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" I love all that breed whom I can b<: said to 
know ; and one or two whom I hardly know, 
I love upon ov>.; 
love each other." >SON. 







"I love all that breed whom I can be said to 
know ; and one or two whom I hardly know, 
I love upon credit, and love them because they 
love each other." DR. JOHNSON. 





IT has been observed by a shrewd writer that 
" there is no collection of letters belonging to 
the eighteenth century that has not an interest 
to-day. It is," he adds, "from letters alone that 
we can sincerely and honestly reconstruct the 

This task 'of sincerely and honestly recon 
structing the past, the writer of this work has 
endeavoured to perform in relation to the 
Burney family, having happily had access to a 
large number of their unpublished letters and 
journals, which throw fresh light on the material 
already before the public. 

The episode chosen covers a period of nearly 
nine years from the autumn of 1774 to the 
spring of 1783 during which period the Burneys 
were living in a house in St. Martin's Street, the 
last of their London homes. The life in that 
dwelling of this " most amiable and affectionate of 
clever families," and their intercourse with their 
interesting friends, is portrayed by its various 


members from the revered head of the house 
down to his youngest daughter. 

Fanny Burney's love for her father is prover 
bial. His affection for her and for all his children 
was equally strong. Here is a passage from a 
farewell letter written by him to Fanny in 1770 
on the point of leaving Dover for France and 

"I cannot set sail," he writes, " ere I have 
given you a word and a wish of kindness and 
affection. Continue to love me, and to believe 
that I love you, and that my family is never 
nearer my heart than when I am obliged to be 
far from them. It has ever been necessity, not 
choice, that has separated us. Had I an ark like 
that of Noah, I would have taken you all in it." 

Many of these MS. letters of Fanny's deal 
with matters of a private or personal kind, and 
reveal her generous and loving nature more 
fully than is the case with her published corre 
spondence so long known to the reading world. 
Her letters about Dr. Johnson are of special 
interest. It was from Fanny Burney's pen, as 
Macaulay has pointed out, that the public first 
learnt "how gentle and endearing his deportment 
could be." "Why did not Sir Joshua Reynolds 
paint Dr. Johnson when he was speaking to 
Dr. Burney or to you ? " asked a mutual friend 
of Fanny one day. 



We can well understand that this great man 
must have found balm for his irritable nerves in 
intercourse with his gentle young friend, and 
that even her silence was restful to him, since 
it had in it " every engaging expression of modesty 
and of intelligent observation/' 

Fanny found her pleasure in listening rather 
than in talking. A French writer in the Revue des 
deux Mondes has noticed this inclination of the 
authoress of Evelina. After mentioning some 
of the many striking portraits drawn by her, 
he says that, brilliant as these are, there is not 
one figure in the whole group that affects us 
more than "celle de la 'petite Burney ' elle-meme, 
silencieuse et timide, promenant autour d'elle, a 
travers pres d'un siecle, le sourire ingenument 
malicieux de ses grands yeux gris." 

The Burney MSS. contain, besides the 
correspondence of the family with each other, 
many letters addressed to them by Mrs. Thrale, 
so full of life and movement that they might 
have been written last week. They contain 
also letters from " Daddy Crisp," David Garrick, 
and others, and in addition to these, Fanny 
Burney 's unpublished play of the " Witlings." 

Among the books from which material has 
been necessarily drawn to be interwoven with 
the new matter are the " Early Diaries of 
Frances Burney," so ably edited by the late 



Mrs. Raine Ellis, and a special copy of the 
" Diary and Letters of Madame d'Arblay " 
(edition of 1842), which contains marginal notes 
by a granddaughter of Mrs. Barrett, its editor. 
Reference has also been made to the recent and 
valuable edition edited by Mr. Austin Dobson. 

Passages have been introduced from the 
" Memoirs of Dr. Burney," by Madame d'Arblay, 
from the " Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson," by 
Madame Piozzi, and from his " Letters " to 
her; and, in certain chapters, from the "Letters 
of Horace Walpole," edited by Mrs. Paget 

The grateful thanks of the author of this 
work are especially due to the Rev. David 
Wauchope and to the Ven. Archdeacon Burney, 
for the loan of their Burney MSS. and portraits. 
She also wishes to express her gratitude to 
Mrs. Chappell, to Colonel Burney, and to Mr. 
Leverton Harris, for the loan of miniatures and 
other portraits ; and she desires to record her 
indebtedness to the late Mrs. Arthur Durham 
for permission to introduce part of an interesting 
portrait group by Nollekens. 

She was permitted by Mr. Wauchope to 
examine the original MSS. of the " Diary and 
Letters." It was interesting to observe that 
where erasures, or small alterations, had been 
made (in preparation for publication), this had 





evidently been done with the object of sparing 
the feelings of people then living. 

Both the author and the illustrator of this 
volume have visited all the places connected 
with the narrative, and numerous sketches have 
been made of the house in St. Martin's Street, 
which is happily still standing, and of many 
other scenes mentioned in the letters and diaries. 

To have been living, as it were, for more 
than a year past amidst the Burney family, has 
been a source of great pleasure to the present 
writer, and she hopes that the reader may find 
equal pleasure in that genial atmosphere. 



September ', 1906. 












































XXVI. A FLIGHT FROM BATH . . . . -27$ 








INDEX 353 



Portraits of Esther, Charles Rousseau, and Richard Burney 
(From the original painting, in the possession of Arch 
deacon Burney} ...... Frontispiece 

The House in St. Martin's Street (formerly No. i, now 35) 

To face 2 

Portrait of Frances Burney (From a miniature on an ivory box 

in the possession of F. Lever ton Harris, Esq.] To face 8 

The Drawing-room, St. Martin's Street . . . .11 
The Library or Music-room 19 

Portrait of Charles Burney, Mus.D. (From the original 
painting by Reynolds, in the possession of Archdeacon 
Burney. Photograph kindly lent by the proprietors of 
the " Musical Times"} To face 32 

The Staircase in St. Martin's Street 35 

The " Theban Harp " (From a print in Dr. Burners " History 

of Music"} . . 39 

Portrait of David Garrick (By Gainsborough} . To face 42 

Portrait of Mrs. Garrick (By Gardiner} . . . To face 44 

Lamp-holder in Old Iron Work 46 

The Dining-parlour in St. Martin's Street .... 53 


List of Illustrations 


Leicester Square in the i8th Century 61 

Head-dress of the Period . . . . . . -65 

The Entrance Door, Barborne Lodge, Worcester . . .76 

The Hall, Barborne Lodge 78 

The Staircase, Barborne Lodge, and Musicians . . -85 

King John's Bridge, Tewkesbury 88 

The Hall in Dr. Wall's House, Gloucester . . . 91 ' 
Entrance Door of Dr. Wall's House . .96 

Facsimile of Sketch by Fanny Burney for the Title-page of 

Evelina To face 98 

Shop Fronts in the Old Haymarket (From a contemporary 

print} 100 

Facsimile (reduced) of Letter from Fanny Burney to Mr. 

Lowndes To face 102 

Facsimile (reduced) of Letter from Fanny Burney to Mr. 

Lowndes, in Feigned Handwriting . . . To face 106 

The "Bandeau" Head-dress 120 

Thrale Place, Streatham (From contemporary prints] . . 122 

The "Long Room" at Hampstead as it was in the i8th 

Century I2 ; 

Design on an Old Grate 136 

Marble Staircase in Sir Joshua Reynolds' House, Leicester 

Square I39 

The " Esprit Club," Scene from Fanny Burney's Comedy of 

the "Witlings" l6l 

Old Fanlight .167 


List of Illustrations 


Mount Edgecumbe, from the Blockhouse at Plymouth (From 

an \%th-century print} 171 

I Plymouth Sound from Mount Edgecumbe .... 176 
; The Entrance Door, Chesington Hall 178 

[ | Portrait of Samuel Crisp (After a drawing by G. Dance) 

To face 182 

i Chimney-piece Ornament in the Drawing-room in St. Martin's 

Street ... 186 


Portrait of Mrs. Thrale (From a silhouette in the possession of 

the Rev. David Wauchope} .... To face 188 

I Portrait of Susanna (Susan) Elizabeth Burney (From a 

miniature in the possession of Mrs. Chappell) To face 198 

| The Old Opera House, Haymarket (burnt down in 1789) 

(From an old print} 200 

The " Bear Inn," Devizes 207 

The Corner House, South Parade, Bath 211 

Portrait of Lady Clarges (From the painting by Gainsborough, 
in the possession of Edmund Davis, Esq. Photograph 
kindly lent by Messrs. Thos. Agnew & Sons} . To face 222 

Powdering Closet in Dr. Burney's Bedroom .... 227 

Scene from Evelina (From a water-colour drawing by 
Edward Burney in Archdeacon Burney's collection) 

To face 232 

Old Fanlight 237 

Suite of Parlours in the Corner House of South Parade, Bath 239 

Whitehall Stairs, Bath (From an old print} .... 243 

Bath Easton Villa 249 


List of Illustrations 


The Bath Easton Vase {From an old print) .... 253 
The " Spaniards Inn," Hampstead Heath . . . .261 
The " White Hart," Salisbury (Old Entrance) . . .278 
Corridor in the " Dolphin Inn," Southampton . . . 283 
Old Fanlight 286 

Portrait of Charles Rousseau Burney (From the painting by 
Gainsborough, in the possession of Colonel Burney) 

To face 288 

Portion of a Sculptured Group by Nollekens, representing Dr. 
Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Boswell as Members 
of the " Turk's Head Club." (Sketched by kind per 
mission of the late Mrs. Arthur Durham} . To face 298 

Clement's Inn (From an old print} 302 j 

Jem's Room in St. Martin's Street 310 

Portrait of Edward Gibbon (By Reynolds} . . To face 312 
No. 56, Great Queen Street . . . , . . .316 

Bedrooms of the Three Sisters in St. Martin's Street . . 323 

A Sedan Chair 334 

Houses at Brighthelmstone {From an old sketch} . . . 337 

Entrance Door of the House in St. Martin's Street . . 352 

The design on the binding of this book represents the initials of 

the three Diarists framed by a carved moulding taken 

from Mrs. Thrale's house in Bath. 




IN the autumn of 1774, the Burney family, who 
had been living in Queen's Square, moved into 
their new home in St. Martin's Street. 

" We came," writes Fanny, "ten days ago to 
this house which we purpose calling Newton 
House or The Observatory, or something that 
sounds grand, as Sir Isaak Newton's identical 
observatory is still subsisting, and we show it to 
all our visitors as our principal lyon. I am very 
much pleased with the mansion." And again 
she writes : " The house is a large and good one. 
It was built by Sir Isaak Newton, and when he 
constructed it, it stood in Leicester Fields, not 
Sqiiare, that he might have his Observatory 
Imannoyed by neighbouring houses ; and his ob 
servatory is my favorite sitting place, where I 
can retire to read or write any of my private 
fancies or vagaries." 

This quaint study, with its four glazed walls 
perched on the house-top, contained a fireplace, 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

an ornamented chimney-piece, and a cupboard. 
Its windows commanded wide-spreading views of 
London and its environs. 

The observatory has disappeared, but the 
house in St. Martin's Street is still standing, and 
its outward appearance is otherwise little altered. 
On its southern side rises, as of yore, Orange 
Street Chapel, whilst to the north lies Leicester 
Square, whose trees can still be seen from a side 

If we enter the house we shall find that, in 
spite of various changes, it is easy to trace the 
form of the rooms in which the Burneys lived. 
In some rooms, indeed, there is little or no 
change, and throughout the building we are able, 
with the help of their journals and letters, to 
reconstruct the family surroundings. 

The first thing that strikes us is the fine old 
oaken staircase, and if we ascend the first flight 
of its shallow steps, we shall reach the drawing- 
room a cheerful room whose three lofty, re 
cessed windows overlook St. Martin's Street. 
We notice its carved wooden chimney-piece, in 
the Adam style of decoration, and its deep 
cornice beneath the ceiling. This ceiling, as 
Fanny tells us, was " prodigiously painted and 
ornamented/' but its glories, alas ! have long since 

Folding - doors opened formerly into the 


The New Home 

i library, which led, and still leads, into a small 

narrow room known as " Sir Isaak Newton's 

Study." Here Dr. Burney kept his " chaos of 

i materials" for his literary work. From the 

(library window we see, on the right, the rounded 

i windows of the Orange Street Chapel, and, on 

j the left, the study windows, while below lies the 

narrow space of ground which used to be the 


The library served the Burneys for a music- 
room as well as a library. Here stood the 
two harpsichords upon which Hetty and her 
husband, Charles Rosseau Burney, played duets 
to the delight of their audiences. Here, too, the 
great singers of the day, just arrived from the 
Continent, hastened to display their powers before 
the celebrated author of the " History of Music." 

On the second floor and above the library 
is the room in which Fanny and her sister Susan 
slept, while to the front is the best bedroom, with 
Dr. Burney' s powdering-closet opening out of it. 

On the ground-floor was the small dining, or 
living room, usually called "the parlour," whose 
form may still be traced in spite of various altera 
tions. We still see its panelled walls, its two 
windows looking to the front, and its old-fashioned 
fireplace, and can fancy that Dr. Burney's bureau, 
which we know stood in this room, must have 
been placed in a deep recess between the fire- 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

place and one of the windows. We can also fancy 
the polished table in the centre of the room, upon 
which the family would take their meals. They 
drank tea here at seven o'clock, when many a 
friend would drop in, till the numbers sometimes 
swelled to quite a large gathering. Their supper 
was at eleven, " a meal which is an excuse with 
us," writes Fanny, " for chatting over baked 
apples." Only a chosen few of the company 
were invited to remain for this domestic meal. 

Sometimes their more intimate visitors would 
make their appearance at an early hour in the 
morning, notably that admired and loved friend 
of the household, David Garrick. " One morn 
ing he called at eight o'clock," writes Fanny, 
"and, unfortunately, Susette and I were not 
come down stairs. We hurried in vain, for he 
discovered our laziness and made us mon 
strously ashamed by his raillery. * I shall tell 
Mrs. Garrick/ said he, ' that I found the Doctor 
reading Petrarch, in flannel like a young man 
but where, says I, where were the young ladies ? 
Where do you think were my favorites ? Why, 
in bed!'" 

On another occasion " as he went out he said 
with a very comical face to me, * I like you ! I 
like you all ! I like your looks ! I like your 
manners ! ' And then, opening his arms with an 
air of heroics, he said, ' I am tempted to run away 


The New Home 

with you all, one after another ! ' We all longed 
to say, ' Pray do ! ' " 

Sometimes the gentle Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
his painting hours over, would drop in from his 
house in Leicester Square, to enjoy the society of 
his friends in St. Martin's Street, or James Barry 
would hurry from his rooms near Oxford Market 
for the pleasure of a discussion with Mrs. 
Burney, " whose pride in reasoning lay," while 
occasionally the great Dr. Johnson, arriving from 
Bolt Court with his friend, blind Mrs. Williams, 
would make his appearance in the cheerful 
parlour for tea and talk. 

It was an attractive household. " I love 
Burney," says Dr. Johnson ; " my heart goes out 
to meet him. I much question if there is in the 
world such another man as Dr. Burney." And 
the great Italian singer, Pacchierotti, exclaims, 
" Oh, how agrtable they are ! I don't know 
anybody as agrfable as as Mr. Dr. Burney's 
family ! " 



THE family in St. Martin's Street consisted of 
Dr. Burney, his second wife (formerly a Mrs. 
Allen), his three daughters, Fanny, Susan, and 
Charlotte, and his and Mrs. Burney 's little son 
Dick. His eldest son, James, was at sea, and 
therefore paid only occasional visits to the family 
home, although a small parlour, opening into the 
garden, always went by the name of " Jem's 
room." His second son, Charles, was at Cam 

Esther, his eldest daughter, had married her 
first cousin, Charles Rousseau Burney. They 
were living in Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, 
and near to them in York Street lived Dr. 
Burney 's mother and his sisters "Aunt Becky" 
and " Aunt Anne." 

A constant frequenter of the former homes of 
the Burney family had been Mr. Samuel Crisp 
(Fanny's beloved " Daddy Crisp "), the staunch 
friend and adviser of the whole household ; one 


A Very Particular Correspondence 

I whom Macaulay has described as " a scholar, a 
thinker, and an excellent counsellor." But Crisp 
had now retired to his remote country home in 
Surrey Chesington Hall where he lived a 

| solitary life, shut out from all intercourse with the 
outer world, save and except only with the Burney 
family. It is to this circumstance that we owe 

I the dramatic journal-letters, covering a period of 
several years, sent by Fanny to amuse him in his 
loneliness, and which called forth from him such 
original and racy replies. 

In the autumn of 1773, Fanny writes : " I 
have now entered into a very particular corre 
spondence with Mr. Crisp. I write really a 
Journal to him, and in answer he sends me most 
delightful, long, and incomparably clever letters, 
animadverting upon all the facts, etc., which I 
acquaint him with, and dealing with the utmost 
sincerity in stating his opinion and giving his 
advice. ... He says more in three lines than I 
shall in a hundred while I live." 

Here is a piece of Crisp's advice : " Let this 
declaration serve once for all, that there is no 
fault in an epistolary correspondence like stiffness 
and study. Dash away whatever comes upper 
most ; the sudden sallies of imagination, clap'd 
down on paper, just as they arise, are worth 
folios, and have all the warmth and merit of that 
sort of nonsense that is eloquent in love/' 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Another time he remarks : " Your letter was an 
excellent one ; but you are devilish long-winded, 
pray mend that fault." 

The strong language of Mr. Crisp belonged 
rather to the days of Queen Anne than to those 
of George III., but it proceeded from no coarse 
ness of thought ; indeed, he had a heart tender 
and refined as that of a woman, and he loved his 
" Fannikin " above all else in the world. 

Fanny was small and slight of figure, and her 
health was often a source of anxiety to her 
friends. " What a slight piece of machinery is 
the terrestrial part of thee, our Fannikin ! " he 
exclaims, "a mere nothing, a blast, a vapour 
disorders the spring of thy watch ; and the 
mechanism is so frail that it requires no common 
hand to set it right again." 

In one of her first letters to Crisp, written 
after the family had settled in St. Martin's Street, 
Fanny describes a visit they had just received 
from the Otaheitan Chief, Omai, the same man 
of whom the poet Cowper writes in the " Task/' 
calling him " the gentle savage." Omai was at 
that moment "the lyon of lyons of the town," for 
being the first native who had ventured to come 
over to this country, he was received as a sort of 
representative of our discoveries in the South 
Seas, and was feted everywhere. He came to 
St. Martin's Street at the invitation of James 



A Very Particular Correspondence 

jBurney, who was lieutenant on the man-of-war in 
which he had made his voyage to England, and 
with whom he had formed a friendship. 

Fanny writes : " I have seen Omai, and if I 
am as I intend to be, very minute in my account, 
(will you shake hands and be friends ? 

" ' Yes, you little Devil you ! so to business, and 
no more words/ Very well, I obey. 

"... Mr. Strange and Mr. Hayes, at their 

own motion, came to dinner to meet our guest. 

We did not dine till four. But Omai came at 

itwo, and Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander brought 

j him, in order to make a short visit to my father. 

They were all just come from the House of Lords, 

where they had taken Omai to hear the King 

make his speech from the throne. 

" For my part, I had been confined up stairs 
for three days ; however, I am much better, and 
obtained leave to come down, though very much 
wrapt up, and quite a figure, but I did not chuse 
to appear till Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander were 
gone. I found Omai seated in the great chair, 
and my brother next to him, and talking Otaheite 
as fast as possible. You cannot suppose how 
fluently and easily Jem speaks it. Mama and 
Susy and Charlotte were opposite. As soon as 
there was a cessation of talk, Jem introduced me, 
and told him I was another sister. He rose and 
made a very fine bow, and then seated himself 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

again. But when Jem went on and told him I 
was not well, he again directly rose, and mutter 
ing something about the fire, in a very polite 
manner insisted upon my taking his seat, and he 
would not be refused. He then drew his chair 
next to mine, and looking at me with an ex 
pression of pity, said, ' Very well to-morrow- 
morrow ? ' I imagine he meant, I hope you 
will be very well in two or three morrows, and 
when I shook my head, he said, ' No f O, very 

" As he had been at Court he was very fine. 
He had on a suit of Manchester velvet, lined 
with white satten, a bag, lace ruffles, and a very 
handsome sword which the King had given him. 
He is tall and very well made, much darker 
than I expected to see him, but has a pleasing 
countenance. . . . He seems to shame Education, 
for his manners are so extremely graceful, and 
he is so polite, attentive, and easy, that you would 
have thought he came from some foreign Court. 

"... At dinner I had the pleasure of sitting 
next to him. The moment he was helped he 
presented his plate to me, which, when I declined, 
he had not the over-shot politeness to offer all 
round, as I have seen some people do, but took 
it quietly again. He eat heartily and committed 
not the slightest blunder at table, neither did he 
do anything awkwardly or ungainly. 




A Very Particular Correspondence 

" . . . Mr. Hayes asked him, through Jem, 
how he liked the King and his Speech. He had 
the politeness to try to answer in English and to 
Mr. Hayes, and said, ' Very well, King George!' 

"... Before six the coach came. Our man 
came in and said, ' Mr. Omai's servant.' He 
heard it at once, and answered, ' Very well! He 
kept his seat about five minutes after, then rose 
and got his hat and sword. My father happening 
to be talking to Mr. Strange, Omai stood still, 
neither chusing to interrupt him, nor to make his 
compliments to any body else first. When he 
was disengaged Omai went up to him, and made 
an exceeding fine bow the same to Mama 
then separately to every one in the company, 
and then went out with Jem to his coach. 

" The conversation of our house has turned 
ever since upon Mr. Stanhope and Omai the 
first with all the advantages of Lord Chester 
field's instructions, brought up at a great school, 
introduced at fifteen to a Court, taught all possible 
accomplishments from an infant, and having all 
the care, expense, labour and benefit of the best 
education that any man can receive, proved after 
it all, a mere pedantic booby ; the second, with no 
tutor but Nature, changes, after he is grown up, 
his dress, his way of life, his diet, his country and 
his friends ; and appears in a new world like a 
man [who] had all his life studied the Graces. . . . 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

I think this shows how much more nature can do 
without art y than art with all her refinement un 
assisted by nature'' 

This strange contrast was again suggested to 
Fanny's mind when Omai paid his second visit 
to England a year later. Writing to Mr. Crisp, 
she says : 

" Mr. Burney, Hetty and I took a walk in the 
Park on Sunday morning, where, among others, 
we saw the young and handsome Duchess of 
Devonshire, walking in such an undressed and 
slaternly manner as in former times Mrs. Rishton 
might have done in Chesington Garden. Two 
of her curls came quite unpinned, and fell lank 
on one of her shoulders ; one shoe was down at 
heel, the trimming of her jacket and coat was in 
some places unsown ; her cap was awry ; and her 
cloak, which was rusty and powdered, was flung 
half on and half off. Had she not had a servant 
in a superb livery behind her, she would certainly 
have been affronted. Every creature turned 
back to stare at her. . . . 

" Omai, who was in the Park, called here this 
morning, and says that he went to her Grace, and 
asked her why she let her hair go in that manner ! 
Ha, ha, ha ! Don't you laugh at her having a 
lesson of attention from an Otaheitan ? " 



EARLY in 1775, Fanny writes to Mr. Crisp: 
" I am now going to give myself the delight 
of recounting an evening with the celebrated 
Signora Agujari ; detta la Bastardini. ... The 
visit had been some time arranged, and we 
expected her with extreme impatience. Dr. 
Maty, who is a little formal, affected man, but 
held in the highest class for learning, handed and 
presented Signora Agujari. She was accom 
panied by Signer Colla, an Italian musician, and 
the Rev d . Mr. Penneck. She is of middle stature, 
and has the misfortune to be lame. ... Her face 
is handsome and expressive of all her words. 
She has the character of being immensely proud. 
She was, however, all civility here, though her 
excessive vanity was perpetually self-betrayed. 
Signer Colla, to whom she is reported to be 
married, is a lively, I might almost say, fiery 

". . . The conversation was chiefly in French. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

We were all languishing to hear Signora Agujari 
sing, though as it was not perfectly convenient 
to us to offer her fifty guineas for a song, we 
were somewhat in fear of requesting one. My 
father hinted it to Dr. Maty, Dr. Maty hinted it 
to Signer Colla ; Signor Colla did not take the 
hint of hinting it to the Bastardini. He said 
that she certainly would sing to the Doctor 
Burney ; but that she had a slight sore throat, 
and would wish to sing to him to the greatest 
advantage. He then launched into a most pro 
fuse panygyric of my father, of his fame abroad, 
and of the great happiness he had in being 
introduced to a so c'elebre homme. 

" We were all disappointed ; but Signora 
Agujari promised to make us another visit very 
soon, when she would bring two of her most 
favourite airs with her. . . . She asked my father 
if he had heard la Gabriella f 

"'No/ he said; 'she was in Sicily when he 
visited Italy/ 

11 * Ah, Diable ! ' cried she, " c'est dommage ! ' 

" Diable is a favourite exclamation with her, 
though, in other respects, she is not at all 

"'Mais vous, Mile./ said my father, 'Tavez- 
vous entendue ? ' 

" ' Oh, no ! ' returned she, and added that they 
two could never be in the same place together ; 


Rival Singers 


and Signer Colla said, that two first singers could 
hever meet. ' Two suns/ said Dr. Maty, in 
[Italian, ' are never seen at once/ 

"... My sister [Hetty] was asked by the com- 
jpany in general to play ; she begged to be excused, 
being quite out of practice. However, the com 
pany would not accept of her excuses ; and there- 
pore she played a lesson of Bach of Berlin. 

"The Bastardini seemed really pleased with 
It, and was civil in her commendations. Mr. 
Burney then sat down, and, as usual, raised a 
general astonishment, though I thought that the 
Bastardini seemed more pleased with Hetty's 
playing, which is infinitely expressive and full of 

"When they went away she again repeated 
Je veindrai (sic) absolument, and Dr. Maty 
esquired her to their carriage, adding she would 
only wait to be quite in voice.'* 

The Bastardini kept her word. Fanny 
writes after the great event : 

" And now for the singer of singers ! She 
came with Signer Maestro Colla to tea. She 
frightened us a little at first, by complaining of 
a cold. Mr. Burney, as usual, played first ; and 
after that Signora Agujari rose to sing ! We all 
rose too, we seemed all Ear. Had a pin fallen, 
I suppose we should have taken it at least for a 
thunder-clap. All was hushed and rapt attention. 

17 c 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

"She began with a fulness and power of 
voice that astonished us beyond all our possible 
expectations. She then lowered it to the most 
expressive softness : in short, she was sublime ; 
I can use no other word without degrading 

"We wished for you, I cannot tell you 
how much we wished for you ! The great 
singers of former years, whom I have heard 
you so emphatically describe, seem to have 
all their talents revived in this wonderful 
singer ! I could compare her to nothing I 
ever heard, but only to what you have heard. ! 
Your Carestino Farinelli Senesino alone are 
worthy to be ranked with the Bastardini. Such ! 
a powerful voice ! so astonishing a compa^ 
reaching from C in the middle of the harpsichord 
to two notes above the harpsichord ! Every tone 
so clear, so full, so charming ! Then her shake 
so plump, so true, so open ! It is as strong and 
distinct as Mr. Burney's upon the harpsichord. 
. . . She executes the greatest difficulties that are 
possible to be given her with all the ease and 
facility that I could say ' My dear daddy ! ' " 

Mozart, who heard Agujari sing at Parma 
just five years before Fanny wrote these words, 
speaks, in a letter, of her " incredibly high 
range," and says "she sang the following notes 
and passages in my presence/' Here follow 



Rival Singers 

several lines of music, of which these are the 
concluding bars : 


"Agujari came before 7," continues 
Fanny, "and stayed till 12, and was singing 
all the time ! . . . She sung in twenty different 
styles. The greatest was son regina and son 
amante from Didone. Good Heaven ! what a 
song ! and how sung ! Then she gave us two or 
three Cantabiles, sung divinely, then she chaunted 
some Church music in a style so nobly simple and 
unadorned, that it stole into one's very soul! 
Then she gave us a bravura, with difficulties 
which seemed only possible for an instrument in 
the hands of a great master; then she spoke 
some recitative, so nobly ! In short, whether she 
most astonished or most delighted us, I cannot 
say, but she is really a sublime singer." 

A few months later Gabrielli arrived in 
London, and great were the expectations of the 
opera-going world. But Gabrielli was as famous 
for her caprice as for her voice. The Opera of 
Didone having been announced for a certain 
evening, the lady, instead of appearing on the 
scene when the day arrived, sent an excuse for 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

her absence at the eleventh hour. " The crowd," 
writes Fanny, who was present, "was prodigious. 
People were in horrid passions. . . . One gentle 
man blustered furiously, vowing he had come 
twenty miles since dinner on purpose to hear 
Signora Gabrielli. Poor Yates, the manager, 
was obliged to stand at the door from 5 till 
past 7 o'clock to appease the rage of the 
disappointed public, though every person he sent 
away caused him a pang, as he could not but say, 
' There goes three shillings ! there five ! there 
half-a-guinea ! ' Yet if he had not been there, 
the house would probably have been pulled 

When Gabrielli was singing in Sicily a few 
years earlier, her caprices were dealt with in a 
summary fashion. For the King, being present 
at the performance of an opera in which she 
chose to sing in an almost inaudible voice, was 
so indignant that he had her clapped into prison ! 

The Burneys 1 second visit to the opera-house 
to hear Gabrielli sing was not paid in vain, as on 
this occasion the lady condescended to make her 

Fanny, after giving a detailed account of her 
singing to Mr. Crisp, goes on to say : "I know 
not what to write. Opinions vary so much that 
I would, to Heaven, you would come and hear 
and judge for yourself. . . . 


Rival Singers 

" To tell you I was not disappointed is im 
possible. You must already have perceived that 
your Tribunal has pronounced well, for Agujari 
is still alone and unrivalled ! 

" Mr. Burney said he was prodigiously let 
down; that she was not within ten degrees of 
Agujari. Hetty, because she was not an Agujari, 
would allow her nothing ; declared that she would 
not quit her room to hear her ; that she did not 
care whether she went to another opera the 
whole season. But Hetty's warm admiration has 
been so won by Agujari that she looks upon 
Gabrielli as a sort of usurper, in coming upon a 
throne that ought to be sacred to its first Queen. 
. . . Susey was rather more pleased. For my 
part, though I by no means could compare her 
with Agujari, I thought the tone of her voice was 
extremely sweet. . . . My father, who has at 
once more indulgence and more judgement than 
any of us, came home in much better humour 
with her than his saucy children. 

(( She is the universal subject of conversation, 
and no two people think alike of her. In the 
gallery every one seemed to think that she gave 
herself airs and woitld not sing. In the pit, near 
my father, everybody was delighted with her. So 
you see you must come and hear her yourself." 

Crisp responds : " I am now convinced I had 
entertain'd a true and clear idea of Mrs. Gabriel, 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

and form'd a just estimate of the comparative 
merits of her and Bastardini, for which I claim 
nothing to myself, but readily give it all to your 
faithful portraits of both. ... I can not only 
excuse, but applaud Hetty, for her outrageous 
preference of Agujari, and I love Charles for 
being prodigiously let down. 

" As for that Rogue, your father, I could lick 
him for his affected coolness and moderation. . . . 

" But [for people] to tell one gravely that 
Gabriel has a very weak voice or a weak voice- 
but very sweet and polish'd, etc., etc. ! and then 
compare her to the Bastard, who, besides sweet 
ness and taste, has all the powers of thunder and 
lightening in her, who can mark at pleasure every 
passage with what degree of strength and soft 
ness, light and shade, she pleases ; who can 
strike you speechless with majesty, or melt you 
with tenderness in the change of a moment ! I 
would recommend to such worthy judges, the 
sing-song and prettiness of Waller and Cowley, 
in preference to the sublimity of Milton and 

It is interesting to turn from Crisp's shrewd 
criticism to David Garrick's judgment of Ga- 
brielli's singing, given in an unpublished letter * 
to Dr. Burney. This letter was written in 
Naples on February 5, 1764, when Gabrielli's 

* Burney MSS. 

Rival Singers 

j' youth, beauty and caprice had occasioned an 
bniversal delirium among her young countrymen." 
kfter remarking that the Italian music of that 
(Jay was "all execution, without Simplicity or 
Pathos," he goes on to say, " I have heard the 
famous Gabrielli, who has indeed astonishing 
3owers, great compass of voice and great flexi 
bility, but she is always y e same, and though you 
ire highly transported at first with her, yet 
wanting that nice feeling of y e passions (without 
which everything in y e dramatic way will cease to 
entertain) she cannot give that variety and that 
peculiar Pleasure which alone can support the 
ediousness of an Opera in short, the Musick, 
vocal and instrumental, [here] has lost its nature, 
and it is all dancing on y e slack rope, and 
tumbling through y e hoop." 

Fanny gives a lively picture in the following 
ournal-letter to Mr. Crisp of the excitement 
caused in St. Martin's Street by the claims of the 
rival singers. 

It appears that on a certain evening in 
(November of the year we are writing of (1775), 
some notable guests were assembling in the 
Burneys' drawing-room. 

" I shall introduce them to you," writes Fanny 
to Crisp, "as they entered. 

"Rat, tat, tat! Enter the Dean of Win 
chester . . . 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

" Dr. Burney : 'Was you at the Opera last 
night, Mr. Dean ?' 

"Dean ofW.: ' No, Sir, I made an attempt, 
but / hate a crowd as much as the ladies love iff 
I beg pardon ! ' (Bowing to us.) 

" Tat, tat, tat, tat, tat two ! Enter Lady 
Edgecumbe. We were all introduced to her, 
and were honoured with a most gracious recep 
tion. She began a very animated conversation 
with my father, and was all condescension, re 
partee, (and yet) good humour. 

" Dr. Burney : * Your Ladyship was doubtless 
at the Opera last night ? ' 

" Lady Edge. : ' O yes ! But I have not heard 
the Gabrielli ! that is all I can say, I have not 
heard her ! I won't allow that I have ! ' 

" Dr. B. : ' Your Ladyship expected a greater 
and more powerful voice ? ' 

" Lady Edge. : ' Why no, not much. ... But 
for me I have heard Monticelli I have heard 
Mingotti and I have heard Manzoli ! and I 
shall never hear them again ! ' 

" Dr. King (pushing himself forward] : ' But I 
humbly submit to your Ladyship, whether Ga 
brielli has yet done herself justice ? ' (N.B. He 
knows, nor cares, a fig for music.) 

"Lady Edge.: * Certainly not. But, Dr. 
Burney, I have also heard Agujari and I shall 
never hear HER again ! ' 


Rival Singers 

11 Hetty, Fanny, Susette : ( O, Agujari !' 

" Dr. B. : ' Your Ladyship wins all their hearts 
>y naming Agujari. But I hope you will hear 
ler again.' 

" Lady Edge. : ' Do pray, Dr. Burney, speak 
ibout her to Mrs. Yates. Let her know that 
Agujari wishes to sing at the Theatre. . . . 
Agujari would greatly fill the Theatre indeed 
he could fill the Pantheon. By Gabrielli, Rauz- 
zini seemed to have a great voice : by Agujari 
appeared a child/ 

"Tat, tat, tat! Enter Mr. Charles Boone. 
Salutations over. 

41 Dr. B. : ' You were at the Opera last night ? ' 

"Mr. Boone : ' No, my cold was too bad. But 
I am told by Mr. Cooper, an excellent judge, 
that he had heard enough to pronounce Gabrielli 
the greatest singer in the world/ 

" Tat, tat, tat, tat ! Enter Mr. and Mrs. Brud- 
enal. Mr. Brudenal is second brother to the Duke 
of Montague. His lady was the Hon. Miss 
Legge, a great lady singer, and scholar of 
Mingotti. . . . 

" The introduction over, the Question of the 
Night was repeated How do you like Gabrielli ? 

"Mrs. Brudenal : f O, Lady Edgecumbe and I 
are exactly of one mind ; we both agree that she 
has not sung yet.' 

" Tat, tat, tat ! Enter Mr. Chamier Mr. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Chamier, who is the most gallant of men, immedi- ' 
ately seated himself by Susette and me, and began 
a most lively and agreeable conversation ; and 
from this time the company, being large, divided 
into parties. But I am resolved you shall hear 
every body's opinion of Gabrielli. 

"Mr. Chamier: 'Well, ladies, I hope you 
were entertained at the Opera ? I had the 
happiness of sitting next to Dr. Burney.' 

" Susy : 1 1 believe I saw you/ 

" Mr. Chamier : ' I was very sorry I could not 
see you. I looked for you/ 

" Fanny : ' O, we were at a humble distance ! 
in the gallery.' 

" Mr. Chamier : ' . . . Was not the Gabrielli 
charming ? ' 

" Susy : ' O, y e s.' 

" Fanny : ' I never expected so much in my 
life. I was really in an agitation. I could not 
listen to the overture I could hardly breath till 
I heard her/ 

" Mr. Chamier : ' Well, I am sure she did not 
disappoint you ! ' 

" Fanny : ' I must confess my expectations 
were too high raised to be answered/ 

" Mr. Chamier : ' O, she was not in voice ; 
you must regard this as a mere tchantillon! 

" Hetty : ' A very feeble and bad one ! ' 
(N.B. Between her teeth.) 


Rival Singers 

" Mr. Chamier : ' I was kept at the theatre a 
nil hour after the last dance before I could get 
L chair, for the crowd. However, we got into 
L party in the Coffee-room, and settled the affairs 
of the opera' 

" Fanny : ' Then I am sure there could be no 
dearth of conversation, for the opinions of every 
one concerning Gabrielli are so various.' 

" Mr. Chamier : ' O, I beg your pardon ! I 
find it the ton to be dissatisfied, "Cest peu de 
chose " was echoed and re-echoed partout! " 

In Fanny Burney's novel of " Cecilia," there 
is a certain Captain Aresby, of the Maccaroni 
type, whose style of conversation we think must 
have been suggested by that of Mr. Chamier. 
Here is a specimen of the Captain's talk : 

4 'What a concourse!" he cries, meeting 
Cecilia at Vauxhall. " Are you not accabtie t for 
my part I hardly respire. I have really hardly 
ever had the honour of being so obstde before. . . . 
Assez de monde but nobody here ! a blank partout / " 

Lady Edgecumbe, speaking of the Gabrielli, 
remarks : " The ceremony of her quitting the 
house when the Opera is over is extremely 
curious : First goes a man in a livery to clear the 
way; then follows the sister; then the Gabrielli 
herself ; then a page to hold her train ; and lastly, 
another man who carries her muff, in which is her 
little lap-dog." 



IN May, 1775, Fanny writes : " We have had I 
charming Concert. . . . The party consisted of 
the Baron Deiden, the Danish Ambassador, and 
the Baroness his lady, who is a sweet woman, 
young, pretty, accomplished and graceful. She 
is reckoned one of the best lady harpsichord 
players in Europe." After mentioning several . 
other guests, Fanny goes on to speak of " Mr. 
Harris, author of the Three Treatises on Music, 
Poetry, and Happiness. He is at the same 
time," she says, "learned and polite, intelligent 
and humble. . . . Mr. Merlin, the very inginious 
mechanic [who] is very diverting in conver 
sation. He does not, though a foreigner, want 
words; but he arranges and pronounces them 
very comically. . . . 

"Mr. Jones, a Welsh harper, a silly young 
man, was also present. Mr. Jones began the 
Concert. He has a fine instrument of Merlin's 
construction ; he plays with great neatness and 


Notable Guests 

i lelicacy ; but as expression must have meaning, 
ic does not abound in that commodity. After 
[rim, at the request of the Baroness Deiden, 
[VI r. Burney went to the harpsichord. He played 
pith his usual successful velocity, and his usual 
applause. When he had received the compliments 
bf the nobility and gentry, my father begged the 
Baroness to take his place ; but she would not 
at first hear of it. She said in French, which 
she almost always speaks, that it was quite out 
of the question, and that it would be like a 
figurante's dancing after Heinel.* However . . . 
jshe was at length prevailed with. She has a 
jgreat deal of execution and fire, and plays with 
much meaning. . . . Hetty was then pressed to 
perform. To avoid emulation she chose to play 
a slow movement of Echard's. ... It is a lesson 
which is almost unequalled for taste, elegance 
and delicacy, and she played it with so much 
feeling and expression that the whole company 
listened with delighted attention. . . . 

" After this we had a song from Miss Louisa 
Harris. She has little or no voice, but sings 
with great taste, and in a high style. . . . She 
said she had rather have sung at a theatre than 
before such an audience. . . . 

" Then followed the great Feast of the night, 
which was Muthel's Duet for two harpsichords, 

* A celebrated Flemish danseuse. 



The House in St. Martin's Street 

by Mr. Burney and my sister. They played 
delightfully. It is impossible for admiration to 
exceed what the company in general expressed. . . . 
The charming Baroness spoke her approbation in 
the highest terms. Mr. Harris, and indeed every 
body, appeared enchanted." 

In the early spring of this same year of whic 
we are writing (1775), the Burney family made 
the acquaintance of the traveller James Bruc 
or, as Fanny calls him, " His Abyssinian Majesty. 
She describes the various meetings with him 
her diaries of that date, but she also describes 
them in a letter to Mr. Crisp, of which the 
manuscript lies before us. 

The letter is dated March I2th, and begins 
and ends with a short paragraph from the pen of 
Dr. Burney, who was busily engaged at that time 
in writing his " History of Music." The Doctor 
had been suffering from a temporary attack of 
rheumatism in his hands. " Fanny," he says, 
" desires me to write a prologue * to I know not 
what she's going to give you and with my Paw, 
too ! Not one strait finger have I in my right 
hand ! However, I want to give you some signs 
of life after so long an absence and silence. ... I 
have to tell you of my poor Book at a dead stop 
now page 352. But what think you of the King 
of Abyssinia, who has at length indulged me with 

* This " prologue " is given in the " Early Diaries." 


Notable Guests 

2 charming drawings of Instruments, an Abys 
sinian Lyre, now in common use, and the Theban 
harp, most beautiful indeed, though drawn from 
a painting in Diospolis at least 3000 years old. 
A letter of description too I have leave to print. 
God bless you." 

In the first volume of the " History of Music" 
we find an engraving of this harp, which is of a 
graceful and elegant design. 

Fanny, in continuance of the letter to Crisp, 
remarks : " I think that I can take no sub 
ject which will be so agreeable to you as Mr. 
Bruce, and therefore I will devote to him this 

She goes on to describe a meeting with 
him at the house of his friend Mrs. Strange, 
and speaks of the great traveller as "one 
of the haughtiest as well as the tallest of 
men." " The day following [our visit]," she 
says, "was fixed for this majestic man to come 

"Mr. Twining, his wife, and a relation of 
hers, were of the party." 

This Mr. Twining (known as "Aristotle 
Twining ") was an intimate friend of the Burney 
family. Fanny speaks of him as "a man of 
learning, very fond of music, and a good performer 
both on the harpsichord and violin." 

Mrs. and Miss Strange having arrived, " They 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

said that his Abyssinian Majesty dined with 
General Melville, and was to come as soon ast 
possible. We waited tea an hour but no Mrj 
Bruce ! We then drank it, and Mr. Twining] 
impatient to hear Mr. Burney, proposed goink 
to work, and went into the library where tha 
Instruments * are. They were just got thera 
when a thundering rap startled us. Mr. Bruc^ 
was announced, and he entered the room with 
air, stalk and dignity of a Monarch. 

" We soon found that he was out of humou 
that something had disconcerted him. H 
drank one dish of tea, and then desired to spea 
to my Father, who asked him into his study, whic 
is a little snug room through the Library. A 
they went out they rencontred Mr. Twining 
My Father introduced him to the King 
Abyssinia, who bowed, and then they we 
on. When the door was shut, Mr. Twinin 
advancing to Mrs. Strange and my mother, 
with uplifted hands and eyes, said, 'This is th 
most awful man I ever saw ! I never felt s 
little in my life ! ' 

" c Well, troth/ said Mrs. Strange, ' nev 
mind. If you were six feet high, he would ove 
look you, and he can do no more now.' 

"When Mr. Twining sat down, he said, inj 

* These " Instruments " are sometimes called Harpsichords 
sometimes Piano Fortes, in these journals. 



Notable Guests 

| a pretended fright, ' When he returns, if he 
should over-look me ! if he should think the 
chair empty ! I shall be crushed ; it will be all 
over with me ! ' 

" Mr. Twining again begged Mr. Burney not 
to wait longer [for the music] , and so we all 
went into the Library, and Mr. B. sat down to 
the harpsichord and fired away in a voluntary. 
Mr. Twining, charmed with his performance, 
exclaimed, drolly, ' Is not this better than being 
tall ? ' Mr. Bruce and my Father soon returned, 
and we had music for above 2 hours. Mr. 
Burney played delightfully, and Hetty accom 
panied him in a very fine Duet for the Harpsi 
chord and Piano Forte. 

" Mr. Twining was enraptured ; Mrs. Strange 
listened in silent wonder and pleasure ; and Mr. 
Bruce was drawn into a charmed attention his 
features relaxed into smiles, his air lost its fierce 
ness ; and good humour, satisfaction and com 
placency took place of pride, sternness and 

Another notable guest in the house in St. 
Martin's Street at this time was Prince Orloff, 
the favourite of the Empress Catherine of Russia, 
who made his appearance in the modest parlour 
blazing with diamonds. It was the fame of the 
" matrimonial duets,'* it seems, that had brought 
him there ; for having heard them extolled by a 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

mutual acquaintance Dr. King he had peti 
tioned Dr. Burney to allow him to hear a 
performance. Dr. Burney could not well refuse 
to grant this favour to a man who was being 
feted, at that very time, at King George's Court; 
but his was a strange presence in the Burner 
household. As he stalked about the rooms, hi 
head towering above the other guests (for he w; 
as tall as Mr. Bruce), he was looked upon witl 
some feelings of dread, as well as of astonishment 
for a sinister rumour was afloat that his jewell< 
hands, now clasping those of his kindly host 
had actually helped to strangle the late unhapp] 
Emperor. His manners, however, were perfectl] 
courteous. He was loud in his applause of th< 
duets ; and a Russian nobleman who accompanie 
him, clapping his snuffbox with great vehement 
exclaimed, " Dis is so pretty as ever I heard in 

The narrow thoroughfare of St. Martin' 
Street must have been thronged during the* 
receptions with stately coaches, sedan-chain 
liveried servants, and link boys with their flam] 
ing torches. On one occasion a distinguishes 
guest, M. le Comte de Guignes, the Fren< 
Ambassador, "left," says Fanny, "an amusii 
laugh behind him from the pomposity of hi 
exit. For not finding, upon quitting the musi< 
room, with an abrupt French leave, half 


Notable Guests 

dozen of our lackeys waiting to anticipate his 
Drders, he indignantly and impatiently called 
3ut aloud, * Mes geos ! ou sont mes gem ? Que 
wnt Us done devenus ? Mes geus ! Je dis ! Mes 
?eus ! ' " 


WE find an amusing account of one of Garrick'j 
visits to St. Martin's Street in Fanny Burne] 
" Memoir " of her father. 

