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DIARY AND LETTERS

OF

THE AUTHOR OF “ EVELINA."

PART I.

1813.

Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.

Chenies Street, London, February 8, 1813. ', Your kind invitation, my dearest Padre, I should instantly have answered, and not with my pen, had all been as favourable as my inclination and the weather; but this last week has been wholly dedicated to the Queen and the Princesses : a letter came to nte from: Windsor to prepare me for their arrival, and, consequently, to keep me always in readiness for the honour. of a summons; and, out of their five days' residence in town, they have had the gracious indulgence to admit me three, and, upon those occasions, I never quitted. the palace till they went to one of the Princes' to dinner, between seven and eight o'clock.

Nor then, neither, in fact, for I still stayed to dine myself, with my successor.

But why, my dearest father may say, not hasten to Chelsea now? The fact is, I have been obliged to omit various precautionary measures during the whole of this week, and I now feel an absolute necessity to nurse again and refit. To-day I have entirely kept quiet and silent upstairs in my room, and as, these other days, I have kept wholly the reverse, my lungs, strength, and spirits, all demand the recruit. I fear that for some days I must go on doctoring myself after these late excesses ; but bad weather alone, after Wednesday, shall withhold me from embracing my dearest father.

US.

Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.

March 16, 1813. How will my kindest father rejoice for me! for my dear partner—for my boy! The election is gained, and Alexander has obtained the Tancred scholarship. He had all the votes: the opponent retired. Sir D behaved handsomely, came forward, and speechified for

Sir Francis Milman, who was chairman, led the way in the harangue.

Dr. Davy, our supporter, leader, inspirer, director, heart and head, patron and guide, spoke also.

Mr. H-- spoke, too; but nothing, they tell me, to our purpose, nor yet against it. He gave a very long and elaborate history of a cause which he is to plead in the House of Lords, and which has not the smallest reference whatsoever to the case in point. Dr. Davy told me, in recounting it, that he is convinced the good and wary lawyer thought this an

opportunity not to be lost for rehearsing his cause, which would prevent loss of time to himself, or hindrance of business, except to his hearers : however, he gave us his vote. 'Tis a most glorious affair.

Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.

as I

May 11, 1813. My own inclination and intention kept in mind your charge, my dearest Sir, that as soon was able I would wait upon Lady Crewe; fortunately, I found her at home, and in her best style, cordial as well as good-humoured, and abounding in acute and odd remarks. I had also the good fortune to see my lord, who seems always pleasing, unaffected, and sensible, and to possess a share of innate modesty that no intercourse with the world, nor addition of years, can rob him of. I was much satisfied with my visit; but what I shall do for time, now once I have been launched from my council, or sick chamber, I wot not.

What a terrible alarm is this which the poor tormented Queen has again received !* I wrote my concern as soon as I heard of it, though I have not yet seen the printed account, my packet of papers reaching only to the very day before that event. My answer has been a most gracious summons to the Queen's house for to-morrow. Her Majesty and two of the Princesses come to town for four days. This robs me

* An attempt to enter her apartment by a crazy woman.

of my

Chelsea visit for this week, as I keep always within call during the town residences, when I have royal notice of them ; and, indeed, there is nothing I desire more than to see her Majesty at this moment, and to be allowed to express what I have felt for her. My letter from Madame Beckersdorff says that such an alarm would have been frightful for anybody, but how much more peculiarly so for the Queen, who has experienced such poignant horror from the effects of disordered intellects! who is always suffering from them, and so nearly a victim to the unremitting exercise of her duties upon that subject and these calls.

I have had a visit this morning from Mrs. Piozzi, who is in town only for a few days upon business. She came while I was out; but I must undoubtedly make a second tour, after my royal four days are passed, in order to wait upon and thank her:

I have been received more graciously than ever, if that be possible, by my dear and honoured Queen and sweet Princesses Eliza and Mary. The Queen has borne this alarm astonishingly, considering how great was the shock at the moment; but she has so high a character, that she will not suffer anything personal to sink her spirits, which she saves wholly for the calls upon them of others, and great and terrible have been those calls. The beloved King is in the best state possible for his present melancholy situation; that is, wholly free from real bodily suffering, or imaginary mental misery, for he is persuaded that he is always conversing with angels.

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