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of the old connexions concerning whom. I wished to inquire and to talk, and she knew too much of all about myself and my situation of which Mrs. Chapone wished to ask and to hear. I fear, therefore, she was tired, though she would not say so, and though she looked and conducted herself with great sweetness.
Mrs. Chapone spoke warmly of .Camilla,' especially of Sir Hugh, but told me she had detected me in some Gallicisms, and pointed some out. She pressed me in a very flattering manner to write again; and dear Hetty, forgetting our relationship's decency, seconded her so heartily you must have laughed to hear her hoping we could never furnish our house till I went again to the press. When Mrs. Chapone heard of my father's difficulties about Chelsea, and fears of removal, on account of his twenty thousand volumes,—~ Twenty thousand volumes!" she repeated ; “ bless me! why, how can he so encumber himself? Why does he not burn half? for how much must be to spare that never can be worth his looking at from such a store! And can he want to keep them all? I should not have suspected Dr. Burney, of all men, of being such a Dr. Orkborne !"
The few other visits which opportunity and inclination united for my making during our short and full fortnight
To Mrs. Boscawen, whither we went all three, for I knew she wished to see our little one, whom I had in the coach with Betty, ready for a summons. Mrs. Boscawen was all herself,—that is, all elegance and good-breeding. Do you remember the verses on the blues which we attributed to Mr. Pepys ?
Each art of conversation knowing,
To Miss Thrales, where I also carried my little Alex,
To Lady Strange, whom I had not seen for more years than I know how to count. She was at home, and alone, except for her young grandchild, another Bell Strange, daughter of James, who is lately returned from India with a large fortune, is become Member of Parliament, and has married, for his second wife, a niece of Secretary Dundas's. Lady Strange received me with great kindness, and, to my great surprise, knew me instantly. I found her more serious and grave than formerly; I had not seen her since Sir Robert's death, and many events of no enlivening nature; but I found, with great pleasure, that all her native fire and wit and intelligence were still within, though less voluntary and quick in flashing out, for every instant I stayed she grew brighter and nearer her true self.
Her little grandchild is a delightful little creature, the very reverse of the other Bell in appearance and disposition, for she is handsome and open and gay; but I hope, at the same time, her resemblance in character, as Bell is strictly principled and upright.
Lady Strange inquired if I had any family, and, when she gathered I had a little one down stairs in the carriage, she desired to see it, for little Bell was wild in the request. “ But-have nae mair!” cried she; "the times are bad and hard,--ha' nae mair! if you take my advice, you'll ha' nae mair! you 've been vary discreet, and, faith, I commend you !"
Little Bell had run down-stairs to hasten Betty and the child, and now, having seized him in her arms, she sprang into the room with him. His surprise, her courage, her fondling, her little form, and her prettiness, had astonished him into consenting to her seizure; but he sprang from her to me the moment they entered the drawing-room.
I begged Lady Strange to give him her blessing. She looked at him with a strong and earnest expression of examining interest and pleasure, and then, with an arch smile, turning suddenly about to me, exclaimed, “Ah! faith and troth, you mun ha' some mair! if you can make 'em so pratty as this, you mun ha' some mair! sweet bairn! I gi' you my benediction! be a comfort to your papa and mamma! Ah, madam!” (with one of her deep sighs) “I must gi' my consent to your having some mair! if
you can make 'em so pratty as this, faith and troth I mun let you have a girl!"
I write all this without scruple to my dearest Susan, for prattiness like this little urchin's is not likely to spoil either him or ourselves by lasting. 'Tis a juvenile flower, yet one my Susan will again, I hope, view while still in its first bloom.
I was extremely pleased in having an interview again with my old, and I believe very faithful, friend Mr. Seward, whom I had not seen since my marriage, but whom I had heard, through the Locks, was indefatigable in inquiries and expressions of good-will upon every occasion. He had sent me his compilation of anecdotes of distinguished characters, and two little letters have passed between us upon them. I was unluckily engaged the morning he was at Chelsea, and obliged to quit him before we had quite overcome a little awkwardness which our long absence and my changed name had involuntarily produced at our first meeting; and I was really sorry, as I have always retained a true esteem for him, though his singularities and affectation of affectation always struck
But both those and his spirit of satire are mere quizziness; his mind is all solid benevolence and worth.
Good Mr. punning Townshend called upon us twice, and showed me the telegraph that is fixed up at Chelsea, and was as simple, and sensible, and gentle, and odd,
And now I must finish this Chelsea narrative, with its most singular, though brief, adventure. One morning, at breakfast, my father received a letter, which he opened, and found to be only a blank cover, with a letter enclosed, directed “ A Madame, Madame d'Arblay.”
This, upon opening, produced a little bank-note of five pounds, and these words :
“Madame d'Arblay need not have any scruple in accepting the enclosed trifle, as it is considered only as a small tribute of gratitude and kindness, so small, indeed, that every precaution has been taken to prevent the least chance of discovery; and the person who sends it even will never know whether it was received or not. Dr. Burney is quite ignorant of it.”
This is written evidently in a feigned hand, and I have not the most reinote idea whence it can come. But for the word gratitude I might have suggested many; but, upon
the whole, I am utterly unable to suggest any one creature upon earth likely to do such a thing. I might have thought of my adorable Princess, but that it is so little a sum. Be it as it may, it is certainly done in great kindness, by some one who knows 51. is not so small a matter to us as to most others; and after vainly striving to find out or conjecture whence it came, we determined to devote it to our country. There's patriotism ! we gave it in voluntary subscription for the war; and it was very seasonable to us for this purpose.
. This magnificent patriotic donation was presented to the Bank of England by Mr. Angerstein, through Mr. Lock, and we have had thanks from the Committee which
made us blush. Many reasons have prevented my naming this anecdote, the principal of which were fears that, if it should be known such a thing was made use of, and, as it chanced, when we should otherwise have really been distressed how to come forward or hold back, any other friend might adopt the same method, which, gratefully as I feel the kindness that alone could have instigated it, has yet a depressing effect, and I would not have it become current. Could I, or should I, ever trace it, I must, in some mode or other, attempt retaliation.
Behold us now back again at our dear Westhamble,
I HAVE terminated the twelfth book
of my poem, and transcribed it fair for your hearing or perusal. Mrs. and Miss Crewe, and Miss Hayman (now Privypurse to the Princess of Wales), have been attending Walker's astronomical lectures, and wanted much to hear some at least of my “ Shtoff,” read to Windham and Canning. An evening was fixed, when after dinner Windham was to read us his Balloon-journal, Canning a MS. poem, and I a book of my Astronomy.
The lot fell on me to begin. When I had finished the first book," Tocca lei," quo' I to Mr. Windham. “No, no, not yet ; another of your books first." Well, when that was read, “ Tocca lei,” said I to Mr. Canning.
“ No, no,” they all cried out, “ let us go on,-another book." Well, though hoarse, I read on; Mrs. Crewe relieved me, and then Miss Hayman, and then supper was announced;