" A new housemaid," she writes, " who w; 
washing the steps of the door and did not knovl 
him, offered some resistance to letting him enter 
the house unannounced ; but breaking through 
her obstruction he ... ascended the stairs and 
rushed into the Doctor's study ; where his voice 
in some mock heroics to the damsel, alone pre 
ceded him. 

" Here he found the Doctor immersed in 
papers, manuscripts and books, though under 
the hands of his hair-dresser ; while one of his 
daughters was reading a newspaper to him ; 
another was making his tea, and another was 
arranging his books/' When the Doctor apolo 
gized for the littered state of his apartment, and 
endeavoured to put matters straight, Garrick, 
throwing himself into a chair, "called out, * Ay, do 


A Great Actor 

jnow, Doctor, be in a little confusion ! whisk your 
matters all out of their places ; and don't know 
where to find a thing that you want for the rest 
lof the day ; and that will make us all com- 

"The Doctor laughingly . . . resumed his 
place on the stool, that the furniture of his head 
might go through its proper repairs. 

" Mr. Garrick then, assuming a solemn gravity, 
with a profound air of attention, fastened his eyes 
upon the hair-dresser, as if wonder-struck at his 
I amazing skill. 

"The man, highly gratified by such notice 

jfrom the celebrated Garrick, briskly worked on, 

frizzing, curling, powdering, and pasting with 

assiduous, though flurried importance, and with 

marked self-complacency. 

" Mr. Garrick . . . seemed wholly absorbed 

I in admiring watchfulness . . . putting on, by 

degrees, with a power like transformation, a little 

mean face of envy and sadness, such as he wore 

in 'Abel Drugger';* . . . for, with his mouth 

(hanging stupidly open, he fixed his features in so 

i vacant an absence of all expression, that he less 

resembled himself than some daubed wooden 

block in a barber's shop window. 

" The friseur . . . became utterly discounte 
nanced by so incomprehensible a change, and . . . 

* A character in Ben Jonson's Alchemist. 
4 1 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

hardly knew what he was about. Mr. Garrick 
then, suddenly starting up, perked his altered 
physiognomy, with the look of a gaping idiot, 
full in the man's face. 

" Scared and confounded, the perruquier now 
turned away his eyes and hastily rolled up two 
curls, with all the speed in his power, to make his 
retreat. But before he was suffered to escape, 
Mr. Garrick, lifting his own miserable scratch 
[wig] from his head, and perching it high up in 
the air upon his finger and thumb, dolorously, in 
a whining voice, squeaked out, ' Pray now, Sir, 
do you think, Sir, you could touch up this here 
old bob a little bit, Sir?' 

" The man now, with open eyes and a broad 
grin, scampered pell-mell out of the room ; hardly 
able to shut the door ere an uncontrollable horse 
laugh proclaimed his ... perception of Mr. 
Garrick's mystification." 

Fanny, who saw Garrick in the character of 
'Abel Drugger ' in 17 73, wrote, on her return home 
from the theatre : " Never could I have imagined 
such a metamorphose as I saw ; the extreme 
meanness, the vulgarity, the low wit, the vacancy 
of countenance, the appearance of unlicked nature 
in all his motions. In short, never was character 
so well entered into, yet so opposite to his own." 

There is a story told of a person who had 
received a letter of introduction to the great 


T. Gainsborough 


A Great Actor 

actor, and who happened to see him for the first 
time at the theatre in this character, exclaiming 
that " now he had seen what a mean-looking 
creature Garrick was he should not present his 

Garrick's power of changing his whole 
physiognomy was indeed marvellous. On one 
occasion, when he was sitting for his portrait to a 
very indifferent painter, he took it into his head 
to play the artist a trick. After the picture had 
progressed for some time, Garrick caught an 
opportunity when he was unobserved to change 
his whole countenance and expression. The 
artist, thinking that his own likeness must have 
been at fault, began laboriously to repaint the 
face on his canvas ; but no sooner was this 
effected than Garrick seized another opportunity 
to change his countenance a second time, to one 
of a totally different character. The distracted 
painter now threw down his pallet and brushes, 
exclaiming that he must have been painting the 
devil, and would touch his picture no more. 

This anecdote was told by Garrick himself to 
Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

Garrick was passionately fond of children. In 
the old days, when the Burneys lived in Poland 
Street, he would often appear suddenly amongst 
them, and, if the Doctor happened to be out, 
would stay and amuse the little tribe of boys and 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

girls, assuming all kinds of characters for their 

In. an unpublished letter of Dr. Burney's,* he 
says : " Garrick used to take off the old puppet 
show of Punch, placing himself against a wall, 
seeming to speak through a comb, and to be 
moved by wires. Nobody talked such pretty 
nonsense as our great Roscius to children and 

In an early diary Fanny writes: " Yesterday 
after tea, we were cheered indeed ; for rap-tap- 
tap-tap, and entered Mr. and Mrs. Garrick with 
their two nieces. Mr. Garrick, who has lately 
been very ill, is delightfully recovered, looks as 
handsome as ever I saw him, is in charming 
spirits, and was all animation and good humour. 

" I never saw in my life," she says, "such 
brilliant piercing eyes as Mr. Garrick's are. In 
looking at him when I have chanced to meet 
them, I have really not been able to bear their 

Another contemporary, also a young lady, 
speaks of his " brilliant full black eyes," and says 
his face was " alive in every muscle and feature." 

Speaking of Mrs. Garrick, Fanny remarks : 
" Her manners [are] all elegance ; her smiles all 
sweetness. There is something so perfectly 
graceful in her motion and pleasing in her 

* Burney MSS. 


A Great Actor 

address, that the most trifling words have weight 
and power when spoken by her, to oblige and 
even delight." 

Mrs. Garrick, who had formerly been an 
accomplished danseuse on the Austrian stage, 
seems always to have retained her grace of 
motion. She passed many years in England, 
but spoke our language at all times as a foreigner. 
Meeting Fanny one day, she addressed her as 
her " tear little spark" and explained her meaning 
by adding, " Your father is my flame all my life, 
and you are a little spark of that flame." 

Many a delightful visit to the theatre the 
young Burneys owed to the kindness of Garrick 
or to that of his charming wife. On one occasion, 
when Dr. Burney had modestly asked for two 
places in some less-favoured part of the house, 
Garrick immediately responded 

"My DEAR DR., 

" I would rather have your family in 
my box, than all the Lords and Commons. 

" Yours ever, 

"D. G." 

In May, 1772, Fanny writes : " Maria [Allen], 
Susan and myself had the happiness to see 
Garrick last night in Richard III. We had 
always longed to see him in all his great 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

characters, though least in this, which is so shock 
ing. Garrick was sublimely horrible ! Good 
heavens ! how he made me shudder whenever 
he appeared ! It is inconceivable how terribly 
great he is in this character! I will never see 
him so disfigured again ; he seemed so truly 
the monster he performed that I felt myself 
glow with indignation every time I saw him.'' 

It is said that Hogarth saw Garrick in Richard 
III., and, on the following night, saw him in ' Abel 
Drugger.' He was so struck that he said to him, 
" You are in your element when you are begrimed 
with dirt or up to your elbows in blood." Pope 
also saw Garrick, many years earlier, in Richard 
///., and remarked to a friend, " That young man 
never had his equal, and he will never have a 



FANNY BURNEY writes in her journal on May 8, 
1775: " This month is called a tender one. It 
has proved so to me but not in me. I have 
not breathed one sigh, felt one sensation, or 
uttered one folly the more for the softness of 
the season. However, I have met with a youth 
whose heart, if he is to be credited, has been less 
guarded indeed, it has yielded itself so suddenly, 
that had it been in any other month, I should not 
have known how to have accounted for so easy a 

" The first day of this month I drank tea and 
spent the evening at Mr. Burney's, at the request 
of my sister, to meet a very stupid family, which 
.she told me it would be a charity to herself to 
give my time to. This family consisted of Mrs. 
O'Connor and her daughter by a first marriage, 
Miss Dickinson, who, poor creature, has the 
misfortune to be deaf and dumb. They are very 
old acquaintances of my grandmother Burney, to 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

oblige whom my sister invited them. My grand 
mother and two aunts, therefore, were of the 
party, as was also Mr. Barlow, a young man who 
has lived and boarded with Mrs. O'Connor for 
about two years. 

" Mr. Barlow is rather short, but handsome. 
He is a very well-bred . . . good-tempered and 
sensible young man . . . and he is highly spoken 
of for disposition and morals. He has read more 
than he has conversed, and seems to know but 
little of the world ; his language, therefore, is stiff 
and uncommon, and seems laboured, if not 
affected he has a great desire to please, but no 
elegance of manners ; neither, though he may be 
very worthy, is he at all agreeable. 

" Unfortunately, however, he happened to be 
prodigiously civil to me. . . . As my sister knew 
not well how to wile away the time, I proposed, 
after supper, a round of cross questions. This 
was agreed to. Mr. Barlow, who sat next to me, 
took near half an hour to settle upon what he 
should ask me, and at last his question was, 
' What I thought most necessary in Love ? ' I 
answered, ' Constancy' I hope, for his own sake, 
he will not remember this answer long, though he 
readily subscribed to it at the time. 

"The coach came for me about eleven. I 
rose to go. He earnestly entreated me to stay 
one or two minutes. I did not, however, think 

A Persistent Lover 

such compliance at all requisite. . . . The party 
then broke up. When we had all taken leave of 
our host and hostess, my grandmother, according 
to custom, gave me a kiss and her blessing. I 
would fain have eluded my aunts, as nothing can 
be so disagreeable as kissing before young men ; 
however, they chose it should go round ; and 
after them Mrs. O'Connor also saluted me, as 
did her daughter, desiring to be better acquainted 
with me. This disagreeable ceremony over, Mr. 
Barlow came up to me, and making an apology, 
which, not suspecting his intention, I did not 
understand he gave me a most ardent salute ! 
I have seldom been more surprised. ... I 
wonder so modest a man could dare be so bold. 

" He came downstairs with us, and waited at 
the door, I believe, till the coach was out of sight. 

" Four days after this meeting, my mother 
and Mrs. Young happened to be in the parlour, 
when I received a letter which, from the strong 
resemblance of the handwriting in the direction 
to that of Mr. Crisp, I immediately opened and 
thought came from Chesington ; but what was 
my surprise to see 'Madam 'at the beginning, 
and at the conclusion, ' Your sincere admirer 
and very humble ser* Thos. Barlow/ 

" I read it three or four times before I could 
credit my eyes. An acquaintance so short, and 
a procedure so hasty astonished me." 

49 E 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

The following extract from this love-letter, 
which contains not a single full stop from 
beginning to end, will be sufficient, we think, for 
the patience of the reader : 

" Mad m , Uninterrupted happiness we are 
told is of a short duration, and is quickly suc 
ceeded by Anxiety, which moral Axiom I really 
experienced on the Conclusion of May day at 
Mr. Charles Burney's, as the singular Pleasure 
of your Company was so soon Eclips'd by the 
rapidity of ever-flying Time ; but the felicity, 
tho' short, was too great to keep within the limits 
of one Breast, I must therefore entreat your 
Pardon for the Liberty I take, in attempting to 
reiterate the satisfaction I then felt, and paying 
a Tythe of Justice to the amiable Lady from 
whom it proceeded . . . Language cannot 
possibly depict the soft Emotions of a mind 
captivated by so much Merit, and [I] have now 
a Contest between my ardorous Pen, stimulated 
by so pleasing and so just a subject on the one 
hand, and a dread of being accused of Adulation 
on the other ; however, endeavouring at Justice, , 
and taking Truth (in her plainest Attire) for my 
Guide, I will venture to declare, that the 
Affability, Sweetness, and Sensibility, which i 
shone in your every Action, lead me irresistably 
to Love and Admire the Mistress of them," etc. 

" I took not a moment," writes Fanny, " 

A Persistent Lover 

deliberate I felt that my heart was totally 
insensible and I felt that I could never consent 
to unite myself to a man who I did not very 
highly value." 

Her impulse was to send at once such a letter 
to Mr. Barlow as would put a stop to any further 
applications on his part. But before doing this 
she felt bound to consult her father on the subject. 
Her father was, as she expresses it, all " indulg 
ence and goodness," but he advised her not to 
answer Mr. Barlow's letter; advice which went 
sorely against the grain with her. " I shewed 
Hetty the letter next day," she continues, " and 
she most vehemently took the young man's part. 

". . . I went afterwards to call on my grand 
mother ; my sister followed me, and directly told 
her and my aunts of the affair. They all of them 
became most zealous advocates of Mr. Barlow. . . . 
And my aunt Anne humourously bid me beware 
of her and Becky's fate ! 

" I assured them I was not intimidated, and 
that I had rather a thousand times die an old 
maid than be married, except from affection." 

Poor Fanny had to listen to yet further argu 
ments in favour of her suitor, till at last her trials 
culminated in a letter from her Daddy Crisp 
urging her to reconsider her decision. " Look 
round, Fan ! " he exclaims ; " look at your aunts ! 
.Fanny Burney won't always be what she is now. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

. . . Oh, Fan, this is not a marrying age, with 
out a handsome fortune ! . . . Suppose you to 
lose your father ; take in all chances. Consider 
the situation of an unprotected, unprovided 
woman ! Excuse my being so earnest with you. 
Assure yourself it proceeds from my regard, and 
from (let me say it though it savors of vanity) a 
deep knowledge of the world." 

Fanny responds : " Forgive me, dearest Mr. 
Crisp forgive me but, indeed, I cannot act from 
worldly motives. You know and have long known 
and laughed at my notions and character: con 
tinue still to laugh at me but pray don't make 
me cry for your last letter really made me un 
happy. ... I heartily wish I could act by your 
advice, and that I could return an attachment 
which, strange as it appears to me, I so little 
deserve. After all, if I live to be some comfort (as 
I flatter myself I am) to my father, I can have no 
motive to wish to sign myself other than his and 
your ever obliged, affectionate, and devoted, 

" FRANCES BURNEY, to the end 

" of the chapter. Amen." 

In all Fanny's letters of this period relating to 
Mr. Barlow's offer she signs her surname, " writ 
large? and twice or thrice underlined, to show 
that it would, at least, never be changed to 
" Barlow." 


A Persistent Lover 

On May i5th she writes in her journal : " This 
morning while we were all at breakfast except my 
father, who was in the study, John came into the 
parlour and said that a gentleman enquired for 
me. , . . The door opened and Mr. Barlow 
appeared. He had dressed himself elegantly, but 

I ! IL, 


ll ll 

JJ lil 


could hardly speak. He bowed two or .three 
times I coloured like scarlet. . . . He stammered 
a few words, but could not get on till Susan kindly 
came to the rescue and maintained some sort of 
conversation. I sat upon thorns from the fear 
that he would desire to speak to me alone. I 
looked another way and hardly opened my mouth. 
In about half an hour he rose to go. ... 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" Had I sent an answer [to his letter] this 
would not have happened, but it is now too 

A chance meeting (to Fanny's no small 
annoyance) followed shortly afterwards, at the 
house of her grandmother and aunts, where Mr. 
Barlow endeavoured to press his suit, and where 
she did all in her power to repulse him. But 
this persistent lover seemed to be proof against 
all opposition, and upon quitting the lady's 
presence he addressed a second letter to her, in 
which, through the aid of " that powerful Deity 
Cupid," he made it evident that his hopes of 
success were gaining ground. 

This letter was followed in its turn by a 
second call in St. Martin's Street, the result of 
which is given by Fanny in an unpublished 
letter * to her Daddy Crisp, who had now 
happily begun to see the matter in a new light. 
That letter, which is dated June 10, 1775, ^ 
before us. It is written on sheets of square 
paper, now turned yellow with age. The hand 
writing is unusually large and clear. 

" I shall not trouble you," she says, " with our 
conversation, which you may easily suppose. I 
desired to put a final end to the affair, and toldj 
[Mr. Barlow] I was unalterably fixed in the 
answer I gave him. He stayed, I dare say, 2i| 

* Burney MSS. 

A Persistent Lover 

full hours repeating, and making me repeat, the 
same things a thousand times. . . . 

11 1 was never more happy than when he left 
the house. The conversation had been extremely 
disagreeable to me. However, I looked upon the 
whole business to be then entirely over, and as to 
Mr. B., though his melancholick and disconsolate 
looks rather distressed me, yet I felt sure that he 
would very soon forget an attachment he had 
formed so lightly ; and besides men soon console 

" But what was my consternation when, the 
next morning, my dear father spoke to me in 
favour of this man ! He desired me not to be 
precipitate, and to keep an opening in case future 
enquiries should turn out to the advantage of Mr. 

" I was never on my own account so miserable 
in my life. I could not endure the idea of 
trifling of seeming not to know my own mind 
nor of waiting, like a mercenary Minx, to hear 
whether I should be the better for the alliance 
before I let him know whether I deign to accept 
him or not ! . . . and I felt that to be united for 
ever to a man for whom I had not the least regard, 
would cloud every Hour of my future Life." 

" That evening, however/* she writes in one 
of her published diaries, " I was relieved from 
my frights by my father's kindness. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" After supper I went into the study, while 
my dear father was alone, to wish him good night, 
which I did as cheerfully as I could, though 
pretty evidently in dreadful uneasiness. When 
I had got to the door he called me back, and 
asked some questions concerning a new court- 
mourning, kindly saying he would assist Susette. 
and me in our fitting out, which he accordingly 
did, and affectionately embraced me, saying, ' I 
wish I could do more for thee, Fanny ! ' ' Oh, 
Sir,' cried I, ' / wish for nothing ! only let me 
live with you.' ' My life ! ' cried he, kissing me 
kindly, ' thou shalt live with me for ever if thou 
wilt ! Thou canst not think I meant to get rid 
of thee ? ' 

" ' I could not, Sir ; I could not ! ' cried I ; 4 I 
could not outlive such a thought ! ' and, as I 
kissed him Oh ! how gratefully and thankfully ! 
with what a relief to my heart ! I saw his eyes 
full of tears, a mark of his tenderness which I 
shall never forget ! ' God knows/ continued he, 
' I wish not to part with my girls ! only don't be 
too hasty ! ' 

" Thus relieved, restored to future hopes, I 
went to bed, light, happy, and thankful, as if 
escaped from destruction. 

" From that day to this," she concludes, " my 
father, I thank Heaven, has never again men 
tioned Mr. Barlow." 



FANNY writes to Mr. Crisp on March, 28, 1777 :* 
" Now to our Thursday morning party. 

" Mrs. and Miss Thrale, Miss Owen, and Mr. 
Seward came long before Lexiphanes. Mrs. 
Thrale is a very pretty woman still ; she is 
extremely lively and chatty ; has no supercilious 
or pedantic airs, and is really gay and agreeable. 
Her daughter is about twelve years old . . . 
Miss Owen, who is a relative, is good-humoured 
and sensible enough . . .Mr. Seward is a very 
polite, agreeable young man. 

"My sister Burney was invited to meet and 
play to them. The conversation was supported 
with a good deal of vivacity (N.B. my father 
being at home) for about half an hour, and then 
Hetty and Susette, for [Susette's] first time in 
public, played a duet ; and in the midst of their 
performance Dr. Johnson was announced. He 

* This letter is docketted by Madame d'Arblay in later years, 
" First sight of Dr. Johnson, Mrs. and Miss Thrale, and Mr. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

is indeed very ill-favoured ; is tall and stout ; 
but stoops terribly ; he is almost bent double. 
His mouth is almost constantly opening and 
shutting as if he was chewing. He has a strange 
method of frequently twirling his fingers, and 
twisting his hands. His body is in continual 
agitation, see-sawing up and down ; his feet are 
never a moment quiet ; and, in short, his whole 
person is in perpetual motion. His dress, too, 
considering the times, and that he had meant to 
put on his best becomes, being engaged to dine in 
a large company, was as much out of the common 
as his figure; he had a large wig, snuff-colour 
coat, and gold buttons, but no ruffles to his 
[shirt] . . . and black worsted stockings." 

It is curious to turn here to Dr. Johnson's 
own opinion of his appearance expressed to 
Fanny, a few years later, when he found her 
one day in the Thrales' drawing-room, gazing 
affectionately at his portrait. Peeping over her 
shoulder, he called out, with a ludicrous half- 
laugh, "Ah ha! Sam Johnson ! I see thee! 
and an ugly dog thou art ! " 

" He is shockingly near-sighted/' continues 
Fanny, "and did not, till she held out her hand 
to him, even know Mrs. Thrale. He poked his 
nose over the keys of the harpsichord,* till poor 

* This account is quoted chiefly from the "Memoir" of Dr. 


Lexiphanes in St. Martin's Street 

Hetty and Susan hardly knew how to play on, 
for fear of touching his phiz ; or, which was 
harder still, how to keep their countenances. . . . 
When the duet was finished, my father introduced 
your Hettina to him as an old acquaintance, to 
whom, when she was a little girl, he had pre 
sented his * Idler/ 

"His answer to this was imprinting on her 
pretty face not a half-touch of a courtly salute 
but a good, real, substantial, and very loud kiss. 

" Everybody was obliged to stroke their chins, 
that they might hide their mouths. 

". . . His attention was not to be drawn off 
two minutes longer from the books, to which 
he now strided his way. He pored over them 
shelf by shelf, almost brushing them with his 
eye-lashes. ... At last, fixing upon something 
that happened to hit his fancy, he took it down, 
and standing aloof from the company, which he 
seemed clean and clear to forget, he began with 
out further ceremony and very composedly to 
read to himself, and as intently as if he had been 
alone in his own study. 

"We were all excessively provoked, for we 
were languishing, fretting, expiring to hear him 
talk not to see him read ! what could that do 
for us ? 

" My sister then played another duet accom 
panied by my father, to which Mrs. Thfale seemed 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

very attentive, and all the rest quietly resigned. 
But Dr. Johnson had opened a volume of the 
' British Encyclopedia,' and was so deeply en 
gaged, that the music, probably, never reached 
his ears. 

" When it was over, Mrs. Thrale, in a laugh 
ing manner, said, ' Pray, Dr. Burney, will you be 
so good as to tell me what that song was, and 
whose, which Savoi sung last night at Bach's * 
concert, and which you did not hear ? ' 

" My father confessed himself by no means so 
able a diviner, not having had time to consult the 
stars, though he lived in the house of Sir Isaak 
Newton. But anxious to draw Dr. Johnson into 
conversation, he ventured to interrupt him with 
Mrs. Thrale's conjuring request relative to Bach's 

" The doctor comprehending his drift, good- 
naturedly put away his book, and, see-sawing, 
with a very humourous smile, drolly repeated, 
* Bach, sir ? Bach's concert ? And pray, sir, 
who is Bach ? Is he a piper ? ' 

" You may imagine what exclamations followed 
such a question. 

" Mrs. Thrale gave a detailed account of the 
nature of the concert, and the fame of Mr. Bach, 
and the many charming performances she had 
heard, with all their varieties, in his rooms. 

* J. C. Bach, a son of Johann Sebastian Bach. 

Lexiphanes in St. Martin's Street 

" When there was a pause, * Pray, madam,' 
said he, with the calmest gravity, ' what is the 
expense for all this ? ' 


"'(),' answered she, 'the expense is much 
trouble and solicitation -to obtain a subscriber's 
ticket or else half-a-guinea.' 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" ' Trouble and solicitation/ he replied, ' I will 
have nothing to do with ! but, if he be so fine, 
I will be willing to give ' he hesitated, and then 
finished with ' eighteen pence/ 

" Ha ! ha ! Chocolate being then brought, 
we returned to the drawing-room ; and Dr. John 
son, when drawn away from the books, freely 
and with social good-humour gave himself up 
to conversation. . . . They talked of Mr. Garrick 
and his late exhibition before the King, to whom 
and to the Queen and Royal Family he read [his 
farce of] " Lethe," in character, cest d dire, in 
different voices, and theatrically. . . . 

"' They say/ cried Mrs. Thrale, 'that Garrick 
was extremely hurt at the coolness of the King's 
applause, and did not find his reception such as 
he expected/ 

" ' He has been so long accustomed/ said 
Mr. Seward, 'to the thundering approbation of 
the theatre, that a mere "Very well" must 
necessarily and naturally disappoint him/ 

"' Sir/ said Dr. Johnson, 'he should not, in a 
Royal apartment, expect the hallooing and clamour 
of the One Shilling Gallery. . . . He has long 
reigned the unequalled favourite of the public, 
and, therefore, nobody will mourn his hard lot if 
the King and Royal Family were not transported 
into rapture upon hearing him read Lethe. 
But yet Mr. Garrick will complain to his friends ; 


Lexiphanes in St. Martin's Street 

and his friends will lament the King's want of 
feeling and taste ; and then Mr. Garrick will 
kindly excuse the King. He will say that His 
Majesty might be thinking of something else; 
that the affairs of America might occur to him ; 
or some subject of State more important, perhaps, 
than Lethe ; but though he will say this himself, 
he will not forgive his friends if they do not 
contradict him ! ' 

" Garrick " [remarked the Doctor, presently] 
" never enters a room but he regards himself as 
the object of general attention, from whom the 
entertainment of the company is expected ; and 
true it is that he seldom disappoints that expecta 
tion : for he has infinite humour, a very just 
proportion of wit, and more convivial pleasantry 
than almost any man living. But then ^as well 
as on the Stage, he is always an Actor ! for he 
holds it so incumbent upon him to be sportive, 
that his gaiety becomes mechanical from being 

Johnson's words recall the well-known descrip 
tion of Garrick in Goldsmith's " Retaliation " 

" On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting ; 
'Twas only that when he was off he was acting." 

But Johnson had a high opinion of Garrick's 
character in spite of his criticisms. "Garrick," 
said he, "is accused of vanity; but few men 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

would have borne such unremitting prosperity 
with greater, if with equal moderation." 

Sir Joshua Reynolds once observed of Dr. 
Johnson that he considered this great actor, who 
had formerly been his pupil, " to be, as it were, 
his property, and that he would allow no man 
either to blame or to praise Garrick in his 
presence without contradicting him." 

Crisp writes to Fanny in answer to her fore 
going journal-letter : "How wonderfully well, in 
half a dozen masterly touches, has Johnson made 
a striking likeness of Garrick ! It half reconciles 
me to his heavy Dictionary. I am now con 
vinced (putting together your account of him and 
what I had heard before) that his real Jorte is 
conversation. His quickness, his originality, his 
oddities, his singularities (which so well become 
him and perhaps would nobody else) must make 
him a model of an entertaining companion." 

It is remarkable that the recluse Crisp should 
thus distinguish the very talents by which this 
great man was to be known to posterity. Is it 
not by his conversation (recorded, happily,) rather 
than by any of his works that Dr. Johnson's 
personality has such a firm hold upon us in this 
twentieth century ? 

" Well, Fanny," continues Crisp, " since I 
can't come to London and personally partake of 
the turtle feast, you saved and collected me a 

Lexiphanes in St. Martin's Street 

part of it, so well selected, so well clos'd up, and 
packed with such care, that it has all the full 
relish, and the high flavour "of the Callipash and 
Callipee. This being the case, d'ye think my 
modesty will restrain me from crying more, 
more ? " 




CHARLOTTE ANN BURNEY, the youngest of Dr. 
Burney's four daughters by his first wife, wrote 
journals like her elder sisters, though in an 
original way of her own. She had a quick eye 
to observe traits of character and peculiarities 
in those about her, and a lively sense of humour. 
Her spirits, we are told, " might be checked, but 
could not be subdued," so the reader must pardon 
some audacious words which may startle him in 
the innocent fun of this girl of sixteen years. 

In the following extract from a journal written 
in 1777, we meet with Garrick at the theatre, 
though no longer as an actor, but as a spectator, 
as he had recently retired from the stage. 

Garrick, who was seated with his back to 
Charlotte and Susan, had not at first seen them ; 
but suddenly turning round, he exclaimed 

"'Ha! what is it you!' and so saying he 
shook hands with us. Lord, how consequencial 
I felt just then! 


Matters Playful and Perverse 

" ' Well, but you an't alone ? ' 

" ' Oh, no, Sir, we have a lady with us.' How 
friendly, and fatherly, sweet soul ! 

".'Well, but how have you done this long 
while ? I'm so glad to see you/ 

" ' And we're so proud to be acknowledged,' 
answered Susey. She said right, for splitt me if 
I'd not a hundred times rather be spoken to by 
Garrick in public than by His Majesty, God bless 

" There was a Lilliputian dance by about a 
dozen children, none more than twelve, I'm sure, 
and he asked me very much to go and join 

" ' Come, shall you and I make one among 
'em ? Come, if you will, I will ; I only wait for 
you. We should look as handsome as any of 

" ' I fancy/ rejoined I, ' we should look like 
Patagonians among them/ 

" 'Oh,' says he, 'I should be the/#//<zgonian/ 

" How amazingly ready he is ! . . . He was 
saying that my father had promised to lend him 
some journals, and I said Charles was at home, 
and would be vastly happy to wait upon him with 
the journals. 

. " ' What, the Cherry Derry * of the age, is he 
in town ? But I don't know whether I can 

* A nickname that Garrick had given him. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

explain the matter more clearly if I come 

" L d, I thought I must have been fain to 
take one of Mr. Astley's flying leaps into the pit 
for joy ! But I calm'd my transport a little . . . 
and could not refrain from asking sister Susey, in 
a whisper that he could not help hearing, this 
simple question ' whether Mr. Garrick had 
settled to come next morning ? ' 

" Upon which he turned to me with one of the 
gruffest of his lion looks 

" ' I will.' 

" ' To-morrow, sir ? ' 

" * I'll come to-morrow,' answered he, in the 
same tone of voice. 

" The farce was * Piety in Pattens,' most 
wretchedly written and acted, all that I saw of 
it, for Susey hadn't patience to stay, though she 
might have paid herself by half an hour longer 
of [Garrick's] company! He laughed as much 
as he could have done at the most excellent 
piece in the world. Indeed, to borrow one 
of Fanny's expressions, ' it was bad enough to 
be good' 

"Mr. George Garrick was there, and Garrick 
introduced us to him with ' Here's two of my 
children, two of the Burneys.' How kind he is 
to us all ! He was very intent either upon this 
petit piece or his own cogitations, so we were 


Matters Playful and Perverse 

obliged to sail off without saying anything, to my 
no small griggitation. 

" Next morning, while I was making my 
father's tea, I heard three knocks at the door 
(which were the sweetest music I had had my ears 

tickled with for many a j , day), upon which, 

after knocking down the tea cannister, dropping 
the teapot lid into the water, and scalding my 
fingers, I tumbled upstairs and met him. 

" * Well, why, what did you steal away for ? I 
intended to have seen you safe, but what did you 
mean by it ? ' 

" Before I could have given an answer of any 
sort, Betty, who stood by with the broom in her 
hand, and whose cockles were tickled by his droll 
attitudes and way of expressing himself, burst 
out laughing ; upon which he fairly caned her 
up a whole flight of stairs, desiring at the same 
time to know what she laughed for. As soon 
as he was safely moored in the chaos* he attacked 
me again. 

" ' Well, but, Piety in pattens, how came you to 
r*un away, hay ? I remember the time when she 
was not quite so cruel, when I used to tuck her 
under my arm and run away with her, but now 
| she runs from me I But Piety in pattens blush'd 
|at shaking hands with me in public ! didn't you, 

* A name signifying Dr. Burney's study. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

didn't you ? Then the folks all stared, and we (I 
admire his saying we) looked so handsome ! . . . ' 

" He took off Dr. Johnson most admirably. 
Indeed, I enjoy'd it doubly from having been in 
his company : his see-saw, his pawing, his very 
look, and his voice ! . . . He took him off in a 
speech (that has stuck in his gizzard ever since 
some friendly person was so obliging as to repeat 
it to him). ... * Yes, yes ; Davy has some 
convivial pleasantries in him ; but 'tis a futile 

" He ask'd my father how he stood his ground 
at Strayhthem.* 

" * Oh,' says my father, ' vastly well, and I 
can assure you Johnson fights your battles for 
you.' Upon which Garrick insisted upon knowing 
who with ? But my father declared off for that. 

" * Well, but, Burney, I'll never forgive you if 
you won't tell me.' . . . And so he went on all 
the way downstairs. . . . And when he got out 
of the door 'Well, Burney, here ends our 
friendship ! ' 

" Becket the bookseller came with him, and he 
walk'd on a little before Garrick, and he was 
impudent enough to take him off, to his face, I 
was going to say, but to do him justice he did it| 
like a gentleman, behind his back. . . . 

" Thus ended his visit, sweet soul ! He ha< 

* This is one of Charlotte's puns. 


Matters Playful and Perverse 

on his favourite scratch wig, his mob wig, as Mr. 
Twining calls it ; but in spite of it he looked as 
abominably handsome as I think I ever saw him." 

In another journal, of which only fragments 
remain, Charlotte describes a rather comical 
meeting of wits in St. Martin's Street, of which 
we find further details in Fanny's "Memoir" of 
her father. 

The occasion of this party was a strong 
desire, expressed by Mr. Greville (Dr. Burney's 
former patron), Mrs. Greville, and their daughter, 
Mrs. Crewe, to meet Dr. Johnson and Mrs. 

Dr. Burney hoping to take off " what might 
be stiff or formidable in an encounter between 
these celebrated persons, who were absolute 
strangers to one another . . . determined to vary 
the energy of intellectual debate by ... the 
sweetness of instrumental harmony." For this 
purpose he had invited the Italian singer, Signor 
Piozzi, as well as the Charles Rousseau Burneys, 
to join the gathering; and as soon as the 
company were assembled, he called upon Piozzi 
for a cantata. " But this move of the Doctor's 
proved to be the herald to general discomforture 
... for neither the Grevilles nor the Thrales 
heeded music beyond what belonged to it as 
fashion ; the expectations of the Grevilles were 
all occupied by Dr. Johnson ; and those of 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

the Thrales by Mrs. Greville, the authoress of 
the Ode to Indifference." 

Dr. Johnson, in the mean time, had come to 
the party with every intention to pass two or 
three hours very agreeably. He had even 
dressed with unusual care. " Dr. Johnson," 
writes Charlotte, " was immensely smart, for him, 
for he had not only a very decent tidy suit of 
cloathes on, but his hands, face, and linnen were 
clean, and he treated us with his worsted wig 
which Mr. Thrale made him a present of, because 
it scarce ever gets out of curl, and he generally 
diverts himself with laying down just after he has 
got a fresh wig on." But Dr. Johnson, it seems, 
was " the most silent creature, when not particu 
larly drawn out," and Mr. Greville, in spite of his 
pride of rank, hesitating to enter into the lists of 
argument with this " leviathan of literature," the 
company awaited in vain for their discourse. 

" Mrs. Thrale of the whole coterie," Fanny 
tells us, " was alone at her ease. She feared not 
Dr. Johnson, for fear made no part of her 
composition," and provoked by the general 
dulness of the company, she determined to effect 
some kind of diversion. " She suddenly but 
softly arose, and, stealing on tip-toe behind 
Signer Piozzi, who was accompanying himself on 
the pianoforte in an animated arria parlante, 
with his back to the company, she began imitating 


Matters Playful and Perverse 

him by squaring her elbows, elevating them with 
ecstatic shrugs of the shoulders, and casting up 
her eyes, while languishingly reclining her head, 
as if she were not less enthusiastically struck with 
the transports of harmony than himself." 

This pantomime " was not perceived by Dr. 
Johnson, who faced the fire with his back to the 
performer." But the general amusement was of 
short duration, for " Dr. Burney, shocked lest the 
poor Signer should observe and be hurt by this 
mimicry, glided gently round to Mrs. Thrale, and 
with something between pleasantry and severity 
whispered to her, ' Because, madam, you have 
no ear yourself for music, will you destroy the 
attention of all who, in that one point, are other 
wise gifted ? ' 

" . . . [Mrs. Thrale] took this rebuke with a 
candour and a sense of justice the most amiable ; 
she nodded her approbation of the admonition, 
and, returning to her chair, quietly sat down, as 
she afterwards said, like a pretty little miss, for 
the remainder of one of the most humdrum 
evenings she had ever passed." 

Yet another reproof was to be administered 
before this " party of pleasure " broke up. 

Mr. Greville, finding that Dr. Johnson con 
tinued to remain in a silent reverie, chose to keep 

* This strange incident marked Mrs. Thrale's first introduction 
to the man who was hereafter to be her second husband. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

aloof from the company, " and assuming his most 
supercilious air of distant superiority, planted 
himself, immovable as a noble statue, upon the 
hearth, as if a stranger to the whole set." 

There is a character in Fanny Burney's novel 
of " Cecilia " the elder Delville a lofty, pompous 
individual, eaten up with family pride, whose 
character, it is supposed, was suggested by that 
of Mr. Greville. 

" Mr. Greville and the other gentlemen were 
so kind and considerate," remarks Charlotte, " as to 
divert themselves by making a fire-skreen to the 
whole room. Dr. Johnson made them make off, 
for when nobody would have imagined that he- 
had [even] known the gentlemen were in the 
room, he said that ' if he was not ashamed, he 
would keep the fire from the ladies too/ This 
reproof (for a reproof it certainly was, altho' 
given in a very comical dry way) was productive 
of a scene as good as a comedy ; for Mr. Suard * 
tumbled on to the sopha directly, Mr. Thrale on 
to a chair, Mr. Davenant sneaked off the premises, 
seemingly in as great a fright and as much con 
founded as if he had done any bad action, and 
Mr. Gruel,f being left solus, was obliged to stalk 
off ... and it was pretty evidently against the 

* Seward. 

f Charlotte's nickname for Mr. Greville. 



IN the spring of 1777, Fanny, who was paying a 
happy visit at Chesington, was hurried home by 
the intelligence that her uncle, Richard Burney, 
had arrived in town for the express purpose of 
carrying her back with him to Worcester. 

This uncle, who was an elder brother of Dr. 
Burney, lived, together with his large family of 
sons and daughters, at Barborne Lodge, a hand 
some red - brick house, standing in its own 
grounds, about a mile from the city of Worcester. 
The town has now crept out in that direction, 
but a hundred years ago Barborne Lodge stood 
in the country. 

Fanny was rather in awe of her " lordly 
uncle," as Crisp dubbed him, but when her shy 
ness had worn off, she found he had more of 
kindliness towards her than she had at all 

On her arrival at his house, Fanny found 
herself one of a merry party in all the excitement 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

of preparation for private theatricals. Two plays 
had been chosen "The Way to Keep Him," by 
Murphy, and " Tom Thumb," a burlesque by 
Fielding. In both dramas Fanny was assigned 
important parts, a formidable undertaking to her, 


but she almost forgot her " inward terror," in 
interest over the part of Tom Thumb, which was 
to be enacted by her little niece Nancy, the eldest 
child of Charles Rousseau and Hetty Burney, 
aged six years, now paying a visit to her grand 
father and aunts. 

The great day of the performance must have 

Acting at Barborne Lodge 

been April 6th, for Fanny, writing to Susan on 
the 7th, gives a full account of the whole affair as 
having taken place on the preceding day. " The 
morning was ushered in," she writes, " by a 
general disturbance. We were all inconceivably 
busy ; we contrived, however, for little Nancy's 
sake, to rehearse Tom Thumb, and then we 
bribed her to lie down, and most fortunately she 
slept for more than three hours, which made her 
very wakeful all the rest of the day and night. 

" At dinner we did not sit down above three 
at a time ; one was with the hairdresser, another 
finishing some dress, another, some scenery ; and 
so on. I was quite amazed to see how my uncle 
submitted to all this confusion ; but he was the 
first to promote our following our own affairs." 

Before five o'clock company began to arrive. 

"You can have no idea," continues Fanny, 
"what a shatter every new-comer gave me. I 
could hardly dress myself, hardly knew where I 
was, hardly could stand. Betsy, too, was very 
much flurried. . . . Richard and James gave all 
their thoughts to their own adornment ; Tom 
capered about the house in great joy; little 
Nancy jumped and laughed ; Edward was 
tolerably composed ; but Becky was in an ecstacy 
of pleasure, she felt no fright or palpitation. . . . 

" We were now quite ready . . . the Band 
was got into order for the Overture, and the 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

company going to be summoned upstairs, when 
another chaise arrived, and it proved from 
Gloucester, with the Doctor [Wall] and the 
Captain [Coussmaker]. I assure you this 
frightened me so much, that I most heartily 


wished myself twenty miles off. I was quite sick, 
and, if I had dared, should have given up thefl 

"... At length they all came upstairs : a 
green curtain was drawn before them, and the 


Acting at Barborne Lodge 

I Overture was played. Miss Humphries * did all 
I the honours ; for Nancy [senior] was engaged as 
| prompter, and my uncle, one of the band. . . . 
I The Overture, you must know, was performed 
I in the passage ; for we had no room for an 
I orchestra in the theatre. . . . The theatre looked 
I extremely well, and was fitted up in a very 
I dramatic manner, with side scenes, and two 
I figures of Tragedy and Comedy at each hand, 
land a head of Shakespear in the middle. We 
I had four changes of scenes.'* 

The chief characters in " The Way to Keep 
I Him " were cast as follows : 

Lovemore Richard Burney, junr. 

| Sir Brilliant Fashion ... James 

Mrs. Lovemore ... Fanny ,, 

1! The Widow Bellmour... Rebecca 

I Muslin (servant to Mrs. 

Lovemore) ... ... Betsy ,, 

[Sideboard (a servant)... Edward ,, 

I Pompey (a black servant) Tom 

After describing the various costumes, Fanny 

, mentions her own dress as being of green and 

grey trimmed with white ribbon. She wore also 


||a gauze apron. When the curtain rose the two 
servants were seen seated at a table playing at 

* A sister-in-law of Mr. Richard Burney. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

cards ; they were joined by Muslin, whose pai 
was acted with much spirit. 

"... Next came my scene,'* writes Fanny. 
" I was discovered drinking tea. To tell you 
how infinitely, how beyond measure I was terri 
fied at my situation, I really cannot . . . the few 
words I had to speak, before Muslin came to me, 
I know not whether I spoke or not, neither does 
anybody else. ... I am sure, without flattery, I 
looked like a most egregious fool ; for I made no 
use of the tea-things, I never tasted a drop ; 
once, indeed, I made an attempt, but my hand 
shook so violently, I was fain to put down the 
cup instantly in order to save my gown. 

" . . . Take notice that, from the beginning 
to the end, no applause was given to the playi 
The company judged that it would be inelegant,; 
and therefore, as they all said, forebore; but, 
indeed, a little clapping would have been vei 
encouraging, and I heartily wish they had not)] 
practised such self-denial. 

" James, as Sir Brilliant Fashion (who was most] 
superbly dressed), entered with an air so im 
mensely conceited and affected, and at the same] 
time so uncommonly bold, that I could scarceL 
stand his abord . . . [but] notwithstanding my| 
embarrassment, I found he did the part admir 
ably. ... He looked very fashionable, very) 
assured, very affected, very every way the thin 

Acting at Barborne Lodge 

Not one part in the piece was better or more 
properly done ; nor did any give more entertain 

" . . . We were next joined by Richard, whose 
non-chalance, half vacancy, and half absence ex 
cellently marked the careless, unfeeling husband 
which he represented. Between his extreme 
unconcern and Sir Brilliant's extreme assurance 
I had not much trouble in appearing the only 
languid and discontented person in company. 

" The act finished by a solo of Betsy, which I 
did not hear ; for I ran into a corner to recover 
breath against the next act. My uncle was very 
good-natured and spoke many comfortable things 
to me. ... He said I wanted nothing but 
exertion, and charged me to speak louder and 
take courage." 

Describing the 2nd act, Fanny remarks: 
" Fortunately for me, my part and my spirits, in 
| this act, had great sympathy ; for Mrs. Lovemore 
is almost unhappy enough for a tragedy heroine ; 
and I assure you, she lost none of her pathos by 
I any giddiness of mine ! I gave her melancholy 
feelings very fair play, and looked her misfortunes 
with [so] much sadness . . . that I believe some 
of my auditors thought me a much better and 
I more artificial actress than I dreamt of being 
myself ; and I had the satisfaction to hear some 
[few buzzes of approbation, which did me no harm." 

8l G 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

The act over. " Again my uncle spoke the 
most flattering things to encourage me. . . . ' It 
is impossible,' he said, ' to do the part with greater 
propriety, or to speak with greater feeling, or 
more sensibility ; every, the most insignificant, 
thing you say, comes home to me/ You can't 
imagine how much this kindness from him 
cheered me." 

Fanny now took courage and was enabled to 
perform the third and final act, when Mrs. Love- 
more suddenly assumes a new character, and is 
alert, sportive, and triumphant, with proper 
spirit. " Richard," she says, " was really charm 
ing in this scene ; so thoroughly negligent, 
inattentive, and sleepy, that he kept a continual 
titter among the young ladies. But when he was 
roused from his indifference by Mrs. Lovemore's 
pretended alteration of temper and conduct, he 
sung small indeed ! . . . You can hardly suppose 
how little he looked ! how mortified ! astonished ! 
and simple ! It was admirably in character. 

" Richard . . . was very delicate and very 
comfortable to me in our reconciliation, when 
Mrs. Bellmour says, ' Come, kiss and be friends ' 
... for he excused all the embracing part, and, 
without making any fuss, took my hand, which, 
bowing over (like Sir Charles Grandison), he 
most respectfully pressed to his lips. 

