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mands that I should be at the Queen's Lodge at twelve. I stayed, meanwhile, with good Mrs. Agnew, and M. d'Arblay made acquaintance with her worthy husband, who is a skilful and famous botanist, and lately made gardener to the Queen for Frogmore; so M. d'Arblay consulted him about our cabbages ! and so, if they have not now a high flavour, we are hopeless.
At eleven M. d'Arblay again ventured to esquire me to the rails round the lodge, whence I showed him my ci-devant apartment, which he languished to view nearer. I made a visit to Mlle. Jacobi, who is a very good creature, and with whom I remained very comfortably till her Majesty and the Princesses returned from Frogmore, where they had passed two or three hours. Almost immediately I was summoned to the Queen by one of the pages. She was just seated to her hair-dresser.
She conversed upon various public and general topics till the friseur was disraissed, and then I was honoured with an audience, quite alone, for a full hour and a half.
In this, nothing could be more gracious than her whole manner and discourse. The particuiars, as there was no pause, would fill a duodecimo volume at least. Among them was Mr. Windham, whom she named with great favour; and gave me the opportunity of expressing my delight upon his belonging to the Government. We had so often conversed about him during the accounts I had related of Mr. Hastings's trial, that there was much to say upon the acquisition to the administration, and my former round assertions of his goodness of heart and honour. She inquired how you did, my dearest father, with an air of great kindness ; and, when I said well, looked pleased, as she answered, “ I was afraid he was ill, for I saw him but twice last
a: our music.”
She then gave me an account of the removal of the concert to the Haymarket since the time I was admitted to it. She talked of some books and authors, but found me wholly in the clouds as to all that is new. She then said, “What a very pretty book Dr. Burney has brought out upon Metastasio ! I am very much pleased with it. Pray (smiling) what will be bring out next ?''
“ As yet, Madam, I don't know of any new plan.” “But he will bring out something else ?" “Most probably; but he will rest a little first, I fancy." “Has he nothing in hand ?”' “ Not that I now know of, Madam.” "O, but he soon will !” cried she, again smiling.
“ He has so active a mind, Ma'am, that I believe it quite impossible to him to be utterly idle; but, indeed, I know of no present design being positively formed.”
We had then some discourse upon the new connexion at Norbury park—the FitzGeralds, &c.; and I had the opportunity to speak as highly as I believe her to deserve of Mrs. Charles. The Queen had thought Miss Angerstein was dead. From this she led to various topics of our former conferences, both in persons and things, and gave me a full description of her new house at Frogmore, its fitting up, and the share of each Princess in its decoration.
She spoke with delight of its quiet and ease, and her enjoyment of its complete retirement. “I spend," she cried, " there almost constantly all my mornings. I rarely come home but just before dinner, merely to dress; but to-day I came sooner.”
This was said in a manner so flattering, I could scarce forbear the air of thanking her; however, I checked the expression, though I could not the inference which urged it.
At two o'clock the Princess Elizabeth appeared. “Is
the Princess Royal ready ?” said the Queen. She answered, “ Yes :" and her Majesty then told me I might go to her, adding, “You know the way, Madame d’Arblay.” And, thus licensed, I went to the apartment of her Royal Highness upstairs. She was just quitting it. She received me most graciously, and told me she was going to sit for her picture, if I would come and stay with her while she sat. Miss Bab Planta was in attendance, to read during this period. The Princess Royal ordered me a chair facing her; and another for Miss Bab and her book, which, however, was never opened. The painter was Mr. Dupont. She was very gay and very charming; full of lively discourse and amiable condescension.
In about an hour the Princess Augusta came in: she addressed me with her usual sweetness, and, when she had looked at her sister's portrait, said, “ Madame D'Arblay, when the Princess Royal can spare you, I hope you will come to me,” as she left the room. I did not flout her; and when I had been an hour with the Princess Royal, she told me she would keep me no longer from Augusta, and Miss Planta came to conduct me to the latter.
This lovely Princess received me quite alone ; Miss Planta only shut me in; and she then made me sit by her, and kept me in most bewitching discourse more than an hour. She has a gaiety, a charm about her, that is quite resistless; and much of true, genuine, and very original humour. She related to me the history of all the feats, and exploits, and dangers, and escapes of her brothers during last year; rejoicing in their safety, yet softly adding, “Though these trials and difficulties did them a great deal of good.”
We talked a little of France, and she inquired of me what I knew of the late unhappy Queen, through M.
d'Arblay; and spoke of her with the most virtuous discrimination between her foibles and her really great qualities, with her most barbarous end.
She then dwelt upon Madame Royale, saying, in her unaffected manner, “It's very odd one never hears what sort of girl she is.” I told her all I had gathered from M. d'Arblay. She next spoke of my Bambino, indulging me in recounting his faits et gestes; and never moved till the Princess Royal came to summon her. They were all to return to Frogmore to dinner. “We have detained Madame d'Arblay between us the whole morning," said the Princess Royal, with a gracious smile. “Yes," cried Princess Augusta, “and I am afraid I have bored her to death; but when once I begin upon my poor brothers, I can never stop without telling all my little bits of glory.” She then outstayed the Princess Royal to tell me that, when she was at Plymouth, at church, she saw so many officers' wives, and sisters, and mothers, helping their maimed husbands, or brothers, or sons, that she could not forbear whispering to the Queen," Mamma, how lucky it is Ernest is just come so seasonably with that wound in his face ! I should have been quite shocked, else, not to have had one little bit of glory among ourselves !" When forced away
from this sweet creature, I went to Mlle. Jacobi, who said, “ But where is M. d'Arblay ?” Finding it too late for me to go to my lodging to dress before dinner, I wrote him a word, which immediately brought him to the Queen's Lodge: and there I shall leave my dear father the pleasure of seeing us, mentally, at dinner, at my ancient table, both invited by the Queen's commands. Miss Gomm was asked to meet me, and the repast was extremely pleasant.
Just before we assembled to dinner Mlle. Jacobi desired to speak with me alone, and, taking me to another
room, presented me with a folded little packet, saying, “ The Queen ordered me to put this into your hands, and said, “Tell Madame d’Arblay it is from us both.'” It was an hundred guineas. I was confounded, and nearly sorry, so little was such a mark of their goodness in my thoughts. She added that the King, as soon as he came from the chapel in the morning, went to the Queen's dressing-room just before he set out for the levee, and put into her hands fifty guineas, saying, “This is for my set!” The Queen answered, “ I shall do exactly the same for mine," and made up the packet herself. .
“ 'Tis only, she said, for the paper, tell Madame d'Arblay-nothing for the trouble !” meaning she accepted that.
The manner of this was so more than gracious, so kind, in the words us both, that indeed the money at the time was quite nothing in the scale of my gratification; it was even less, for it almost pained me. However, a delightful thought that in a few minutes occurred made all light and blythesome.“ We will come, then,” I cried, “once a year to Windsor, to walk the Terrace, and see the King, Queen, and sweet Princesses. This will enable us, and I shall never again look forward to so long a deprivation of their sight.” This, with my gratitude for their great goodness, was what I could not refrain commissioning her to report.
Our dinner was extremely cheerful; all my old friends were highly curious to see M. d'Arblay, who was in spirits, and, as he could address them in French, and at his ease, did not seem much disapproved of by them. I went to my lodging afterwards to dress, where I told my Monsieur this last and unexpected stroke, which gave him exactly my sensations, and we returned to tea. We had hopes of the Terrace, as my Monsieur was quite eager to see all this beloved Royal House. The weather, however,