tendre amitié au sentiment que vous nous conserviez, et au bonheur dont vous jouissiez.
C'est dans la prison de Magdebourg que nous apprimes votre mariage; j'avois joint au tribut de l'admiration universelle pour Miss Burney, un hommage de reconnoissance particulier pour celle qui presque seule avoit pu me faire oublier momentanément mon sort; c'est au milieu des jouissances de cette illusion enchanteresse que je sçus tout à coup les nouveaux droits qu'elle avoit à mon sentiment pour elle, et qui me donnaient à moi-même quelques droits à ses bontés. Toute ma famille serait bien heureuse de lui être présentée, et la prie de vouloir bien agréer le veu qu'elles forment toute trois de mériter son amitié. Recerez aussi, mon cher d'Arblay, les tendres complimens de ma femme et de mes filles.
Nous sommes pour quelques jours chez Madame de Tessé; Maubourg et Puzy sont restés à Altona, mais Maubourg arrivera ici aujourd'hui ou demain, et nous allons passer l'hiver dans une campagne solitaire, à vingt-deux lieues d'Hambourg, sur le territoire Danois du Holstein, où nous soignerons tranquillement nos santés délabrées. Celle de ma femme est surtout dans le plus déplorable état. Maubourg a beaucoup souffert, mais se rétablit depuis la délivrance; et quoique j'aie été à la mort, j'ai résisté mieux que personne aux épreuves de la captivité, et je crois que bientôt, à la maigreur près, il n'y paroîtra plus. Mon fils étoit en Amérique, mais va, je pense, arriver avec la Colombe, parce que sur la nouvelle des premières promesses données il y a plusieurs mois par la Cour de Vienne à la République, ils se sont déterminés à venir nous trouver.
Adieu, mon cher d'Arblay; présentez mes hommages à Madame d'Arblay ; donnez moi de vos nouvelles, et aimez toujours votre ancien compagnon d'armes et ami, qui vous est à jamais bien tendrement attaché.
Madame d'Arblay to Mrs. Francis.
Westhamble, November 16, 1797. Your letter was most welcome to me, my dearest Charlotte, and I am delighted Mr. Broome and my dear father will so speedily meet. If they steer clear of politics, there can be no doubt of their immediate exchange of regard and esteem. At all events, I deperd upon Mr. B.'s forbearance of such subjects, if their opinions clash. Pray let me hear how the interview went off.