"We now all .hastened," continues Fanny, 

Acting at Barborne Lodge 

" to dress for ' Tom Thumb/ and the company 
went into the dining-room for some refreshments. 
Little Nancy was led away by Miss Humphries, 
who made her take a formal leave of the company, 
as if going to bed, that they might not expect 
what followed. . . . She flew up to me, 'Ay, 
Cousin Fanny, I saw you drinking your tea by 
yourself, before all the company ! Did you think 
they would not see you ? ' 

" You must know she always calls me Cousin 
Fanny, because she says everybody else does ; 
so she's sure I can't really be an aunt. 

" During the whole performance she had not 
the least idea what we all meant, and wanted 
several times to join us ; especially while I was 
weeping. * Pray, what does Cousin Fanny cry 
for, Aunt Hannah ; does she cry really, I say ? ' " 

In the burlesque of " Tom Thumb," Fanny 
took the part of Huncamunca a part which she 
evidently played with great spirit, since the fun 
and nonsense of the whole drama made her quite 
forget her fears of the audience. 

The farce opens with a ludicrous scene 
between Noodle and Doodle. " Then enters the 
King," writes Fanny, " which was performed by 
Richard most admirably, and with a dignified 
drollery that was highly diverting and exceeding 
clever. Betsy accompanied him. She was ex 
tremely well in the Queen, both in strutting and 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

pomposity. Their dresses, though made of mere 
tinsel and all sort of gaudiness, had a charming 
and most theatrical effect. Their crowns, jewels, 
trains, etc., were superb. 

" Next entered Tom Thumb ! 

" When the King says, ' But see ! our warrior 
comes ! The great Tom Thumb ! the little hero, 
giant-killing boy ! ' 

"Then there was an immense hub-a~dub, with 
drums and trumpets, and a clarionet, to proclaim 
his approach. 

" The sweet little girl looked as beautiful as 
an angel ! She had an exceeding pretty and most 
becoming dress, made of pink persian, trimmed 
with silver and spangles ; . . . her mantle was 
white ; she had a small truncheon in her hand, 
and a Vandyke hat ; her own sweet hair was left 
to itself. 

" . . . The company, none of them expecting 
her, were delighted and amazed beyond measure. 
A general laugh and exclamations of surprise 
went round. Her first speech 

" ' When I'm not thank'd at all, I'm thanked enough ; 
I've done my duty, and I've done no more '- 

she spoke so loud, and so articulately, and 
with such courage, that people could scarce credit 
their senses when they looked at her baby face. 
I declare, I could hardly help crying ; I was so 


Acting at Barborne Lodge 

charmed, and at the same time frightened for her. 
Oh, how we all wished for Hetty ! It was with 

"VI ..m 

...: ,,||J l( ' ' 

"W i.' X 


difficulty I restrained myself from running on 
with her ; and my uncle was so agitated, that he 
began, involuntarily, a most vehement clapping ; 
a sound to which we had hitherto been strangers ; 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

but this hint was instantly taken, and it was 
echoed and re-echoed by the audience." 


We have visited Barborne Lodge and have 
peeped into the very rooms where this gay 
company assembled on that spring evening a 
hundred and thirty years ago. The house is 
now forlorn and deserted, but there are traces 
left of its former dignity. The staircase, which 
leads up to the landing or "passage" where the 
band was placed, is adorned with elegant balu 
strades. There are four rooms of good size 
opening on to this landing, two of which probably 
communicated with each other in former days, as 
they are divided only by a canvas partition wall. 
Between them we fancy the " green curtain " to 
have hung. 

As we stood in these, now silent, chambers, 
we seemed to hear the hum of merry voices, and 
the whole scene of the acting rose before our 
eyes ! There was the timid Fanny, in her grey 
and green attire, as Mrs. Lovemore ; there was 
the bold Sir Brilliant Fashion, in all his finery ; 
and then again, there was little Nancy, in her 
spangled doublet, stepping on to the stage to the 
sound of trumpets and drums, and bringing down 
the house with applause ! 



FURTHER gaieties awaited the actors of Barborne 
Lodge. One of their audience the eccentric 
Dr. Wall invited the whole company to visit 
him and his wife at their house in Gloucester, 
to witness a military review and to dance at a 
military ball. 

This gentleman was a son of the Dr. Wall, 
who founded the celebrated china manufactory 
of Worcester ; the W.W. seen on early pieces 
of that pottery, signifying "Wall of Worcester." 
The Walls' house is still to be seen standing in 
the Cathedral close at the south-west corner of 
the College Green. 

We can imagine the arrival of the Worcester 
party, and fancy we see the great "coach and 
four," in which we are told the cousins travelled, 
passing beneath the tall limes that border the 
"Green," and drawing up before the pillared 
portico of Dr. Wall's house. 

" We arrived at Gloucester about 5 o'clock," 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

writes Fanny. " Dr. Wall handed us out of the 
coach with one shoe all over mud and the other 
clean, but without any buckle. He welcomed us 
very cordially ; ' but how happened it/ cried he, 
' that you did not come by water ? I have been 
almost to Tewkesbury to meet you, and walked 

^ \K-, '^ip 

-fe- x- % -*;*= 

js?H&--:^wig ^s 

^ I^T . . "S;? 1 




along the shore till I was covered with mud ; 
there are two or three barges gone up the river 
to meet you. . . .' 

" He then went up to his wife and returned 
with her compliments, and that she was extremely 
unhappy she could not wait upon us, but had all 
her hair combed out, and was waiting for the 
man to come and dress it, who had disappointed 
her ever since two o'clock. 

" Dr. Wall began immediately to talk of the 

Gloucester Gaieties 

play, and said he could think of nothing else. ' I 
hope, Miss Fanny/ said he, 'you are now quite 
recovered from the fright of your first appearance 
in public ; though, upon my word, I should never 
have found it out if they had not told me of it ; it 
appeared so well in character, that I took it for 
granted that it belonged to the part/ 

" * It was very fortunate for me/ said I, 'that 
I had so serious and melancholy a part; for I 
should totally have ruined any other/ 

"'The character, ma'am/ returned he, 'seemed 
wrote on purpose for you ! Captain Coussmaker 
says he went to see "The Way to Keep Him" 
at Bath, but it was so ill done, that, after all of 
you, he could not sit it, so he came out before it 
was half over/ >j 

It is evident from the effect produced on the 
audience that Fanny had performed her part 
with far more dramatic power than she had any 
idea of. Mrs. Lovemore's was a role, it seems, 
calculated to bring out first-rate powers, for it 
had been performed by Mrs. Siddons herself. 

Fanny continues, " James, in a whisper, asked 
me where I thought Richard was. I could not 
possibly guess. 'Why/ said he, 'he is in the 
back lane leading to the house, standing in the 
rain without his great-coat, and talking to Mrs. 
Wall, who is leaning out of the window to answer 
him, with all her hair about her ears ! ' Thus, 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

you see, there was no exaggeration ver prett, 
riest-ce pas ? * of Richard's favour with this 
fair lady. 

". . . Mrs. Wall did not make her appearance 
till tea was half over. The Doctor [had] insisted 
that Nancy should make tea, and not wait for 
Mrs. Brilly, which, or my Ladyship, he always 
calls her. ' I think you know Mrs. Wall's name 
is Brilliana. 1 

" Dr. Wall, though a very indifferent per 
former, is really very fond of music, and he has 
as strange and mixed a collection of musical 
instruments as I never before saw. He brought 
them all out of a closet in the parlour . . . one 
by one ; and he drew out some tone such as it 
was ! from each before he changed. First came 
a French horn, then a trumpet, then a violin, 
a bass, a bassoon, a Macaroni fiddle, and, 
in short, I believe he produced twenty of different 
kinds. An overture was then attempted, every 
body that possibly could bore a part, and I 
really would not wish to hear a much worse 
performance : and yet this music lasted to 
supper ! " 

This discordant concert must have taken 
place in the long drawing-room, on the first 
floor, whose three recessed windows overlook 
the College Green. When supper was announced, 

* An exclamation of Omai's. 

Gloucester Gaieties 

we can fancy we see the whole party descending 
by a grand old oaken staircase into the great 
square hall, out of which the dining- or supper- 
room opens. 

" I think I never saw a more queerly droll 



character," says Fanny, "than Dr. Wall's. He 
lives just according to the whim of the moment ; 
. . . he says everything that occurs to him, 
whether of praise or censure, compliment or 
ridicule; [but] he means to offend nobody, and 
never dreams of taking offence himself. . . . For 
example, looking hard at Betsy, ' Pray/ said he, 

9 1 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

'did ever anybody take notice of your eyes?'- 
' My eyes, Sir ? Why ? ' ' Because they a'n't 
fellows, one is brown and one grey/ " 

[Finding the Doctor one morning engaged 
with his musical instruments.] "He presently 
flung them all away and what do you think for ? 
why, to run after me, making me run, whether I 
would or not . . . but the less he found me 
inclined for this sport, the more determined he 
seemed to pursue it, and we danced round the 
room, Hayed* in and out of the chairs and all 
that till it grew so late that he ordered dinner, 
saying, ' Come, good folks, let's take care of our 
selves. Mrs. Brilly has certainly run away, we 
will have our dinner without further ceremony.' 

" The next morning we had but just done 
[breakfast] when the Militia began to be drawn 
forth upon the College Green, . . . and Lord 
Berkeley [their Colonel], who resides next door 
but one to the Doctor, appeared before the win 
dow. We all flew to put on our hats, and then 
went in a body to the door, to see the ceremony 
of preparing the men for marching to the field. 
Here we were joined by Captain Coussmaker, 
Captain Snell, Captain Miers, and heaven knows 
who for Dr. Wall is acquainted with all the 
corps, who are all men of fortune and family. 
We were also joined by a Mr. Davis, a young 

* The Hay was an old pastoral dance. 

Gloucester Gaieties 

man a neighbour of the Doctor. . . . He is hand 
some and agreeable, though I should like him 
much better were he less forward. . . . 

" We went to the review in two coaches . . . 
but Mrs. Wall stayed at home, lest she should 
miss a hairdresser she wanted to have to herself 
against the Ball ! " 

The review took place, it seems, upon a 
waste piece of ground that lies beyond the West 
Gate of Gloucester, called the Town Ham. 

Arrived there, most of the occupants of 
the coaches descended, " [but] as I was by no 
means well," continues Fanny, " [and] had silk 
shoes, I determined to content myself with what 
I could see from the coach : and away went all 
the rest except Edward. Harry Davis also 
insisted on keeping me company ; and he enter 
tained me with an account of the state of affairs 
in Gloucester ; and told me * that though he loved 
dancing better than anything under heaven, and 
would give the world to be of our set, yet he 
would not go to the Ball to-night for fifty guineas, 
because it was a Berkeley Ball, and he and his 
family were Chesters / ' 

Party feeling was running very high in 
Gloucester just then. A certain Mr. William 
Chester had been recently returned as member 
for the county, but the Honble. George Berke 
ley had accused the High Sheriff of partiality 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

towards Mr. Chester, and had headed a petition 
to the House of Commons praying that the 
election should be invalidated. Chesters and 
Berkeleys were therefore at daggers drawn. 

" Dr. Wall," continues Fanny, " advised me, 
or rather rioted me, to get out [of the coach] and 
go and see the Salute ; and so ... rather than 
appear finical and fine-ladyish, I got out, and was 
escorted across the field to the rest of the party, 
who stood very near Lord Berkeley, the better to 
see the ceremony. 

" Harry Davis, looking at my shoes, said I 
should certainly catch my death if I did not take 
care (for it had rained all the morning), and then 
put his handkerchief for me to stand upon. I 
was quite ashamed of being made such a fuss with, 
but he compelled me to comply. 

"... When we returned home we found that 
Mrs. Wall was still at her toilette ! . . . and when 
at last she appeared, she had only her hair 
dressed, and very extravagantly, nay, preposter 
ously, and no cap on, or any other appearance of 
readiness. . . . The hairdresser was appointed to 
be with her again by four o'clock. . . . 

" When the man came he was seized by so 
many, one after another, that we almost feared 
we should have been obliged to give up the ball, 
it was so very late ere he came near us. The 
affair became so serious . . . lest the minuets 


Qloucester Gaieties 

should be over, that the party was fain to 
separate and go off in chairs as soon as they 
were ready." 

The ball probably took place in the Booth 
Hall, since disappeared, which is described as 
"a very lofty lath-and-plaster building, full of 

" On arriving at the ball-room," continues 
Fanny, " James immediately engaged me for 
country dances. Dr. Wall was so differently 
wigged that I really did not know him, and when 
he came and said to me, * So, Ma'am, I'm glad 
to see you here, why, you like coming late to 
these places ? ' I at first took him for a stranger ; 
and he plagued me about it all the rest of the 
time I remained at Gloucester ... * so you didn't 
know me ? ' made every third sentence. . . . 

" It was two o'clock in the morning ere we 
sat down to supper [in Dr. Wall's house]. Mr. 
Berkeley and Captain Coussmaker were of our 
party. We were all in prodigious spirits, and 
kept it up till near 5 in the morning. 

". . . Dr. Wall, who sat next me, was 
mighty facetious . . . indeed he scarce ever 
spoke to me but with a quotation from ' Tom 
Thumb ' or an allusion to Huncamunca. 

"After supper, Richard, James, Betsy, and 
Mrs. Wall sang some catches. . . . Mr. Berkeley 
sometimes joined the treble part, and Dr. Wall 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

the bass, but so ludicrously as to make me 
laugh immoderately. Richard gave himself a 
thousand droll airs, in the Italian way, squaring 
his elbows, making faces, heightening his eye 
brows, and acting profusely. 

" When at length we thought it time to 
retire, Mrs. Wall rang for candles but upon 
opening the parlour door . . . we all burst into 
a general laughter at the call for candles, for we 
found ourselves in broad day-light ! We there 
fore wished all the gentlemen good morning and 
left them to their wine." 



FANNY BURNEY'S chief delight from childhood 
had been the scribbling in secret of stories, 
poems, and even of tragedies. Reserved and 
shy by nature, it was easier to her to give vent 
to "her fancies and vagaries" on paper than to 
express them by word of mouth. When, how 
ever, she had reached the mature age of fifteen, 
she became convinced that it was a duty to 
combat her growing passion for writing, and, in 
a moment of self-denial, she " made over to a 
bonfire, in a paved play-court, her whole stock of 
prose goods and chattels." 

Among the papers thus consumed was a 
story which Fanny had called " The History of 
Caroline Evelyn." The plot had taken special 
hold of her mind, and, ruminating on the subject 
some years later, she conceived the idea of 
writing a new story upon the adventures of 
Caroline's young daughter, Evelina. 

How long Fanny was engaged upon this 
97 H 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

work it is impossible to say. She wrote it in 
secret, partly in her own home and partly in 
her beloved " Liberty Hall," the home of her 
Daddy Crisp, at Chesington. In the garden of 
that old mansion there is a summer-house still 
standing where Fanny used to retire to scribble, i 
" We pass our time here very serenely," she 
writes from Chesington to her sister Susan (her 
only confidant), "and distant as you may think 
us from the great world, I sometimes find myself 
in the midst of it, though nobody suspects the 
brilliancy of the company I occasionally keep." 

The very manuscript of Evelina * which 
we have looked through, bears evidence of the 
manner in which the work was composed. In4 
numerable pieces of paper, of all sizes and shapes! 
are written upon, sometimes in a leisurely style, 
and sometimes in all haste. In this manuscript 
the title is given as 


or Memoirs of a Young Lady 
In a Series of Letters." 

This title was afterwards changed, and 
Eveline became Evelina. We give a fao; 
simile of Fanny's rough draft for the latei 
title-page, the wording of which, however, was 

* Now in the possession of Mr. F. Leverton Harris. 









again slightly altered before the book appeared 
in public, " entrance into Life " becoming 
" entrance into the World." 

" When the little narrative," writes Fanny in 
the " Memoirs" of her father, " began to assume 
a * questionable shape/ a wish as vague as it 
was fantastic crossed the brain of the writer 
to see her work in print. She communicated, 
under promise of inviolable silence, this idea to 
her sisters, who entered into it with much more 
amusement than surprise, as they well knew her 
taste for quaint sports." 

When the first part of the book was com 
pleted, "she wrote a letter, without any signa 
ture, to offer this unfinished work to a bookseller 
[Mr. Dodsley, of Pall Mall], with a promise to 
send the sequel in the following year." 

But before doing this she took elaborate pre 
cautions to keep the authorship of her story a 
profound secret. Having for long past been her 
father's amanuensis, she feared lest some com 
positor, then engaged in printing his " History of 
Music," should happen to see and recognize her 
handwriting. To protect herself against such an 
accident, she copied her whole manuscript in a 
feigned hand, and sent in this copy to the book 

Fanny's letter to Mr. Dodsley was forwarded 
by the London post, with a desire that the 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

answer might be addressed under cover to " Mr. 
King, at the Orange Coffee House, Haymarket." 
Her brother Charles, " without reading a 
word of the work . . . joyously undertook to be 
her agent at the coffee-house with her letters, 


and to the bookseller with the manuscript." But 
Mr. Dodsley's answer was not propitious. He 
declined looking at anything that was anonymous. 
The young people having " sat in full committee 
upon this lofty reply," finally fixed upon Mr. 
Lowndes, bookseller of Fleet Street, for their 
next venture. 



And now began Miss Burney's anonymous 
correspondence with that person, every letter 
being subscribed thus, . 

The original letters are still preserved in the 
Burney family. Some are in the possession of 
Archdeacon Burney, others in that of the de 
scendants of Fanny's sister Charlotte, whose 
daughter, Mrs. Barrett, edited the " Diary and 
Letters" in 1842-6. These last are now lying 
before us. They are stitched together, and 
are docketted by Fanny in later life as 
follows : 

" Some of the 

Original Letters 

of Mr. Lowndes 

The Bookseller. 

To the Anonymous Authour 

of Evelina 
with 2 Letters of that Authour." 

Those two letters of Fanny's are now 
printed for the first time, as are also the four 
, I Betters of Lowndes that bear the dates respec 
tively of Dec. 23rd and Dec. 29th, 1776, and 
also Jan. i7th and Nov. nth, 1777. Fanny's 
first letter bears the inscription 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

(< Bookseller, Fleet Street. 


"Dec r 1776. 

" As an author has a kind of natural 
claim to a connection with a Bookseller, I hope 
that in the character of the former you will 
pardon me, although a stranger, for the liberty 
I take of requesting you to favour me with an 
answer to the following queries : 

"Whether you will take the trouble of can 
didly perusing a MS. novel sent to you without 
any public name or private recommendation ? 

" Whether it is now too late in the year for 
printing the first volume of the above MS. this 
season ? 

" And whether if, after reading, you should 
think it worth printing, you would buy the copy 
without ever seeing, or knowing, the Author ? 

" The singularity of this address, you may 
easily imagine, results from a singularity of 

" I must beg you to direct your answer to 
Mr. King, To be left at the Orange Coffee 
House till called for. 

" I am, Sir, 

" Your very humble Serv 1 



t 4^**-, 

s&^ **n ^^V5*^^>- ^~XS 

ZflTH *r^? 2*6. ?%* &** <rt 

*/-tsrv-^<r ?}4>>f Asf0 


*XJ^ ^ -j^tA^-j^ #**>* %r^ &&, 

& & J^-*^^^^* ^^^^^^^^^^r 



This letter, which evidently opens the corre 
spondence, is not the same as the first letter to 
Lowndes in Archdeacon Burney's collection, 
which has recently appeared in print* Those 
who are familiar with the appearance of that 
letter must have noticed (as Mr. Austin Dobson 
points out) that there are postmarks upon it which 
prove it to have been actually sent to Mr. Lowndes. 

The letter, now given in facsimile, was probably 
a first draft for the other. It has evidently not been 
transmitted by post, but the handwriting would 
point to its having been written at the same period. 

Upon Fanny Burney's letters to Lowndes in 
the Archdeacon's collection there are no dates. 
Those now given are dated respectively Dec. 
1776 and Jan. i7th, 1777. 

Mr. Lowndes' reply to the first letter is as 
follows : 


" I've not the least objection to what 
you propose, & if you favour me with sight of 
your MS. I'll lay aside other Business to read it 
& tell you my thoughts of it. With 2 Press's I 
can soon make it appear in . print, for now is the 

time for a Novel. 

"Y r obed' Servt 1 


" Dec. 23, 1776." 

* See Cornhill Magazine for April, 1905. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Great was the excitement amongst the young 
people in St. Martin's Street on the receipt of 
this letter ; and Charles, suitably disguised to im 
personate " Mr. King," was sent with all haste to 
Mr. Lowndes, to convey to him the first volume 
of Evelina. 

The period of suspense lasted only a few 
days, for on the 2Qth Dec. Mr. Lowndes writes 

" SIR, 

" I've read and like the Manuscript, 
& if you'll send the rest I'll soon run it over. 

" Y r obed' 


This letter is addressed at the back as 
follows : 

" To Mr. King 
at the 

Orange Coffee 

" To be left 
till called 

The second volume must have been despatched 
about a fortnight later, for Mr. Lowndes writes 

on the i ;th Jan. (1777) 




" I have read your Novel, & can't see 
any reason why you should not finish & publish 
it compleat. I'm sure it will be your interest as 
well as the Bookseller's. You may well add one 
volume to these, and I shall more eagerly print 
it. ... I would rather print in July than now to 
publish an unfinished book. This I submit to 
your consideration & with wishes that you may 
come into my way of thinking. I'll restore the 
M s to the gentleman that brought it. 

" Y r Ob 1 Serv 1 


" Jan y 17 th 1777." 

Fanny consented to this plan with some 
reluctance, as she had hoped that Lowndes 
would agree to publish the volumes successively. 
We give a facsimile of her letter on the subject, 
as it is of special interest, being written in 
the " feigned handwriting," and docketted by 
Madame D'Arblay in later years: "N.B. This 
was the handwriting in which F. B. copied all 
Evelina to have her own unseen." 

A period of nine months elapsed before the 
third and last volume of Evelina was in the 
hands of the publisher. In the mean time Fanny 
had made a partial confession to her father of 
her secret proceedings. In the ''Prelude to the 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Worcester Journal," she writes, " Before I made 
this journey, while I was taking leave, I was so 
much penetrated by my father's kind parting 
embrace, that in the fullness of my heart I could 
not forbear telling him that I had sent a manuscript 
to Mr. Lowndes ; earnestly beseeching him never 
to divulge it, nor to demand a sight of such trash 
as I could scribble ; assuring him that Charles 
had managed to save me from being at all 
suspected. He could not help laughing ; but I 
believe was much surprised at the communication. 
He desired me to acquaint him from time to time 
how my work went on, called himself the Pere 
confident (sic) and kindly promised to guard my 
secret as cautiously as I could wish." 

The next letter in our series is from Mr. 
Lowndes. It is as follows : 

" SIR, 

" I've read this 3 d Vol. & think it 
better than i & 2 d . If you please I'll give you 
Twenty Guineas for the Manuscript, and without 
loss of time put it to press. 

" Y r obedient Serv 

"Nov r 11, 1777." 

This last letter is important, as it gives us the 
exact date upon which Mr. Lowndes made his 

1 06 





offer of twenty guineas for the complete 

Some confusion has arisen as to this and other 
details, because when Fanny, fifty years later, 
introduced the " Story of the Publication of 
Evelina" into the " Memoirs" of her father, she 
made various small mistakes, caused probably 
by her trusting to her memory of the events, 
instead of referring to her own contemporary 

Mr. Lowndes's terms were accepted, and early 
in the following year (1778) the first copy of the 
book was in print. 

In the mean time Fanny had had to alter some 
of her arrangements. Her brother Charles was 
now at Cambridge, and she had asked her cousin 
Edward, who was residing with " the Aunts " in 
London, to act as her go-between with her 
publisher. In consequence of this she had 
changed the imaginary name of her agent from 
King to Grafton. She had also judged it wise 
to divulge her secret to her Aunts " under a vow 
of strict secrecy." 

"About the middle of January," she writes, 
"my cousin Edward brought me a private 
message from my Aunts that a parcel was come 
for me under the name of Grafton. ... I im 
mediately conjectured what the parcel was, and 
found [enclosed] the following letter : 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" ' Mr. Grafton,* 
" ' SIR, 

" ' I take the Liberty to send you a 
Novel w ch a Gent your acquaintance said you 
w d hand to him. I beg with expedition as 'tis time 
it should be published, & 'tis requested he should 
first revise it, or the Reviewers may find a flaw. 
11 ' I am 

" * Y r obed 1 Serv 1 

U 'jan y 7, 1778.'" 

One morning, towards the end of this same 
month of January, when the ladies of the family 
in St. Martin's Street were gathered round their 
break fast- table, Mrs. Burney, who was glancing 
through a newspaper, suddenly read aloud the 
following announcement : 

" This day was published 


or a Young Lady's Entrance into the World. 
Printed for T. Lowndes, Fleet-street." 

"Mrs. Burney," writes Fanny, in the " Memoirs" 
of her father, " who read this unsuspectingly, went 

* This letter is given in the " Early Diaries," edited by Mrs. 
Raine Ellis. 



on immediately to other articles ; but had she 
lifted her eyes from the paper, something more 
than suspicion must have met them, from the 
conscious colouring of the scribbler, and the 
irresistible smiles of the two sisters, Susanna and 
Charlotte, who were present." This was the first 
intimation that reached Fanny of her book being 
launched into the world. 

A few weeks later she writes : "My little 
book, I am told, is now in all the Circulating 
Libraries. I have an exceeding odd sensation 
when I consider that it is now in the power of 
any and every body to read what I so carefully 
hoarded, even from my fast friends, till this last 
month or two, and that a work which was so 
lately lodged, in all privacy in my bureau, may 
now be seen by every Butcher and Baker, 
Cobbler and Tinker throughout the three king 
doms for the small tribute of 3 pence." * 

* The fee of the circulating library. 



FANNY soon began to hear praises of Evelina 
from her cousins and acquaintances who had 
chanced to see and read the book, but who had 
no suspicion whatever of her being its author. 

Her chief dread in the affair was lest she 
should provoke the censure of those whom she 
most valued and loved. It was for this reason 
that she had not, as yet, summoned courage to 
divulge the matter to her father, when, in the 
month of May, she left home to pay a visit at 
Chesington in order to regain strength after a 
sharp attack of illness. 

Susan writes to her on June 4th : " My father 
has at length got Evelina. I have been mon 
strously vexed that I was not at home when he 
first got it. I am sure I should have cried had 
I been present upon his opening the Ode for the 
idea of it never occurs to me without bringing 
tears into my eyes." 

In this Ode " To " Fanny had inscribed 


Evelina s Entrance into the World 

her book (though in veiled terms) to her father 
that beloved father of whom it has been truly 
said, he was her pattern of all that was good and 
attractive in human nature. 

One of the verses runs as follows : 

" If in my heart the love of virtue glows, 

'Twas planted there by an unerring rule ; 
From thy example the pure flame arose, 
Thy life, my precept, thy good words my school." 

"Yesterday morning," continues Susan, "when 
I was alone with (my father) a few minutes while 
he dressed 

" ' Why, Susan,' said he to me, ' I have got 
Fan's book.' 

" 'Sir, have you ?' 

" * Yes ; but I suppose you must not tell her. 
Poor Fan's such a prude. ... I shall keep it 
locked up in my Sanctum Sanctorum ' pointing 
to his bureau. ' I would not betray the poor girl 
for the world ; but upon my soul, I like it vastly. 
Do you know, I began to read it with Lady 
Hales and Miss Coussmaker yesterday ? ' 

"'Lord!' cried I, a little alarmed, 'you did 
not tell them ' 

" ' Tell them ? No, certainly. I said 'twas a 
book had been recommended to me they'll 
never know, and they like it vastly ; but upon my 
word, there's something in the preface and dedi 
cation vastly strong and well written better than 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

I could have expected and yet I did not think 
'twould be trash when I began it/ " 

Soon afterwards, when he had finished 
reading the book, he remarked to Susan, " Upon 
my soul, I think it the best novel I know, excepting 
Fielding s and in some respects better than his. 
. . . Mr. Villars' character is admirably supported 
and rises upon one in every letter ; the lan 
guage throughout his letters is as good as any 
body need write. (N.B. Spoken with emphasis 
and spirit.) . . . Lord Orville's character is just 
what it ought to be perfectly benevolent and 

"And without btmgfade, I think." 

"Oh, certainly; there's a boldness in it that 
struck me mightily . . . * Evelina' is in a new 
style, too so perfectly natural and innocent and 
the scene between her and her father, Sir John 
Belmont, I protest I think 'tis a scene for a 
Tragedy / blubber d. . . . For a young woman's 
work I look upon it to be really WONDERFUL ! " 

("His own words," exclaims Susan, "as I 
hope to live ! ") 

There is in existence a pretty water-colour 
drawing of this same scene by Edward Burney, 
which we shall have occasion to speak of again. 
In the illustrated edition of Evelina that appeared 
in 1779, the designs were by John Hamilton 
Mortimer, A.R.A., engraved by Bartolozzi, but 


Evelina s Entrance into the World 

to our thinking this drawing of Edward's has in 
it more real sentiment than any of the illustrations 
by Mortimer. 

During the month of June Dr. Burney joined 
his daughter at Chesington for a flying visit. In 
a portion of her Diary (hitherto unpublished) 
Fanny describes their meeting 

" Chesington, 

" June 23rd. 

" I have had a visit from my beloved, my 
kindest Father, and he came determined to 
complete my recovery by his goodness. I was 
almost afraid, and quite ashamed to be alone 
with him ; but he soon sent for me to his little 
Gallery Cabinet, and then with a significant 
smile that told me what was coming, and made 
me glow to my very forehead with anxious 
expectation, he said, * I have read your Book, 
Fanny, but you need not blush at it ; it is full 
I of merit it is really extraordinary/ I fell upon 
his neck with heart-beating emotion, and he folded 
me in his arms so tenderly that I sobbed upon 
[his shoulder, so delighted was I with his precious 
>probation. But I soon recovered to a gayer 

Soon after Dr. Burney's return home Mrs. 
lurney procured a copy of Evelina, as being 
book much talked of ; but she was still wholly 

113 ' 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

unsuspicious of the author's having any connection 
with her own family. Probably Dr. Burney had 
not divulged Fanny's secret, desiring to see the 
effect the work would produce on his wife's mind 
whilst she was in ignorance of its authorship. 

"This morning, between seven and eight," 
writes Susan on July 5th, " I was woke by a noise 
in the next room. Upon listening a minute or 
two I found it was my father and mother laugh 
ing in a most extraordinary manner. Presently 
I heard by the voice of the former that he was 
reading. ... I had a little suspicion of what it 
might be, and started up and went to the door to 
satisfy myself. I presently not only discovered 
the book he was reading, but even the page . . 
they were in the midst of the Ridotto scene 
p. 64 and the eclats of laughter that accom 
panied it did my heart good. 

" Every speech of Sir Clement's in this scene 
diverted my father no less than me, and at the 
question, ' My dear creature why, where could 
you be educated ? ' he laid the book down to laugh 
till he cried ; and when it was done said it was 
an admirable conversation, the poor girl's mis 
takes extremely natural, and the man of fashion's 
character touch d with delicacy and written with 
great humour and spirit. 

" In the next letter * Charlotte joined me, andi 

* Evelina is written in the form of Letters. 

Evelina s Entrance into the World 

we stood till we were cramp'd to death, not daring 
to move, and almost stifled ourselves with laugh 
ing. The next scene was productive of no less 
mirth than the Ridotto . . . the . . . letter from 
Mr. Villars he read with a tenderness which drew 
tears from me. Not a period of it did he pass 
over unnoticed. ... I wished with all my heart 
you had been with Charlotte and me for 'tis 
impossible by letter to convey an idea to you of 
how thoroughly he enjoyed every line of it. This 
was the last letter he read ; but I believe 'twas 
near twelve before we breakfasted ! " 

We can imagine Fanny's delight in reading 
this account, and she now begged her father to 
communicate her secret, without further delay, to 
Mrs. Burney. 

In the mean time Evelina had not remained 
unnoticed by the press. There had appeared a 
few lines of warm commendation of the book in 
the London Review as early as February, and in 
April there followed an excellent notice in the 
Monthly Review^ in which the writer remarks : 
* This novel has given us so much pleasure in 
the perusal, that we do not hesitate to pronounce 
it one of the most sprightly, entertaining, and 
agreeable productions of this kind which has of 
late fallen under our notice. A great variety of 
natural incidents render the narrative extremely 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

The next account sent by Susan to her sister 
is of the effect being produced in the great world 
by Evelina and is in connection with a visit paid 
by Dr. Burney to Streatham. 

On the Doctor's return home he exclaimed to 

" ' I have such a thing to tell you about poor 

" ' Dear sir, what ? ' and I immediately sup- 
pos'd he had spoke to Mrs. Thrale. 

" ' Why, to-night, we were sitting at tea only 
Johnson, Mrs. Thrale, and me. " Madam," cried 
Johnson, see-sawing w\\&& chair, " Mrs. Chol'mley 
was talking to me last night of a new novel, which 
she says has a very uncommon share of merit 
Evelina. She says she has not been so much 
entertained this great while as in reading it, and 
that she shall go all over London in order to 
discover the author.'' 

Good G d ! " cried Mrs. Thrale. " Why, 
somebody else mentioned that book to me Lady 
Westcote it was, I believe the modest writer of 
Evelina, she talk'd to me of." 

" * " Mrs. Chol'mley says she never met so 
much modesty with so much merit in any literary 
performance," said Johnson. 

" ' " Why," said I, quite coolly and inno 
cently, "somebody recommended it to me, too. 
I read a little of it, which, indeed, seem'd to 


Evelina s Entrance into the World 

be above the common -place works of this 

"'-Well," said Mrs. Thrale, 'Til get it 
certainly ..." 

" ' " You must have it, madam," cried Johnson, 
" for Mrs. Chol'mley says she shall keep it on her 
table the whole summer, that everybody that 
knows her may see it for she says everybody 
ought to read it." ' " 

Fanny's joyful response to this letter of 
Susan's is docketted by her in later years : 
" Rapturous and most innocent happiness during 
anonymous success." 

Early in July Fanny received a letter from 
Lowndes, in which he says, " The great World 
send here to buy Evelina. A polite lady said, 
1 Do, Mr. Lowndes, give me Evelina. I'm 
treated as unfashionable for not having read it.' 
I think the impression will be sold by Christmas." 

She writes to Susan on July 6th 

" Your letter, my dearest Susan, and the 
enclosed one from Lowndes have flung me into 
such a vehement perturbation that I hardly can 
tell whether I wake or dream, and it is even with 
difficulty that I can fetch my Breath. I have 
been strolling round the garden 3 or 4 times in 
hopes of regaining a little quietness. . . . My 
dear Susy, what a wonderful affair this has 
been ! and how extraordinary is this torrent of 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

success which sweeps down all before it ! I often 
think it too much, nay, almost wish it happened 
to some other person who had more native 
ambition . . ." 

Soon afterwards Dr. Burney confided the 
secret to Mrs. Thrale, who had already lent the 
first volume of Evelina to Dr. Johnson. 

She writes to Dr. Burney : " Dr. Johnson 
returned home full of the praises of the Book I 
had lent him ; and protesting there were passages 
in it that might do honour to Richardson. We 
talk of it for ever ; and he feels ardent after the 
denoument. I lent him the second volume, 
which he instantly read, and he is now busy with 
the other two (sic). . . . Long, my dear sir, may 
you live to enjoy the just praises of your children ! 
and long may they live to deserve and delight 
such a parent ! 

" . . . Give my letter to my little friend, and 
a warm invitation to come and eat fruit while the 
season lasts/' 

This letter was written on July 22nd. Fanny 
writes in her Diary immediately afterwards : "I 
do, indeed, feel the most grateful love for her 
[Mrs. Thrale]. But Dr. Johnson's approbation ! 
It almost crazed me with agreeable surprise ; it 
gave me such a flight of spirit that I danced a jig 
to Mr. Crisp, without any preparation, music, or 
explanation, to his no small amazement and 


Evelina s Entrance into the World 

diversion. I left him, however, to make his own 
comments upon my friskiness without affording 
him the smallest assistance/' 

But the time was approaching for Daddy 
Crisp's enlightenment. 

In the month of August Dr. Burney went 
down to Chesington in order to fetch his daughter 

"No sooner had the Doctor reached Liberty 
Hall," writes Fanny,* " than the two faithful old 
friends were shut up in the conjuring closet, where 
Dr. Burney rushed at once into ' the midst of 
things/ and disclosed the author of the little work 
which, for some weeks past, had occupied 
Chesington Hall with quotations, conjectures, 
and subject matter of talk." For Fanny had 
herself read the work aloud to her Daddy Crisp 
and to his companions, Mrs. Hamilton and Kitty 
Cooke, much enjoying their remarks and their 

Great and unbounded was the amazement of 
Crisp on learning that the author was none other 
than his own " Pannikin," and, for some time, 
he could only exclaim, "Wonderful it's wonder 
ful ! " Meeting Fanny in the hall soon after 
wards, "Why, you little hussy," he cried out, 
" an't you ashamed to look me in the face, you 
' Evelina,' you ! Why, what a dance have you led 

* See " Memoirs of Dr. Burney." 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

me about it ! Oh, you little hussy ; what tricks 
have you served me ! " 

When he could compose himself sufficiently, 
after his great surprise, to hear the details of the 
matter, he still "broke out every three instants 
with exclamations of astonishment at how I had 
found time to write so much unsuspected, and 
how and where I had picked up such various 
materials, and not a few times did he exclaim 
< Wonderful !'" 



DR. BURNEY had stopped at Streatham on his 
way to Chesington, and had settled with Mrs. 
Thrale that he would call on her again on his 
way to town, and would carry Fanny with him ; 
and Mrs. Thrale had said, "We all long to know 

Fanny writes in her Diary after her return 
home : " London^ August. I have now to write 
an account of the most consequential day I have 
spent since my birth : namely, my Streatham visit. 

" Our journey to Streatham was the least 
pleasant part of the day, for ... I was really in 
>the fidgets from thinking what my reception 
might be, and from fearing they would expect a 
less awkward and backward kind of person than 
I was sure they would find. 

" Mr. Thrale's house is white and very 
pleasantly situated in a fine paddock. Mrs. 
Thrale was strolling about, and came to us as we 
got out of the chaise. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" ' Ah,' cried she, ' I hear Dr. Burney's voice ! 
And you have brought your daughter ? Well, 
now you are good ! ' 

"She then received me, taking both my 
hands, and with mixed politeness and cordiality 
welcomed me to Streatham. She led me into 



the house and addressed herself almost wholly 
for a few minutes to my father, as if to give me 
an assurance she did not mean to regard me as a 
show, or to distress or frighten me by drawing me 
out. Afterwards she took me upstairs and showed 
me the house . . . but though we were some time 
together . . . she did not hint at my book ; and I 
love her much more than ever for her delicacy in 


Thrale Place 

avoiding a subject which she could not but see 
would have greatly embarrassed me. 

"When we returned to the music-room we 
found Miss Thrale was with my father. . . . Soon 
after Mrs. Thrale took me to the library ; she 
talked a little while upon common topics, and 
then, at last, she mentioned Evelina. 

" ' Yesterday at supper/ said she, ' we talked 
it all over, and discussed all your characters ; 
but Dr. Johnson's favourite is Mr. Smith. He 
declares the fine gentleman manqub was never 
better drawn ; and he acted him all the evening, 
saying he was " all for the ladies ! " He repeated 
whole scenes by heart. I declare I was astonished 
at him. Oh, you can't imagine how much he is 
pleased with the book.' 

"... When we were summoned to dinner 
Mrs. Thrale made my father and me sit on each 
side of her. I said that I hoped I did not take 
Dr. Johnson's place ; for he had not yet appeared. 

" ' No/ answered Mrs. Thrale, 'he will sit 
- by you, which I am sure will give him great 

" Soon after we were seated this great man 
entered and took his place. In the middle of 
dinner [he] asked Mrs. Thrale what was in some 
little pies that were near him. 

" ' Mutton/ answered she ; ' so I don't ask you 
to eat any, because I know you despise it.' 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" ' No, madam, no/ cried he, ' I despise nothing 
that is good of its sort ; but I am too proud now 
to eat of it. Sitting by Miss Burney makes me 
very proud to-day ! ' : 

After a good deal of amusing talk, Dr. 
Johnson related an anecdote showing the parsi 
mony of a certain well-known person. "'And 
this/ continued he, 'reminds me of a gentleman 
and lady with whom I travelled once ; I suppose 
I must call them gentleman and lady, according 
to form, because they travelled in their own coach 
and four horses. But at the first inn where we 
stopped, the lady called for a pint of ale ! and 
when it came, quarrelled with the waiter for not 
giving full measure. Now, Madame Duval could 
not have done a grosser thing ! ' 

" Oh, how everybody laughed ! and to be sure 
I did not glow at all, nor munch fast, nor look on 
my plate, nor lose any part of my usual com 
posure ! But how grateful do I feel to this dear 
Dr. Johnson for never naming me and the book 
as belonging one to the other, and yet making an 
allusion that showed his thoughts led to it, and, 
at the same time, that seemed to justify the 
character as being natural ! 

" . . . We left Streatham at about eight o'clock, 
and Mr. Seward, who handed me into the chaise, 
added his interest to the rest, that my father 
would not fail to bring me again next week to 


Thrale Place 

stay with them some time. In short, I was loaded 
with civilities from them all. And my ride home 
was equally happy with the rest of the day, for 
my kind and most beloved father was so happy 
in my happiness . . . that he could, like myself, 
think on no other subject." 

In a week's time Fanny was again at 
Streatham, fetched thither by Mrs. Thrale her 
self, and established as a member of the house 

She writes on Aug. 23rd : " Now for this 
morning's breakfast. 

" Dr. Johnson, as usual, came last into the 
library ; he was in high spirits and full of mirth 
and sport. I had the honour of sitting next to 
him, and now, all at once, he flung aside his 
reserve, thinking perhaps that it was time I 
should fling aside mine. 

" Mrs. Thrale told him that she intended 
taking me to Mr. T 's. 

" ' So you ought, Madam,' cried he ; * 'tis your 
business to be Cicerone to her.' 

"Then suddenly he snatched my hand, and 
kissing it 

" ' Ah ! ' he added, ' they will little think what 
a tartar you carry to them. . . . Oh, you are a 
sly little rogue ! What a Holborn beau have you 
drawn ! ' 

" ' Ay, Miss Burney,' said Mrs. Thrale, ' the 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Holborn beau is Dr. Johnson's favourite ; and 
we have all your characters by heart, from Mr. 
Smith up to Lady Louisa/ 

"'Oh, Mr. Smith Mr. Smith is the man!' 
cried he, laughing violently. ' Harry Fielding 
never drew so good a character ! such a fine 
varnish of low politeness ! such a struggle to 
appear a gentleman ! Madam, there is no 
character better drawn anywhere in any book 
or by any author/ 

"'. . . I know Mr. Smith, too, very well/ 
cried Mrs. Thrale. * I always have him before 
me at the Hampstead Ball, dressed in a white 
coat and a tambour waistcoat, worked in green 
silk. Poor Mr. Seward ! Mr. Johnson made 
him so mad t'other day ! ' ' Why, Seward/ said 
he, ' how smart you are dressed ! Why, you 
only want a tambour waistcoat to look like Mr. 
Smith ! ' " 

Readers of Evelina will remember the 
scene alluded to, where poor Mr. Smith is com 
pelled by old Madame Duval to stand up and 
dance with her in the " Long Room " at Hamp 
stead, to the great amusement of the company. 
The " Long Room " is still in existence, though 
it is now divided into a central hall with rooms 
on either side. A great beam, however, that 
runs the whole length of the ceiling, proves that 
the room must have been 75 feet long. There 



i g 
I 3 



Thrale Place 

are also indications which suggest the spot where 
the Musicians' Gallery stood. 

In the " Memoirs " of her father, Fanny gives 
an amusing account of her first meeting, while 
at Streatham, with James Boswell. That gentle 
man, who had but just returned to town after a 
long absence in Scotland, had not yet heard 
either of the existence of Evelina or of that of 
its authoress. 

Finding to his surprise his usual seat at the 
dinner-table next to Dr. Johnson was occupied 
by Miss Burney, the poor man moved uneasily 
from chair to chair, returning constantly, on some 
pretence or other, to the neighbourhood of his 

The Doctor, after giving him a sharp rebuke, 
" muttered half to himself, ' Running about in the 
middle of meals ! One would take you for a 
Brangton ! ' 

"'A Brangton, sir ?.' repeated Boswell, with 
earnestness ; ' what is a Brangton, sir ? ' 

" ' Where have you lived, sir/ cried the 
Doctor, laughing, * and what company have you 
kept, not to know that ? ' 

" Mr. Boswell, now doubly curious . . . said 
in a low voice, which he knew the Doctor could 
not hear, to Mrs. Thrale, ' Pray, ma'am, what's 
a Brangton ? Do me the favour to tell me. Is 
it some animal hereabouts ? ' 

129 K 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

"Mrs. Thrale only laughed ... but Mr. 
Seward cried, * I'll tell you, Boswell, I'll tell you ! 
if you will walk with me in the paddock ; only 
let us wait till the table is cleared, or I shall be 
taken for a Brangton too ! ' ' 

One day Fanny happened to be reading 
Johnson's Life of Cowley. 

" ' Do,' cried [the Doctor], ' put away that 
now, and prattle with me ; I can't make this little 
Burney prattle, and I am sure she prattles 
well/ " 

Fanny was certainly no "prattler." Her 
pleasure was to hear others talk, rather than to 
talk herself, but her silence had in it, we are told, 
" every engaging expression of modesty and of 
intelligent observation." It might, indeed, be 
said of her, as it was in later years of Madame 
Recamier, "elle coutait avec seduction." 

"'To-morrow, sir/ said Mrs. Thrale, 'Mrs. 
Montagu dines here, and then you will have talk 

" Dr. Johnson began to see-saw, with a counte 
nance strongly expressive of inward fun, and after 
enjoying it some time in silence, he suddenly and 
with great animation turned to me and cried 

" ' Down with her, Burney ! down with her ! 
spare her not ! attack her, fight her, and down 
with her at once ! You are a rising wit, and she 
is at the top ; and when I was beginning the 


Thrale Place 

world, and was nothing and nobody, the joy of 
my life was to fire at all the established wits ! and 
then everybody loved to halloo me on. ... So 
at her, Burney at her, and down with her ! ' 

" ' Miss Burney/ cried Mr. Thrale, ' you 
must get up your courage for this encounter ! I 
think you should begin with Miss Greggory ,* 
and down with her first/ 

"Dr. J. : ' No, no; always fly at the eagle! 
Down with Mrs. Montagu herself! I hope she 
will come full of Evelina!' 

Dr. Johnson sometimes enjoyed a sly joke at 
Mrs. Montagu's expense, but he said of her one 
day, " She diffuses more knowledge in her con 
versation than any woman I know, or indeed 
almost any man." 

Fanny, writing of the lady's visit after it had 
taken place, remarks, " Mrs. Montagu is middle- 
sized and very thin, and looks infirm : she has a 
sensible and penetrating countenance, and the air 
and manner of a woman accustomed to being 
distinguished and of great parts. . . . She had 
not been in the room ten minutes, ere, turning to 
Mrs. Thrale, she said 

" ' Oh, ma'am, but your Evelina I have 
not yet got it. I sent for it, but the book 
seller had it not. However, I will certainly 
have it.' 

* Miss Greggory lived with Mrs. Montagu. 
J3 1 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

" ' Ay, I hope so,' answered Mrs. Thrale, 
1 and I hope you will like it, too ; for 'tis a book 
to be liked/ And here she opened out into a 
panegyric upon the book, informing Mrs. Montagu 
that ' Burke had sat up all night to read it/ that 
'Sir Joshua Reynolds had been offering fifty 
pounds to know the author,' and that ' Dr. Johnson 
had declared that Fielding never wrote so well 
never equal to this book/ 

" ' Indeed ! ' cried Mrs. Montagu ; ' that I did 
not expect, for I have been informed it is the 
work of a young lady, and, therefore, though I 
expected a very pretty book, I supposed it to be 
a work of mere imagination. . . .' 

"'Well, ma'am, 1 rejoined Mrs. Thrale, ' what 
I tell you is literally true ; and, for my part, I am 
never better pleased than when good girls write 
clever books and that this is clever But 
all this time we are killing Miss Burney, who 
wrote the book herself/ 

"What a clap of thunder was this! the last 
thing in the world I should have expected before 
my face! I know not what bewitched Mrs. 
Thrale. . . . All retenue being now at an end, I 
fairly and abruptly took to my heels, and ran out 
of the room with the utmost trepidation, amidst 
astonished exclamations from Mrs. Montagu 
and Miss Greggory. . . . When dinner was upon 
table I followed the procession, in a tragedy step, 


Thrale Place 

as Mr. Thrale will have it, into the dining-room. 
Dr. Johnson was returned." 

Mrs. Montagu's new house in Portman 
Square being talked of, the lady expressed a 
wish to see all the company present at her 
house-warming to be given during the ensuing 

" Everybody bowed and accepted the invite 
but me," writes Fanny, " and I thought fitting 
not to hear it. ... But Dr. Johnson, who sat 
next to me, was determined I should be of the 
party, for he suddenly clapped his hand on my 
shoulder and called out aloud 

" * Little Burney, you and I will go together ! ' 

" ' Yes, surely/ cried Mrs. Montagu, ' I shall 
hope for the pleasure of seeing Evelina' 

" * Evelina ! ' repeated he : * has Mrs. Montagu 
then found out Evelina ? ' 

" ' Yes/ cried she, ' and I am proud of it ; I 
am proud that a work so commended should be 
a woman's/ f { 

"Oh, how my face burnt! . . . Some other 
things were said, but I remember them not, for 
I could hardly keep my place ; but my sweet, 
naughty Mrs. Thrale looked delighted for me. 

" I made tea as usual, and Mrs. Montagu 
and Miss Greggory seated themselves on each 
side of me. 

" * I can see/ said the former, * that Miss 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Burney is very like her father, and that is a 
good thing, for everybody would wish to be like 
Dr. Burney !'" 

The concluding sentences of this scene are 
given by Fanny in an unpublished portion of a 
journal-letter to her sister Susan.* 

" Some time afterwards/' writes Fanny, " Mrs. 
Montagu mentioned her being very short-sighted. 
. . . Mrs. Thrale said, ' Miss Burney, ma'am, 
knows how to allow for that, for she is very near 
sighted herself.' 

" * I should be glad/ answered Mrs. Montagu, 
' to resemble Miss Burney in anything.' 

"Ton my word! methinks I hear you cry, 
' Fine doings ! ' Miss Greggory was amazingly 
sociable, and began regretting my spending the 
morning away from them. ... * It was very 
hard upon us} and all that . . . and civilities 
ran about very thick and very soft." 

From this time forth Fanny spent a large 
portion of her time at Streatham, where its 
mistress and its constant visitor, Dr. Johnson, 
became more and more attached to her. 

The Doctor, who was much more observant 
of people's appearance than we should have 
supposed, remarked one day, after looking 
earnestly at Fanny, " It's very handsome ! " 

" ' What, sir ? ' cried I, amazed. 

* Burney MSS. 

Thrale Place 

"'Why, your cap: I have looked at it 
some time, and I like it much. It has not that 
vile bandeau across it which I have so often 
cursed. . . / 

"Mrs. T. : 'Lady Ladd * never wore the 
bandeau, and said she never would, because it 
is unbecoming/ . . . 

" Dr. J. : ' Why, if anybody could have worn 
the bandeau, it must have been Lady Ladd, for 
there is enough of her to carry it off; but you 
are too little for anything ridiculous ; that which 
seems nothijig upon a Patagonian will become 
very conspicuous upon a Lilliputian, and of you 
there is so little in all, that one single absurdity 
would swallow up half of you.' ' 

There is a little anecdote of Dr. Johnson 
recorded on a loose piece of paper among the 
Burney MSS. to the following effect. The 
Doctor, it seems, had been showing a young 
bride, who was paying a morning call at 
Streatham, the various " lions " of the Park. 
" He then asked whether she had been intro 
duced to Miss Burney. ' No/ but she very much 
wished it. 

" ' Ah, child/ said he, I don't know that an 
introduction to Miss Burney would do you much 
good, for you look as if you took more pains with 
the outside of your head than the inside.' Then, 

* Sometimes spelt " Lade." 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

seemingly conscious that he had spoken rudely 
and unprovoked, he added, ' And your time has 
not been thrown away, for it is a very pretty 
head, and very well dressed/ " 

Fanny was again at home in the autumn of 
1778, and Mrs. Thrale, who was then staying at 
Tunbridge Wells, writes to Dr. Burney 

"Miss Burney is naughty, and does not send 
a line even to say, ' All's well/ or else I would 
tell her how Evelina was the popular Book 
upon the Walks all summer ; how some were 
talking of Madame Duval as they run up and 
down the pantiles ; and some of the Captain ; 
how Mrs. Crewe is delighted that your Daughter 
is the Author, and how she and I talk of you and 
yours all Day long." * 

* Burney MSS. 




ON a certain Saturday early in January, 1779, 
we find Fanny, accompanied by her father and 
mother, at a gathering in Sir Joshua Reynolds' 
house a house which is still to be seen, standing 
on the western side of Leicester Square. The 
drawing-room, where the guests must have been 
received, lies on the first floor, its three tall, 
recessed windows looking to the front. 

We can fancy we see the gay company 
ascending the broad marble staircase, which leads 
to the parlours, with its quaint, bowed balustrades, 
so shaped, it seems, to allow space for the ladies' 
hoops. But at the period of which we are 
writing, hoops were little worn, except at Court. 
The dress of the ladies was graceful and flowing, 
such as we see in the contemporary portraits by 
Reynolds and Gainsborough. 

Fanny, in describing the party, writes of her 
kindly host : "His behaviour was exactly what 
my wishes would have dictated to him for my 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

own ease and quietness, for he never once even 
alluded to my book, but conversed rationally, 
gaily, and serenely ; and so I became more com 
fortable than I had been ever since the first 
entrance of company. 

"[Presently] by a change of seats," she 
continues, " I was next to Mrs. Horneck, who, 
after some general conversation with me, said, in 
a low voice 

" ' I suppose, Miss Burney, I must not speak 
of Evelina to you ? ' 

" * Why, indeed, ma'am/ said I, 'I would 
rather you should speak of anything else/ 

" * Well I must only beg leave to say one 
thing, which is, that my daughters had the credit 
of first introducing it into this set. ... But where, 
Miss Burney, where can, or could, you pick up 
such characters ? Where find such variety of 
incidents, yet all so natural ? * 

" ' Oh, ma'am, anybody might find who 
thought them worth looking for/ 

* " ' / recommended [the book] to Lady 
Carysfort, a very sensible woman, and she sat 
up the whole night to read it. And then we 
prevailed with Sir Joshua to read it, and when 
he once began it he left it neither for sleep nor 
food, for, to own the truth, he took to it yet more 
passionately than all the rest of us ! ' " 

* This paragraph is taken from the Burney MSS. 

mi .u.tij.. v.v 


A Great Painter and his Friends 

It was at this party that Fanny met Mrs. 
Cholmondeley the " Mad .Cap Mrs. Cholmon- 
deley," as Crisp calls her for the first time after 
that lady's learning that she was the authoress of 
Evelina. Mrs. Cholmondeley was so eager in 
her repeated questions about the novel, and so 
blind to poor Fanny's distress, that Sir Joshua, 
taking hold of her arm, endeavoured to pull her 
away, saying, " Come, come, Mrs. Cholmondeley, 
I won't have her overpowered here." 

"But Mrs. Cholmondeley, turning to him, 
said, with quickness and vehemence, * Why, I 
ain't going to kill her ! Don't be afraid.' 

" . . . I got away from her," says Fanny, 
" and looked over Miss Palmer's cards, but she 
was after me in a moment. 

" ' Pray, Miss Burney,' cried she aloud, ' do 
you know anything of this game ? ' 

" ' No, ma'am.' 

" ' No ? ' repeated she. ' Mafoi, that's pity ! ' 

" This raised such a laugh I was forced to 
move on. . . . Mrs. Cholmondeley hunted me 
quite round the card-table, from chair to chair, 
repeating various speeches of Madame Duval ; 
and when, at last, I got behind a sofa, out of her 
reach, she called out aloud, ' Polly, Polly ! only 
think ! Miss has danced with a lord ! ' ' 

Fanny's next meeting with Mrs. Cholmondeley 
was of a more agreeable kind. It was in the 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

lady's own house in Hertford Street, whither she 
had gone by invitation, together with Dr. and 
Mrs. Burney. 

" We were received by Mrs. Cholmondeley," 
she writes, " with great politeness, and in a 
manner that showed she intended to entirely 
throw aside Madame Duval, and to conduct 
herself towards me in a new style. . . . She is 
determined, I believe, to make me like her ; 
and she will, I believe, have full success ; for she 
is very clever, very entertaining, and very much 
unlike anybody else." 

Presently Mr. Sheridan's name was announced, 
and after the introductions had been gone through, 
" he proceeded," writes Fanny, " to speak of 
Evelina in terms of the highest praise ; but I 
was in such a ferment from surprise (not to say 
pleasure), that I have no recollection of his 
expressions. I only remember telling him that I 
was much amazed he had spared time to read it, 
and that he repeatedly called it a most surprising 
book and [then exclaimed], ' But I hope, Miss 
Burney, you don't intend to throw away your 

Soon afterwards, turning to Sir Joshua, " Mr. 
Sheridan said 

"'Sir Joshua, I have been telling Miss 
Burney that she must not suffer her pen to be 
idle ought she ? ' 


A Great Painter and his Friends 

" Sir Joshua : ' No, indeed ought she not.' 

" Mr. Sheridan : ' I think and say she ought 
to write a comedy.' 

" Sir Joshita : ' I am sure I think so ; and 
I hope she will.' 

" I could only answer by incredulous ex 

" ' Consider,' continued Sir Joshua, * you have 
already had all the applause and fame you can 
have given you in the closet ; but the acclamation 
of a theatre will be new to you.' 

" And then he put down his trumpet, and 
began a violent clapping of his hands.' 1 

Fanny has recorded another conversation of 
a similar nature that took place in Sir Joshua 
Reynolds' country house on Richmond Hill, 
where for the first time she met Edmund Burke. 

After giving a tribute of warm praise to 
Evelina, the orator remarked with a smile : 
" ' We have had an age for statesmen, an age for 
heroes, an age for poets, an age for artists, but 
this? bowing [to me] with an air of obsequious 
gallantry . . . ' this is the age for women ! ' 

" * A very happy modern improvement ! ' cried 
Sir Joshua, laughing, ' don't you think so, Miss 
Burney ? but that's not a fair question to put to 
you ; so we won't make a point of your answering 
it. . However, what Mr. Burke said is very true. 
The women begin to make a figure in everything, 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

though I remember when I first came into the 
world it was thought but a poor compliment to 
say a person did a thing like a lady ! ' 

" ' Ay, Sir Joshua,' cried Dr. Burney, ' but like 
Moliere's physician, nous avons changd tout cela /' 

"'Now/ interrupted Mr. Burke warmly, 'to 
talk of writing like a lady is the greatest compli 
ment that need be wished for by a man ! ' Then 
archly shrugging his shoulders, he added, ' What 
is left now exclusively for US, and what we are 
to devise in our own defence, I know not ! We 
seem to have nothing for it but assuming a 
sovereign contempt, for the next most dignified 
thing to possessing merit is an heroic barbarism 
in despising it ! ' : 

Fanny's entrance into the great literary world as 
one of its members was hailed with delight by her 
" Daddy" Crisp. He writes to her at this time 

" I long of all things to see the continuation 
of your Journal. If you answer me you have not 
continued it, you are unpardonable, and I advise 
you to set about it immediately as well as you 
can while any trace of it remains in your memory. 
It will one day," he adds prophetically, " be the 
delight of your old age it will call back your 
youth, your spirits, your pleasures, your friends 
(at that time probably long gone off the stage), 
and lastly, when your own scene is closed, remain a 
valuable treasure for those that come after you." 



WE have seen that the great Sheridan himself 
advised Miss Burney to write for the stage, and 
in the mean time her friends at Streatham were 
urging the same counsel. 

In an unpublished letter from Mrs. Thrale to 
Fanny, dated December, 1778, the writer says: 
" Sheridan has really behaved with great polite 
ness ; pity to let it cool, I think, and Mr. Johnson 
says so too. The Stage is certainly the high 
road to riches and to fame, and the broad-wheeled 
waggons which have gone over it lately will only 
have rolled it smooth, I hope, for our elegant 

When Fanny was introduced to Mr. Murphy, 
the dramatist, he remarked to her with a shrewd 
look, " If I had written a certain book a book I 

* " A narrow coach, in which only two persons can sit facing 
each other, seldom used by any other than persons of high 
character or fashion." See Felton's "Treatise on Carriages," 


145 L 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

won't name, but a book I have lately read, i 
would next write a Comedy. . . . Comedy is the 
fort of that book . . . and if the author I won't 
say who will write a comedy, I will most readily 
and with great pleasure give any advice or 
assistance in my power." 

Mrs. Montagu, too, had thrown the weight 
of her opinion into the scale, for she had observed 
to Mrs. Thrale, " If Miss Burney does write a 
play, I beg I may know of it, and if she thinks 
proper, see it; and all my influence is at her 

But Fanny's shrewd adviser at Chesington 
gave her a word of warning. 

"I plainly foresaw," he writes, "that as your 
next step you would be urged, strongly urged, 
by your many friends and admirers to undertake 
a comedy. I think you capable, highly capable 
of it, but in the attempt there are great difficulties 
in the way ; some more particularly in the way of 
a Fanny than of most people." 

After describing the nature of the lively 
sallies, bordering on coarseness, then in vogue 
on the stage, he goes on to say : " The sum 
total amounts to this ; it appears to me extremely 
difficult throughout a whole spirited comedy, to 
steer clear of those agreeable, frolicsome jeux 
d* esprit on the one hand, and languor and heavi 
ness on the other : pray observe, I only say 


"The Witlings' 

difficult not impracticable at least to your 
dexterity ; and to that I leave it. 

" . . . I am very glad that you have secured 
Mrs. Montagu for your friend ; her weight and 
interest are powerful ; but there is one particular 
I do not relish.; though she means it as a mark 
of favour and distinction ; it is where she 
says, * If Miss Burney does write a play, I beg 
I may know of it, and (if she thinks proper) 
see it/ 

" Now, Fanny, this same seeing it (in a pro 
fessed female wit, authoress, and Maecenas into 
the bargain) I fear implies too much interference 
implies advising, correcting, altering, &c., &c., 
&c. ; not only so but in so high a critic, the not 
submitting to such grand authority might possibly 
give a secret, concealed, lurking offense. Now 
d'ye see. ... I would have the whole be all my 
own all of a piece ; and to tell you the truth, I 
would not give a pin for the advice of the ablest 
friend who would not suffer me at last to follow 
my own judgment without resentment." 

At the end of this letter there follows, in the 
original manuscript, a passage in which Crisp 
humorously supposes a dialogue between him 
self and Fanny * 

" Crisp : ' Most likely, Fanny, this tedious 
homily must have tired you.' 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martinis Street 

"Fanny: 'If you think so why did you 
write it ? ' 

" Crisp : ' I don't know ; it came into my 
head ; and as I told you once before on a former 
occasion, I have no notion of reserve among 

" Fanny : ' You think then I have need of all 
this tutoring, and that I can't see my way without 
your old Spectacles ? ' 

" Crisp : ' No, no, Fanny. I think no such 
thing, besides, you have other sorts of Spectacles 
at Streatham to put on if you should want them, 
but you know old men are much given to garru 
lity, and old Daddys particularly that have been 
long used to prate, don't know how to give over 
in time.' 

" Fanny : ' Well, well, prithee have done now.' 

" Crisp : ' Allow'd. Agree'd. God bless you, 
Adieu.' " 

Fanny did write a play after all, which she 
called " The Witlings/' and which was finished 
by the summer of 1779. She received unbounded 
sympathy in her undertaking from her Streatham 
friends, and notably from the great Dr. Johnson, 
who had become warmly attached to his "little 
Burney." Still Fanny had her secret doubts ofi| 
success in this new walk of literature, and of all 
her advisers she looked to her " two Daddies " to] 
give the final judgment upon her work. 


"The Witlings" 

On July 3Oth her father and her sister Susan 
were starting for Chesington, and Fanny writes 
to Mr. Crisp : "As to the play ... I own I had 
wished to be the bearer of it when I visit 
Chesington ; but you seem so urgent, and my 
father, himself, is so desirous to carry it to you, 
that I have given that plan up. 

"... And now let me tell you what I wish 
in regard to this affair. I should like that your 
first reading should have nothing to do with me 
that you should go quick through it, or let my 
father read it to you forgetting all the time, as 
much as you can, that Pannikin is the writer, or 
even that it is a play in manuscript, and capable 
of alterations ; and then, when you have done, I 
should like to have three lines, telling me, as 
nearly as you can trust my candour, its general 
effect. After that take it to your own desk, and 
lash it at your leisure." 

In Susan Burney' s unpublished diaries and 
letters,* we find an account of the reading of 
Fanny's play to the assembled household at 
Chesington. That household, we would explain, 
consisted of Mr. Crisp, his sister Mrs. Cast, and 
bright little Charlotte Burney, both of whom were 
then staying in the house ; the humble, kindly 
Mrs. Hamilton, and her younger companion, the 
good-tempered, blundering Kitty Cooke. 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Susan writes to her sister on Tuesday, August 
3rd, "We all assembled soon after breakfast into 
Mrs. Cast's room, and my Father, pleased, he said, 
to see so respectable an audience began the Piece. 

" The Witlings. ' Good/ said Mr. Crisp- 
'good I like the name* the Dramatis Persona, 
too, pleased him, and the name of Codger 
occasioned a general grin. . . . The Milliner's 
Scene and indeed all the first Act diverted us 
extremely all round. ' It's funny it's funny in 
deed/ said Mr. C., who you know does not love 
to throw away praise. The second Act . . . did 
not flag at all in the reading ; the 3rd is charming 
and they all went off with great spirit. 

"Here my Father's voice was so tired that we 
were obliged to stop. . . . Soon after supper was 
over, however, we returned to our station. 

"The fourth Act was, upon the whole, that 
which seemed least to exhilarate, or interest, the 
audience, though Charlotte laughed, till she was 
almost black in the face, at Codger's part, as I 
had done before her. The fifth was more gene 
rally felt but, to own the truth, it did not meet all 
the advantages one could wish. My Father's 
voice, sight and lungs were tired. . . . Yet he 
exerted himself in the warmest manner through 
out the Piece to give it force and spirit, and 
except this Act, I believe only yourself would 
have read the play better. 


"The Witlings" 

" For my own part the serious parts seemed 
even to improve upon me by this 2nd hearing, 
and made me for to cry in 2 or 3 places. I wish 
there was more of this sort so does my Father 
so I believe does Mr. Crisp. . . . Codger and 
Jack seem characters which divert every body, 
and would yet more, I should imagine, in a public 
representation. . . . All the sensible ones are struck 
with Censor's character, tho' nobody delights 
Charlotte like Mr. Codger." 

In spite of its many good characters and 
spirited dialogue, the verdict pronounced upon 
The Witlings by both Mr. Crisp and Dr. Burney, 
was adverse. Each felt that the authoress 
of " Evelina" had too much to lose to risk the 
possibility of failure or even of a partial success. 
How Fanny bore her keen disappointment is 
shown by the following letters : 

" The fatal knell then is knolled," she writes 
to her father, "and ' down among the dead men ' 
sink the poor Witlings for ever and for ever 
.and for ever ! 

" I give a sigh, whether I will or not, to their 
memory ! for however worthless they were mes 
enfans, and one must do one's nature as Mr. Crisp 
will tell you of the dog. 

" . . . I am sure I speak from the bottom 
of my honest heart when I most solemnly de 
clare that upon your account any disgrace would 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

mortify and afflict me more than upon my 

". . . You bid me open my heart to you, 
and so my dearest sir, I will, for it is the greatest 
happiness of my life that I dare to be sincere to 
you. I expected many objections to be raised 
a thousand errors to be pointed out and a million 
of alterations to be proposed : but the suppression 
of the piece were words I did not expect. . . . But 
. . . the best way I can take of showing that I 
have a true sense of the spirit of your condemna 
tion, is not to sink sulky and dejected under it, 
but to exert myself to the utmost of my power 
in endeavours to produce something less repre 

Her letter to Crisp is in a lighter vein. 

" Well ! ' there are plays that are to be saved, 
and plays that are not to be saved/ so good night, 
Mr. Dabler ! Good night, Lady Smatter, Mrs. 
Sapient, Mrs. Voluble, Mrs. Wheedle, Cen 
sor, Cecilia, Beaufort, and you, you great oaf, 
Bobby ! Good night ! good night ! 

"And good morning, Miss Fanny Burney ! 
I hope now you have opened your eyes for some 
time, and will not close them in so drowsy a fit 
again, at least till the full of the moon. 

" . . . The only bad thing in this affair, is 
that I cannot take the comfort of my poor friend 
Dabler, by calling you a crabbed fellow, because 


"The Witlings" 

you write with almost more kindness than ever ; 
neither can I (though I try hard) persuade myself 
that you have not a grain of taste in your whole 

" This, however, seriously I do believe, that 
when my two daddies put their heads together to 
concert for me that hissing, groaning, cat-calling 
epistle they sent me, they felt as sorry for poor 
little Miss Bayes * as she could possibly do for 

". . . Adieu, my dear daddy, I won't be 
mortified, and I wont be downed ; but I will be 
proud to find I have, out of my own family, as 
well as in it, a friend who loves me well enough 
to speak plain truth to me." 


The original manuscript of the Witlings 
has been placed in our hands. It consists of five 
acts, each act forming one scene only. We have 
read the play with much interest and amusement, 
though recognizing some of the drawbacks which 
struck Dr. Burney and Mr. Crisp so forcibly. 
We think a specimen of the bright dialogue will 
interest our readers, and we therefore give the 
following scene. It deals with a meeting of the 
" Esprit Club," in which the affected imitators 
of the learned ladies of the day are ridiculed. 
Mrs. Thrale used to declare, laughingly, that 

* A character in the Rehearsal. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

she was sure Lady Smatter was intended for 

Mr. Dabler, we would explain, is a conceited 
poet of mean attainments. 


A Library at Lady Smatter s. 

Lady Smatter, Mrs. Sapient, Dabler y and Codger, 
seated at a round table covered with Books. 

Lady Smatter. Now before we begin our 
Literary Subjects, allow me to remind you of 
the rule established at our last Meeting, that 
everyone is to speak his real sentiments, and no 
flattery is to taint our discussions. 

AIL Agreed. 

Lady Smatter. This is the smallest assembly 
we have had yet ; some or other of our members 
fail us every Time. 

Dabler. But where such luminaries are seen 
as Lady Smatter and Mrs. Sapient, all others 
could only appear to be eclipsed. 

Lady Smatter. What have you brought to 
regale us with to-night, Mr. Dabler ? 

Dabler. Me ? dear Madam, nothing ! 

"The Witlings " 

Lady Smatter. Oh barbarous ! 

Mrs. Sapient. Surely you cannot have been 
so cruel ? for, in my opinion, to give pain cause 
lessly is rather disobliging. 

Dabler. Dear Ladies, you know you may 
command me ; but, I protest, I don't think I have 
anything worth your hearing. 

Lady Smatter. Let us judge for ourselves. 
Bless me, Mr. Codger, how insensible you are ! 
why do not you join in our intreaties ? 

Codger. For what, Madam ? 

Lady Smatter. For a Poem, to be sure. 

Codger. Madam, I understood Mr. Dabler he 
had nothing worth your hearing. 

Lady Smatter. But surely you do not believe 
him ? 

Codger. I know no reason, Madam, to doubt 

Lady Smatter. O you Goth ! come, dear Mr. 
Dabler, produce something at once, if only to 
shame him. 

Dabler. Your Ladyship has but to speak. 
(Takes a paper from his pocket-book, and reads.) 


Learning, here, doth pitch her Tent, 
Science, here, her Seeds doth Scatter ; 

Learning, in form of Sapient, 
Science, in guise of heav'nly Smatter. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Lady Smatter. O charming ! beautiful Lines, 

Mrs. Sapient. Elegant and poignant to a 
degree ! 

Lady Smatter. What do you think, Mr. 
Codger, of this Poem ? To be sure (whispering 
him) the compliment to Mrs. Sapient is prepos 
terously overstrained, but, otherwise, nothing can 
be more perfect. 

Mrs. Sapient. Mr. Dabler has, indeed, the 
happiest turn in the World at easy elegance. 
Why, Mr. Codger, you don't speak a Word ? 
(Whispering him) Pray, between friends, what 
say you to the notion of making Lady Smatter 
represent Science ? Don't you think he has been 
rather unskilful in his choice ? 

Codger. Why, Madam, you give me no Time 
to think at all. 

Lady Smatter. Well, now to other matters. 
I have a little observation to offer upon a Line 
of Pope ; he says 

" Most Women have no character at all." 

Now I should be glad to know, if this was true 
in the Time of Pope, why People should com 
plain so much of the depravity of the present 

Dabler. Your Ladyship has asked a Question 
that might perplex a Solomon. 


"The Witlings" 

Mrs. Sapient. It is, indeed, surprisingly 

Dabler. Yes, and it reminds me of a little 
foolish thing which I composed some time 

Lady Smaller. O pray let us hear it. 

Dabler. Your Ladyship commands 

The lovely Iris, young and fair, 
Possess'd each charm of Face and Hair 
That with the Cyprian's might compare ; 
So sweet her Face, so soft her Mind, 
So mild she speaks, she looks so kind, 
To hear, might melt ! to see, might blind ! 

Lady Sm. 1 1 ( O elegant! enchanting! delicious! 

Mrs. Sap. j I 3 ( O delightful! pathetic! delicate! 

Lady Smaller. Why Mr. Codger, have you 
no Soul ? is it possible you can be unmoved by 
such poetry as this ? 

Codger. I was considering, Madam, what 
might be the allusion to which Mr. Dabler 
referred, when he said he was reminded of this 
little foolish thing, as he was pleased to call it 

Dabler (aside). I should like to toss that old 
fellow in a blanket ! 

Codger. Now, Sir, be so good as to gratify 
me by relating what may be the connection 
between your Song, and the foregoing Conver 
sation ? 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Dabler (pettishly). Sir, I only meant to read 
it to the Ladies. 

Lady Smatter. I'm sure you did us great 
honour. Mrs. Sapient, the next proposition is 

Mrs. Sapient. Pray did your Ladyship ever 
read Dryden ? 

Lady Smatter. Dryden ? O yes ! but I don't 
just now recollect him ; let's see, what has he 
writ ? 

Dabler. Cymon and Iphigenia. 

Lady Smatter. O ay, so he did ; and really 
for the Time of Day I think it's mighty pretty. 

Dabler. Why yes, it's well enough ; but it 
would not do now. 

Mrs. Sapient. Pray what does your Ladyship 
think of the Spectator ? 

Lady Smatter. O, I like it vastly. I've just 
read it. 

Codger (to Lady Smatter). In regard, Madam, 
to those verses of Mr. Dabler, the chief fault I 
have to find with them, is 

Dabler. Why, Sir, we are upon another 
subject now ! (Aside) What an old Curmudgeon ! 
he has been pondering all this Time only to find 
fault ! 

Mrs. Sapient. For my part, I have always 
thought that the best papers in the Spectator 
are those of Addison. 


"The Witlings" 

Lady Smaller. Very justly observed ! 

Dabler. Charmingly said ! exactly my own 

Mrs. Sapient. Nay, I may be mistaken ; I 
only offer it as my private sentiment. 

Dabler. I can but wish, Madam, that poor 
Addison had lived to hear such praise. 

Lady Smaller. Next to Mr. Dabler, my 
favourite Poets are Pope and Swift. 

Mrs. Sapient. Well, after all, I must confess 
I think there are as many pretty things in old 
Shakespeare as in anybody. 

Lady Smaller. Yes, but he is too common ; 
every body can speak well of Shakespeare ! 

Dabler. I vow I am quite sick of his Name. 

Codger. Madam, to the best of my appre 
hension, I conceive your Ladyship hath totally 
mistaken that Line of Pope which says 

Most women have no Character at all. 

Lady Smaller. Mistaken, I, how so, Sir ? 
This is curious enough ! (Aside lo Dabler] I 
begin to think the poor creature is super 

Dabler. So do I, Ma'am ; I have observed it 
for some Time. 

Codger. By no Character, Madam, he only 

Lady Sma Her. A dad Character, to be sure ! 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Codger. There, Madam, lieth your Ladyship's 
mistake ; he means, I say 

Lady Smarter. O dear Sir, don't trouble 
yourself to tell me his meaning ; I dare say I 
shall be able to make it out. 

Mrs. Sapient (aside to Dabler). How irritable 
is her Temper ! 

Dabler. O intolerably ! 

Codger. Your Ladyship, Madam, will not 
hear me. I was going 

Lady Smatter. If you please, Sir, we'll drop 
the Subject, for I rather fancy you will give me 
no very new information concerning it, do you 
think he will, Mr. Dabler ? 

Codger. Mr. Dabler, Madam, is not a com 
petent Judge of the case, as 

Dabler (rising). Not a Judge, Sir? not a 
Judge of Poetry? 

Codger. Not in the present circumstance, Sir, 
because, as I was going to say 

Dabler. Nay then, Sir, I'm sure I'm a Judge 
of Nothing ! 

Codger. That may be, Sir, but is not to the 
present purpose ; I was going 

Dabler. Suppose, Sir, we refer to the Ladies ? 
Pray now, Ladies, which do you think the most 
adequate Judge of Poetry, Mr. Codger or your 
humble Servant ? Speak sincerely, for I hate 

1 60 


"The Witlings" 

Mrs. Sapient. I would by no means be so 
ill bred as to determine for Mr. Dabler in the 
presence of Mr. Codger, because / have always 
thought that a preference of one person implies 
less approbation of another ; yet 

Codger. Pray, Madam, let me speak ; the 
reason, I say 

Mrs. Sapient. Yet the well known skill of Mr. 
Dabler in this delightful art 

Codger. Madam, this interruption is some 
what injudicious, since it prevents my ex 

Mrs. Sapient (rising). Injudicious, Sir ? I 
am sorry, indeed, if I have merited such an 
accusation : there is nothing I have more 
scrupulously endeavoured to avoid, for, in my 
opinion, to be injudicious is no mark of an extra 
ordinary understanding. 

Lady Smatter (aside to Dabler). How soon 
she's hurt ! 

Dabler. O most unreasonably ! 

Codger. Madam, you will never hear me out ; 
you prevent my explaining the reason, I say, why 
Mr. Dabler cannot decide upon Lady Smatter's 
error in judgement 

Lady Smatter (rising]. Error in judgement ? 
really this is very diverting ! 

Codger. I say, Madam 

Lady Smatter. Nay, Sir, ; tis no great matter ; 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

and yet, I must confess, it's rather a hard case 
that, after so many years of intense study, am 
most laborious reading, I am not allowed to 
criticise a silly line of Pope. 

Dabler. And if I, who, from infancy, have 

devoted all my Time to the practice of Poetry, 

am now thought to know nothing of the mattei 

I should be glad to be informed who has a 

better Title ? 

Mrs. Sapient. And if I, who, during my 
whole life, have made propriety my peculiar 
study, am now found to be deficient in it, I 
must really take the liberty to observe that I 
must have thrown away a great deal of Time to 
very little purpose. 

Lady Smatter. And as to this line of Pope 


Enter Censor. 

Lady Smatter. Mr. Censor, your entrance is 
most critically fortunate ; give me leave to 
present you to our society. 

Censor. I expected to have seen your Lady 
ship alone. 

Lady Smatter. Yes, but I have obtained a 
dispensation for your admittance to our Esprit 
Party. But let us not waste our Time in 
common conversation. You must know we are 
at present discussing a very knotty point, and \ 

164 ' 

"The Witlings" 

should be glad of your opinion upon the merits 
of the cause. 

Dabler. Yes ; and as soon as that is decided, 
I have a little choice piece of Literature to com 
municate to you which I think you will allow to 
be tolerable. 

Mrs. Sapienl. And I, too, Sir, must take 
the liberty to appeal to your Judgement con 

Censor. Ay, ay, Speak all at a Time, and then 
one hearing may do. 

Lady Smaller. Mr. Censor, when a point of 
the last importance is in agitation, such levity as 

Dabler. I was going to tell you, Mr. Censor, 
that if you have any desire to look at those 
verses I was speaking of, I believe I have a 
Copy of them in my Pocket. Let's see, yes, 
here they are ; how lucky that I should happen to 
have them about me ! (Gives Ihem lo Censor} 
(Aside) I think they will surprise him. 

Censor (reading] 

That passion which we strongest feel 

We all agree to disapprove ; 
Yet feebly, feebly, we conceal 

Dabler (pettishly}. Sir, you read without any 

Yet feebly, feebly we conceal. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

You should drop your voice at the Second feebly, 
or you lose all the effect. (Aside) It puts me 
in a fever to hear such fine lines murdered. 
Censor (reading). 

We all are bound slaves to self love. 

Dabler (snatching the paper]. Why you give 
it neither emphasis nor expression ! You read 
as if you were asleep. (Reading) 

That passion which 

Censor. O no more, no more of it. Pray who 
is the Author ? 

Dabler. Why really I I don't absolutely 
know, but, by what I have heard, I should take 
it to be somebody very, very clever. 

Censor. You should ? 

Dabler. Yes : and, indeed, to own the truth, 
I have heard it whispered that it is a posthumous 
Work of of O, of Gay, ay, of Gay. 

Censor. Of Gay ? 

Dabler. Yes ; found in a little corner of his 
private Bureau. 

Censor. And pray, who has the impudence to 
make such an assertion ? 

Dabler. Who ? O, as to that, really I don't 
know who in particular, but I assure you not me, 
though, by the way, do you really think it 
very bad ? 

1 66 

"The Witlings' 1 

Censor. Despicable beyond abuse. Are you 
not of the same opinion ? 

Dabler. Me ? why really, as to that I I 
can't exactly say, that is, I have hardly read it. 
(Aside) What a crabbed fellow! There is not 
an ounce of Taste in his whole composition. 
Curse me, if I was Nature, if I should not blush 
to have made him. Hold ! my Tablets ! a good 
thought that ! I'll turn it into a Lampoon, and 
drop it at Stapletons'. ( Walks aside and writes 
in his Tablets.} 

// J ^^ "-. '*--<: \\ v\ / 'is^*^ 




THE summer of 1779 was a time of public alarm, 
for added to the disastrous war in America, both 
France and Spain had declared war against 
England, and in the month of August their united 
fleets suddenly made their appearance in the 

" Had it not been for vile public news," 
writes Susan Burney, who was then staying at 
Chesington, " we should have spent this last week 
charmingly, but two days [ago] a report reached 
us from Kingston that the French and Spaniards 
were landed. Mr. Crisp went to Kingston the 
next morning, and came back with a countenance 
calculated to terrify and crush temerity itself. . . . 
Troops of French and Spaniards were landed at 
Falmouth, whilst the combined fleets were throw 
ing bombs into Plymouth." 

" Oh, Fanny," writes Mr. Crisp, " I fear I 
have lived too long ! for I declare I had much 
rather be under ground than stay behind to see 

1 68 

Hostile Fleets in the Channel 

the insolent Bourbon trampling under foot this 
once happy Island." 

The alarm was, indeed, widespread, for 
Horace Walpole, writing to a friend on the night 
of August 1 8th, remarks : 

" All is true that you will see in the papers of 
the Marlborough, Isis, and Southampton being 
chased by the French and Spanish fleets of sixty, 
or sixty-three sail as [they] were going to join Sir 
Charles Hardy. To-day came another express 
that the united squadron was off Falmouth on 
Saturday. They are probably come to seek and 
fight our fleet, which, if not joined by those three 
ships, consists of but thirty-six on whom depend 
our fate ! 

" I could give you details of unreadiness at 
home that would shock you ; miracles alone can 
counteract it. ... Turn whither you will, whence 
is salvation to come to a nation so besotted ? . . . 
My opinion is that the enemies will strike in 
every place they can 

" It is below a man [however] to rail when 
England totters to its foundations. Disgraced it 
is for ever! In what piteous condition it may 
emerge I know not if it does emerge ; if it does 
not, happy they who do not live to see its utter 

In the Gazatteer of the same date (August 

1 8th) a writer observes : 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" We are informed that an express is arrived 
with an account of the French and Spaniards 
being between the English fleet and the English 
coast; that they were preparing for an engage 
ment, and most important news is expected in a 
few hours. 

"It was also reported last night that the 
united fleets have blocked up Plymouth and 
taken the Ramillies of 74 guns, as she was going 
to join Sir Charles Hardy's fleet." 

The writer goes on to point out the necessity 
of unity among our defenders. "At this most 
alarming moment," he says, " when the French 
and Spaniards ride with bold defiance on our 
coasts, and dispute our long-maintained empire 
of the sea ... it is indeed time that every 
distinction of party should give way." 

" Rouse us, Mr. Urban," urges a writer in 
the Gentleman s Magazine, "to bring back to 
their allegiance our revolted fellow-subjects [in 
America], and to repel the insolence of our 
natural enemies ! " 

In the same number of the Gentleman's Maga 
zine a correspondent at Plymouth writes : 

"On the evenings of the i6th, i7th, and i8th 
the combined fleets made their appearance off 
Plymouth, but, to the astonishment of everybody, 
contented themselves with only looking at it. 
They were so near the land that the Ardent, 


Hostile Fleets in the Channel 

man-of-war, coming from Portsmouth to join Sir 
Charles Hardy, took them for his fleet, and went 
so close before she discovered her mistake that 
she was attacked [and], it is generally believed, 
went to the bottom." 

Horace Walpole mentions this same circum 
stance in a letter to a friend dated September 5th. 
" The Ardent" he writes, " mistaking enemies for 
friends, fell among them; but Captain Botelar 
was thrown so little off his guard that it took four 
ships to master him, and his own sunk as soon as 
he and his men were received on board the victor's. 
Monsieur D'Orvilliers,* admiring his gallantry, 
applauded it. He modestly replied, 'You will 
find every captain in our fleet behave in the same 

manner.' ' 

"Great preparations are making here," con 
tinues the writer from Plymouth, "for a vigorous 
defence. The youth of all ranks have entered 
into associations, and the Ordnance have sent in 
3000 stand of arms. Orders have been issued 
that, in case of a bombardment, the pavement 
should be taken up and removed, that the bombs 
may sink into the earth without bursting." 

It was feared by the officers commanding the 
troops that the woods of Mount Edgecumbe might 
be used by the enemy as a place of concealment 
during an attack upon the dockyard ; and there 

* The Admiral of the French Fleet. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

was a rumour afloat, it seems, that Lord Mount 
Edgecumbe had demurred to having his trees 
felled when urged to do so. "It is an entire 
falsehood," says the writer, " that his lordship 
objected to their being cut down. ... All that 
he said on the occasion was this : ' If it be abso 
lutely necessary for the preservation of the dock 
yard that Mount Edgecumbe be destroyed, you 
have my ready consent, even to the last shrub . . . 
[but] if you are not quite certain, then for heaven's 
sake, let them stand/ The generals persevered 
in their opinion [of the danger], and the woods 
were immediately cut down, with the entire con 
currence of the owner." 

Mrs. Thrale, in an unpublished letter to Dr. 
Burney, written at this time, exclaims : " A fiery 
sky indeed ! which way can one bear, to look at 
it ? The Opposition people use smoked glasses, 
but that only makes matters worse. . . . What 
makes Mrs. Burney ill ? Not low spirits, I hope ; 
if I did not pity every pain she felt I must be an 
ungrateful monkey. Tell her, however, she must 
not go to bed to cry for her country while Sir 
Charles Hardy keeps the seas. Mrs. Byron * 
knows he has orders to fight the combined Fleets 
coute que coute" 

By this time public feeling was strongly aroused 
in all parts of the south of England. Horace 

* Wife of Admiral Byron. 

Hostile Fleets in the Channel 

Walpole, writing from Twickenham, says : " Even 
this little quiet village is grown a camp. Servants 
are learning to fire all day long, and I suppose 
soon will demand their wages le pistolet d la 

The combined fleets did not remain long 
within sight of the Devonshire coast. " But 
since their departure," writes a Plymouth corre 
spondent of a London paper, " we are nearly as 
much subject to doubt and fluctuation in our 
intelligence of their operations as you are in 
London." Many were the rumours afloat con 
cerning them. A paragraph in the Morning 
Chronicle informed its readers that "a French 
Squadron of eight frigates were cruising on the 
Coast of Ireland." 

Horace Walpole writes early in September: 
" At last we have heard of Sir Charles Hardy off 
Plymouth, and yesterday at Portsmouth. Where 
the combined are I know not precisely ; but that 
such extended lines should not have caught the 
eye of each other is very surprising to us inexpert 
in winds and tides." 

The news of their disappearance was hailed 
with joy at Chesington. Susan Burney writes : 
" Sunday we received intelligence from my Father 
. . . which produced a Revolution in our minds, 
for we found that the French had not attempted 
to land or attack any part of the Kingdom, and 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

that, though much was to be dreaded, there yet 
remained something to hope." 

Happily, all cause for alarm was soon at an 
end. It appears that disagreements arose between 
the two commanders respecting the mode of attack, 
and that the haughty Spaniard precipitately with 
drew from the scene of action thus obliging the 
unfortunate Frenchman to withdraw also. 

" D'Orvillier has left our channel," writes Mrs. 
Thrale, " after cutting a few ships out of Torbay 
and chasing Sir Charles to Spithead." 

So ended all fear of invasion. 



CIIESINGTON Hall stands upon rising ground 
in a gently undulating plain that lies between 
Kingston and Epsom. The present house, 
although it was rebuilt a hundred years ago, in 
many respects resembles that occupied by Mr. 
Crisp, as it was reconstructed upon the original 
plan. In Crisp's time the old Hall, with its farm 
buildings and ancient dove-cote, was far from any 
edifice save and except the little old grey church, 
whose wooden belfry could be seen at the further 
end of an avenue of chestnuts. Communication, 
therefore, with the outer world was maintained 
with difficulty. Letters, for instance, had to 
wait to be posted till " baker's day," as Fanny 
calls it, arrived, when the baker carried them 
off to a distant post-town. Even to this day 
the Hall is a solitary habitation surrounded by 
sloping fields, and reached by a narrow country 

In its large old-fashioned garden fruit-trees, 
177 N 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

vegetables, and flowers consort happily together, 
the beds being intersected by long paths of 
smooth-shaven grass, flanked by deep box 
hedges, while here and there glimpses of far- 

m* -j 

$ .rf^fe^-- r 


away hills and woods can be seen beneath the 
branches of its bordering elms. 

To this beloved " Liberty Hall," as Fanny 
terms it, the Burney family came as to a second 

" There is no place," she writes, " where I 
more really enjoy myself r than at Chesington. 


Liberty Hall 

All the household are kind, hospitable, and 
partial to me ; there is no sort of restraint ; 
everybody is disengaged and at liberty to pursue 
their own inclinations ; and my Daddy Crisp, 
who is the soul of the place, is at once so flatter 
ingly affectionate to me, and so infinitely, so 
beyond comparison, clever in himself, that were 
I to be otherwise than happy in his company, I 
must be either wholly without feeling or utterly 
destitute of understanding." 

Fanny's affection for her Daddy Crisp comes 
out strikingly in a letter which was written in 
the spring of 1779, when Crisp was recovering 
from a sharp attack of illness. That letter now 
lies before us. The handwriting is unusually 
large and clear, Fanny, no doubt, having in her 
mind the darkened chamber of an invalid. 


" May 20th. 

" Your last sweet letter was the most 
acceptable I almost ever received in my life. 
Your extreme kindness to me nearly equalled 
the joy I had from hearing you were getting 
better. I do long to see you most eagerly, and 
will with my first power contrive it. Indeed, I 
have made everybody here long to see you too, 
but I would not for any bribery be as little likely 
to have my longing gratified as theirs is. 


The House in St, Martin's Street 

" Your exculpation of me was, like yourself, 
liberal and unsuspicious* and indeed, my dear 
Daddy, my heart was as unalterably and grate 
fully attached to you as it could be ; and so it 
must ever remain ; for, for many, many years 
you have been more dear to me than any other 
person out of my immediate family, in the whole 
world, and this, though I believe I never was 
so gross before as to say it to you, is a notorious 
fact to all others. ... I am half ashamed of this 
zmdelicacy, but your illness and kindness joined 
[together] put me off my guard. . . . 

" Believe me ever and ever yours, 

"F. B."* 

Crisp happened to hear, on one occasion, 
that Fanny had been sounding his praises to a 
new friend. 

" How could you have the face," he writes, 
" to say to Miss Greggory what you did about 
me ? It is well for us both that I live out of 
the way and out of the knowledge of the world ; 
otherwise how could I hope to escape the dis 
grace of being * weighed in the balance and 
found wanting ? ' 

" . . . I am not only well content but de 
lighted that your judgment should be warped in 

* This letter is quoted in her Preface by the editor of the 
" Early Diaries " of Frances Burney. 


Liberty Hall 

my favour by your kindness : but if this Report 
of an Evelina should bring on a Scrutiny into 
the merits of the Cause, what must I do then ? 
Well ! love me on ! Continue in your blind 
ness, and I will take my chance for the rest, and 
depend upon my obscurity for my security'.' * 

The affection, as we know, was mutual ; 
indeed, Crisp's greatest happiness in life was in 
the intercourse he enjoyed with his " delectable 
Fanny," as Mrs. Cast used to call her brother's 

On learning of a proposed visit from the 
Burney family, Crisp writes 

" I am glad to hear, the Burnean System 
inclines to a progressive motion towards Ches- 
ington. I hope the great Planet will not fail 
to be attended with the proper Satellites. . . . 
That bright tho' little star, the Pannikin must 
(for want of a better place) be lodged next 
room to my lump of Earth during the night 
time ; but all day, her old Conjuring place, the 
little Closet at the end of the Gallery, is destined 
to be kept sacred for her use. 

" Here let me put a short querie Suppose 
Hetty (with Charles sometimes) should make us 
a visit, could the Pannikin, for the sake of one 
she loves so dearly, submit to ascend somewhat 
nearer to her own native skies, to make room for 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

her ? . . . Send me a line when you all come, 
and the sooner the better." * 

In the summer of 1 779, Susan and Hetty were 
staying at Chesington. Susan writes to her sister 
Fanny : " Monday night after supper we were 
all made very merry by Mr. Crisp suffering his 
wig to be turned the hind part before, and my 
cap put over it, Hetty's cloak, and Mrs. Cast's 
apron and ruffles. In this ridiculous trim he 
danced a minuet with H etty, personify ing Madame 
Duval, while she acted Mr. Smith at the Long 
Room, Hampstead!" 

Fanny has described her Daddy Crisp's laugh 
in one of her Diaries. " It first," she says, "puts 
every feature in comical motion, and then fairly 
shakes his whole frame, so that there are tokens 
of thorough enjoyment from head to foot." 

Sometimes the evenings at Chesington were 
enlivened by music. Mr. Crisp, we are told by 
Dr. Burney, "had exquisite taste in all the fine 
arts," and was especially devoted to music. It was 
for him that the first harpsichord with hammers 
(the earliest kind of pianoforte) was brought over 
from Italy. He was a keen critic, too, as Susan 
was well aware when she remarked : 

" I don't enjoy mes aises much in playing to 
Mr. Crisp. He is very fond of Tornate [Sirene], 
and has made me chaunt it three times to him, 

* Burney MSS. 


Liberty Hall 

and as I don't hate the song myself ... I am 
not very sorry he takes to it. He is fond of my 
father's third Duet of the second set, too, which 
we play like anything ! " Here Susan breaks off 
her account to observe, " There is so much wind 
it has just blown down my inkstand over my 
paper. ' Pray, Milady, excuse.' " 

The original manuscript of this same letter 
lies by our side, and there, across the centre of 
the page on which Susan wrote these last words, 
is the great black stream of ink, as if it had been 
spilt but yesterday ! 

Fanny had inspired her friends the Thrales, 
as we have seen, with a strong desire to make the 
acquaintance of her Daddy Crisp. In a letter to 
him, dated from Bath, she says: " While I have 
been writing, Mr. Thrale called to know what I 
was about, and upon my answering 'writing to 
my Daddy Crisp,' he said, ' Pray give my compli 
ments to him, and tell him, if you will, that when 
I return to Streatham, if he likes it, I will come 
and see him.' 

" O, my dear Daddy, how sweet a frolic for 
me ! Pray do like it, that so I may contrive to 
get at you, and pray make Mrs. Gast stay, and 
pray charge Kitty not to look formal. . . . This 
notion and motion has given me so much pleasure 
that it has driven from me all other subjects." * 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

When a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Thrale to 
Chesington had been finally arranged, Susan 
writes to her sister : "Mr. Crisp has so high an 
opinion of Mrs. Thrale that he thinks of her 
coming without shuddering ! and that I believe 
to be more than one could say of any other lady 
whom, like Mrs. Thrale, he has never yet seen." 

The visit proved successful in every way, 
and Crisp noticed with pleasure "the courteous 
readiness and unassuming good-humour with 
which Mrs. Thrale received the inartificial civilities 
of Kitty Cooke, and the old-fashioned, but cordial, 
hospitality of Mrs. Hamilton." This, from "a 
celebrated wit, moving in the sphere of high life," 
he had not expected ; neither had she looked for 
"the elegance in language and manners" she 
found in the Chesington recluse. 

On her return home Mrs. Thrale wrote to 
Fanny, who had remained behind her at Chesing 
ton : " And so I pleased Mr. Crisp, did I ? and 
yet he never heard, it seems, the only good things 
I said, which were very earnest, and very honest, 
and very pressing invitations to him to see 
Streatham nearer than through the telescope. 
Now, that he did not hear all this was your fault, 
Mademoiselle ; for you told me that Mr. Crisp 
was old, and Mr. Crisp was infirm ; and if I had 
found those things so, I should have spoken 
louder, and concluded him to be deaf; but finding 


Liberty Hall 

him very amiable, and very elegant, and very 
polite to me, and very unlike an old man, I never 
thought about his being deaf ; and perhaps was a 
little coquettish, too, in my manner of making 
the invitation. I now repeat it, however, and 
give it under my hand, that I should consider 
such a visit as a very, very great honour, and so 
would Mr. Thrale." 

The return visit was duly paid, Fanny accom 
panying her Daddy Crisp to Streatham. A warm 
welcome awaited them, both from the Thrales 
and from the great Dr. Johnson himself, who had 
come down from town purposely to meet the 
"hermit of Chesington." 

After Crisp's departure, Dr. Johnson observed 
to Mr. Thrale, " Sir, it is a very singular thing 
to see a man with all his powers so much alive, 
when he has so long shut himself up from the 
world. Such readiness of conception, quickness 
of recollection, facility of following discourse 
started by others, in a man who has so long had 
only the past to feed upon, are rarely to be met 

Crisp remarks to Fanny in an unpublished 
portion of a letter, dated December 8th : " The 
next article that gave me some content was to 
understand that my visit to Streatham was well 
taken, and that I came off as you say I did, after 
appearing before such a Tribunal. I think I was 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

in high luck. I attribute it, however, in great 
part to my having a powerful advocate to stand 
my Friend ; but the principal cause of my escap 
ing so well, I am persuaded, was the bribe I 
brought in my hand. You remember the letter 
you and I wrote to put off your return to 
Streatham for a few days, and Mrs. Thrale's 
answer. When she wrote that answer, it is 
evident, notwithstanding a veil of great polite 
ness, that she was out of humour. But ! at the 
sight of her dear playfellow returned ! and safely 
hous'd under her own roof! then the features 
were all lighted up ! then the eyes sparkled, the 
smiles and the dimples began to play, and in a 
moment she was all sunshine ! " 



DR. JOHNSON remarked to Mrs. Thrale one day, 
" You have as much sense, and more wit, than 
any woman I know ; and yet," he added, " I have 
known all the wits from Mrs. Montagu down to 
Bet Flint!" And Sir William Pepys, speak 
ing in later years of Mrs. Thrale, said he had 
" never met with any human being who pos 
sessed the talent of conversation to such a 

Fortunately for us, we are able to form some 
idea of what that conversation was from Mrs. 
Thrale's letters. Her style is so natural, so 
spontaneous, so free from all pedantry or affecta 
tion, that we seem to hear rather than to read the 
words before us. 

Mrs. Thrale's special vein of humour comes 
out vividly in a series of unpublished letters which 
has been placed in our hands. 

Here is one written to Dr. Burney about a 

* See " A Later Pepys," edited by Alice C. C. Gaussen. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

sedan-chair accident. It is dated (< Fryday 5, 
March 1777." 


" Lest you should hear of this hateful 
Accident by other means I think it right to tell 
you my own story. The truth is my Chairmen 
were drunk, and though I got safe out of the 
Opera House with them, they flung me flat down 
on one side, just as we got into Great George 
Street, broke the Chair and all the glasses to 
pieces, but I was neither cut, nor hurt, nor 
frighted out of my wits. . . . You know I always 
send Sam with Queeny from all publick places, 
and fortunately as I was crawling out of my shell 
they passed by, and taking hold of Sam, I got 
home perfectly safe after my adventure. . . . 

" Say nothing of it to Johnson if you see him 
unless he speaks first. . . . On Fryday, that is 
to-day sennight, I shall expect you home. . . . 
after that day you are under the care of your 
most faithful & obedient 

" H. L. T. 

"Thank Heaven you had more wit than to go 
to the Opera ! " 

Again she writes to Dr. Burney on the 6th 
November of the same year (she was then staying 
at Brighthelmstone). 


A Woman of Wit 


" What news shall I tell you of a place 
that will, as General Burgoyne says Physically 
speaking, be soon as much evacuated as Phila 
delphia ! We have had Dukes and Dutchesses 
but nobody has made us amends for Doctor 
Burney. . . . 

" No sooner were you gone but the people 
brought me in a fine Forte Piano, and a gentleman 
to tune it, always some Diavolino when one has 
Teeth there's no Meat and when one has Meat 
there's no Teeth, &c. 

" A propos to nothing at all (but the Meat and 
the Teeth) as soon as I had sealed my last letter 
to you I ran down to dinner, where being diligent 
to help your friend Lady Poole, I hastily swallowed 
the bone of a boiled chicken, which would infal 
libly have finished me, had not they sent suddenly 
for a surgeon who forced it down with the whale 
bone and sponge and so, as Macbeth says, I 

" ' displaced the mirth 
Broke the good meeting with most admired Disorder.' * 

" The Balls are over and Rooms expire to 
night, but Mr. Thrale does not mean to stir till 
Monday or Tuesday sevennight. We have a lame 
Lord left, a deaf Gentleman, and Mr. Palmer who 
squints. My Master therefore compels them to 

* A favourite quotation of Mrs. Thrale's. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

come in and we play our cards in the best 

" You will see Mr. Johnson before I do, he is 
in Fleet Street now, at least I believe so, and 
direct to him accordingly by this Post. I wish 
you would bring him to Streatham yourself on 
Wednesday or Thursday sennight, whichever is 
most convenient to you, it would save my horses 
a prance the day after their journey, and would 
give me a view of the people I most wish to see 
after my own family. 

" Mr. Thrale has made me burn my wig and 
wear my own hair, so I shall exhibit myself now 
in a new character ; . . . but I rather regret my 
old peruke than rejoice in its loss, though I do 
gain seven years by it in youthful looks. 

" Mr. Murphy is more fortunate than we 
were : he has won the fine Morrocco Addissons 
in a Raffle at Thomases Shop from the Dutchess 
of Devonshire who had three chances against 
him besides 20 people more. 

" . . . Mr. Thrale accepts your good words 
and says I may send you more in return, the 
rough ones have been liberally bestowed on Mr. 
Murphy but my Master has a real regard for 
both of you, only somewhat an odd way of 
showing it. 

" Let me (tho' in this commerce you would 
rather receive than give I believe) Let me have 


A Woman of Wit 

one letter more before I listen once again to 
Pastoral and Rondo, and before I make you 
listen to the nonsense of 

" Your most faithful 

" humble Servant, 


" Best words and best wishes to all the 
Burneian System from Newton House to Ota- 

This last word refers to James Burney, who 
was then at Otaheite serving under Captain 
Cook. Mrs. Thrale took a lively interest in his 
career, although she had as yet never seen him. 

Upon hearing the news of his being appointed 
to the command of his first ship, she writes to 
Dr. Burney : * 

"Why this is delightful, dear Sir! Ay and 
ten times delightful ; and who says there is no 
happiness for honest men and affectionate hearts 
in this world ? God give you many years of joy 
of your son's virtue and good fortune there is 
no joy like it, though I will have a little myself 
in seeing and. feeling yours. 

" On Fryday will I pick you up as early as I 
can, but in short to dine here and stay here I 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

do not know how long. You will now be so 
good-humoured you will be able to deny me 
nothing Ah, dear Sir, you were never skilled in 
Mr. Smith's method of venturing to put a negative 
&c., so do not put a negative on the true affection 
with which 

" I am Yours, 

"H. L. T." 

Dr. Johnson was as much interested in the 
fortunes of James Burney as was Mrs. Thrale. 
When James was appointed to the command of 
the Bristol, in 1781, Dr. Johnson wrote to her 

" I delight to think of the happiness diffused 
among the Burneys. I question if any ship upon 
the ocean goes out attended with more good 
wishes than that which carries the fate of Burney. 
I love all that breed whom I can be said to 
know ; and one or two whom I hardly know, I 
love upon credit, and love them because they 
love each other." 

Mrs. Thrale writes to Fanny * 

" Dear Creature ! what a pretty little snug 
family talk we had that night before parting : 
had not we ? You was so kind and so communi 
cative and I do love you ! 

"Well, Sir Philip f was sadly disappointed 

* Burney MSS. 
f Sir Philip Jennings Clarke. 

A Woman of Wit 

not to meet Miss Burney. . . . He will drink but 
two dishes of tea now she don't fill it out * Sir 
Philip again ! ' cries out the dear Doctor, * I shall 
cut that Sir Philip's throat at last ' no need, no 
need, the throat is too hoarse already. . . . Jerry 
Crutchley missed the merriment at his chamber 
door Perkins protests you are a lady of solid 
judgement and an old Doctor almost superannuated 
who dined here o' Sunday said how he read 
Evelina with delight. 

" . . .My service to Dick's monkey, has it 
a long tail ? and from what country did it come ? 
and, as Fanny Brown's father said what language 
can it speak ? chattering perhaps ; I suppose 

" ' The gay chat, more than Reason that charms &c.' " 

In one of her letters Mrs. Thrale alludes to 
" Johnson and his Blackamoor, and his solid 
notions of Love-making." She goes on to say 

" I have asked the S.S. * and Pepys for 
Monday next to meet Jenkinson the solids might 
put me in mind of them too and I hope they'll 
have a pleasant drive home by moonlight. . . . 

" Adieu my beloved Tyo and keep a corner 
of your heart warm for 

"Your H. L. T. 

" ' We'll all keep a corner the Lady cried out, 
We'll all keep a corner was echoed about.' " 

* Miss Sophie Streatfield. 

193 o 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

On another occasion Mrs. Thrale writes : 
" Well, and what have I to say to my sweetest 
Burney ? I could not wish her good morrow nor 
good night through the crack of the Red Room 
door lest I should be frighted and think I had 
found a crack in my own scull as well as in so 
many of my neighbours. I could not tell her 
what passed at our Catorian dinner, for nothing 
did pass but hob and nob as I remember. Mrs. 
Cator worked at the Win de Graw and went to 
sleep like a sensible woman, while the Tit sung 
to her. . . . You would have laughed at that, but 
all superiority strikes me as respectable, tho' I did 
long to say with your friend Kitty ' Well ! 
Stupifaction ! ' " 

In a letter to Dr. Burney, written when Fanny 
was at Streatham, she says : 

"Your dear Fanny is perfectly well and in 
company now with half a score of people who 
all admire her, but nobody except the inhabitants 
of Newton House can love her better than does 

" H. L. T." 

Mrs. Thrale had a ready pen for verse, and 
was especially happy in her translations. Here 
is an instance a propos of her first sight of ,a 


A Woman of Wit 

"I saw one of the first," she writes "the 
very first, Mongolfier, I believe go up from the 
Luxembourg Gardens at Paris ; and in about an 
hour after, expressing my anxiety whither Pilatre 
de Rosier and his friend Charles were gone 
(meaning of course to what part of France they 
would be carried), a grave man made reply, 'Je 
crois, Madame, qu'ils sont alles, ces Messieurs-la, 
pour voir le lieu ou les vents se forment.' 

" What fellows Frenchmen are ! and always 
have been ! 

" Abate Parini made a pretty impromptu on 
[the balloon] . . . and I translated it. Here it 
is : 


" ' In empty space behold me hurl'd 
The sport and wonder of the world : 
Who eager gaze, whilst I aspire 
Expanded with aerial fire. 

" ' And since man's selfish race demands 
More empire than the seas and lands ; 
For him my courage mounts the skies 
Invoking nature as I rise. 

" < Mother of all ! if thus refin'd 
My flight can benefit mankind, 
Let them by me new realms prepare 
And take possession of the air.'" 

* * * * 

We would mention, in passing, that this 
pioneer balloon of Mongolfiers is commemorated 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

in another poem of the day " The Botanic 
Garden " by Dr. Darwin. He writes : 

" So on the shoreless air the intrepid Gaul 
Launched the vast concave of his buoyant ball ; 
Journeying on high the silken castle glides 
Bright as a meteor through the azure tides." 

In Mrs. Thrale's letters it is the humorous 
side of her character that chiefly transpires ; but 
the more tender side comes out in the following 
delicate and sympathetic translation of some 
verses by the Abbe Larignan ; the closing line 
of each stanza being " Bon soir la compagnie." 
The verses in the original, together with their 
translation, are contained in an unpublished letter 
to Dr. Burney, bearing the date of August 3Oth, 
1779. In later years they appeared in print. 

" Arrived at grave and grey Fourscore 
'Tis time to think on Life no more, 
Time to be gone, and therefore I 
Can quit the world without a sigh, 
Without or sorrow, care, or fright 
Can wish the company, Good night. 

" When hence we part 'tis hard to say 
Whither we rove or which the way : 
But He who sent me here will show 
My doubtful footsteps where to go. 
So trusting to His truth and might, 
I bid the company Good night." 



THE editor of the " Early Diaries of Frances 
Burney" remarks that during Fanny's frequent 
absences from her family, when visiting Mrs. 
Thrale, "Susan sent to her at Streatham, or 
Brighton, or Bath, delightful (as yet unpublished) 
chronicles of all that went on at home. Her 
journals," she adds, " abound in traits of the time 
and its noted people/' 

These unpublished journals are now in our 
hands. They form a thick packet of large, square, 
yellowish paper ; upon which the handwriting is 
firm and clear, and the ink still black. As we 
turn over their pages and dwell on the vivid 
scenes described by the writer, it seems almost 
as if the doors of the house in St. Martin's Street 
had opened for us, and that we were taking our 
place in the family circle. We hear the chat of 
the Burneys round their breakfast-table in the 
downstairs parlour ; we catch the strains of music 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

when guests are assembling, during the long 
winter evenings, in the upper parlours ; or we 
accompany Susan and her sisters in their visits 
abroad to friends and acquaintance ; or follow 
them to the Opera House or Pantheon to hear 
the performance of some favourite singer. But 
wherever it may be, we feel the happy influence 
of a family "at unity in itself," and where "all 
abounded in talents and all were cultivated and 

Susan, who had had the advantage of spend 
ing about three years at a school in Paris, was an 
excellent French scholar. She also knew some 
I talian. These acquirements were of much service 
in her father's house, as it was frequented by 
many foreign musicians, whose acquaintance Dr. 
Burney had made when travelling on the Con 
tinent, and who were in general little acquainted 
with our language. 

The reader will probably notice that, in the 
course of these pages, the foreigners appear some 
times to speak in broken English and sometimes 
in perfectly good English. In the latter case 
we would point out it is Susan's translation of 
their remarks that we are reading. 

Most of these journals were written in the 
course of the year 1780. At that time the great 
Italian singer, Gasparo Pacchierotti, was in 
England ; and the Burneys had had the pleasure 



A Memorable Gathering 

of forming his acquaintance. The acquaintance 
had commenced by Dr. Burney's presenting him 
with a copy of the first volume of his " History 
of Music " (recently published) as an incentive to 
read English ; and now both Fanny and Susan 
were doing all in their power to teach him to 
converse in English. One day he remarked to 
Fanny, " Miss Borni give me very much en 
courage ; but is very troublesome the difficulties." 
Writing in her Journal on the gth March, 
Susan describes a great gathering in the Opera 
House (or large theatre in the Haymarket) to 
hear Pacchierotti sing in Sacchini's opera of 
Rinaldo. " We arrived," she says, "just as the 
overture began. Our Box was next to the Duke 
of Dorset's. . . . Lady Hales was on the stage 
of our side, Mrs. Castle and the Ogles in an 
upper Stage Box, Lady Clarges and Miss Clarges 
in the former's own Box ; Lady Edgecumbe in the 
Pitt, Miss Bull, Miss Streatfield, Mr. and Mrs. 
Locke, the Duchess of Devonshire in her Box, 
Mrs. Crewe likewise. . . . Rauzzini sat close to 
the Orchestra, then Mr. Brudenell, and Mr. 
Harris, behind them my Father, Mr. Mason, Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, Miss Palmers, Miss Basil, Mrs. 
Hayes, Lord Ailsbury in his Box with Lord 
Ashburnham, . . . Marchetti with her husband ; 
Tenducci, and Mota in the front Boxes, in the 
ist Gallery Mrs. and Miss Kirwans with Mr. 


The House in St. Martin's Stree 

and Mrs. Paradise in short we had the satis 
faction of seeing faces we knew everywhere and 
indeed a most brilliant House. 

"The Opera went off extremely well. . . . 
Pozzi did not sing so well as usual but Pac- 
chierotti oh, Pacchierotti how divine he 
was ! 


" In the ' Superbe di me stessoj which was ever 
a great favourite of mine, he ... executed the 
divisions with that freedom and that grace which 
is peculiar to himself, and expressed the pathetic 
passages as he, and he alone, can express them. 
. . . In his great Scene l Miser o ! che veggo? 
between the Drama, the composition and his 
performance I was absolutely melted and cried 


A Memorable Gathering 

as I did at the first serious opera I heard, when 
Guadagni performed Orfeo. I never heard any 
thing more touching, nor shall ever recollect it 
without emotion. . . . 

" It was felt by the Audience wonderfully. 
. . . No not wonderfully, since it was felt only 
as it ought to be. Such a murmur spread, 
especially from that corner of the Pitt where my 
Father sat, of whispered bravos as I scarce ever 
heard and the moment, nay even before the 
song was quite done, there was a burst of 
vehement applause." 

Susan's delight in music is evinced through 
out her journals, as is also her tenderness of 
heart. This tenderness was, at all times, a 
marked feature of her character. We read in 
some family papers that " when she was a little 
girl at the tragedy of Jane Shore, seeing Jane 
Shore pacing about and saying that for three 
days she had eaten nothing, ' Then, Ma'am/ 
said the little girl, * will you please to accept 
of my orange ? ' handing it out of the Stage 
box." * 

After Susan had been present at a second 
performance of Rinaldo, she writes : " Every 
line of the Opera is beautifully set by Sacchini, 
and Pacchierotti, not only in his airs, but in every 
word of the Recitative, delighted me. So much 

* This incident is alluded to by Hannah More in her " Memoirs." 


The House in -St. Martin's Street 

sense, so much sensibility, such judicious, such 
affecting expression does he give to everything ! " 

Dr. Burney has written of this great singer : 
" There is, in his countenance, a constant play of 
features which manifests the sudden workings 
and agitations of his soul. He is an enthusiast 
in his art, and feels the merit of a composition 
. . . with true Italian energy." 

It happened that, on the day of this last- 
mentioned visit to the Opera House, Susan had 
been unwell, " but the music is so fine/' she 
writes, " that though I was in pain, from my head 
to my foot, before it began, I felt no complaint 
during the whole piece. I was in Elysium, and 
will insist upon it, that there are medicinal 
powers in music." 

Writing again in the month of March, Susan 
speaks of her having been present at the per 
formance of a grand concert at the Pantheon, 
whither she had gone in company with her father 
and also of Fanny, for the latter was then at 

The Pantheon was used as a theatre, and also 
as a public promenade. " Imagination," says a 
pompous contemporary writer, " cannot well ex 
ceed the elegance and grandeur of the apart 
ments, the boldness of the paintings, or the effect 
produced by the dispositions of the lights, reflected 
from gilt vases." 


A Memorable Gathering 

The concert seems to have been followed by 
an opera, between the first and second acts of 
which the audience adjourned for refreshments. 
Dr. Burney invited Pacchierotti to take tea with 
his family. " Accordingly," writes Susan, " in 
going to the Tea Room, he joined us. ... * Dr. 
Burney he tell me you desire my company at 
the Tea ? ' said he, looking extremely pleased. 
4 Yes, indeed/ said Fanny and I together, ' if you 
can come.' ' Oh, Ma'am, I am very happy.' 
Accordingly we went to the regions below to 
gether and Fanny and I repeatedly told him 
how delighted we had been at his benefit, with his 
singing, and [with] the reception he had met 

" ' Indeed,' said he, * the pleasure was very 
great and affected me indeed very much ! ' 

Among the performers at the concert were 
Fischer, the celebrated hautbois player, and 
Cramer, the well-known composer and accom 
plished player on the harpsichord. 

" I said it pained me," remarks Susan, " to 
hear Fischer and Cramer play so divinely with so 
little attention or applause. . . ." 

" ' Very true,' said he, ' and Fischer, above 
all, for he is always new.' 

" ' Tis a bad place for music,' said I. 

" ' I beg pardon, ma'am ... it is a very 
good place if there was any attention . . . 


The House in St. Martin's Stre< 

but no place is good for music if there is not 
silence/ " 

Fanny has introduced a visit to the Pantheon 
in her novel of Evelina. " There was an 
exceeding good concert," remarks the heroine, 
"but too much talking to hear it well. Indeed, 
I was quite astonished to find how little music is 
attended to in silence ; for, though everybody 
seems to admire, hardly anybody listens." 

This habit of talking prevailed to a still 
greater extent at the theatre. Mr. Lovel, the 
fop in Evelina, observes to Captain Mirvan : 
" For my part I confess I seldom listen to the 
players. One has so much to do in looking 
about and finding out one's acquaintance, that, 
really, one has no time to mind the stage. . . . 
One merely comes to meet one's friends, and 
show that one's alive." 

On the 26th March there was a large gather 
ing of friends in St. Martin's Street to bid fare 
well to Fanny on her departure, with the Thrales, 
for Bath. Mrs. Thrale had come to take her 
away that same night, and she was accompanied 
by many of the Streatham set ; among them the 
beautiful Miss Sophie Streatfield (the S.S., as Mrs. 
Thrale always calls her), who possessed the 
remarkable faculty of "shedding tears at will." 
Writing on the following day to Fanny, who 
was already on her journey westwards, Susan 


A Memorable Gathering 

remarks : " Well ! when the carriage was driven 
off, I ran upstairs and bustled into the room with 
Dr. Gillies and Charlotte a little flustered, but 
found the fair S.S. with the tears yet glistening 
in her eyes. . . . But Pacchierotti don't tell 
anybody tho' Pacchierotti's eyes were just in 
Miss Streatfield's state, partly owing to his own 
concern at your departure, partly to his soft 
sympathetic disposition, which was moved by 
the sight the S.S. presented to his view. . . . 
Pacchierotti would insist upon it that I cried too 
I assured him, with great truth, I never did 
those things in public. He said, ' Mrs. Thrale's 
friend, she was so affected she weeped!' He 
talked on, but I did not immediately hear him. 
' You are very absent/ said he. * It seem to 
me that you are particularly attached to Miss 
Fanny, and she to you more than the rest 
there seem but one soul, but one mind between you. 
You are two in one/ " 



LET us follow Fanny in her journey to Bath, 
commenced on March 3Oth, and establish her 
there before returning to Susan and St. Martin's 

Fanny has described the Thrales' mode of 
travelling. " They rode," she tells us, " in a 
coach and four," and were " followed by a post- 
chaise bearing two maids," and also by <{ two 
men on horseback." We can therefore fancy the 
small cavalcade passing along the " great western 
road " on those early spring days, the travellers 
catching glimpses on their way of sunlit river 
and hillside, of primrose-bordered lanes, of busy 
farmsteads and of thriving country towns. 

There had been a royal hunt, it seems, in the 
neighbourhood of Windsor on the day preceding 
their journey. " We only went to Maidenhead 
Bridge the first night," writes Fanny. " Several 
stragglers [were] yet remaining at all the inns, 
and we heard of nothing but the King and royal 
huntsmen and huntswomen. 



The Splendid and Classic Bath 

" The second day we slept at Speen Hill, and 
the third we reached Devizes." 

Here the travellers halted at the " Bear Inn," 
an old gabled house still to be seen standing 
in the market-place. Its main entrance now 
opens to the front, but in former times it was at 
the side of the inn by the great coaching-yard. 
Three massive pillars, with decorated capitals, 
give dignity to the old entrance, and make this 
part of the building especially quaint and 

Fanny and Mrs. Thrale were no sooner settled 
in their apartments, than they were surprised by 
hearing the sounds of music proceeding from a 
parlour near to their own. On inquiry they found 
that the musicians were daughters of their host 
and hostess Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence. " But 
the wonder of the family," says Fanny, " was yet 
to be produced. This was their brother, a lovely 
boy of ten years of age, who seems to be not 
merely the wonder of their family, but of the 
times, for his astonishing skill in drawing. They 
protest he has never had any instruction, yet 
showed us some of his productions that were 
really beautiful. ... I was equally struck with 
the boy and his works. 

"We found that he had been taken to town 
and that all the painters had been very kind to 
him, and Sir Joshua Reynolds had pronounced 

209 p 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

him (the mother said) the most promising genius 
he had ever met with." 

No wonder the parents were, proud of their 
little son, who in after years became the well- 
known painter, Sir Thomas Lawrence. Thomas, 
it seems, possessed great powers of acting as well 
as of drawing. There is a summer-house in the 
garden of the Inn, where Garrick, it is said (when 
halting at the " Bear "), loved to retire with the 
child, and where he would listen, by the hour, to 
his dramatic recitations. 

A pencil-sketch of Lawrence's father (taken 
by the son) hangs on the wall of the Inn staircase, 
in which the host of the " Bear" is represented as 
a portly, dignified individual seated in an arm 
chair. He wears a powdered wig, and his coat 
is thrown open, displaying a broad waistcoat. 
There is also a sketch of Mrs. Lawrence a 
handsome woman wearing a frilled cap tied 
under the chin. 

After resting one night at Devizes, the 
travellers proceeded on their journey, and, in due 
course, reached that " liveliest city of the land," 
as a contemporary writer has termed it, "the 
splendid and classic Bath." 

" We alighted," writes Fanny, " at the York 
House, and Mrs. Thrale sent immediately to Sir 
Philip Jennings Clarke, who spent the Easter 
holidays here. He came instantly, and told us 



The Splendid and Classic Bath 

of lodgings in the South Parade, whither in the 
afternoon we all hied, and Mr. Thrale immedi 
ately hired a house at the left corner. It [is] 
most deliciously situated ; we have meadows, 
hills, Prior Park, ' the soft flowing Avon,' what 
ever Nature has to offer, I think, always in our 
view. My room commands all these ; and more 
luxury for the eye I cannot form a notion of." 

The view from the " house at the left corner," 
or extreme end, of the South Parade, is, to this 
day, just as Fanny has described it. The front 
of the building faces the Parade, but its eastern 
side overlooks the Avon from the summit of a 
steep, wooded bank. In former days a flight of 
steps, called Whitehall Stairs, led down from the 
end of the Parade to the water's edge, where 
there was a ferry-boat, called " Tomkins' ferry 
boat," to take passengers across the river. 

Soon after their arrival in Bath, Mrs. Thrale 
writes in an unpublished letter* to Dr. Burney 

" How I do reproach myself for saying, 
though only to myself, that I had no time to 
write to my dear Dr. Burney ! Yet I do protest 
between dressing and marketing and bathing 
and fooling, I have not a moment of my own, 
any more than you have who are really busy. 
Let me, however, thank you for your Fanny 
and mine. She is an unspeakable comfort and 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

delight to me, so affectionate, so friendly, so good 
to my master. I knew I was right to make you 
lend her to me ; she is worth all my entreaties. 

"Mr. Thrale feels the benefit of Bath already, 
that is, he feels the benefit of being a hundred 
miles from the Compting House and the House 
of Commons. 

"... Mr. Texier's Feste does not make more 
noise in London than Mrs. Macartney's suppers do 
here ; and till our election is over for a Master 
of the Ceremonies, I defy your town to exceed 
ours in heat of party or acrimony of abuse, let 
Lord North and Lord Shelburne do their worst." 

Fanny alludes to this election in an un 
published portion of her Diary. After mention 
ing the arrival of some morning callers on a 
certain Saturday, she says, " We all went in a 
body to the Lower Rooms, where a Master of 
the Ceremonies was electing. We found them 
violently crowded, and parties running very high 
for the various candidates. Mr. Tyson was 

There is a portrait of Mr. Tyson in a Bath 
Guide of the year 1782. He wears a richly 
embroidered coat with lace ruffles; his hair is 
powdered, and he smiles blandly from out his 
frame of carved flowers and ribbons. 

The Old or Lower Rooms, which stood near 
the North Parade, are those over which Beau 


The Splendid and Classic Bath 

Nash reigned supreme for so many years. Mrs. 
Thrale's earliest recollections went back as far as 
those days. She remembered, she tells us, when 
a child, " being carried about the rooms by Beau 
Nash, and being taken notice of by Lady Caroline, 
mother of the famous Charles James Fox." 

Curiously enough, Mrs. Thrale (as Madame 
Piozzi) lived to see the last of the Old Rooms. 
In the year 1820 she gave a great gala in them 
to celebrate her eightieth birthday, at which 
more than seven hundred people were present, 
when the aged lady herself danced a stately 
minuet. A few months later these historic rooms 
were burnt to the ground. 

In the month of May, 1780, Mrs. Thrale, 
writing to Dr. Burney, remarks * 

" I suppose you think you have all the music 
to yourselves, no such thing ; here is Jerningham 
the poet, and he sings songs to a harp and now 
he will have the carpet removed, and then he will 
have the fire put out, and then he must wet his 
lips with some catlap, and then he must have two 
candles placed by him to show off his figure 
and when all's done he sings Arne's ballads in 
a voice so low, so tender and so delicate, that, 
though the room we sat in was not 20 feet long, 
Miss Burney was forced to move her seat that 
she might hear the dear creature at all." 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

The witty Lord Mulgrave, who was in Bath 
at this time, used to call Jerningham "a pink 
and white poet," for it seems that his coat was of 
the same pink colour as his cheeks. " He is," 
says Fanny, " all daintification in manner, speech, 
and dress, and, while he sings, looks the gentlest 
of all dying Corydons ! " 

" The [professional] players here are ad 
mirable/' writes Mrs. Thrale, " if they would not 
sing so. I ran out of the Theatre last night so 
precipitately when the people encored a song, our 
Evelina has been laughing ever since at the 
thoughts on't. 

"... Well! I do think Bath as Bath the 
loveliest place in the world ; but Terence is not 
it Terence ? that says a town consists not of the 
walls but of the company, was right enough, for 
our society really is very dry and coarse ; John 
son will die on't if he does come, but he hates the 
idea of being left out, he says, so God a mercy. 

" Company coming in relieves you, but dis 
tresses me ; you will read no more nonsense, 
and I must break off and go and talk fine." * 

The fame of Evelina had naturally pre 
ceded Fanny's advent in Bath. Mr. Crisp's 
sister, Mrs. Cast, had written to him from 
Somersetshire early in the previous year, 
" Nanny Leigh writes me there is a book 

* Burney MSS. 

The Splendid and Classic Bath 

entitled Evelina that all Bath are mad after, 
said to be written by a Miss Burney, daughter 
of Dr. Burney." Fanny, therefore, was hearing 
her book talked of on all sides. Chance 
acquaintance thanked her for the " vast enter 
tainment she had afforded them," and strangers 
stared at her and eagerly sought for introductions. 

Of one of these strangers, a certain Mrs. G., 
Fanny writes : " She approached us (with an 
air of tonish stateliness), and seating herself 
nearly opposite to me, fixed her eyes on my face, 
and examined it with a superb dignity of assur 
ance that made me hardly know what I said 
in my answers to Mrs. Lambert and Mrs. Byron." 
Presently the lady observed to Mrs. Thrale, in 
an audible whisper, " ' She is just what I have 
heard I like her vastly/ . . . and looking at 
me with a smile, the softest she could assume, 
said, ' I am a great admirer of Evelina I think 
it has very great merit.' 

" I dare say," adds Fanny, " she thought the 
praise of Dr. Johnson had never been half so 
flattering to me/' 

One evening Fanny meets Christopher 
Anstey, the author of the Bath Guide, together 
with other persons of note, at the house of a Mrs. 
K. a Welsh lady " of immense fortune." Look 
ing round complacently upon her guests, Mrs. K. 
remarks in a whisper to Mrs. Thrale 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

<c Now, Ma'am, now Mrs. Thrale, I'm quite 
happy; for I'm surrounded with people of sense! 
Here's Mrs. Montagu and Mrs. Thrale and Miss 
Burney. I'm quite surrounded, as I may say, by 
people of sense ! " 

Fanny often met Lord Mulgrave in society. 
Besides being one of the Lords of the Admiralty, 
he was himself a distinguished Naval Com 
mander, and she had many a lively passage-of- 
arms with him over what he termed "her ill- 
usage of the Navy " in the character of Captain 
Mirvan. When he quitted the neighbourhood 
she writes : " Lord Mulgrave takes away with 
him more wit than he leaves behind in all Bath, 
except what is lodged with Mrs. Thrale. As to 
Mrs. Montagu, she reasons well and harangues 
well, but wit she has none. Mrs. Thrale has 
almost too much ; for, when she is in spirits, it 
bursts forth in a torrent almost overwhelming. 
Ah ! 'tis a fault she has as much to herself as 
her virtues ! " 



To return to the unpublished journal-letters of 
Susan Burney. She writes to Fanny on April 
20th (1780) : " Dr. Johnson has just called, but 
for a minute. He had a coach waiting for him, 
and would not even sit down, tho' he was very 
smiling and good-humoured. He came to tell us 
he accepted an invitation which was sent him 
this morning to dine with us next Sunday. Mrs. 
Williams will likewise come." And writing on 
the 24th, she says : " Yesterday Dr. Johnson 
and Mrs. Williams came an hour before dinner 
at 3 o'clock." 

These two friends must have presented a 
striking contrast in their appearance as they 
entered the Burneys' parlour. We have already 
quoted Fanny's description of the Doctor on 
her first sight of him. Here is another account 
by a contemporary of Fanny's, Miss Laetitia 
Hawkins. " His clothes," she says, "hung loose 
. . . the lining of his coat being always visible. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

I can now call to mind," she adds, " his brown 
hand, his metal sleeve buttons, and my surprise 
at seeing him with plain wristbands when all 
gentlemen wore ruffles ; his coat sleeves being 
very wide, showed his linen almost to the elbow. 
His wig in common use was cut and bushy." 

Miss Hawkins has also described the appear 
ance of Mrs. Williams, the " blind poetess." " I 
see her now," she writes, " a pale, shrunken old 
lady, dressed in scarlet, made in the handsome 
French fashion of the day, with a lace cap, with 
two stiffened projecting wings on the temples, and 
a black lace hood over it, her grey or powdered 
hair appearing." 

" Dr. Johnson was in very good humour," 
remarks Susan, " and very charming all day. 
. . . At dinner he invited me to sit by him. 
' Come, my love/ said he, ' it shall be you and 
I,' and he kissed my hand ! Should I forget 

". . . Mrs. and Miss Ord arrived at 7 [and] 
at about 9, Mr. Greville, Dr. Russel, and Mr. 
Harris came. ... At eleven Dr. Johnson said 
to my father, f When I last looked at my watch, 
sir, it was eight o'clock, and now it is eleven, and 
I have not perceived how the time has passed/ 
And yet," remarks Susan, " he was not asleep 
any part of it ! He was full of wit and brilliancy 
with Dr. Russel, who alone dared oppose him on 


Sweet Pace 

various subjects, but particularly on politics. Dr. 
Russel defended his opinion with so much frank 
ness, but gave it up, when hard run, with such 
good-humour, that he drew out Dr. Johnson and 
contributed greatly to the amusement of the 
whole company. . . . Latterly the conversation 
took a more learned turn, and Dr. Johnson talked 
upon the Greek and other languages, chiefly with 
Mr. Harris. Everybody went away apparently 
pleased with their visit. 

" . . . I went downstairs with Mrs. Williams, 
and Dr. Johnson stopped me. ' And how do 
you live ? ' said he, ' without Fanny ? ' Very ill, 
I told him. 

" ' Aye/ said he, shaking his head and laughing, 
' I hope she will never come back any more ! ' 

About this time Susan formed the acquaint 
ance of Lady Clarges, the beautiful wife of Sir 
Thomas Clarges. They sympathized with each 
other in their love of music, and especially in 
their admiration of Pacchierotti's singing. Lady 
Clarges was herself an accomplished musician. 
She is mentioned by Peter Pindar in a poem 
upon a <c Drawing-room Reception in St. James's 
Palace " in the following way : 

" The lovely Lady Clarges too was there, 
To all the Graces as to Music born." 

Again we find Lady Clarges identified with 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

music in the fine portrait of her by Gainsborough, 
in which she is represented as playing upon the 

Among the Burney MSS. there is a packet 
of letters written by her at this period to Susan 
Burney. The packet is quaintly docketted by 
Madame d'Arblay in later years, "A few of 
the Frisky Letters of the sportive, heedless, 
happy, and, when she chose it, captivating Lady 

The first letter is dated "Thursday" only. 
It runs as follows : 


" Huzza, huzza, I am so happy. Pacc- 
hierotti is arrived safe[in England], sweet creature! 
. . . Pray, pray, my dear sweet Miss Burney, 
persuade him to make me a visit next month. . . . 
Tell him Lady Droughom * is at Tunbridge 
with Ansani, and that they walk every evening 
al chiero delta luna, so he may take his revenge 
by cutting her quite and coming to walk with me 
in the broiling sun. 

" God bless you. I cannot write a word more 
at present, but am 

" Ever y rs 


* Pacchierotti had visited Lady Droughom when last in 


T. Gainsborough 


Sweet Pace 

Again she writes 

"Sunday Night, 

" Bortwell. 


" I thank you for your kind letter. . . . 

1 pass my time very pleasantly. I laugh and 
sing and drive all over the country ; have had 
some pleasant society and envy no one. . . . We 
are about 9 miles from Windsor. I have been 

2 or 3 times to promener mes graces upon 
Windsor Terrace, and to stare at the King and 
Queen. ... I had a letter from Pac about six 
weeks ago . . . and perceive that your sister is 
a greater favourite with him [than ever]. 

". . . Fine work about operas! Noverre is 
coming for next winter, and we are to have 
operas of two acts and all the rest dancing. 
They are to dance all Shakespear's plays and 
part of the Roman history for the benefit of those 
grown gentlemen and ladies who have forgot it, 
or have never read it. Poor Pac will die of a 
mortification. ... I have no more bad news to 
enliven my letter, but remain 
(( Y r 

"Most humble 
" Most obe 1 

" Most stupid 
" And most idle friend 

<l L. CLARGES." 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

After meeting this lady at an evening party, 
Susan writes : " Lady Clarges looked really 
beautiful, was not too highly rouged, [and had] 
her hair most fancifully and becomingly dressed. 
. . . She was all good-humour and cordiality to me." 

Like Susan, Lady Clarges endeavoured to 
help Pacchierotti to learn English, but she spoke 1 
so rapidly, and used so many words of fashionable 
slang, that he was often fairly puzzled by her 
instructions. One day she told him he had " cut 
her" on some occasion. "Come! vi taglio?" 
cried he, quite bewildered. 

Pacchierotti received great hospitality in the 
houses of Lady Clarges, Lady Mary Duncan, 
Lady Edgecumbe, and many other ladies of rank, 
but it was in St. Martin's Street that he found 
more especially the happiness of friendship. 
" Sweet Pace," both Fanny and Susan often call 
him in their letters to each other. " How my 
father does love him ! " exclaims Susan. 

One day we find Pacchierotti telling Susan 
of his trials caused by the negligent treatment 
of Mr. Sheridan, who was at that time " Con 
ductor of the Opera House," from whom he was 
unable to obtain payment for his services. 

" Indeed, Mr. Sheridan he use me very ill," 
cries Pacchierotti. " I assure you I have a great 
will . . . voglia, come si dice ? " 

" A great mind" said I. 

Sweet Pace 

" A great mind to call him Rascal. He pro 
voke me too much ! . . . I will write him a note." 

Accordingly he took from his pocket a bit of 
paper, and wrote the following lines : 

" Pacchierotti sends his comp ts to Mr. Sheridan, 
and is very displeased to be obliged to call him 
a Rascal but his conduct is in everything so 
irregular he can give no better title to so great 

Breaker of his Word. D n him and his way 

of thinking, which I wish it may bring him to the 

He then drew a gallows with a man hanging, 
and himself at the bottom of it pulling down his leg ! 

"You will be shocked," says Susan, writing to 
her sister, " but had you been of the party you 
must have laughed. . . . He half frightened me, 
[but] he ended by saying that he was not capable 
to send anybody such an insult, and when they 
met should perhaps scarce reproach [Mr. Sheridan] 
with his breach of word." 

When Fanny expresses some alarm on re 
ceiving the above account, Susan responds, 
" Pray don't take too seriously [Pace's] incendiary 
letter to Mr. Sheridan, for he was laughing a gorge 
deployte all the time he wrote it. ... Indeed, 
'twas done more in sport than malice." 

Mr. Sheridan's ill-usage of his musicians was 
the occasion of a don mot of Mrs. Thrale's. On 
hearing that the opera singers would not be 

225 Q 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

likely to get any money from the manager for all 
their services during the season, she remarked, 
"Why, that fellow grows fat like Heliogabalus 
on the tongues of nightingales ! " 

A few weeks after Pacchierotti's talk with 
Susan, he was again in St. Martin's Street after 
having had an interview with Mr. Sheridan. 
" He spoke . . . with such candour of Mr. S.," 
writes Susan, " as made me like him better than 
ever, ... He said, Mr. Sheridan had assured 
him ... he would, in future, be more attentive 
to matters of business with [him]. ' Pray do, 
sir,' said I, clasping my hands ; ' for you have all 
that belongs to a man of genius and of honour 
except punctuality! and he laughed so! ... They 
parted excellent friends." 

In Susan's Journals we read of many a delight 
ful evening in St. Martin's Street spent in listening 
to the singing of Pacchierotti. On one occasion 
"he sung," says Susan, "some wild melodies such 
as the common people of Naples, I think, sing 
about the streets, which contained the most 
extraordinary modulations imaginable." Then 
followed some of his impassioned or pathetic 
opera songs. " I listened to him," she says, 
" with a delight which brought tears to my eyes." 

There seems to have been an endless variety 
in the singing of this great master. After hearing 
him at the Opera House one evening, Susan 


Sweet Pace 

writes : " He did a hundred delightful things 
that I never heard even him attempt before. . . . 
He made the finest cadences in the world, and 


my father, who has such opportunities of watching 
him, says he never makes the same a second 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Indeed, Dr. Burney, speaking of this remark 
able gift, says, " It made Pacchierotti a new singer 
to me every time I heard him."* 

Pacchierotti frequently performed in operas 
in conjunction with Madame Le Brun. Dr. 
Burney says that "she was so cold and in 
strumental in her manner of singing that they 
did not well accord together ; " and Susan, who 
felt as her father did, remarks, " Hers is a bad 
imitation of an instrument ; his what no instru 
mental performer on earth can equal." 

On the morning after one of his great achieve 
ments, we find Pacchierotti calling in St. Martin's 
Street, and when he is congratulated by Susan, 
remarking, " But, Miss Susan, believe me what 
I tell you I thought so much of your having 
told me you should be at the Opera." 

" What a pretty compliment, and how touching 
a one was this ! " she remarks to her sister. 
" Well ! nobody knew how much they were 
obliged to me for his singing so like a divinity ! 
I think I'll publish it to the world !" 

* See Dr. Burney's " History of Music." 



EARLY in April, Fanny, who was still in Bath, 
received a letter from Charlotte, in which the 
writer says, " Edward has just finished three 
stained drawings in miniature, designs for Evelina 
and most sweet things they are. . . . My father 
has shown them to Sir Joshua Reynolds and 
asked him whether there would be any impropriety 
in putting them into the Exhibition. Sir Joshua 
highly approved of the proposal, and sure enough 
into the Exhibition they are to go ... he said 
some very handsome things of them, and was 
much pleased with a picture (that Edward has 
introduced into Mr. Villars's parlour) of Dr. 
Johnson, as he says he thinks it very natural for 
so good a man as Mr. Villars to have a value for 
Dr. Johnson." 

On receiving this welcome news Fanny wrote 
a letter to her cousin Edward thanking him " for 
the honour his pencil and taste had conferred 
upon her fortunate Evelina'' " With nothing," 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

she adds, " am I so particularly gratified, as with 
your insertion of Dr. Johnson's picture . . . and 
proud enough am I that his portrait, your work 
manship, and my Dramatis Personee should thus 
be united in one performance." 

In the course of the month of May, Fanny 
and Mrs. Thrale paid a flying visit to London 
in consequence of a letter from Dr. Johnson 
urging Mrs. Thrale to take a personal share in 
canvassing the Borough for her husband's re 
election as its Member of Parliament. 

Dr. Johnson wrote : " Be brisk, be splendid, 
and be public. The voters for the Borough are 
too proud and too little dependent to be solicited 
by deputies ; they expect the gratification of 
seeing the candidate bowing or curtseying before 
them. If you are proud they can be sullen. 
Such is the call for your presence : what is there 
to withhold you ? Mr. Thrale certainly shall not 
come ; and yet somebody must appear whom the 
people think it worth while to look at." f 

Mrs. Thrale went to her house in the Borough, 
and Fanny returned to her home in St. Martin's 
Street, which she reached on May i2th. 

Susan writes in her Journal soon afterwards : 
"Saturday morning I went with Fanny to the 
Exhibition, which is in Somerset Place, for the 
first time. I was charmed with the building and 

* Burney MSS. t Piozzi Letters. 


Pictures in Somerset House 

fitting up of the apartments, and infinitely enter 
tained with viewing the pictures." 

The Royal Academy of Arts had just removed 
from Pall Mall, where it had held its Exhibitions 
for the first eleven years of its existence. Its 
incorporation by Royal Charter was celebrated 
by some quaint verses written in 1769, from 
which we are tempted to quote the following : 

" Let Science hail this happy year 
Let Fame its rising glories sing 
When arts unwonted lustre wear, 

And boast a patron in their King : 
And here unrivaU'd shall they reign, 
For George protects the polish'd train. 

" So shall her sons, in science bred, 

Diffuse her arts from shore to shore, 
And wide her growing genius spread, 

As round the world her thunders roar : 
For he who rules the subject main, 

Great George protects the polish'd train." 

The passage of a dozen years had not made 
our writers more modest, for a critic, in reviewing 
the Exhibition of 1780, remarks: " In all ages 
the progress of the arts to excellence has been 
slow and gradual ; but it is the singular merit of 
the Royal Academy of Britain that it has broke 
through the fetters with which similar institutions 
have hitherto been confined, and by one rapid 
stride has attained the pre-eminence of all 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

However, there is no doubt that this particular 
exhibition was a remarkable one from the large 
number of its pictures which have since become 

Dr. Johnson, who was a guest at the Academy 
dinner of this year, writes to Mrs. Thrale : 
"The Exhibition is eminently splendid. There 
is contour and keeping and grace and expression 
and all the varieties of artificial excellence. The 
apartments are truly very noble. The pictures, 
for the sake of a sky-light, are at the top of the 
house ; there we dined, and I sat over against 
the Archbishop of York. See how I live when 
I am not under petticoat government ! " 

Susan, writing of her visit to the Royal 
Academy, remarks : " On the ground floor in 
the Drawing Room are Edward's three sketches 
from Evelina^ which are the smallest but not the 
most unferior (to use Merlin's word) pieces in 
the Room." 

One of these sketches is described by Char 
lotte as representing " the scene between Evelina 
and her father, where she is kneeling, and he, in 
an agony, is turning from her." It is the same 
scene which so much affected Dr. Burney. The 
sketch is reproduced for the first time in these 

" Upstairs we went," continues Susan, " to a 
sweet room with emblematical paintings by 


From a water-colour drawing by Edward Burney 

Pictures in Somerset House 

Cipriani, and on the ceiling a figure of Theory 
in an odious attitude by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 

I then through a statue room, where we did not 
stop, but passed on to that which is designed for 
the students. The ceiling of this is painted in 
four compartments representing the four elements 
by West ; two separate figures at each end by 
Angelica, representing Study, Design, Colouring, 
and some other requisite for painting her 
design may in every sense be called beautiful. 
This room is to be decorated by all the Acade- 

j micians. Sir Joshua has given the King and 
Queen already whole length, in their robes. 
They seem both admirable portraits. . . . 

" After viewing these rooms we ascended into 
two others in which the Exhibition is held. . . . 

" Gainsborough cuts a great figure this year. 
He has several charming landscapes, particularly 
one with a Gipsey family and a great number 
of admirable portraits. ... A portrait of Madame 
Le Brun, a handsome likeness of her . . . and 
fischer so like, but so handsome . . . He is 
standing with a pen in his hand before a Piano 
Forte, his eye cast up, considering whether that 
passage is worth setting down, his hautbois lay 
ing by him and a fiddle on a chair at a little 
distance 'tis an admirable picture . . . [and] 
Crosdill,* one of the most striking and best 

* An accomplished Piano Forte and Harpsichord player. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

portraits I think I ever saw in my life. Had I 
ever longed to speak to Mr. Crosdill, I think I 
must have done it now." 

Of Sir Joshua's pictures Susan mentions his 
"Una" as " the sweetest thing in the room;" 
his portrait of Prince William Frederick of 
Gloucester, "a lovely boy and a most charm 
ing picture ; a fine portrait of Lady Beau- 
champ, half length and a whole length of Lord 

Angelica Kaufmann, she tells us, had two 
fancy pictures, one "a figure representing Re 
ligion, very small and very sweet ; " another, 
" Modesty embracing Virtuous Love." " Portraits 
I fancy," she adds, "as Angelica's imagination 
would have afforded more grace and beauty." 
She speaks of "two of the Lady Waldegraves 
treading on clouds by [Osias] Humphrey, not 
a bad picture, but a bad likeness of the ladies 
'tis said;" and of " Mrs. Abington as the 
Comic Muse, a tinted drawing by Cos way, which 
she did not like;" also of "a cavern with Julia 
banished thither by Augustus, a charming though 
terrific painting by Wright of Derby ; " and she 
mentions a picture by Zoffany of a " Room in the 
Gallery of Florence called the 'Tribune,' con 
taining pictures by Raphael, Correggio, Titian, 
and other great masters. . . . The style of each 
painter," she says, " is said to be admirably copied, 


Pictures in Somerset House 

and in the foreground are portraits of a number 
of English gentlemen who were at Florence when 
Zoffany was there, among whom Mr. Bruce is 
instantly discoverable. This picture is an exhi 
bition of itself." 

During Fanny's short sojourn in St. Martin's 
Street she saw many of her friends. One evening, 
"the Miss Kerwans came to tea," writes Susan, 
"and Merlin, and while we were drinking it 
Pacchierotti and Bertoni. They were full dressed, 
going to the Concert des Dames, but sat as long 
as they possibly could. . . . Once when I assisted 
Pacchierotti in some word he wanted, ' Ah ! 
Brava ! Charming ! ' he exclaimed. ' You and you/ 
said he, bowing to me and then to Fanny, ' assist 
me better than anybody!' He then told us 
how the Miss Bulls teazed him with their fun. 
' " Indeed," I say them, "/ am humbled to 
death." "Oh! mumbled, mumbled'' they cry out, 
and laugh, indeed, as if they would die. Oh, 
what a hard case is mine ! ' exclaimed he, half 

" [After he and Bertoni had left] came Piozzi, 
who I was very happy missed Pacchierotti." 

Piozzi appears as both touchy and sensitive 
in Susan's journals, and as especially jealous of 
Pacchierotti's popularity. At a concert where 
the latter had been singing with great effect, 
Susan says, " Piozzi spoke to me en passant, 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

but walked off on seeing Pacchierotti and 
Bertoni approach, which indeed I was not sorry 

Piozzi could never understand the English 
ladies' custom of being denied to visitors when 
calls were paid at inconvenient hours, and used 
to complain to Susan when he suffered that 
" cativa sorte del not a torn'' 

Fanny quitted her home on the 26th of May, 
and joined Mrs. Thrale at her house in the 
borough previous to their return to Bath. 

" I found my dear Mrs. Thrale," she writes, 
" so involved in business, electioneering, canvass 
ing, and letter- writing, that, after our first embras- 
sades?- t vre. hardly exchanged a word till we got 
into the chaise next morning. 

" Dr. Johnson, however, who was with her, 
received me even joyfully ; and making me sit 
by him, began a gay and spirited conversation, 
which he kept up till we parted [at night], though 
in the midst of this bustle. 

" The next morning we rose at four o'clock, 
and when we came downstairs, to our great 
surprise, found Dr. Johnson waiting to receive 
and breakfast with us ; though the night before 
he had taken leave of us, and given me the most 
cordial and warm assurances of the love he has 
for me, which I do indeed believe to be as 
sincere as I can wish ; and I failed not to tell 


Pictures in Somerset House 

him the affectionate respect with which I return 
it, though, as well as I remember, we never came 
to this open declaration before. 

" We . . . drank our coffee with him, and 
then he handed us both into the chaise." 



FANNY writes to Susan on a certain Wednesday 
in May, soon after her return to Bath : " The 
first thing said to me upon coming downstairs 1 
to-day was, ' Here's a letter to Miss Fanny 
Burney ! ' * Is there ? ' quoth I, * then I'm sure 
'tis from my Daddy Crisp ! ' I took it, however, 
and saw 'twas a very different hand. 'Twas 
from Pacchierotti ! . . . 'Tis a very sweet letter, ] 
and I am highly delighted with it. In my next 
I will copy it for you . . . but now I have not a 
moment to spare, as the house is filling with 
company, and I must run downstairs. . . . I'm 
sure I shan't know how to thank him, nor dare ! 
say half I shall wish."* 

Pacchierotti had been patiently labouring at 
this English epistle to Fanny, as Susan reports J 
to her sister, some time before despatching it. 
He had declined all offers of assistance, remark 
ing, " Oh, no ! She come si did? She forbade 

* Burney MSS. 

, t ,,.v JvA'U/i!^^ :\\ 

f *f^ffftrA* 

W ^7f r \\ \IH^ 

7 / v / / / \ ' \ \ 

- ^ I /../,_.. J..J-..U- -,.,J v ..'.\ '/ 

"V^" '"' " ' ** r ' < -*"^^ 

;~;_ "v, % <=i 
M^--^ : '^'\ 


The New Parnassus 

me, prohibited me hindered me to show it to 
anybody. She will have it all my own nonsense, 
and indeed she is so agrdable, I could not decline 
to prove to her my bestiality'' 

" I would fain," says Susan, " have persuaded 
him to use some other word, as I know he only 
meant bfoise, but he said, c Oh, bestiality, it is 
a charming word ! ' 

Fanny, writing on June 4th of her various 
engagements at Bath, says : " We had an excel 
lent sermon [on Sunday] from the Bishop of 
Peterborough, who preached merely at the 
request of Mrs. Thrale. From the Abbey we 
went to the Pump-room, where we saw . . . 
the beautiful Miss Ditcher, Richardson's grand 

" At dinner we had the bishop and Dr. 
Harrington ; and the bishop, who was in very 
high spirits, proposed a frolic, which was that 
we should all go to Spring Gardens, where he 
should give us tea, and thence proceed to Mr. 
Ferry's, to see a very curious house and garden. 
Mrs. Thrale pleaded that she had invited 
company to tea at home, but the bishop said we 
would go early, and should return in time, and 
i was so gaily authoritative that he gained his 
j point . . . 

" Dr. Harrington was engaged to a patient, 
and could not be of our party. But the three 

241 R 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Th rales, the bishop, and I, pursued our scheme, 
crossed the Avon, had a sweet walk through the 
meadows, and drank tea at Spring Gardens, where 
the bishop did the honours with a spirit, a gaiety, 
and an activity that jovialized us all, and really 
we were prodigiously lively." 

In a Bath Guide for the year 1780 the 
writer thus describes this place of entertain 

" Just on the other side of the new bridge, 
erected by William Pultney, Esq., across the 
Avon, is a public garden called Spring Gardens, 
very pleasantly and judiciously laid out by Mr. 
William Purdie for the summer amusement and 
recreation of the inhabitants and company in 
this city. A good deal of company meet almost 
every evening in the garden to drink tea, etc. 
Public breakfasts at is. 6d. each are held here 
on Mondays and Thursdays, when music attends, 
and dancing, with horns and clarionets." 

Fanny, after describing their visit to Mr. 
Ferry's house, where several odd contrivances 
were shown to them, tells us that she and her 
friends had a merry walk home. " Indeed," she 
says, " we laughed all the way, and thought but 
little how time went till we were again crossing 
the Avon, when we were reminded of it by see 
ing the windows [of our house] full of company." 

The party would cross the river by Tompkins' 

The New Parnassus 

ferry-boat, alighting on the little landing-stage 
under embowering trees, at the foot of Whitehall 
Stairs. How they must have hurried up the long 
flight of steps leading to the South Parade, their 
house towering above them ! 

On entering her drawing-room, Mrs. Thrale, 


"who was in horrid confusion," found that some 
pf her guests were annoyed at having been kept 
waiting. "Mrs. Byron," writes Fanny, "half 
affronted, had decamped, before we returned, and 
Mr. Travell, the beau, looked very grim at this 
breach of etiquette, and made his bow just after 
we returned. But what was to me most vexatious 
was finding that Mrs. Carter^ had been waiting 

* Elizabeth Carter, the translator of Epictetus. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

for us near an hour. ... As soon as the general 
apologies were over, Miss Cooper, who knew my 
earnest desire of being introduced to Mrs. Carter, 
kindly came up to me, and taking my hand, led 
me to her venerable friend, and told her who I 
was. Mrs. Carter arose, and received me with 
a smiling air of benevolence that more than 
answered all my expectations of her. She is 
really a noble-looking woman ; I never saw age so 
graceful in the female sex yet; her whole face seems 
to beam with goodness, piety, and philanthropy. 

"She told me she had lately seen some relations 
of mine at Mrs. Ord's, who had greatly delighted 
her by their musical talents meaning, I found, 
Mr. Burney and our Etty ; and she said some 
thing further in their praise and of the pleasure 
they had given her ; but as I was standing in a 
large circle, all looking on, and as I kept her 
standing, I hardly could understand what she 
said, and soon after returned to my seat. She 
scarce stayed three minutes longer. When she had 
left the room I could not forbear following her to 
the head of the stairs, on the pretence of in 
quiring for her cloak. She then turned round to 
me, and looking at me with an air of much kind 
ness, said, ' Miss Burney, I have been greatly 
obliged to you long before I have seen you, and 
must now thank you for the very great entertain 
ment you have given me/ 


The New Parnassus 

" This was so unexpected a compliment that 
I was too much astonished to make any answer. 
However, I am very proud of it from Mrs. Carter, 
and I will not fail to seek another meeting with 
her when I return to town." 

In an unpublished portion of her Diary, 
Fanny speaks of going with some friends to see 
the works of a Mr. Taylor, "a Gentleman painter " 
who lived in the Circus. " These works," she 
writes, " consist of Landscapes, Mornings, Even 
ings, Noons and Nights, as many almost as there 
are in a year. The views they exhibit are not 
taken from nature . . . but, from his own fancy; 
sometimes, therefore, probability seems to have 
been neglected. They are in a very peculiar 
style, abounding in splendid ruins, strong light 
and shade from suns or moons, and most 
luxuriant and variegated foliage." 

On leaving Mr. Taylor's house "[our friend] 
Mr. Hunt made us accompany him to his house, 
which was only four or five doors off, to look at 
some prints. They were a collection which he 
had purchased abroad, and well worth a long 
examination, which, however, they were so far 
from having that we hardly saw even the size of 
one before it was covered by another ; and so 
anxious was he to show each that in fact we 
cannot be said to have seen any." 

Writing of the events of a certain Friday 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

early in June, Fanny remarks: "In the evening 
was the last ball expected to be at Bath this 
season, and therefore, knowing we could go to no 
other, it was settled we should go to this. Of 
our party were Mrs. Byron -and Augusta, Miss 
Philips and Charlotte Lewis. 

" Mrs. Byron was placed at the upper end of 
the room by Mr. Tyson, because she is honour 
able, and her daughter next to her ; I, of course, 
the lowest of our party ; but the moment Mr. 
Tyson had arranged us, Augusta arose, and 
nothing would satisfy her but taking a seat, not 
only next to, but below me. . . . She was soon 
followed by Captain Brisbane, a young officer, 
who had met her in Spring Gardens . . . and 
was now presented to her by Mr. Tyson for her 
partner [in a minuet]." 

The mention of Mr. Tyson's name proves 
that this ball was given in the Old or Lower 
Rooms, as Mr. Tyson, the reader may remember, 
had recently been elected Master of the Ceremonies 
for those rooms. 

Bath was very proud of her Dressed Balls, in 
which the minuets formed a marked feature. 
Ladies intending to dance a minuet had to give 
in their names beforehand, and both they and 
their partners had to appear on the occasion in 
full dress. In the preamble of the " Rules of the 
Lower Rooms" for the year 1777, the writer 


The New Parnassus 

remarks : "It is universally allowed by foreigners 
as well as by persons of the first distinction in 
this country . . . that no part of Europe can 
boast of anything equal to a Dressed Ball in this 
city ; not only on account of the personal charms 
of the Ladies, but from the magnificence of the 
Rooms." " To the highest votary of fashion," 
observes another writer, " Bath, taken for all in 
all, almost bids defiance to meet with its like 
again ! " 

" Country dances were now preparing/' con 
tinues Fanny, "and Captain Bouchier asked me 
for the honour of my hand, but I had previously 
resolved not to dance, and therefore declined his 
offer. But he took of a sudden a fancy to prate 
with me, and therefore budged not after the 
refusal." Fanny had previously met this " flighty 
officer," as she terms him, at a public Breakfast 
at Spring Gardens, and had been amused at his 
" careless rattle." He now talked to her of 
Hannah More, Mrs. Montagu, and Mrs. Carter, 
and "said most high and fine things of the 
ladies of the present age ; their writings 
and talents." " I soon found," she remarks, 
"that he had no small reverence for us blue 

After a while the company adjourned for tea. 
"When that was over," she continues, "and we 
all returned to the ball-room, Captain Bouchier 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

followed me, and again took a seat next mine, 
which he kept, without once moving the whole 

" . . . Before we broke up this captain asked 
me if I should be at the play next night. ' Yes/ 
I could not but say, as we had places taken some 
time ; but I did not half like it, for his manner of 
asking plainly implied, * If you go why / will.' 
When we made our exit he saw me safe out of 
the rooms with as much attention as if we had 
actually been partners. As we were near home 
we did not get into chairs ; and Mr. Travell 
joined us in our walk. 

" ' Why, what a flirtation ! ' cried Mrs. Thrale. 
' Why, Burney, this is a man of taste ! Pray, Mr. 
Travell, will it do ? What has he ? ' 

" * Twenty thousand pounds, ma'am,' answered 
the beau. 

" ' Oh ho ! has he so ? Well, well, we'll think 
of it.' 

" Finding her so facetious, I determined not 
to acquaint her with the query concerning the 
play, knowing that if I did, and he appeared 
there, she would be outrageous in merriment." 

About this time Mrs. Thrale writes to Dr. 
Johnson : " Our flagstones upon the South 
Parade burn one's feet through one's shoes ; but 
the Bath belles, fearless of fire ordeal, trip about 
secure in cork soles and a clear conscience. . . . 


The New Parnassus 

How does Congreve's Life turn out ? I expect 
these Lives to be very clever things after all." 
And Dr. Johnson writes to her 

" Do you go to the house where they write for 
the myrtle ? You are at all places of high resort, 
and bring home hearts by dozens ; while I am 
seeking for something to say about men of whom 
I know nothing but their verses, and sometimes 
very little of them." 

" The house where they write for the myrtle " 
was none other than the celebrated Bath Easton 
Villa, which stood, and still stands, about two 
miles from Bath, upon a green hillside over 
looking the valley of the Avon. 

Horace Walpole, writing in a satirical vein 
to a friend of this resort, remarks : " You must 
know that near Bath is erected a new Parnassus, 
composed of three laurels, a myrtle-tree, a weeping 
willow, and a view of the Avon, which has been 
christened Helicon. They hold a Parnassus fair 
every Thursday, give out rhymes and themes, 
t and -all the flux of ^quality contend for the prizes. 
A Roman vase, decked with pink ribbons and 
myrtles, receives the poetry which is drawn out 
every festival ; six judges of these Olympic 
games retire and select the brightest composition, 
which the respective successful acknowledge, 
kneel to Caliope, Lady Miller, kiss her fair hand, 
and are crowned by it with myrtle." 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Fanny writes in her Journal on Thursday, 
June 8th : " We went to Bath Easton. . . . The 
house is charmingly situated, well fitted up, con 
venient and pleasant, and not large, but com 
modious and elegant. Thursday is still their 
public day for company, though the business of 
the Vase is over for this season. 

" The room into which we were conducted 
was so much crowded we could hardly make our 
way. Lady Miller came to the door . . . took my 
hand, and led me to a most prodigious fat old 
lady, and introduced me to her. This was 
Mrs. Riggs, her ladyship's mother, who seems 
to have all Bath Easton and its owners under 
her feet. ... Sir John was very quiet, but very 

" I saw the place appropriated for the Vase, 
but at this time it was removed." 

The Vase used to stand upon a column in the 
centre of a wide bow-window. We have visited 
Bath Easton, and have seen that bow-window, 
and we have also peeped into the adjoining 
panelled-room where the judges used to retire to 
award the prizes. 

Among the contributions to the Vase, some 
of which were published in 1781, we find the 
following lines : 


The New Parnassus 


" The glory of this Vase may time prolong 
Of Greece and Rome the classic names among ; 
No panegyric here can reach the truth 
Where wit and beauty charmed th' enamoured youth. 
Ye Muses, soon from Miller's groves remote, 
To plaintive elegy your strains devote ; 
Ye dying Swans, the closing Vase surround 
And sweetly sing its life and death renown'd." 



SUSAN BURNEY writes in her unpublished 
Journal-letters on June 8th (1780): "Oh, my 
dear Fanny ! How frightened would you have 
been had you known what has been passing in 
St. Martin's Street, and indeed in almost every 
street in London since I last wrote to you ! . . . 

" Monday evening last, before my father, 
mother, and Charlotte returned from Mrs. 
Reynolds', William came into the parlour with a 
face of alarm, and told me there was terrible 
rioting about the streets, and that the mob were 
breaking several windows in Queen Street and 
threatening to set fire to some of the houses 
because they were inhabited by Roman Catholics. 
The evening before they had burnt down a Chapel 
in Moor Fields. . . . However, we were to have 
some of this horrid work before our own eyes, for 
very shortly after my father [and the others] 
returned . . . we heard violent shouts and huzzas 
from Leicester Fields, and William, who went to 


Rioters in St. Martin's Street 

see what was the matter, returned to tell us that 
the populace had broke into Sir George Saville's 
house, and were then emptying it of its furniture. 
They had piled up the furniture in the midst of 
the Square, and had forced Sir George's servant 
to bring them a candle to set fire to it. They 
would doubtless have set the house itself on fire 
[also] had not the Horse and Foot Guards pre 
vented [their doing so]. . . . The flames [seen 
from] our Observatory illuminated the whole 

This act of violence marked the commence 
ment of the memorable Lord George Gordon 
Riots. The rage of the rioters, whose cry was 
" No Popery," was especially directed against 
Sir George Saville, because he had recently 
introduced the Catholic Relief Bill into the 
House of Commons. This Bill, as it is well 
known, alarmed some of the more bigoted or 
ignorant of the Protestants, who determined 
to get it rescinded, and had chosen the Lord 
George Gordon, a weak-headed fanatic, as their 

Dr. Johnson, writing at this time to Mrs. 
Thrale, remarks : " On Friday, the good Pro 
testants met in St. George's Fields at the 
summons of Lord George Gordon, and marching 
to Westminster, insulted the Lords and Commons, 
who all bore it with great tameness. At night 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

the outrages began by the demolition of the mass- 
house by Lincoln's Inn."* 

Susan writes in her Journal : " Tuesday . . . 
I went to Lady Hales to dinner, and between six 
and seven in the evening, as we expected [friends] 
to tea, I took leave. I was somewhat surprised 
to find the coachman was so surrounded by a 
mob in Leicester Fields that he could with 
difficulty get on ; however, as I approached St. 
Martin's Street, I found that the crowd increased. 
. . . The coachman was unable to turn down our 
street, which was as crowded as the City is on a 
Lord Mayor's day, but as he passed by, I saw a 
great bonfire towards the bottom of it. He set 
me down, terrified to death, at the corner of 
Long's Court, and accompanied me to our door. 
A gentleman, who was passing by, was so good- 
natured as to make way for me, and to stop till 
I had entered our house, where I found my 
mother and Charlotte half out of their wits. They 
told me that about half an hour before, many 
hundred people came running down our street 
huzzaing and shouting, with a blue flag, that 
their particular spite here was against Justice 
Hyde, who has a house towards the bottom of 
the street, and who had been active in en 
deavouring to quell the rioters. He was for 
tunately not in his house, for had he fallen into 

* Chapel of the Sardinian Ambassador. 

Rioters in St. Martin's Street 

their hands I believe he would have been torn to 
pieces. However, they broke into his house and 
acted the same part that they had at Sir George 
Saville's. . . . From our windows we saw them 
throw chairs, tables, cloathes, in short everything 
the house contained, into the street, and as there 
was too much furniture for one fire, they made 
several. I counted six of these fires, which 
reached from the bottom of the street up to the 
crossing which separates Orange and Blue Cross 
Streets. Such a scene I never before beheld ! 
As it grew dusk, the wretches who were involved 
in smoak and covered with dust, with the flames 
glaring upon them, . . . seemed like so many 
infernals. . . . 

" One thing was remarkable and convinced 
me that the mob was secretly directed by some 
body above themselves : they brought an engine 
with them, and while they pulled Hyde's house 
to pieces and threw everything they found into 
the flames, they ordered the engine to play on 
the neighbouring houses to prevent their catching 

" . . . When Hyde's house was emptied of 
all its furniture, the mob tore away the windows 
and window-frames and began to pull up the 
floors and the pannels of the rooms. . . . [At 
last] the Ringleaders gave the word and away 
they all ran past our windows to the bottom of 

257 s 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Leicester Fields with lighted fire-brands in their 
hands like so many Furies, [where] they made 
one great bonfire. [They continued their work 
of destruction] till between two and three in the 

" Early in the evening about 30 Foot Guards, 
with an Ensign at their head, marched into the 
street, but the daring populace appeared not the 
least alarmed, on the contrary, they welcomed 
them with loud shouts and huzzas. The Ensign 
made some speech to them, but as I suppose he 
dared not oppose so many hundred people ... he 
[soon] turned round and marched out of the street 
as he came into it, the mob shouting and clapping 
the soldiers on their backs as they passed. . . . 

" While Mr. Burney, my sister and I stood 
at the window, the crowd being then greatly 
diminished, as numbers had flown to attack other 
places, I saw about ten men and women in a 
group looking up at our windows. * No Popery,' 
cried they, and repeated this two or three times. 
. . . We had no idea that we were ourselves 
addressed till one of the men said to the rest, 
pointing to us, 'They are all three papists!' 'For 
God's sake,' cried poor Hetty, ' Mr. Burney, call 
out No Popery or anything ! ' Mr. Burney 
accordingly got his hat and huzza'd from the 
window. It went against me to hear him, though 
it seemed no joke in the present situation of 


Rioters in St. Martin's Street 

things to be marked out by such wretches as 
papists. 'God bless your Honour/ they then 
cried, and went away very well satisfied. 

" Before I went to Lady Hales [this] morning, 
Mr. Burke had passed through our street, where 
he was beset by a number of wretches, who wanted 
to extort from him a promise to vote for repealing 
the Act in favour of the Catholics. My mother 
saw him and heard him say, ' I beseech you, 

gentlemen ; gentlemen, I beg * However, 

he was obliged to draw his sword ere he could 
get rid of these terrific attendants. 

" Baretti called on us, Dr. Gillies, and Edward, 
who told us the rioters had gone to Newgate, had 
broke open the prison gates, let loose all that 
were confined there . . . and had set fire to the 
place. [That night], on going up to the Observa 
tory, I saw such a scene as I shall never forget, or 
think of but with horror. Our own Square was 
rendered as light as day by the bonfire made from 
[the contents] of Justice Hyde's house, which 
received fresh fuel every moment, and on the 
other side we saw the flames ascending from 
Newgate a fire in Covent Garden which proved 
to be Justice Fielding's house and another in 
Bloomsbury Square which was at Lord Mans 
field's." Here the populace, not content with 
burning his lordship's " books, pictures, and papers 
that were invaluable, set the house itself on fire, 


The House in St. Martin's Streei 

[which], except the outward shell, was completely 

A newspaper writer of the day remarks : 
" The destruction of Lord Mansfield's house may 
be considered as a public loss [containing as it 
did] 300 manuscript volumes of notes and other 
valuable professional papers written with his own 
hand, and which were all thus sacrificed to the 
fury of an ungovernable mob ! " 

The poet Cowper has commemorated this 
event in the following lines : 

" So then the Vandals of our isle, 

Sworn foes to sense and law, 
Have burnt to dust a nobler pile 
Than ever Roman saw ! 

" And Murray sighs o'er Pope and Swift, 

And many a treasure more 
The well-judged purchase and the gift 
That graced his lettered store. 

" Their pages mangled, burn'd and torn, 

The loss was his alone; 
But ages yet to come shall mourn 
The burning of his own" 

In the London Chronicle for June 8th we read 
that, " A party of the rioters went yesterday to 
Caen-Wood in order to pull down Lord Mans 
field's house [there], but the militia kept so good 
a guard and received them with such firmness 
that they thought proper to desist." 

Caen -Wood, in reality, owed its safety not so 

Rioters in St. Martin's Street 

much to the action of the militia, as to the spirited 
conduct of a single man. After their long march 
from London, the rioters halted at the " Spaniards 
Inn," a small tavern on the further side of Hamp- 
stead Heath, close to the entrance gates of Caen- 


Wood. The innkeeper plied them so well with 
meat and drink as to keep them safely occupied 
whilst he despatched a secret messenger, in all 
haste, to the nearest band of soldiers to call them 
to the defence of Caen- Wood. The success of 
his plan, as we have seen, was complete. 

One of the most terrible days during the 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Gordon Riots was Wednesday, June 7th, known 
for long afterwards as " Black Wednesday." In a 
contemporary account by a Mr. Vincent,* we are 
told that in the afternoon of that day " all the 
shops were shut and bits of blue silk, by way of 
flags, hung out at most houses, and the words 
'No Popery' chalked on the doors and window 
shutters by way of deprecating the fury of the 
insurgents from which no person thought himself 
secure . . . The very Jews in Houndsditch and 
Duke's Place were so terrified that they followed 
the general example by writing on their shutters, 
* This house is a true Protestant ! ' 

" Men paraded the streets, armed with iron 
bars, extorting money at every [house-door], 
huzzaing and shouting * No Popery ! ' and the 
inhabitants durst not refuse them money. One 
man, in particular, was mounted on horseback, 
and refused to take anything but gold . . . the 
whole city was laid under contribution. 

" The mob," continues the writer, " had not 
only declared their resolution of firing the prisons 
and some private houses, but had avowed their 
intention to destroy the Bank, Gray's Inn, the 
Temple, Lincoln's Inn, the Grand Arsenal at 
Woolwich, and Royal Palaces. A universal 

* "A Plain Narrative of the Late Riots and Disturbances in the 
Cities of London and Westminster and Borough of Southwark," by 
William Vincent, of Gray's Inn, 1780. 


Rioters in St. Martin's Street 

stupor had seized the minds of men. They 
looked at one another, and waited with a resigned 
consternation for the events which were to follow." 

Some attempt at defence, however, was 
made by the authorities, who placed bands of 
soldiers to protect the Bank, the Guildhall, the 
Inns of Court, etc., and had cannon mounted 
in the parks. But in spite of these precautions, 
as darkness approached the terrified inhabitants 
" beheld at the same instant the flames ascending 
from the King's Bench, and Fleet prisons, from 
New Bridewell, from the Toll-gates on Black- 
friars' Bridge, from houses in every quarter of 
the town, and particularly from the bottom and 
middle of Holborn, where the conflagration was 
horrible beyond description." 

Susan Burney writes in her Journal, " On 
going into the Observatory we saw a yet more 
lamentable and shocking appearance than that 
of the preceding evening. Such a fire I never 
beheld as one of four that were burning with 
violence at that time. We afterwards found it was 
the house of a great distiller on Holborn Hill, 
which, as he was a Papist, was set on fire, and 
that the flames communicated very quickly to 
a prodigious number of small houses adjoining." 

This distillery, Mr. Vincent tells us, contained 
immense quantities of spirituous liquors, and 
that as the vessels holding them caught fire, 


k The House in St. Martin's Street 

" the liquor ran down the middle of the street 
and was taken up by pailfuls and held to the 
mouths of the besotted multitude, numbers of 
whom perished from inebriation." 

" Another great fire," continues Susan, "was 
from the Fleet Prison, [while] the King's Bench 
was in flames on the other side of us. We could 
hear the huzzas, shouts and firing, and shrieks 
from some of these terrible scenes of fury and riot." 

The Burney household were all up and astir 
during that awful night, each one endeavouring 
to cheer and comfort the others. At last, how 
ever, the flames began to subside, and when 
Susan looked from the Observatory windows, 
at 4 o'clock in the morning, all that remained, 
she says, to mark the scene of devastation in 
Holborn, was one great column of smoke. 

Horace Walpole, it seems, had witnessed the 
conflagration from the top of Gloucester House. 
Writing to a friend of his experiences of that 
night, he exclaims: "What families ruined! 
What wretched wives and mothers ! What public 
disgrace ! Aye ! and where and when and how 
will all this confusion end ? and what shall we be 
when it is concluded ? I remember the Excise 
and the Gin Acts, and the rebels at Derby, and 
Wilkes's interlude, and the French at Plymouth ; 
but I never, till last night, saw London and 
Southwark in flames ! " 



" WE now found," writes Susan, " that we were 
in the most imminent danger ourselves, that our 
house would be burnt or pillaged, in all proba 
bility, and that inevitable ruin must follow to my 
beloved father, and to all that belong to him. 
The Chapel on one side of our house, Porter's 
house at the back of it, the Pawnbroker's on 
the other side, Mr. Drummond's in Leicester 
Fields, and the house nearly opposite to us, at 
the corner of Blue Cross Street, were all destined 
to the flames, and there was not the slightest 
reason to hope that our house, encircled by so 
/nany fires, should escape. 

". . . My mother, who looked jaundiced with 
terror, wanted us all to set off instantly for 
Chesington, but this seemed to me a very wild 
scheme ; since our house, had it escaped the 
flames, would then have been probably emptied 
of its contents by the late Newgate prisoners 
and their friends. ... At last I proposed sending 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

some [of our] things to the Boyles', my sister's 
and Mr. Kirwan's houses, which seemed all less 
exposed than our own to fire. . . . Accordingly 
our plate was packed up, and my father him 
self went in a coach with it to the Boyles'. 
When he returned home ... I assisted him to 
pack up his MS. papers in large bags, which 
we sent by William, in our coach, to my sister's, 
where they were taken in. 

" We now sent a 2nd coachfull with my father's 
cloathes, my mother's and some other portable 
things, [but] William soon came back with all 
the things he had taken in the 2nd journey, and 
told us that Tavistock Street was so full of 
Rioters, who were knocking at several doors 
with great fury, that he thought it was not safe 
to carry them into Mr. Burney's house." 

Susan learnt from her sister that the Rioters 
in Tavistock Street came for money, which they 
demanded with authority, and declared it was 
for the poor prisoners they had rescued from 
Newgate. ''Everybody/' said Hetty, "gave 
half-crowns, and some more." 

"Thursday, the 8th of June, was a memorable 
day," writes Susan. "My dear father went out 
early into the city ... on foot and visited every 
spot where the Rioters had been most busy. Saw 
the ruins of Newgate, where everybody went in 
and out as freely as they walk under the Piazzas 


A Reign of Terror 

in Covent Garden went to the Bank, which had 
been attempted to be broke into three times 
the preceding evening, but was fortunately pre 
served by the soldiers. He took some money 
in order, dear Soul, to pay everybody to whom 
he owed anything while he had anything to give 
them. For this purpose he went to Mr. Bremner's 
and Mr. Coutts'. ' If we must be ruined/ said 
he, 'at least I will have the satisfaction of not 
owing a guinea in the world.' He then visited 
Lord Townshend, and freely spoke his opinion 
as to the necessity of some spirited exertion in 
the King or Ministers to put a stop to the horrid 
proceedings of a set of lawless, daring and 
inhuman ruffians." 

A strange apathy, as we have seen, seems 
to have taken possession of the mind of the 
public during this time of danger. Dr. Johnson 
writes to Mrs. Thrale on June gth : " On 
Wednesday I walked with Dr. Scot to look at 
Newgate, and found it in ruins, with the fire yet 
glowing. As I went by the Protestants were 
plundering the Sessions-house at the Old Bailey. 
There were not, I believe, a hundred, but they 
did their work at leisure, in full security, without 
sentinels and without trepidation as men lawfully 
employed, in full day." 

Mr. Richard Burke, in a letter to a friend, 
says that he saw some mere boys demolishing a 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

house and burning its effects, no one daring to 
obstruct them. " Children," he exclaims, " are 
plundering at noon-day the city of London !" 

We learn from another source that two 
gentlemen "who were standing under the wall of 
St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, while the great 
Distillery was blazing fiercely, noticed the watch 
man walk by at his usual pace, calling the 
hour ! " 

In the same column of the Morning Chronicle 
that gives full details of the rioters' outrages we 
find a paragraph giving equally full details of a 
Court Reception in St. James's Palace. After 
describing the attire of the ladies, the writer goes 
on to say : " The gentlemen's dresses were, for 
the greater part, of spring silks, flowered and 
plain, with tissue waistcoats." His Majesty is 
described as wearing a "coat of pea-green striped 

Curiously enough, apathy in the public went 
side by side with extreme terror, which moved 
people to do anything in their power to pro 
pitiate the rioters. We are informed by the 
newspapers of the day, that each night the great 
city merchants illuminated their houses as a sign 
of sympathy with the mob, while in the daytime, 
hundreds of people wore blue cockades for the 
same reason. 

"It will probably be a black night," writes 

A Reign of Terror 

Horace Walpole on June 7th. " I am decking 
myself with blue ribbons like a May-day 

In the Morning Post for June gth a writer 
remarks : " No business was transacted yesterday 
throughout the cities of London and West 
minster, every shop being shut from Whitechapel 
to Tyburn turnpike." 

To return to the Burney household. 

In spite of the dangers which surrounded them, 
Susan determined to make her way to her aunts' 
house in York Street, Covent Garden, that she 
might at least endeavour to cheer them. " I 
found my aunts," she writes, " as I expected, 
terrified to death. The rioters had been in 
their street the preceding night to levy contri 
butions on all its inhabitants. By accident they 
passed by [my aunts'] door without stopping, but 
afterwards somebody marked an O upon it, which 
it seems the rioters did on the doors of all 
[persons] who did not give sufficient [money] to 
satisfy them, [and where] they might take 
measures to be revenged. No wonder my aunts 
were alarmed. I passed by Justice Fielding's 
house on my way to York Street, the mere shell 
of which remains. It has been more completely 
demolished than Hyde's." 

During all this time of danger the Burneys 
had felt keen anxiety on behalf of their Italian 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

friends, who, as being both Roman Catholics and 
foreigners, would be especially obnoxious to the 
rioters. One day Pacchierotti called in St. 
Martin's Street. " I was astonished to see him," 
writes Susan, "and to hear he came on foot. 
His countenance was as serene as ever I saw it, 
and he declared to me he was not in the least 
frightened. I dared not tell him how frightened 
I was myself for him. [But] I begged he would 
not expose himself by walking about alone at 
such a time as this, when the city seemed to be 
inhabited by wild beasts, not human creatures. 
1 Why should I fear ? ' said he, smiling. ' I 
have committed no fault. . . . To say the truth, 
I am not alarmed, because the English nation, it 
seem to me, is composed of good-hearted, mild 

" He told me that Mr. Bertoni was terribly 
frightened. * He trembles/ said he, ' like a 
leaf, as a littel child ! I could not persuade him 
to come here with me.' Pacchierotti told me 
many people had advised him to take his name 
off his door, but he said he did not intend to 
do it." 

Both Giardini and Sacchini had not only done 
this, but had had " No Popery " chalked on their 
doors. " Had Pacchierotti been in our part of 
the town," continues Susan, " his fearlessness, 
even in this particular, would have frightened me 


A Reign of Terror 

for him, but I have heard of no disorders at all 
towards Cavendish Square." 

Horace Walpole, writing to a friend at this 
same time, speaks of returning late in the evening 
to a house in the West End and seeing on his 
way " Charing Cross, the Haymarket, and Picca 
dilly all illuminated from fear . . . though all this 
end of the town," he remarks, " is hitherto per 
fectly quiet, lines being drawn across the Strand 
and Holborn to prevent the mob coming west 
ward." He concludes his letter with a touch of 
characteristic humour. " As it is now three in 
the morning, I shall wish you good night, and 
try to get a little sleep myself, if Lord George 
Macbeth has not murdered it all. I own I shall 
not soon forget the sights I saw from the top 
of Gloucester House ! " 

Among other visitors in St. Martin's Street, 
at this time, Susan mentions " Mr. Davaynes, 
[who] showed us," she remarks, "a blue cockade 
which, he said, had been his passport through the 
,mob. . . . Sir Joshua Reynolds called," she says, 
" and said he should afterwards go to Mr. Burke, 
whose house was threatened to be served in the 
same manner as Sir George Saville's that night. 
However, we hear it has escaped." 

The rioters had marked Somerset House as 
one of the buildings to be destroyed on " Black 
Wednesday." This fact was known to every one, 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

but Sir Joshua Reynolds, true to his post as head 
of the Royal Academy, spent that anxious day 
within its walls. His doing this is proved by a 
simple entry in his pocket-book. 

Happily by the Qth June affairs had begun to 
assume a better aspect. Public spirit was arous 
ing, and we read in the Morning Post of that 
date, " The barristers and students of the Temple, 
with Mr. Mansfield at their head, have armed 
themselves for the defence of that inn of Court, 
and are spiritedly determined to hazard their 
lives in its protection." 

And again, " The coal-heavers at Wapping 
and the Irish chairmen have formed an associa 
tion to oppose the rioters." 

Dr. Johnson, writing to Mrs. Thrale on that 
same days, says : " The King said in council 
that the magistrates had not done their duty, but 
that he would do his own, and a proclamation 
was published directing us to keep our servants 
within doors, as the peace was now to be pre 
served by force." 

Susan, describing the events of Thursday the 
8th, writes : " In the evening we were to remove 
some more of my father's MSS., books, cloathes, 
etc. Charlotte had the day before made a com- 
pleat packing up of everything which belonged to 
her. I had no heart to set about this sort of 
work for myself. . . However, not to pass for 


A Reign of Terror 

fool-hardy, at about six in the evening I looked 
out and began to make up a parcel of my own 
cloathes, etc. Horrid work enough ! But my 
dear father's return home [from a visit to the 
city] carried me downstairs, where I found all the 
family rejoicing and exulting [in our safety]." 

Dr. Burney had brought the welcome news 
that a large body of troops had arrived in 
London, that they had already attacked and 
beaten a portion of the rioters, and that there was 
every hope that peace and security would soon 
be re-established. 

" Since then," continues Susan, " I have done 
nothing but thank God every moment for the 
escape we have had, and for the yet greater 
escape which the poor Catholic inhabitants of 
this place have had, from the rage of a set of 

" On Thursday scarce any one had the courage 
to walk about without a blue ribbon in their hats. 
Now not one, anywhere, is to be seen. 
. " I would fain," continues Susan, " have gone 
to my sister's to carry the good news, but my 
father was afraid to let me venture, even in the 
coach, lest any mob should be assembled, [for] the 
soldiers are ordered to fire [on them], and hand 
bills are given out to warn all quiet, peaceable 
people to keep within doors, lest they should meet 
a fate only intended for the riotous and daring. 

273 T 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

" We all went quietly to bed that night at 
12 o'clock, and had the first tolerable night's rest 
which has fallen to our share since last Monday. 

" Oh, my Fanny ! " exclaims Susan to her 
sister. "If you had not respected and loved 
our blessed father before, how would you have 
revered and idolized him could you have seen 
him this last week comforting the distressed 
animating the powerful and attentive to 
every one's interest more than his own. . . God 
send [our present] state of tranquillity may take 

Dr. Johnson, writing to Mrs. Thrale on June 
loth, says : " The soldiers are stationed so as to 
be everywhere within call ; there is no longer any 
body of rioters. . . . Lord George was last night 
sent to the Tower. . . Everybody walks and eats 
and sleeps in security. But the history of the 
last week would fill you with amazement. It is 
without any modern example." 



ON returning home from their visit to Bath 
Easton, Fanny and her friends first heard rumours 
of the disturbances in London. News travelled 
so slowly in those days that when writing to her 
father, even as late as June Qth, we find her still 
ignorant of all details. 

"My dearest Sir, How are you?" she asks, 
" and what is to come next ? The accounts from 
town are so frightful, that I am uneasy, not only 
for the city at large, but for every individual I 
know in it. I hope to Heaven that, ere you 
receive this, all will be once more quiet ; but till 
we hear that it is so, I cannot be a moment in 
peace. . . . Oh, what dreadful times ! 

"... I am very anxious indeed about our 
dear Etty. Such disturbances in her neighbour 
hood, I fear, must have greatly terrified her, and 
I am sure she is not in a state of health to bear 

" All the stage-coaches that come into Bath 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

from London are chalked over with ' No Popery/ 
and Dr. Harrington called here just now and 
says the same was chalked this morning upon his 
door, and is scrawled in several places about the 

"Friday night. The above I writ this 
morning, before I recollected this was not post- 
day, and all is altered here since. ... To our 
utter amazement and consternation the new 
Roman Catholic Chapel in this town was set on 
fire at about nine o'clock. It is now burning 
with a fury that is dreadful, and the house of the 
priest belonging to it is in flames too. The poor 
persecuted man has, I believe, escaped with life, 
though pelted, followed, and very ill-used. Mrs. 
Thrale and I have been walking about with the 
footmen several times. . . . The rioters do their 
work with great composure, and though there are 
knots of people in every corner, all execrating 
the authors of such outrages, nobody dares oppose 

On that same night Mrs. Thrale wrote to a 
friend : " The flames of the Romish Chapel are 
not yet extinguished, and the rioters are going to 
Bristol to burn that. Their shouts are still in 
my ears, and I do not believe a dog or cat in the 
town sleeps this night." 

Fanny writes again to her father on Saturday, 
June loth : "I was most cruelly disappointed in 


A Flight from Bath 

not having one word to-day. I am half crazy 
with doubt and disturbance in not hearing. 
Everybody here is terrified to death. We have 
intelligence that Mr. Thrale's house in town is 
. . . threatened by the mob with destruction. 
Perhaps he may himself be a marked man for 
their fury. . . . Some infamous villain has put it 
into the paper here that [he] is a papist. 

"... We are going directly from Bath, and 
intend to stop only at villages. To-night we 
shall stop at W r arminster, not daring to go to 
Devizes. This town is now well guarded, but 
still we dare not await the event of to-night ; all 
the Catholics in the town have privately escaped. 

" I know not now," she continues, " when I 
shall hear from you. I am in an agony for news. 
Our headquarters will be Brighthelmstone, where 
I do most fervently entreat you to write do, 
dearest sir, write if but one word if but only 
you name YOURSELF ! Nothing but your own 
hand can now tranquillise me. . . . God bless 
defend preserve you ! my dearest father. Life 
is no life to me while I fear for your safety. 

" God bless and save you all ! " 

Rumours of the outrages committed in Bath 
soon reached London. Horace Walpole writes 
to a friend on June i2th: " Last night at 
Hampton Court I heard of two Popish Chapels 
demolished in Bath, and one at Bristol. My 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

coachman has just been in Twickenham, and says 
half Bath is burnt." 

Susan writes to Fanny on the same day : " I 
had just written the last word of my narrative [of 
the riots] when my dear father came in from the 


Opera with a countenance so changed since he 
had parted from us, that it frightened me even 
before he opened his lips. After a little time he 
told us that Mr. Sheridan had informed him an 
express had arrived from Bath, in which place 
the colliers had risen and beaten out the King's 
troops that were stationed there. My letter was 


A Flight from Bath 

scarcely gone, however, when it was suggested 
by my father that Mr. Thrale would surely leave 
Bath instantly on the breaking out of such a 
terrible commotion." * 

Fanny writes to her father from Salisbury on 
June nth : " Here we are, dearest sir, and here 
we mean to pass this night. We did not leave 
Bath till eight o'clock yesterday evening, at which 
time it was filled with dragoons, militia, and armed 
constables, not armed with muskets but bludgeons. 
These latter were all chairmen, who were sworn 
by the mayor in the morning for petty con 
stables. . . . 

" We set out in the coach-and-four, with two 
men on horseback, and got to Warminster . . . 
a little before twelve." 

The Thrales were in keen anxiety, all this 
time, for the fate of their great brewery, and also 
for that of their house in the Borough ; but on 
reaching Salisbury news arrived from London to 
relieve them of their fears. 

Mrs. Thrale writes to Dr. Johnson : " Safe ! 
safe ! safe ! Sir Philip,f kind creature, has been 
more than charming ; he has saved us all by his 
friendly activity. God bless him ! Do go to his 
house and thank him ; pray do, and tell him how 
I love him. He loves you, and a visit from 
Dr. Johnson will be worth forty letters from me, 

* Burney MSS. t Sir Philip Jennings Clarke. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

though I shall write instantly. Perkins has 
behaved like an Emperor ! . . . The villains had 
broke in, and our brew-house would have blazed 
in ten minutes, when a property of ,150,000 
would have been utterly lost, and its once 
flourishing possessors quite undone." 

Sir Philip, it seems, had contrived to get a 
band of soldiers into the brewery in all haste ; 
whilst Perkins had kept " the mob amused with 
meat, drink, and huzzas." 

Fanny received a letter at this same time 
from Charlotte, in which her sister writes : 
"Thank Heaven, everybody says now that Mr. 
Thrale's house and brewery are as safe as we 
can wish them. There was a brewer in Turn 
stile that had his house gutted and burnt because 
the mob said ' he was a papish, and sold popish 
beer/ Did you ever hear of such diabolical 
ruffians ? 

"... It sounds almost incredible, but they say 
that on Wednesday night last, when the mob 
was more powerful, more numerous, and out 
rageous than ever, there was, nevertheless, a 
number of exceedingly genteel people at Rane- 
lagh, though they knew not but their houses 
might be on fire at the time." 

Fanny, writing from Salisbury on June nth, 
says : " This morning two more servants came 
after us from Bath, and brought us word that 


A Flight from Bath 

the precautions taken by the magistrates, last 
night, had had good success, for no attempt of any 
sort had been renewed towards a riot. But the 
happiest tidings to me were contained in a letter 
from Mr. Perkins with an account that all was 
quiet in London, and that Lord G. Gordon was 
sent to the Tower. 

" . . . We intended," she continues, " to have 
gone to a private town, but find all quiet here, 
and therefore prefer it as much more com 

The inn at Salisbury, where Fanny and the 
Thrales stayed, was in all probability the " White 
Hart," as it was the chief inn of the place at that 
time ; and the Thrales, being wealthy, secured 
every comfort when travelling. 

The following unpublished letter of Fanny's, 
addressed to her father, enables us to follow the 
party in their journey : 

" Southampton, 

"June I3th. 

"We arrived here yesterday about 7 in 
the evening, but the Post always leaves this 
town in the morning, and therefore I could not 

" Everything here is perfectly tranquil, and 
we procured a Morning Post of yesterday that 
assures us of the restored tranquillity of London. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

We are therefore now travelling merely for 
pleasure, and as we were hurried from Bath by 
fear of riots, we mean to make ourselves amends 
by a pleasant tour in these parts. 

" . . . Our next exploit is to see Portsmouth, 
the shipping, etc., and thence I believe to Spit- 
head. Adieu, most dear Sir. My best love to 
all, and believe me, 

" Most dutifully 

" and most affec ately , 

"Your F.B." 

The above letter was probably written in the 
" Dolphin Inn," which stands in the High Street 
of Southampton, and is conspicuous for its bowed- 
windows and its wide entrance, leading to the 
coaching-yard behind. The " Dolphin " was the 
chief inn of the town in those days. Here 
the winter Assembly balls were held ; the dancing 
taking place in a long panelled room, now divided 
into three rooms, from which the two bowed- 
windows project. 

From Southampton the travellers proceeded 
to Portsmouth, where it seems likely they may 
have stayed at the " Fountain Inn," which is one 
of the three " elegant inns " mentioned in a con 
temporary Portsmouth Guide-book. It stands in 
the High Street, nearly opposite the old parish 



A Flight from Bath 

Fanny passed much of the late summer and 
early autumn of this year (1780) with the Thrales; 
but in the month of November she was at 
Chesington, having stopped on her way thither 
for a day and night in St. Martin's Street. 

She writes to Mrs. Thrale 

" As I spent only one day in town, I gave it 
wholly to my sisters, and they to me; and in 
the morning we had by chance such a meeting 
as we have not had for very many years. My 
two brothers, Susan and Charlotte and myself, 
were of course at home, and Hetty, accidentally 
. . . called in while we were all at breakfast. I 
ran upstairs and dragged my father down out of 
his study, to see once more all together his original 
progeny, and when he came, he called out, 
4 Offspring ! Can you dance ? ' ' 

After describing a welcome visit, during the 
evening, from Pacchierotti, Fanny goes on to 
say : " I had no other adventure in London, but 
a most delightful incident has happened since I 
came here [to Chesington]. We had just done 
tea on Friday, and Mrs. Hamilton, Kitty, Jem, 
and Mr. Crisp were sitting down to cards when 
we were surprised by an express from London, 
and it brought a 'Whereas we think fit' from 
the Admiralty to appoint Captain Burney to the 
command of the Latona, during the absence of 
the Honourable Captain Conway. This is one 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

of the best frigates in the navy, of thirty-eight 
guns, and immediately, I believe, ready for 
service. Jem was almost frantic with ecstasy 
of joy ; he sang, laughed, drank to his own 
success, and danced about the room with Miss 
Kitty till he put her quite out of breath. His 
hope is to ... get out immediately, and have a 
brush with some of the Dons, Monsieurs, or 
Mynheers, while he is in possession of a ship of 
sufficient force to attack any frigate he may 



LET us take up Susan Burney's unpublished 
Journals again. 

As we turn over the large square pages, we 
come to the following account of a musical 
gathering which took place in St. Martin's Street 
in the autumn of 1780. After mentioning the 
arrival of Pacchierotti, Bertoni, and Cramer, 
and also of a Mr. Dance, whose name occurs 
here for the first time, Susan goes on to say : 
" Mr. Burney and my sister had engaged them 
selves to dine with Mrs. Ord ; it now grew late, 
and my father was on tenter hooks at not seeing 
them, and at last took up a tenor himself that 
something might be begun. Cramer produced 
his fiddle, Mr. Dance the violoncello, and they 
played a very pretty trio of Hoffman's which my 
father brought in MS. from Germany. Imme 
diately after, they played a charming trio of 
Vanhall's, during the last movement of which 
Mr. Burney arrived, and my sister. . . . Mr. 


The House in St. Martin's Stree 

Burney now took the violoncello, Mr. Dance a 
violin to second Cramer, and my father con 
tinued at the tenor. They then played a quartette) 
of VanhalFs in a, one of the most charming com 
positions I ever heard, full of fancy . . . and new 
as if it were dropt from the clouds." 

Pacchierotti being pressed to sing, declined 
doing so until Mr. Burney had given the com 
pany one of his brilliant performances on the 
harpsichord. This over, Cramer took Mr. 
Burney's place at the instrument, while Dance 
resumed his violoncello, and thus accompanied, 
Pacchierotti struck into one of his most popular 
songs in the "Olimpiade." " When it was over," 
writes Susan, " I told him I had heard him sing 
this Rondeau as many times as I had fingers, 
which is, I believe, literally true, and that he was 
always new, and seemed to me to sing it more 
perfectly every time I heard him. ' Oh ! ' cried 
he, 'Miss Burney is so encouraging to me in 
every thing in music, in language . . . but I 
am afraid, sometimes/ he added, 'that they are 
my intentions which are only good/ 

" Pacchierotti . . . continued talking to me 
till our attention was called off by Cramer, who 
played a solo of his own most admirably, and 
exerted himself as much as if he had been 
[playing] before a thousand people. . . . Pacchie 
rotti told me he had been worshipping Cramer. 


T. Ga, 


Peace and Playfulness once more 

Indeed ... he speaks of him in the highest 
terms that are possible. . . . The evening was 
delightfully concluded by a charming quartette of 
Haydn's, in which Cramer played incomparably." 

Cramer, like Pacchierotti, had experienced 
ill-usage from Sheridan. " Shameful, is it not ?" 
writes Susan. " But Mr. Sheridan behaves to 
all alike, I believe." Then comparing Cramer's 
character with that of Giardini, she says, "He 
seems to have none of Giardini's satyrical wit, but 
to possess a worthy, benevolent mind, which in 
clines him to wish peace to all mankind." 

Many an old friend or new acquaintance 
would drop in upon the Burney household at 
their tea-hour. 

" Tuesday sennight in the evening," writes 
Susan, " Mr. Fontana called with a German 
gentleman to speak concerning a Pianoforte 
which my father promised to procure for the 
former. ... My father was not visible. How 
ever, as foreigners you know are never at a loss, 
they sat down and stayed tea ; though, as Mr. 
Fontana speaks no English, he never attempted 
to converse with my mother or Charlotte, which 
I regretted more on their account than my own, 
as indeed he is an intelligent, polite, and ex 
ceeding entertaining man. The German, who 
speaks a great deal of very bad English, and 
whose French is not much better, divided his 

289 u 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

attention among us. ... Wednesday evening, 
just before tea, these two gentlemen called again 
to inquire after Dr. Borne, and though he was again 
not a' torn, as Piozzi writes it, they entered, drank 
tea with us, and stayed pretty late. Thursday 
evening I really could scarce forbear laughing 
when Mr. Fontana and his German friend were 
again announced 3 days following! . . . Soon 
after their arrival came Mr. Franco, a Jew, and 
another gentleman with a face very like an owl, 
and with a gravity and steadiness of countenance 
worthy that venerable bird. These came by 
appointment, so that my father appeared at tea, 
and we had a very singular party Italians, 
French, Irish, English, Jews, Protestants, Catho 
lics, Deists, and what not! As Mr. Fontana 
. . . was the best qualified to entertain those 
about him, the conversation was entirely in! 
French, so that Mr. Franco said at last, ' I shall 
begin to forget I am in England/ ' 

Relating the events of a certain Monday in; 
October, Susan says : "In the evening my Aunt; 
Nanny came in to tea [from York Street], in hopes, 
she acknowledged, that she should meet with no 
foreigner, as I had told her we had seen Merlin, 
Piozzi, and Baretti so very lately. However, 
our tea things were not removed when we were 
alarmed by a rap at the door, and who should 
enter but llmperatore del Canto and his treasurer 


Peace and Playfulness once more 

Pacchierotti and Bertoni. I leave you to guess 
who was charmed and who looked blank. They 
would not drink any tea, but seated themselves 
and stayed with us full three hours. 

Pacchierotti inquired after Fanny's health, 
and mentioned his having written her a note, but 
said he was afraid it was full of errors. " ' I am 
indeed a truly beast/ said he ; ' my memory is 
withered, faded/ 'Impaired' I told him was a 
better word. 

" ' I am delightful to be in this company,' he 
remarked presently. ' So great deal of sense. . . . 
All your sister, yourself, your little brother. . . . 
All Mr. Dr. Burney's family. . . . But the best, 
I beg pardon, Ma'am/ bowing comically to a [lady 
visitor], ' is indeed Dr. Burney/ whom he warmly 

" ' Go away, Papa/ cried I, laughing. ' Can 
you stand that ? ' and accordingly they both ran 
away laughing together into the outward room." 

Hearing one day that Mrs. Burney was in 
disposed, Pacchierotti desired Susan " to present 
his grief to her." 

"Once when I set him right," says Susan, 
" he said ' you level me all the difficulties/ ' ; 

Apropos of some mistake he thought he had 
made on another occasion, he said he feared that 
he should become the object of Susan's " peculiar 



The House in St. Martin's Street 

Baretti was a frequent visitor in St. Martin's 
Street. After he had been spending an evening 
there, Susan writes to Fanny: " Baretti was 
not in one of his violent, overbearing humours 
. . . but on the contrary was very sociable and 
good-humoured. . . . He paid me such fine 
compliments as you never heard the like ! . . . And 
all this for possessing the art of listening, I 
believe ; for I am sure he has never heard me 
say anything deserving his fine speeches. He 
inquired when you would return from Bright- 
helmstone. I told him Tuesday, and said I 
hoped soon after to see you. * Yes,' said he, 
* I hope she will pay you a visit, though now 
she has been exalted to the Thralic Majesty, you 
must not expect to see much of her/ ' 

Dr. Johnson was, as we know, on terms of 
friendship with Baretti. He writes to Mrs. 
Thrale, who had suffered from the Italian's 
strange conduct : " Poor Baretti ! do not quarrel 
with him. . . . To be frank, he thinks, is to be 
cynical ; and to be independent is, to be rude. 
Forgive him, dearest lady, the rather because of 
his misbehaviour. I am afraid he learnt part of 
me. I hope to set him hereafter a better 

On one occasion we find the pompous Fulke 
Greville, Dr. Burney's former patron, partaking 
of the family dinner at half-past four o'clock. 

Peace and Playfulness once more 

" Just after tea Merlin* came in," writes Susan, 
"and entertained Charlotte, Edward, and [me] 
in a low voice, Mr. Greville being too much of a 
grim King of the Ghosts for him to dare to 
speak loud, but indeed he was infinitely diverting. 
. . . He is at work now on the machine so long 
projected for taking down extemporary composi 
tions, and told my father that then would be the 
time for him to profit of all his exterities, in short 
he scarce spoke three words the whole evening 
without making some such odd blunder. . . . 
Edward went away at about nine, and we then 
began to suspect Mr, Greville meant to favour 
us, not only at dinner, but supper. Monstrous 
good of him ! was it not ? At last he said, ' Mrs. 
Burney, I think I am paying you a country visit.' 
At this hint the cloth was laid for supper. He 
had dosed between whiles from tea to supper 
the great men always do at our house I think ! 
However, at supper he was lively and good- 
humoured, and the convivial hilarity of the table 
was such that it stript poor Merlin of all his 
caution and reserve, and he talked away with his 
usual fluency and freedom, and made such 
blunders and such faces, and took off people in 
so ridiculous a manner, that Mr. Greville, who 
had never seen the like before, arched his eye 
brows till they were in the middle of his forehead, 

* The ingenious French mechanician. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

and laughed with a mixture of ridicule and 
astonishment. " 

When the Thrales were in town, they would 
often join the impromptu gatherings in St. 
Martin's Street. Writing of one of these gather 
ings, Susan says: "We had, with the Thrales, 
Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Mrs. and 
Miss Ord. It was a charming evening, as Dr. 
Johnson talked a great deal and delightfully ; but 
it is so long ago I should mar the conversation 
by attempting to repeat it." On another occasion 
we find Dr. Johnson, accompanied by Mrs. 
Williams, joining the tea party ; also Mrs. 
Reynolds and the American lady, Mrs. Paradise. 
But this gathering was not so successful as the 
former. "It was an odd sort of evening," writes 
Susan, " Dr. Johnson not being in extraordinary 
good cue, [and] Mrs. Reynolds shocked to death 
at being in deshabille, as Mrs. Paradise was 
dressed enough for the Pantheon." 

Miss (or Mrs.) Reynolds, as she was usually 
called, Sir Joshua's sister, who lived with him and 
kept his house, was on intimate terms with the 
Burney family. She was a woman of decided 
talent, but her talent was combined with much 
eccentricity. Her favourite occupation was paint 
ing portraits. " Yesterday," writes Dr. Johnson 
to Mrs. Thrale, " I sat for my picture to Miss 
Reynolds perhaps for the tenth time, and I sat 


Peace and Playfulness once more 

near three hours with the patience of mortal born 
to bear ; at last she declared it quite finished, and 
seems to think it fine." Johnson, however, did 
not compliment her on the production, for he told 
her it was "Johnson's grimly ghost." * 

Mrs. Reynolds ventured into the paths of 
literature as well as of art. Having written an 
essay on Taste, she put it into the doctor's hands 
for his private criticisms. This essay, we are 
told, though possessing real merit, evinced much 
" perplexity of ideas," and Johnson frankly avows 
" that her notions, though manifesting a depth 
of penetration, and a nicety of remark, such as 
Locke or Pascal might be proud of, must every 
where be rendered smoother and plainer ; and he 
doubts whether many of them are clear even to 
her own mind." 

Joseph Nollekens, the sculptor, and his wife 
were occasional visitors in St. Martin's Street. 
Fanny has described Nollekens in one of her 
early diaries as "a jolly, fat, lisping, laughing, 
underbred, good-humoured man." " His merit," 
she says, " seems pretty much confined to his pro 
fession, and his language is as vulgar as his works 
are elegant." Half a dozen years after writing 
these words, she introduced his character into her 
novel of " Cecilia " as the vulgar, good-natured 
miser Mr. Briggs. Mrs. Raine Ellis, in her 

* See Northcote's " Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds." 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

" Introduction " to that novel, has pointed out 
that " trait for trait he is here " with "his good- 
humour, his simplicity ... his utter want of 
respect for persons of rank [or consequence] and 
the candour of his stinginess." 

One day Nollekens "dropt in at Dr. Burney's 
while Piozzi and Signora Corri were singing a 
duettino . . . accompanied by the violin. There 
was applause ; while it was lessening Nollekens 
called out, ' Dr. Burney ! I don't like that kind of 
music. I heard a good deal of it in Italy, but I 
like the Scotch and English music better.' Dr. 
Burney, stepping forward, said, ' Suppose a person 
to say, " Well, I have been to Rome, saw the 
Apollo, and many fine works, but for all that give 
me a good barber's block ! ' " * 

Mrs. Nollekens was as handsome as her 
husband was plain. She used sometimes to 
check her "little Nolly" in his uncouth sayings, 
by quoting Dr. Burney's admonitions. 

When Dr. Johnson sat to Nollekens for his 
bust, he was much displeased, we are told, at the 
manner in which the head had been loaded with 
hair, which had been done, the sculptor declared, 
"to make him look more like an ancient poet." 
The hair, it seems, had been " modelled from the 
flowing locks of a sturdy Irish beggar, who, after 
he had sat an hour, refused to take a shilling, 

* See J. T. Smith's " Life and Times of Nollekens." 

Peace and Playfulness once more 

stating that he could have made more by 
begging." * 

This bust is now to be seen in the National 
Portrait Gallery, but Nollekens has given us 
another portrait of the Doctor which is not fanci 
ful but realistic. It represents him as he lived 
and talked, in his wig and cocked hat and his 
everyday clothes even portraying his bandaged 
gouty leg ! This portrait appears in a group of 
the members of the " Turk's Head Club," which 
used to meet at a tavern of that name in Gerrard 
Street, Soho, and which afterwards became the 
famous " Literary Club/' 

A portion of this group, which is in private 
hands, is now reproduced. Dr. Johnson, as 
President, appears mounted aloft upon a table 
conversing with Sir Joshua Reynolds and Bos- 
well. There are about a dozen figures in the 
whole group. They are from ten to eleven 
inches high, and are made of plaster and wax, 
coloured. The figures are placed in a long 
wooden box, open at the front, representing the 
parlour of the Turk's Head. The floor is sanded 
and the walls are adorned with the hats of the 
company hanging on pegs, with framed pictures 
and with chalked-up reckonings. In the centre 
Burke stands upon a chair making a speech, 
while at the further end Goldsmith, Nollekens, 

* See Murphy's " Recollections of Dr. Johnson." 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

and others are grouped round a small table. 
The tiny decanters and glasses, cut and engraved, 
must have been specially made for this miniature 

Many of the personages have removed their 
wigs for greater ease and comfort. Nollekens, 
who is in the act of sketching the company, wears 
his night-cap. 

We must not omit to mention that various 
humorous verses are pinned against the walls of 
the tavern parlour. Here is a specimen of the 
wit of the Turk's Head : 

" Of all the trades from East to West 

The cobbler's past contending, 
He's like in time to prove the best 
Who every day is mending. 

" How soft his praise who can amend 

The soles of all his neighbours, 
Nor is unmindful of his end 
Who every day thus labours.' 5 

The name of James Barry, the painter, often 
occurs in Susan's Journals. One evening she 
had been drinking tea with her friends the 
Kirwans, in the Oxford Road. " At about 
eight," she writes, " Mr. Barry came in and 
insisted on accompanying me home, though 
William was sent for me ; but he liked to finish 
his evening, I found, in St. Martin's Street ; and 
though poor Charlotte had the toothache, I knew 
she would not be sorry to see him, nor my 




Part of a sculptured group by Nollekens 

Peace and Playfulness once more 

mother, because, like herself, he loves argumenta 
tion better than any other thing in the world." 

Mrs. Burney, who excelled in conversation, 
much enjoyed a good discussion of some literary 
subject, and she had her favourite talkers in the 
same way that her step-daughters had their 
favourite musicians. Barry, however, was a 
welcome guest to both mother and daughters. 

Writing of an evening he had passed with 
them, Susan says : " We played at Dumb 
Crambo, and I got a forfeit from Bessey Kirwan 
and Mr. Barry, for which I made them dance a 
minuet. He assured me he didn't know how, 
and that he was the clumsiest fellow in the world. 
. . . He danced, if dancing it could be called, 
with his hands in his breeches pockets, and with 
out a hat." But, nevertheless, he ventured to 
criticise his partner's performance. " ' She wants 
grace and suavity in her motions/ the clumsy 
fellow observed, after she and her sister were 



AMONG the Burney manuscripts there is a small 
square packet of thin yellowish paper containing 
twenty-three pages of writing, stitched together at 
the back, and bearing the following inscription : 


her Journal, 


None o' your fun, 
Son of a Gun. 

Charlotte was not twenty years of age when 
she penned these pages, which are now given 
to the public for the first time. They teem with 
the sort of fun and nonsense we should expect 
from a bright and lively girl, of whose style the 
reader has already had an example written at 
a still earlier date. At her present age Charlotte 
must have been a very attractive figure in society, 
for, while possessing much personal beauty, she 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

was both artless and unaffected. The " lovely 
Churlotte " Crisp calls her in allusion to Baretti's 
mode of pronouncing her name. 

The first entry in the Journal before us is on 
Friday, January igth. Charlotte writes : 

"We have made a new acquaintance lately 
with Mr. and Mrs. Hoole, the translator of 
Metastasio, etc., and his wife, 'an honest, simple 
pair ! ' They are both so good, so good- 
natured, unaffected, open, cordial, and hospitable, 
that I likes 'em, and before I have known them 
half a year I daresay I shall love 'em. They 
are excessively civil to our family. Mrs. Hoole 
can take us to the play with an order every day 
in the week if we chose it. Susan and I went 
to Macbeth and saw Mrs. Yates in Lady 
Macbeth. She is very great in it." 

Mr. Hoole held a post in the India House, 
but he devoted his leisure time to literature, 
and, besides his translations from the Italian, 
wrote several original plays, which brought him 
into connection with the theatres. He was an 
intimate friend of Dr. Johnson, as the reader 
may remember, his name occurring frequently in 
Boswell's " Life." 

There is some doubt as to where Mr. Hoole 
and his family were living in the year 1781. It 
is known, however, that about this time he had 
chambers in Clement's Inn, and that he owned 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

a small country house at Wandsworth, and it 
is possible that he may have used his chambers 
as his town house. In 1783 the Hooles (as we 
learn from a descendant of the family) were 
living at No. 56, Great Queen Street. So, 
whether it was within the precincts of the quaint 
old Inn of Court (now disappeared) or in the 


elegant seventeenth-century house still to be seen 
in Great Queen Street, that Charlotte visited her 
new friends, we are unable to say. 

In a portion of her Journal that has appeared 
in print she writes : 

"On Sunday last I spent the day entirely 
with my friends the Hooles. ... I went to 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

church with them and heard Dr. Franklin preach. 
They say he is a preacher that has had a great 
run> but I was not delighted with him. He has 
a hectoring manner . . . and has a bad voice." 

Dr. Franklin, it seems, had a Chapel in Great 
Queen Street. Fanny has mentioned him in her 
" Diaries." He paid a call upon the Burneys soon 
after the publication of Evelina. " In entered a 
square old gentleman," she writes, " well-wigged, 
formal, grave, and important. ... He regarded 
me with a certain dry kind of attention for some 
time, [and then asked], ' Is not your name 
Evelina, ma'am ? ' 

Charlotte, writing (in her unpublished journals) 
on February 2nd, remarks 

"I went to Mrs. Brooke's new tragedy the 
first night of it, with our friends Mr. and Mrs. 
Hoole. I think it interesting and affecting. 
... Mrs. Yates, in the character of Thameris, 
is charming. I would not wish to see it better 
performed. The title of the piece is ' The 
Siege of Sinope.' The prologue is written by 
a Mr. Colliers. I like it not ; 'tis too full of 
petitions to the audience to weep. The epilogue 
is said to be written by Murphy, author of 
'Way to Keep Him,' etc.; 'tis full of humour, 
and had justice done it by Mrs. Yates." 

Mrs. Yates was the chief actress at this time 
at the large theatre in the Haymarket, usually 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

called the " Opera House," where plays and 
operas where alternately performed. Fanny 
Burney, who was once taken to call on Mrs. 
Yates in her house adjoining the theatre, 
describes her as having " a very fine figure and 
a very handsome face," but says that the ex 
pression of her countenance was " infinitely 
haughty and hard." " As to poor Mr. Yates," 
she remarks, " he presumed not to take the 
liberty, in his own house, to act any other part 
than that of a waiter, in which capacity he 
arranged the chairs." 

" When I came home [from the theatre]," 
continues Charlotte, " I found Mr. Poor here, 
waiting for an account of the play, and while I 
was in the middle of my relation what foolish 
or ridiculous thing I said I can't recollect, but 
Mr. Poor burst out a laughing. I really was 
quite ashamed, and he is so new an acquaintance 
that I could not come to an explanation with 
him. I dare say he thinks I am a sad fool. . . . 
To be sure I was monstrous vexed, because he 
is such a clever man ; and, moreover, I think 
like Madame Duval, that it is * one or other the 
most disagreeables thing in the world to be 
laughed at. s . . . 

l( Sunday -, February zotk. Last Sunday all 
our family, except Fanny, who is at Chesington, 
went to the Hooles there was one-and-thirty 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

people tout ensemble. Dr. Johnson and Mrs. 
Williams, the Baron Dimsdale and his lady. 
5, i He looks like a country apothecary, and she 
;, like a fat landlady. He was a physician, and 
Q I used to be yclept Dr. Dismal. He went over 
(-|to Russia and inoculated the Empress, and she 
ly made him a Baron for his pains. There was 
;," the young Baron, an elegant-looking man. Mr. 
ie Lastripe,* Miss Mudge, who I think is vain and 
irt I uninteresting well-looking enough and no more. 
he | When gentlemen are talking to her she lifts up 
I her eyes and then lets them fall down, as nice as 
lean be. Mrs. Reynolds and her beautiful niece, 
re. | Miss Fanny Johnson, who is thoroughly un- 
: I [affected and untaught; not foolish and not 
Ml unentertaining. I have been a great deal about 
^t I with her, which I think very high minded, as she 
vaslmakes every one a foil to her. She is tall and 
ncelhas a very fine face, dark eyes, and a beautiful 
IP I natural colour. There was young Mr. Hoole, 
[iwho is sensible and cultivated. Mrs. Williams 
he [pays he is one of the best lads that ever 
reathed ; and Miss Polly Todd was there, a 
lecided old maid, ' of a little brown colour,' 
is Pacchierotti said of Lady Hales. . . . There 
vas Mr. Boughton Rons, nephew of Mr. Fulke 
jreville, a rich Nabob, and, my father says, 
'emarkably cultivated ; he is an elegant- looking 

* Usually spelt Latrobe. 

305 x 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

man, and was very civil to me. I had him all 
to myself, and when I came home they called 
me the Nabobess / . . . Mr. Humphreys, who 
I think conceited and unentertaining, and I like 
him not, for all he said to me was his usual 
question, ' Pray how do all your brothers and 
sisters do ? ' 

" The all-knowing Poor [was there], who came 
and stared at all the young ladies most violently, 
and made the following speech to me : ' Well, 
Miss Charlotte, and what do you say to it all ? ' 
with such contempt ! How mad I was 'tis so 
provoking to be thought a fool by so clever a 
man ! But what can I do ? . . . Jem was making 
puns upon his name in a soto voce ; he said when 
he was introduced to Mr. Poor, he longed to say, 
4 Sir, poor as you are, I shall esteem myself rich 
in your acquaintance ! ' to be sure it is an irre 
sistible name for a pun/' 

Writing on the same date (February 2oth), 
Charlotte says : "There is a new name come upi 
for the wits ; they are called the ' Blue-stocking \ 
Club,' and for shortness the ' Blues.' Dr. Warrenq 
told my father that he had a card of invitation 
from a lady t'other day to invite him to meet a 
little bit of blue!" 

The eccentric Mrs. Vesey, the reader may 
remember, was the original founder of this Club. 
" It owed its name," writes Fanny, in the 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

Memoirs" of her father, "to an apology made 
by Mr. Stillingfleet, in declining to accept an 
invitation to a literary meeting at Mrs. Vesey's, 
from not being, he said, in the habit of displaying 
a proper equipment for an evening assembly. 
' Pho, pho,' cried she, while she looked inquisi 
tively at him and his accoutrements ; ' don't 
mind dress ! Come in your blue stockings ! ' ! 
This he did, " and those words, ever after, 
were fixed in playful stigma upon Mrs. Vesey's 

The lady in question, though possessing 
"really lively parts and a fertile imagination," 
had " the unguardedness of childhood, joined to 
an Hibernian bewilderment of ideas that cast her 
incessantly into some burlesque situation." But 
"all her oddities and mistakes," we are told, 
served but to give zest and originality to her 
assemblages. Mrs. Vesey, who suffered from 
deafness, " had commonly two or three or more 
ear-trumpets hanging to her wrists or slung about 
her neck . . . and the instant that any earnestness 
of countenance, or animation of gesture struck 
her eye, she darted forward, trumpet in hand, to 
| enquire what was going on." But in her hurry 
I she frequently clapped "the broad part of the 
[brazen ear to her temple," and after waiting in 
i vain to catch the speaker's remarks, she would 
[exclaim dolefully, " I hope nobody has had any 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

bad news to-night but as soon as I come near 
anybody, nobody speaks." 

Mrs. Vesey's hatred of all stiffness and cere 
mony was such that, to prevent anything like a 
"circle" being formed, she usually placed her 
guests back to back, an arrangement which 
necessitated much twisting of necks on their part. 
Horace Walpole used to style these gatherings 
" Mrs. Vesey's Babel or Chaos." 

Very different were the meetings of the Club 
in the house of Mrs. Montagu, the " Queen of the 
Blues/' as she was called, where form and cere 
mony reigned supreme. Here the guests, on 
being received by their hostess in her renowned 
" Feather - Room," were conducted to seats 
solemnly arranged in a wide semi-circle facing 
the fire ; and here the hostess, assuming a chair 
in their midst, placed " the person of the highest 
rank, or consequence, on one side of her, and 
the person the most eminent for talents on the 
other ; " this " semi-circle remaining during the 
whole evening unbroken." 

"Mrs. Montagu's form was stately," writes 
Fanny, "and her manners dignified. . . . Her 
conversational powers were of a truly superior 
order . . . but her reputation for wit seemed 
always in her thoughts, marring their natural flow 
and untutored expression. . . . Her smile . . . 
was rarely gay, and her liveliest sallies had [in 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

them] a something of anxiety, rather than of 
hilarity till their success was ascertained by 
applause." She was cautious in argument. "No 
sudden start of talent,'* or " vivacious new idea," 
we are told, enlivened her even course of reasoning, 
or roused her hearers to emulation. 

In spite, therefore, of this lady's lofty talents, 
we think the members of the Blue-stocking Club 
must have found less entertainment in the sedate 
meetings held at her house than in the Bohemian 
gatherings at Mrs. Vesey's. 

Charlotte Burney highly approved of ' ' learned 
ladies." She writes in a portion of one of her 
Journals that has appeared in print : " In the 
afternoon Mr. Poor called on his way to a state 
visit. He thought proper to address his conver 
sation to me ; and so I got into an argument with 
him about Blue ladies. He set off (and indeed 
concluded) with such insolent speeches about 
women, that I could not resist answering him. 
. . . He began with saying that 'he could not 
bear Mrs. Montagu on account of her disputing! 
and in other words said ' that a woman ought to 
read nothing but novels and plays, and talk of 
nothing but caps ! ' 

" 'You are not learned,' [said he], 'are you ? 
I'm sure, you are not learned.' 

" What an insolent wretch ! " 

Writing on February 2Oth in her unpublished 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Journals, she says : " I met Captain Williamson 
at Mrs. Boyle's a fortnight ago. Jem and all the 
officers say he is a tyrannical, overbearing black 
guard ; or else, had I judged for myself, I should 


have liked him. He is a genteel-looking man, 
and full of rattle and I like rattles/' 

Charlotte writes on Wednesday, February 28th: 
" Last Sunday we had a party here of Captain 
Jardins, a good-humoured, agreeable - looking, 
well-enough, one-armed captain, his two daughters, 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

[and] two Spanish girls, young, raw, and . . . ugly. 
Baretti came in, accidentally, and talked away in 
Spanish to the girls. Captain Phillips, too, drank 
tea here, and Mr. Seward /#r hazard. 

" The young ladies sung some Spanish songs, 
which I think very ugly ; so gutteral. I don't 
believe any one of the party praised them 

" ' Charming, indeed/ cried my father ; ' quite 
national. ' 

" ' Exceeding singular' grinned out wicked 
Mr. Seward. . . . ' What charming girls they 
are ! The youngest is quite a study for a painter ! ' 

" They brought a portfolio with them of songs, 
which they thought it incumbent upon them to 
sing all through ; which ceremony I could very 
well have excused, as it stopped conversation so ; 
and as to Mr. Seward, 1 had much ado to keep 
my countenance, for at every fresh song that they 
began, he threw himself on his chair in such 
utter despondency that it was most delightfully 
ridiculous ! 

" . . . As I was coming home to-day, I heard 
a voice just behind me cry, ' How d'ye do, Miss 
Charlotte ? ' so I turned round, and found it was 
Mr. Seward, and he walked just home with me. 
. . . Mrs. Reynolds, who is always making odd 
speeches of one kind or another, made a tolerable 
odd one to me t'other day. 'Well/ says she, 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

* Miss Charlotte, as you are so great an admirer 
of wits, whenever you go home, you always find 
wits enough ; and Mr. Se ward's a wit too, and 
they say Mr. Seward's in love with you.' 

"What an oddity she is! I think with 
Fanny, that I am rather a favourite with him, 
but it's very wide of the mark his being in love 
with me. Such nonsense ! 

"March 4*6. On. Thursday last Mr. Seward 
called here ; he was exceeding entertaining full of 
fun and pun. He said the people compared Mr. 
Gibbon's bloated cheeks to the jowl of a salmon, 
and that they call him cheek by jowl." 

" Mr. Gibbon," wrote Fanny, after seeing him 
for the first time, " has cheeks of such prodigious 
chubbyness that they envelope his nose so com 
pletely as to render it, in profile, absolutely 

There is a story told, by a contemporary 
French writer, of Gibbon being introduced to 
the stately old Madame du Deffand, who was 
blind. The lady, according to her custom, 
passed her fingers lightly across his face in order 
to ascertain what manner of man he was ; but 
when they touched his cheeks she started back 
and, supposing that he was puffing them out 
purposely, exclaimed with indignation, " Vous 
vous moquez de moi, Monsieur ! " 

Charlotte writes on April 6th : " There is a 



The Youngest of the Diarists 

painter (Gardiner), an odd fish that I can make 
nothing of, that I met two or three times at Mrs. 
Boyle's." She goes on to say : " My mother, 
Fanny, and I drank tea last Sunday at Mrs. 
Reynolds's, and there we met Mr. Gardiner and 
a Mr. Northcote, a young painter, a disciple of 
Sir Joshua Reynolds a conceited, half-witted, 
disagreeable, ugly man who said that, ' as to 
Garrick's acting, he had ideas far beyond it, and 
as to Dr. Johnson's benevolence and abilities, he 
knew several of his acquaintance very superior to 
Dr. Johnson!' Upon both these subjects my 
mother and Fanny condescended to dispute with 
him ! 

" Tuesday, April lotk. On Saturday last I 
dined, drank tea, and supped at my new friends 
the Hooles. At dinner there were no females but 
Mrs. Hoole, Mrs. Williams, and me. Of gentle 
men there were Mr. Boughton Rons, who did me 
the honour to make a point of sitting by me but 
I can't get acquainted with him he is civil to me 
too, but there is a hauteur in his manner that 
knocks me up. He is a young, handsome, dark, 
fierce-looking man, and, they say, knows almost 
every language that can be named ; by all 
accounts his head is quite a Babel ! but he has 
no ' convivial hilarity ' about him and those are 
the characters to my taste, people that make an 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" . . . Mr. Boughton Rons sat at one side of 
me and Governor Bouchier on the other, a prosing 
Governor enough. Opposite to me sat Dr. John 
son in deep mourning, and much out of spirits, 
for the death of his friend Mr. Thrale, who died 
of a stroke of apoplexy last Wednesday morning. 
Next to Dr. Johnson sat Mr., or Captain (I know 
not which) Orme, who everybody admired but 
me I thought him a serious clout and not agree 
able . . . next to Mr. Boughton Rons sat a bony 
Scot, and next to him sat Mr. Hoole and his son, 
and next to him the flower of the flock Mr. 
Bos well the famous Mr. Boswell who is a 
sweet creature. I admire and like him beyond 
measure. He is a fine, lively, sensible, unaffected, 
honest, manly, good-humoured character. I never 
saw him before. He idolizes Dr. Johnson, and 
struts about and puts himself into such ridiculous 
positions that he is as good as a comedy. He 
seems between 40 and 30 ; a good-looking man 
enough. N.B. He has a wife in Scotland, so 
there is no scandal in being in raptures about 

Boswell mentions this same dinner-party in 
his " Life of Dr. Johnson." It is amusing to 
compare his and Charlotte's descriptions of the 
Governor and the Captain. " On Saturday, April 
7th," writes Boswell, " I dined with him [John 
son] at Mr. Hoole's with Governour Bouchier and 


The Youngest of the Diarists 

Captain Orme, both of whom had been long in 
the East Indies; and being men of good sense 
and observation, were very entertaining." 

" Mr. Boswell made a bon-mot upon me," 
continues Charlotte, "that procured him great 
applause during dinner. They were speaking of 
the Indian women burning themselves upon the 
death of their husbands, and in the midst of it, 
Mr. Boswell called out from the bottom of the 
table, ' Miss Burney, and what do you think of 
this burning scheme ? ' 

" ' Oh/ one of 'em cried, * she had much rather 
live, I dare say ! ' 

"'Ay/ replied Mr. Boswell, 'then, Miss 
Burney, you would not like to be a flaming beauty 
in India, I fancy/ 

"... Miss Mudge came in to tea. During 
dinner they were talking of the Indian notions of 
their castes in life, that whatever caste they are 
born in so they are to remain, and so all the 
tribe of successors so Mr. Boswell came and 
placed himself between Miss Mudge and me at 
the tea-table, and called to the gentlemen who 
had been talking of the Indian castes, ' Gentlemen, 
I like my caste very well now/ 

" Mr. Boswell said he had an engagement at 
General Paoli's, and turned to Miss Mudge and 
me and cried, he ' was sorry for it/ ... I shook my 
head at Dr. Johnson, as much as to say, he must 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

wish to stay to be in his company at which Mr. 
Boswell put himself in one of his ridiculous pos 
tures and cried, ' Nay, shake not your gory 
locks that way ! ' 

"... He is a charming creature he told me 
he would call here, but I am afraid he won't/' 

Here Charlotte's Journal comes to an abrupt 
end, as the pages that follow are missing. Her 
last entry is " The Dismals came to tea, a 

sad ' contrast, we presume she was going 

to say, to the company just described. 



THE reader may remember that Charlotte Burney 
mentions in her Journal a certain Captain 
Phillips, who joined the family when they were 
drinking tea one Sunday evening. 

Phillips, as the intimate friend of James, 
would have been a welcome guest in any case, 
but it happened that he possessed a special 
attraction in the eyes of the three enthusiastic 
daughters of the house ; the fame of a gallant 
action having preceded him. 

Both he and James had accompanied Captain 
Cook on his last and fatal voyage to the Pacific 
.Islands; James as a naval officer, Phillips as an 
officer of Marines. Phillips was among the hand 
ful of Englishmen who were with Captain Cook 
on the island of Owhyhee when that great and 
good man was suddenly surprised and murdered. 
His followers, pursued by the savages, made 
all haste to regain their ships, and had just 
succeeded in reaching the boats put out for their 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

rescue when Phillips saw "one of the marines, 
who was a bad swimmer, struggling in the water, 
and in danger of being taken by the enemy. He 
immediately jumped into the sea to his assistance, 
though much wounded himself, and after receiving 
a blow on the head from a stone which nearly 
sent him to the bottom, he caught the man by the 
hair and brought him safe off." * 

Captain Phillips found a powerful attraction 
in St. Martin's Street in the person of Miss 
Susan Burney. The attraction was mutual, and 
before long the two became engaged to be 

Fanny, writing to her sister of Captain Phillips 
at this period, says : " I repeat my love to him, 
which indeed he has sincerely, for I think he 
loves my own Susan, as I would wish her loved 
by him who is some time to succeed me as her 
closest friend and companion." f 

The news of the engagement was early 
divulged to Mrs. Thrale, who writes to Fanny : 
"Well, but I did see Phillips written in that 
young man's honest face, tho' nobody pronounced 
the word ; so I boldly bid him ' Good morrow, 
captain,' at the door, trusting to my own instinct. 
. . . Your sweet father, however, this day trusted 

* See " History* of Captain Cook's Last Voyage," by Captain 

f Burney MSS. 

A Wedding 

me with the whole secret, and from my heart do 
I wish every comfort and joy for the match." 

In the autumn of this same year (1781) 
Captain Phillips, who had been away for some 
months at sea, returned to England. Fanny 
writes to Mrs. Thrale from Chesington : " The 
Capitano has lately been promoted, and is now 
very earnest to accelerate matters ; but my 
father, very anxious and fearful for poor Susanne, 
does not think there is de quoi manger very 
plentifully, and is as earnest for retarding them. 
For my own part, I think they could do very 
well. I know Susan is a very good economist, 
and I know there is not any part of our family 
that cannot live upon very little as cheerfully as 
most folks upon very much." 

On the 22nd November, Captain Phillips made 
his appearance unexpectedly at Chesington Hall. 
Fanny writes that same evening to her sister : 
" I was never so pleased with a visit in my life, 
nor ever took one more kindly. We have been 
.making merry, and talking treason all the even 
ing. Captain Phillips has not only secured me 
by an attention to me so flattering and so affec 
tionate, but he has won, I can plainly see, my 
Daddy and honest Kate and Mrs. Ham into 
the bargain, by the openness and frankness of 
his behaviour and conversation. He has quite 
entered into the spirit of the house. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" . . . My Daddy made everybody drink 
your health after supper. He has no notion of 
reserve, you know, among friends ! however, no 
great occasion after being shown your picture in 
a gentleman's possession, which I must own I 
begged to have the putting about"* 

Susan's portrait here alluded to is evidently 
the miniature which is reproduced, for the first 
time, in these pages. At the back of the picture 
are the words, " The beloved Susan Burney," in 
the handwriting of Fanny in later years. 

Fanny was busily engaged, during her visit 
to Chesington, in writing her novel of Cecilia. 
She tried hard to keep her thoughts to her work, 
but they would stray, in spite of her efforts, to 
Susan and St. Martin's Street. 

" Why, my dearest creature," she writes, 
" what are you all about ? what is Captain P. 
driving at ? why in such a sudden furore for 
me ? Have you not plagues enough, filling your 
parlour, occupying your hearth, interrupting 
serious business, and interfering with treasonable 
tfoe-d-tfoes f . ... Tell me then, my love, what you 
really mean, for I must have power to tell some 
thing, not very trifling, to Mr. Crisp, or he will 
not let me off without being absolutely affronted ; 
so much has he set his mind upon my staying 
here till I have finished my book. I have hinted 

* Burney MSS. 

A Wedding 

to him a design of eloping, but his arguments 
were rage, and his rage at the same time, I 
must own, was argument." * 

Dr. Burney was as urgent as Mr. Crisp in 
keeping Fanny to her work work which had 
been greatly retarded this year by long visits to 
her friend Mrs. Thrale, who had now become a 
widow. But as time passed on and the wedding- 
day began to be talked of as in the near future, 
poor Fanny's impatience at the restraint increased. 

" I have not often wished anything more 
vehemently," she writes, early in December, 
" than to have had the power of answering my 
beloved Susy's last letter by taking a chaise, 
and quick ! presto ! begone ! driving to St. 
Martin's Street without losing a moment ! . . . 
I am dying to be with you. I know I could do 
so much, so many things for you in the settling 
way with folks. Besides Lord bless me! I 
shall not have a moment to fancy me a new 
suit ! I have all the colours of the rainbow now 
.dancing before me, but can't possibly decide at 
this distance from the deau-monde. 

" What shall we do, my dearest girl ? I will 
scrawl night and day if I can. ... O if this book 
proves as great a bore to any one else as just now 
to me ! L d help it ! ... What shall I do with my 
father to prevent displeasure ... at my return ? . . . 

* Burney MSS. 

321 y 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

I wait here now for nothing else ! I will manage 
Mr. Crisp, I will throw my book into a bonfire . 
sooner than for any thing but my father stay 
away another minute." * 

The wedding was finally fixed for an early 
day in January, and Fanny writes on December 
iSth, just before leaving Chesington^: "My 
most beloved Susy, any good or happiness 
or comfort to you would almost raise me 
out of the grave. I will drive every ill thing 
from me at this important crisis of your life, to 
enjoy your good prospects and be glad in your 
fair hopes of their continuance. I should not be 
thought very glad neither, if I were seen by any 
strangers for there is something to me in the 
thought of being so near parting with you as 
the inmate of the same house room bed con 
fidence and life, that is not very merry fying, though 
I would by no means have things altered. Oh, 
far from it ! " f 

A paragraph in the Gentleman's Magazine, 
for the month of January, 1782, announces that 
the marriage of Captain Molesworth Phillips and 
of Miss Susan Burney took place on the 
instant in the Church of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. 

This church, with its imposing pillared portico, 
and its broad flight of stone steps, must be thei 
same in appearance now as it was in the Burneys' 

* Burney MSS. f 


A Wedding 

I day, but its surroundings are greatly changed. 
The eastern side of the open space, now forming 
Trafalgar Square, was then occupied by the 

j "Royal Mewes" and the "Queen's Mewes," 


hile both in front and on either side of the 
uilding were the low gabled roofs of a labyrinth 
'ticofrf sma ii alleys known as " the Bermudas." 

The interior of the church was probably as 
ne ) 3 jj>ombre then as it is now, and we can fancy the 
ittle wedding party forming a bright spot against 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

the dark background of high-backed pews and 
heavy galleries. 

There is no record extant of that day's 
proceedings, but it is evident, from what Fanny 
says in an unpublished letter to Susan, that the 
bride and bridegroom went to Chesington the 
Burneys' beloved Liberty Hall for their honey 
moon, and also that they were accompanied 
thither by Fanny in her capacity of bridesmaid, 
according to the custom of those days. 

In this letter, written upon her return home, 
and dated January 23rd, Fanny tells of her safe 
arrival in St. Martin's Street, "after" as she 
says " having left you with the only person in 
the world I have yet known that could lessen my 
regret in leaving you at all." 

In the month of February, Captain and Mrs. 
Phillips went to Ipswich, where they resided for 
some time. There Fanny paid them a visit in 
the following July. Writing to her father about 
her beloved sister, she says : "I would that 
you could but look on [at] the unaffected 
happiness, gaiety, and lightness of heart of 
this dear creature, and the worthiness, good- 
humour, sense, drollery, and kind-heartedness 
of her excellent help-mate. I could have no 
greater happiness myself," she adds, "than I 
receive from witnessing their mutual comfort." 

* Burney.MSS. 



FANNY BURNEY had begun to write her novel of 
Cecilia as far back as the autumn of 1780, but the 
many interruptions that occurred in the following 
year much interfered with its progress. Besides 
the absorbing interest of her sister's approaching 
marriage, more and more of her time was claimed 
by Mrs. Thrale, especially since Mr. Thrale's 
death. The two friends, it is true, were warmly 
attached to each other, but sometimes Mrs. 
Thrale would show an eagerness to possess 
almost a monopoly of Fanny's affection. 

Among the Burney MSS. there is a letter of 
Fanny's to her friend touching upon this delicate 

Fanny is writing from Chesington, where she 
had just received the gift of a piece of silk for a 
dress from Mrs. Thrale : 

" O dear ! O dear ! What can I say write 
do to my dearest, too kind, too sweet Mrs. 
Thrale ? Indeed ! indeed I am wholly at a loss. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

I look at the silk and try to find something to 
say about it, but it is so much too good, too hand 
some, too everything for me, my lady, that I am 
quite baffled. Ah, dearest madam, the pleasure 
you take in kind, friendly, and sweet actions, 
must here be all that can pay you ! I have 
nothing to offer but what you have had long 
since, what you had indeed before a third part of 
the kindness you have shown me made it your 
due> for my heart was at first &free gift ! 

" . . . You see therefore, dearest madam, how 
many favours you have causelessly thrown away ! 
Often, indeed, have I recommended to you to 
bestow them where they might make friends, for 
here the business is already done : and with all 
your liberality of spirit, I shall think you have 
the most rapacious of hearts if you wish for still 
more love and fondness than you now have from 
me ; for sincerely speaking, you ought not to gain 
an inch more, and cannot but by taking place of 
the very few who have a right to pre-eminence 
which, I will fairly own to you, I should blush to 
see them robbed of. 

" I fear I have written queerly, but I know 
you will not be angry. I write openly, and when 
I speak upon the * internal ' to you, why should I 
not let you see it as it is ? I am sure few others 
have so good reason to like the sight." * 

* Burney MSS. 


It is curious here to see the way in which 
Crisp deals with the subject of the division of 
Fanny's affections. 

" Molly Chute," he writes, " (an intimate and 
infinitely agreeable old Friend of mine, long 
since dead,) when I used to desire her to love 
me a great deal more, would say, ' Look ye, Sam, 
I have this stock of love by me/ putting out her 
little finger, ' and I can afford you so much,' 
measuring off perhaps half the length of her nail, 
'and I think that's pretty fair.' 

" I thought so too, and was well content 
But what shall I do with you who have so many 
to content ? You have but your five loaves and 
your two fishes, and can you renew the miracle 
and feed five thousand ? Well, I must do as I 
may, and that is the 'very Nuthook humour of 
it.' " * 

The year 1781 brought trials of various kinds 
into Fanny's life. Besides the death of Mr. 
Thrale, to whom she was sincerely attached, 
there came a death in her sister Hetty's young 
family which touched her yet more nearly. After 
noting in her Diary the events of August of that 
year, she goes on to say : " Then followed the 
most melancholy week with my dearest Hetty 
and the sweet suffering little saint that died 
almost in my arms, and left me a regret for him 

* Burney MSS. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

that, young as he was, I do indeed believe I shall 
always feel." * 

In the following autumn Fanny's health gave 
way, and she had to submit to the strange medical 
treatment of her day. She writes to Crisp from 
Streatham on October 2nd : " I have very little 
fever but very much cough. Sir Richard Jebb 
thinks not so well of me as I think of myself few 
people I suppose do ! and when he was here last 
Sunday ordered me to be blooded again a thing 
I mortally dislike. Asses milk also he forbids, 
holding it too nourishing, and even potatoes are 
too solid food for me ! He has ordered me to 
live wholly on turnips, with a very little dry 
bread, and what fruit I like : but nothing else of 
any sort. But I may drink Barley-water and 
Rennet whey at pleasure ! " f 

This letter, in spite of its writer's ill-health, 
was accompanied by a few sheets of her Diary 
and an offer to send some more shortly. 

Crisp writes on October i7th : " If I wish it 
you will send me a few more sheets of Journal ! 
Why . . . you know in your own conscience there 
is nothing I suck in so greedily. I fancy all the 
odd, uncommon, unaccountable characters in the 
nation flock to you to sit for their pictures ! 

". . . Well, the Horse-leech hath two daughters, 
saying ' Give, give ! ' I say the same but that 

* Burney MSS. t Ibid. 



is not all I say I say ' Come, come ! ' Do but 
get [tolerably well] and you shall here follow 
your doctor's orders as strictly as where you are. 
You shall have your old room, your old bed, a 
great chair, a good fire dfhd as for starving, I 
defy Mrs. Thrale with all her ingenuity to come 
near us. ... Honest Ham and Kate long to see 
you, and are continually crying out, ' When does 
Miss Fanny come ? ' " * 

At the end of this letter Fanny has written in 
later years : 

" N.B. This was followed by a visit of two or 
three months to this wise, kind, and invaluable 

But before that visit could be paid Fanny had 
to be withdrawn from Thrale Place, which was no 
easy matter. Both her * Daddies ' had become 
anxious at the long cessation of her literary 
work, especially as the fact that she was writing 
a new novel had got wind, and the admirers 
of Evelina were all eagerly looking for its 

Dr. Burney first tried his influence with Mrs. 
Thrale, but without success. Then Mr. Crisp, in 
spite of his infirmities, took the field. He went 
to Streatham and managed, without offending the 
lady of the manor, to bear off his Fannikin to 
Chesington, and finally to establish her in " the 

* Burney MSS. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

quiet and exclusive possession of what he had 
denominated the ' Doctor's Conjuring Closet.' ' 

The progress of Cecilia had been delayed 
more than once by illness, and Mrs. Thrale some 
times feared that Fanny might resume her work 
before she was fit to do so. Mrs. Thrale touches 
on this point in her own lively way : 

" I talked very freely with Dr. Burney," she 
writes, " about matters and things and told him 
that your anxious earnestness to oblige him had 
caused much of the illness we lamented. ' Why/ 
says he, ' I did tease her to write while she was 
away, that the book, so long expected, might at 
length be done.' 

" ' Very true, my dear Sir,' says Saucebox, 
' but whoever robs me of my Friend and leaves 
me a Book in her place, injures me grossly, tho' 
the Book were an Iliad ! ' " * 

Fanny, as we have seen, left Chesington 
towards the end of December, in order to be 
present at her sister Susan's wedding early in 
January. By the end of January she was again 
hard at work upon her novel. 

We have seen the original MS. of Cecilia. 
The name of the heroine had at first been 
Albinia, but was afterwards changed to Cecilia, 
Albinia being carefully erased throughout the 
work, and Cecilia substituted in its place. 

* Burney MSS. 


" 1 am dreadfully busy," she writes to Susan 
on February i2th, "and would not write to any 
human being but yourself for any pay, so horribly 
aches my hand with copying. I have just finished 
that drudgery to the ist volume, and yesterday I 
spent in Tavistock Street [taking it with me]. . . . 

I came off, you will suppose, with flying colours, 
for the party was Mr. B., Hetty, two Aunts, and 
Edward, and their approbation costs them little 
for me, and therefore I dare build nothing on it. 
When they will see the 2nd volume I can give 
no guess myself." * 

And again she writes a couple of months later, 

II My Father himself told Pace of his reading and 
fondness for the ist volume, and Pace is half wild 
with joy and eagerness ! he dies, he says, ' to 
pry a littel into so great work.' " f 

" Cecilia ; or Memoirs of an Heiress," was 
published, in five 12 volumes, in the month of 
June (1782), by Messrs. Payne and Cadell, who 
gave the authoress ^150 for the copyright. 

How surprised Pacchierotti must have been 
when he opened the book to find his own name 
contained therein ! This occurs on the occasion 
of a visit of Cecilia's to the Opera House, where 
"Artaserse" is being performed, and when she 
hears, for the first time, the voice of this great 
singer. " She found herself by nothing so deeply 

* Burney MSS. t Ibid. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

impressed," writes the author, " as by the plaintive 
and beautiful simplicity with which Pacchierotti 
uttered the affecting repetition of sono innocente I 
His voice, always either sweet or impassioned, 
delivered those words in a tone of softness, 
pathos, and sensibility that struck her with a 
sensation not more new than delightful." 

When the book appeared before the public it 
created a great sensation. Early in July Fanny 
was present at a gathering in Sir Joshua Reynolds' 
house, where, on her arrival, she found the company 
eagerly discussing her various characters. She 
writes to her father, who was then absent from 
home : 

" [Amongst the guests] was the dear Dr. John 
son, who had been puffing off my book, till the 
moment of my arrival. . . . Miss Palmer is mad 
with fondness for young Delville. . . . Sir Joshua, 
who is still only in the ist volume, says he fore 
sees Monckton will be the victor by his deep 
designing character, but he seems most diverted 
by Miss Leeson, whose * Yes, Ma'am/ 'No, 
Ma'am,' ' I don't know/ and ' I can't tell/ he 
quoted perpetually. Dr. Johnson supports Hobson 
at the Head of the Tribe, and says it is a very 
perfect character, and Simkins and Miss Larolles 
are very highly in his favour. 

"Just as I was coming away and passing 
him, he took my hand and, with sundry kind 



words too tender for a third person, he said, ' I 
have again read Harrel's death it is finely 
done ; it is very finely done ! ! ' " * 

Towards the end of July Fanny went to 
Ipswich to visit her sister Susan and Captain 
Phillips. In the mean time she had received a 
letter from Mr. Crisp expressing the warmest 
approval of her book. He had read it, already, 
at an earlier stage, and had suggested certain 
changes, some of which Fanny had carried out. 
She writes to him from Ipswich on August 5th : 
" Thanks, my dear Daddy, for your very kind 
letter. I need not, I am sure, tell you how highly 
it gratified me. . . . From the moment you peeped 
into my room at Chesington with ' Annikin ! 
Annikin ! may I come in ? ' ' Yes ! ' It 

will do ! it will do ! ' O ! from the moment I 
heard those welcome words from the severest of 
all my judges, I took inward courage, and my 
hopes grew comfortably and lessened my appre 
hensions . . . though I cannot say they ever 
gave me a promise of such success as last 
Tuesday's post brought me in a letter from Mr. 
Burke ! ! ! " f 

In this letter Burke, after thanking the 
authoress for "the very great instruction and 
entertainment he had received from her new 
present bestowed on the public," goes on to say, 

* Burney MSS. t Ibid. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" There are few I believe I may say fairly there 
are none at all that will not find themselves 
better informed concerning human nature, and 
their stock of observation enriched, by reading 
your Cecilia. They certainly will, let their 
experience in life and manners be what it may." 

Among the Burney MSS. there is a letter 
from Dr. Burney to his daughter Susan, in which 
he alludes to these words of the great orator. 
" Burke thanked Fanny/ 7 he writes, " for her 
instruction, and when I told Johnson this, he 
said, ' 'Tis very true, Sir, no man can read it 
without having ideas awakened in his mind that 
will mend the heart. When Fanny reasons and 
writes from her own feelings she is exquisite.' ' 



TOWARDS the end of the month of October (i 782) 
Fanny Burney joined her friends Mrs. Thrale 
and Dr. Johnson at Brighthelmstone, where Mrs. 
Thrale had a house in West Street. 

In those days Brighton, we are told, was but 
"a large country village by the sea." It boasted, 
however, its Assembly Rooms, both at the " Old 
Ship" and also at the " Castle Inn," where a 
Master of the Ceremonies presided alternately. 

When Fanny alighted from her coach, and 
was welcomed by Mrs. Thrale, she brought into 
the place a personality that created a widespread 
.sensation. Her new novel was everywhere the 
theme of conversation here as it had been in 
London. " No romance was ever more eagerly 
snatched from the counters of the booksellers," 
remarks Macaulay. " Cecilia was placed by 
general acclamation among the classical novels 
of England." 

Writing in her Journal on October 2;th, 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

Fanny speaks of having paid a call on Mr. and 
Mrs. Pepys, who were then in Brighthelmstone, 
" We did not stay with them long," she says, 
" but proceeded to the Rooms. Mr. Pepys . . . 
wanted to frighten me from going by saying, 
1 And has Miss Burney courage to venture to 
the Rooms ? I wonder she dares ! ' 

" . . . I thought of him . . . when I was at 
the Rooms, for most violent was the staring and 
whispering as I passed and repassed ; in so much 
that I shall by no means be in any haste to go 
again to them." 

And in a letter to her father she says : " I 
seem as much a show to all the folks as Omai 
could be ; and they stare with as much curiosity, 
though they whisper with rather more caution." 

In a letter to Susan, dated October 28th, after 
speaking of her journey, she says: "The dear 
Captain's cakes were most acceptable, and I have 
still some for sharp set moments upon occasions of 
late dinners ; for we commonly sit not down till 
5 o'clock. 

" I am very busy indeed in cap and tippet 
manufacturing, and am so visited and muched 
here, you would suppose me something dropt 
from the skies." 

Again she writes playfully 

1 'Will you not, my dear Captain, be charmed 

* Burney MSS. 

Company at Brighthelmstone 

to hear that it is quite the ton [in this place] to 
be of your advice about my phiz and my figure ? 
O, it is comical to excess to see how the people's 
rage for something marvellous leads them to 
talk of me just as Edward has painted me ! His 
picture . . . ought to live at this place, where 
everybody would confess \\s justice. 


" The day after our first appearance at the 
Rooms . . . Mrs. Thrale came into my chamber 
and said, * I have a secret to tell you you know 
told you, you might set up for a Beauty when 
you fail as a Wit, and now it's done for you at 
once ; for Harry Cotton comes and tells me how 
all the men admired you at the Rooms.' ... I 
have good reason to believe . . . that the man 
of men here, Mr. Kaye himself, has led the way 
in this surprising discovery, for which I think he 
deserves a premium. 

337 z 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

" This much, dear Capitano, quite in private. 
I beg our secret may not transpire." * 

Edward Burney's " picture " of Fanny, alluded 
to in this letter, is the well-known portrait, an 
engraving of which prefixes her " Diary and 
Letters." When Edward was painting it at 
Chesington, in the summer of this same year 
(1782), Fanny wrote in an unpublished letter to 
Susan, " I believe if I am not underwritten no 
one would guess he ever saw me ; much less that 
I sat for the Picture called mine. Never was 
Portrait so violently flattered. I have taken pains 
incredible to make Edward magnify the features 
and darken the complexion, but he is impenetrable 
in action, though fair and docile in promise." 

But Edward Burney painted his cousin a 
second time, and this portrait seems to have 
been more like the real Fanny Burney than the 
other, especially as we see in it the likeness to 
her father.f The reader may, perhaps, re 
member that when Mrs. Montagu first made 
Fanny's acquaintance, she remarked, " I can 
see that Miss Burney is very like her father." 

It appears from an unpublished letter of 
Fanny's to her sister Susan, dated June 3Oth, 
1783, that a miniature likeness of her was also 
painted. " I sat for the last time [on Saturday] 

* Burney MSS. 

t This portrait is reproduced in "Juniper Hall." 


Company at Brighthelmstone 

to Mr. Boyle," she writes, "and my miniature is 
now improved into a flattered Picture. I don't 
know whether Mr. Boyle or his wife is most 
fond or most proud of it but I feel always 
teased by their having it and not my Susan." 

Among the various social gatherings in 
Brighthelmstone at which Fanny was present, 
she mentions, in an unpublished letter, one that 
took place on the i2th November at the house 
of a Lady de Ferrars. " Late in the evening," 
she writes, " the Morning Herald was brought 
in, just arrived from town. Lord de Ferrars 
. . . with a significant smile, whispered some 
thing to Mrs. Thrale, and put it into her hand. 
She took it, and Lady de Ferrars insisted upon 
her reading aloud. 

" I was then engaged in some tittle-tattle 
with Harriet Ellerker, and did not at first listen, 
I but what was my surprise to hear presently 
' Cecilia is a charming young woman'; and in a 
[few instants followed a speech in verse, supposed 
to be made by Miss Larolles ! I was quite 
petrified with astonishment. . . . The imitations 
were carried on to old Delville, Morrice, Lady 
|Honoria, and Mr. Meadows. I could not 
Imagine what they all meant, nor whence they 
I have since found they were in an 


Epilogue, written by Miles Andrews for Mrs. 
iHobart, to speak at a private play." 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

We find from an examination of the news 
papers of November i ith (1782), that these verses 
appeared in no less than five London papers. 
The play was " All in the Wrong," and it was 
performed at the house of the Honourable Mrs. 
Hobart, at Ham Common. We will give a few 
verses of this Epilogue : 

" Our mimic scene closed ; ere you rise to go home 
For a little small-talk, lady-like I am come. 

At the Opera assembled some smart Maccaroni 
Begins with some belle the gay conversazione : 

* Fore Gad, that Cecilia's a charming young woman ! 
Were you Miss Larolles at the play at Ham Common ? ' 
' Oh yes, to be sure ! You can't think how delightful, 
The men were so bad, and the women so frightful, 
Such a crowd, so much heat, and so little to drink, 
The time passed so pleasantly on you can't think.' 

' Can there be any pleasure, ma'am ? ' Meadows retorts, 
' From my heart I hate all amusements and sports.' 
' Dear, dear, now how odd ! when I vow and declare 
You sat picking your teeth all the time we were there.' 

* There where pick my teeth about what ? about when ? J 
Is it me you allude to ? indulge me agen. 3 " 

Fanny concludes the account of her evening's 
experiences by saying, " The verses were shown 
afterwards to Dr. Johnson, and when we got 
home, ' Ah/ said he, ' this is the She ! She fills 
the whole world ! a little rogue ! a World 
she is in herself, with her Harrels and her 

* Burney MSS. 

Company at Brighthelmstone 

In the mean time the Morning Herald had 
found its way to St. Martin's Street, and the 
Epilogue had been read with avidity there. Dr. 
Burney writes to Fanny : " It is a fresh testimony 
of Cecilia s notoriety and publicity among les gens 
comme il faut, as I never remember of any book 
so soon after publication . . . And so here's a 
second edition advertised to-day ; to be published 
with all possible expedition by which I conjecture 
that [the book] is now out of print." '* 

At the end of Dr. Burney's epistle there is a 
postscript written by Charlotte. 

" I have copied out the Epilogue for you," 
she says. " My dearest Father and I are both 
delighted to find how popular your Book is. 

" Sweet Pacchierotti was here yesterday. 
He talked of you as usual said he counted the 
moments till your return. . . . He read the 
Epilogue, and was much pleased with it. He 
said, ' Miss Fanny, her Book is quite in the 
fashion now. I hear of it continually ; its merit 
$uffs out wherever I go ! ' and then he congratu 
lated himself upon the expression 'puffs out' " f 

The harrowing scenes in the last volume of 
Cecilia seem to have tried the nervous suscepti 
bilities of the ladies nay, even of the gentlemen 
-of that day to a surprising extent. 

Lady Hales writes to Susan Phillips : 

* Burney MSS. t Ibid. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

" We have a quarrel against your wicked 
Sister who sends us into people's houses with our 
eyes swelled out of our heads with weeping for 
her lovely, her amiable Cecilia ! . . . Never sure 
was there a tale of woe more strongly wrought 
than that of the miserable Cecilia's delirium ! . . . 
What powers does your Sister possess thus to 
work upon the passions ! 

" Had any one come into the room [whilst we 
were reading the book] they would have been 
surprised. My children wept and sob'd aloud. 
My heart was bursting with agony ! and we all 
seemed in despair ! " 

Fanny writes from Brighton : " Miss Benson 
and Mrs. Hatsel called, . . . Miss Benson told 
me that [when reading] the last volume [she] 
cried and roared so vehemently that she could 
not make her appearance [in public] and was 
forced to give up going to the last Ball. 

"'But as to Mr. Hatsel' [said his wife], 'he 
is madder about [the book] than all of us, and 
especially the last volume ; he never takes it up 
but he is obliged to run out of the room, it affects 
him so much ; yet he is hardly ever at ease when 
it is out of his hand.' 

"'Miss Benson . . . said she thought I had 
taken ' a most unwarrantable liberty with every 
body's nerves, to write in such a manner ! ' 

"'. . . Ah, poor Miss Benson!' said Mrs. 

Company at Brighthelmstone 

Hatsel, 'she could hardly read two words fol 
lowing now a sentence, now a sob ; no wonder 
we could not get to the Ball.' " * 

Even the " learned ladies' " self-control suc 
cumbed to the tragic scenes in Cecilia. Mrs. 
Chapone's nerves, we are told, were so much 
shattered that she was deprived of sleep for a 
whole week ; while the Duchess of Portland and 
Mrs. Delany " thrice wept their way through the 
five volumes." Mrs. Montagu, it is true, was 
less discomposed, but even she had her share in 
the general commotion. " Miss Burney," she 
said, " has made me guilty of a negligence I never 
practised before ; I left all my bills and papers 
unexamined and never attended to any business 
while the book was unfinished." f 

During Mrs. Thrale's and her friends' sojourn 
at Brighton, Dr. Johnson seems to have been in 
an unusually irascible frame of mind. But what 
ever his behaviour was to others, he was invariably 
gentle and tender to his " little Burney." 

Fanny writes early in November to her 
father : 

"Our dear Dr. Johnson keeps his health 
amazingly, and with me his good humour; but 
to own the truth, with scarce anybody else. I 
am quite sorry to see how unmercifully he attacks 
and riots people. He has raised such a general 

* Burney MSS. t Ibid. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

alarm that he is now omitted in all cards of 
invitation sent to the rest of us. ... 

" Poor Mr. Pepys was so torn to pieces by 
him the other night, in a- party at home, that he 
suddenly seized his hat, and abruptly walked out 
of the room in the middle of the discourse. . . . 
Dr. Delap confesses himself afraid of coming as 
usual to the house ; and Mr. Selwyn, having 
yesterday declined meeting him at Mr. Hamilton's, 
ran away before his return home in the utmost 
terror of being severely reprimanded for this 

Boswell, as we know, often suffered in this 
way. On one occasion, he tells us, after he had 
experienced especially rough treatment, adminis 
tered in the presence of strangers, he remarked 
to Dr. Johnson, " I said to-day to Sir Joshua, 
when he observed that you tossed me sometimes, 
I don't care how often, or how high he tosses 
me, when only friends are present, for then I fall 
upon soft ground ; but I do not like falling on 
stones, which is the case when enemies are 
present. I think this is a pretty good image, 
Sir." Johnson : " Sir, it is one of the happiest I 
ever have heard." 

Dr. Johnson, conscious of his nervous irrita 
bility of temper, used sometimes, Mrs. Thrale 
tells us, to envy women their resource in the 

* Burney MSS. 

Company at Brighthelm stone 

peaceful occupation of needlework. " Needle 
work, that most effectual sedative, that grand 
soother and composer of woman's distress," as a 
graceful writer has termed it. "A man cannot 
hem a pocket-handkerchief," said a lady of quality 
to Johnson one day, " and so he runs mad and 
torments his family and friends/' 

" The expression," writes Mrs. Thrale, " struck 
the Doctor exceedingly, and when one acquaint 
ance grew troublesome, and another unhealthy, 
he used to quote [this] observation, 'A man cannot 
hem a pocket-handkerchief.' " * 

But his best friends, as we know, understood 
and loved him dearly, indeed, perhaps all the 
more for his possessing some failings common to 
humanity. " He has nothing of the bear," said 
Goldsmith, "but the skin." And Sir Joshua, in 
his " Essay on Johnson's Character," remarks of 
him, " To those that loved him not, as rough as 
winter ; to those who sought his love, as mild as 
summer;" quoting, with a slight variation, the 
well-known description of Cardinal Wolsey's 
character in " Henry VIII." 

Among the Burney MSS. there is a letter 
from the Due de Chartres, inviting Dr. Burney 
to meet Dr. Johnson at dinner on a certain 
Sunday "between three and four o'clock," which, 
the writer says, " is the hour most convenient to 

* Piozzi Anecdotes. 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

the excellent old Doctor, the best piece of man, 
indeed, that the Duke ever saw." 

Mrs. Thrale and her special coterie were foncl 
of making impromptu translations of any little 
French poem that took their fancy. 

" Some one in company," she writes, "com 
mended the verses of M. de Benserade, ' a son 

" ' Theatre des ris et des pleurs, 
Lit ! ou je nais, et ou je meurs, 
Tu nous fait voir comment voisins 
Sont nos plaisirs et nos chagrins.' 

"To which Johnson replied without hesi 

" ' In bed we laugh, in bed we cry, 
And born in bed, in bed we die ; 
The near approach a bed may shew 
Of human bliss to human woe.' 

" We had got a little French print among us 
at Brighthelmstone," she says, "of some people 
skating, with these lines written under : 

" ' Sur un mince chrystal Phyver conduit leurs pas, 

Le precipice est sous la glace ; 
Telle est de nos plaisirs la l^gere surface, 
Glissez, mortels ; n'appuyez pas.' 

" I begged translations from everybody : Dr. 
Johnson gave me this : 

" ' O'er ice the rapid skater flies, 

With sport above and death below ; 
Where mischief lurks in gay disguise 
Thus lightly touch and quickly go.' " 



ON leaving Brighthelmstone early in December 
(1782), Fanny Burney returned to London and 
was settled once more in St. Martin's Street. 

The ovations to her upon the success of 
Cecilia continued in full force. The book had 
obtained a wide popularity a popularity which 
soon extended even beyond our own shores. 
When ten years later Fanny came into connection 
with the French Emigres, among whom were 
Talleyrand, Madame de Stael, and the Due de 
Liancourt, she found, to her surprise, that they 
> knew her story by heart, and heard herself 
addressed by them by the name of " Cecilia " ! 
She then learnt, with special pleasure, that the 
great and good Lafayette had found a solace, 
during his dreary prison life, in her works. " To 
the universal admiration for Miss Burney," he 
writes, on his release from captivity, " I add a 
homage which is based on personal gratitude. 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

Her writings alone had the power to make me 
occasionally forget my fate." 

Among the Burney relics is a small German 
pocket-calendar for the year 1789, which contains 
passages from Cecilia translated into German, 
together with several illustrations of scenes in 
that novel. 

Fanny, however, as we have seen, was happily 
unspoilt by success. " There is," writes Macaulay, 
" abundant proof that she enjoyed with an intense, 
though a troubled joy, the honours which her 
genius had won ; but it is equally clear that her 
happiness sprang from the happiness of her father, 
her sister [Susan], and her dear Daddy Crisp. . . . 
If she recorded with minute diligence all the 
compliments delicate and coarse which she heard 
wherever she turned, she recorded them for the 
eyes of two or three persons who had loved her 
from infancy . . . and to whom her fame gave the 
purest and most exquisite delight." 

Among the Burney MSS. there is a letter 
from Crisp to Fanny, written a few months after 
the publication of Evelina, in which he says that 
nothing will satisfy him but "a minute Journal 
d'ye see nothing less send all ; don't be 
maidenly and modest on this occasion. Remember 
Pope, don't blush ; and as I know already, in 
general, the honours you have received sure 
you need not be shy about the particulars." 



Besides the homage paid to her as a writer, 
Fanny received homage of a more tender 
description in her private life ; upon which light 
is thrown in the unpublished letters now in 
our hands. Among her admirers one who 
worshipped her as a being far out of his reach 
was the gentle Pacchierotti. "One day," she 
writes, "he said 'he hoped for the sake of the 
Public I should never marry, as, if I kept single, 
I should be the first genius in England ! ' I 
promised him there was little danger of my 
taking that road to quarrel with the Public ! " 

As the time of his departure from England 
approached, he grew more and more melancholy, 
we are told, and when spending his last evening 
in St. Martin's Street, he threw aside his customary 
reserve and confessed to Fanny his partiality, 
declaring " that in some other situation it might 
have made the whole blessing of his life ! " 
" Poor, sweet Pacchierotti ! " she exclaims, in a 
letter to Susan. " What a strange world is this ! " 

Before parting with our friend Pacchierotti, 
we should like to say that his career was evidently 
uninjured by his hopeless attachment to Fanny 
Burney ; indeed, it may possibly have been 
ennobled by it. His gentle and modest disposition, 
in the midst of the excitement of public applause, 
was conspicuous, it seems, throughout his life, 
and when he died, at an advanced age, his last 


The House in St. Martin's Street 

words were a prayer to God " to be admitted to 
one of the humblest choirs in heaven." 

After reading Fanny's words about the im 
probability of her ever marrying, it is pleasant to 
reflect that a singularly happy marriage awaited 
her in the future. It is true that a period of trial 
and of separation from those she loved was to 
intervene during her life at Court, but in the 
society of her husband, the good Chevalier 
d'Arblay, and of her little son Alex, all those trials 
were forgotten, as were also the splendours of a 
palace, for in their sweet cottage home at Book- 
ham they found 

"room for heart expansion 
And peace and joy to dwell." 

Crisp did not live to know that the joys of 
married life were in store for his Pannikin ; but 
in one of his letters he says to her : 

" When you come to be old ... then live upon 
remembrance, and think that you have had your 
share of the good things of this world and say, 
' For what I have received the Lord make me 
thankful ! ' " 

And now for a word or two about the other 
members of the family. 

Charlotte was happily married in 1786 to 
a Mr. Clement Francis (Private Secretary to 
Warren Hastings). He had read Evelina with 
delight in India, and came over to England 



hoping to make its authoress his wife ; but his 
plans were changed by his meeting and falling in 
love with her sister instead ! 

By this time both James and Charles were 
also married. 

Many changes were thus gradually taking 
place in the household in St. Martin's Street 
changes in outward circumstances, but the love 
which bound the family together remained un 
changed. Their mutual affection, as well as 
" their integrity and high principles, shine out in 
every page of their diaries and letters." This is 
still further manifested in the great mass of 
material forming the Burney MSS. 

"Tis a sweet family!" cries Mrs. Thrale, 
one day ; and Pacchierotti rejoins, " Sense and 
wit inhabit here ; sensibility has taken up her 
abode in this house ! " 


Let us take a last glance at the home of the 
Burney family as it was in their day. We enter 
the drawing-room. There are its three lofty 
windows overlooking St. Martin's Street, and 
there is its carved chimney-piece around which 
the Burneys and their friends so often sat and 
talked, and where the words of Garrick and of 
Sir Joshua Reynolds and of the great Dr. Johnson 
were heard. And there, opening out of the 
drawing-room, is the library, or music-room, with 

The House in St. Martin's Street 

the two harpsichords upon which Hetty and her 
husband played their brilliant duets ; and where 
the soul-stirring tones of Pacchierotti's voice were 
so often heard. 

As we turn away we catch a glimpse of Dr. 
Burney's study. 

And now we are descending the wide oaken 
staircase, and it seems as if the strains of music 
were following us. We pause for a moment on 
the threshold, and then, as we pass into the outer 
world, the door of the house in St. Martin's 
Street closes behind us. 


Academy, Royal, its exhibition 
of 1780, p. 231-5 

Agujari, Signora (called "la 
Bastardini "), her visit in St. 
Martin's Street, her appear 
ance and character, p. 15-17 ; 
her singing described by 
Fanny Burney, Mozart's 
testimony, p. 17-21; her voice 
compared with Gabrielli's, 
heated discussions, p. 23-4, 

America, disastrous war in, p. 

Anstey, Christopher (author of 
the Bath Guide), p. 217 

Arblay, d'Chevalier, p. 350 


Balloon (Mongolfier's), ascent 
of, verses on, p. 194-6 

Bach, J. C. (called "English 
Bach"), son of Johann Sebas 
tian Bach, p. 60 

Banks, Mr. (afterwards Sir 
Joseph), in St. Martin's Street, 
p. 9 

Barborne Lodge (near Worces 
ter), home of Mr. Richard 
Burney and family, acting at, 
p. 75-86 

Baretti, Guiseppe, experiences 

during Gordon Riots, p. 259 ; 
in St. Martin's Street, Dr. 
Johnson's words about him, 
p. 292 

Barlow, Mr. Thomas, meets 
Fanny Burney, his love- 
letters, his calls in St. 
Martin's Street, his persistent 
suit, p. 48-56 

Barry, James, R.A., his dis 
cussions with Mrs. Burney, 
p. 5 ; in St. Martin's Street, 
p. 298-9 

Bath, Fanny Burney's and the 
Thrales' visit to, in 1780, p. 
210-18; "Dressed Balls," p. 

Bath Easton Villa, Fanny Bur 
ney's visit to, lines on " The 
Closing of the Vase," p. 251-3 
Berkeley, Lord, "a Berkeley 

ball," p. 92-4 
Berkeley, Honble. George, p. 

Bertoni, Signer (Italian 

musician), p. 235-6, p. 270 
Blue-stocking Club, origin of 
name, its founder Mrs. Vesey, 
p. 306-8 
Boone, Mr. Charles, his opinion 

of Gabrielli's singing, p. 27 
Boswell, James, meets Fanny 
Burney at Streatham, anec 
dote of, p. 129-30 ; meets 
Charlotte Burney at the 


2 A 


Hooles', his bon-mot, p. 314- 
16 ; rough treatment from 
Dr. Johnson, p. 344 
Botelar, Captain, anecdote of, 
during threatened invasion, 

P- 173 
Bouchier, Captain, meets Fanny 

Burney in Bath, p. 248 
Bouchier, Governor, described 

by Charlotte Burney and by 

Boswell, p. 314-15 
Brighthelmstone, Fanny Bur- 

ney's visit to, in 1782 ; its 

Assembly Rooms, p. 335-6 
Brooke, Mrs., her tragedy, p. 

Bruce, James (traveller), his 

contribution to the " History 

of Music," his visit to St. 

Martin's Street, "the tallest 

of men," p. 32-7, p. 235 
Brudenal, Mr., p. 27 
Brudenal, Mrs., her opinion 

upon Gabrielli's singing, p. 27 
Brun, Madame le, her cold 

manner of singing, p. 228 ; 

her portrait by Gainsborough, 


Burke, Edmund, his praise of 
Evelina, p. 143-4 5 attacked 
by rioters, p. 259 ; his house 
in danger, p. 271 ; his letter 
to Fanny Burney in praise of 
Cecilia, p. 333-4 

Burke, Richard, his experiences 
during Gordon Riots, p. 267-8 

Burney, Anna Maria (Nancy), 
eldest child of Mr. and Mrs. 
Charles Rousseau Burney, 
acts in "Tom Thumb," p. 
76-9, p. 83-6 

Burney, Miss Anne (sister of 
Dr. Burney), p. 51 

Burney, Dr. Charles, moves 
into the house in St. Martin's 
Street, p. i, p. 3 ; Dr. John 
son's affection for him, p. 5 ; 
his family described, p. 6 ; 
receives Omai, p. 9, p. 13; 
receives Agujari, p. 16 ; Ga 
brielli's singing, p. 23-4 ; Ga 
brielli's singing and Agujari's 
compared, p. 26-7 ; his 
"History of Music" contri 
bution from James Bruce, 
visit from James Bruce, p. 
32-3 ; from Prince Orloff, p. 
38 ; his daughter Fanny Bur 
ney 's suitor, Mr. Barlow, p. 
5 r > P- 55~6 ; Dr. Johnson and 
Mrs. Thrale at his house, p. 
57-60 ; admiration of Eve- 
tma,p. 110-15 5 Dr. Johnson's 
praise of book, divulges secret 
of authorship to Crisp, p. 1 16- 
19 ; takes F. B. to Streatham, 
p. 121 -2 ; at gathering in Sir 
Joshua Reynolds' house, p. : 
137 ; at Mrs. Cholmondeley's 
house, at Sir Joshua's house 
on Richmond Hill, meets 
Edmund Burke, p. 142-4 ; 
reads " Witlings " to Chesing- 
ton household, his adverse 
judgment, F. B's. letter, p. j 
149-53 ; unpublished letters 
from Mrs. Thrale to, p. 
187-92 ; intercourse with 
Pacchierotti, his singing, p. 
199-203 ; Mrs. Thrale's un 
published letters from Bath, 
p. 213-16 ; Pacchierotti's 
singing, p. 228 ; experiences 
during Gordon Riots, p. 266- 
7, p. 273-4 ; a musical gather 
ing at his house, p. 287-8 ; 



anxious for F. J3. to continue 
her literary work, p. 329-30, 
p. 331 ; Burke's praise of 
Cecilia, p. 334 ; Epilogue 
upon Cecilia, p. 341 ; p. 345 

Burney, Mrs. (formerly Mrs. 
Allen), p. 5-6 ; publication of 
Evelina, p. 108-9 > nrst read 
ing of Evelina, p. 113-15 ; 
fear of rioters, p. 265 ; excels 
in conversation, her argu 
ments with James Barry, p. 

Burney, Charles, Jun. (after 
wards Dr.), riegociates publi 
cation of Evelina, p. 100, p. 
102, p. 104, p. 106-7 5 his 
marriage, p. 351 

Burney, ^Charles Rousseau, his 
musical power, p. 3 ; married 
his cousin Esther Burney, p. 
6 ; at the harpsichord, p. 
17-18 ; does not admire Ga- 
brielli's singing, p. 23-4 ; 
brilliant executant, " Muthel's 
Duet," p. 31-2 ; ditto, p. 37, 
p. 71, p. 76 ; experiences dur 
ing Gordon Riots, p. 258-9, 
p. 266 ; plays in concert in St. 
Martin's Street, p. 287-8 ; p. 

Burney, Charlotte Ann, p. 6, 9 ; 
meets Garrick at theatre and 
in St. Martin's Street, p. 66- 
71 ; meeting of wits in St. 
Martin's Street, p. 71-4; p. 
109; p. 115; hears "Wit 
lings" read at Chesington, 
p. 149-51 ; p. 205 ; Edward 
Burney's sketches of scenes 
in Evelina, p. 229, p. 232 ; 
experiences during Gordon 
Riots, p. 254, p. 272, p. 280 ; 

family meeting in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 285, p. 289 ; her 
unpublished Journals, inter 
course with the Hoole family, 
Mr. Poor, Dr. Johnson, Mrs. 
Williams, Baron Dimsdale, 
etc., p. 300-6; "new name 
for wits Blue-stocking Club," 
p. 306 ; approves of " learned 
ladies," p. 309; Captain 
Phillips, Mr. Seward, nick 
name for Gibbon, James 
Northcote, Boswell, his bon- 
mot, p. 310-16 ; writes of 
Cecilia } s success, p. 341 ; her 
marriage in 1786 to Clement 
Francis, p. 350-1 

Burney, Edward Francis 
(painter), acts in "Way to 
keep him" and "Tom 
Thumb," p. 79-86, p. 93 ; 
negociates publication of 
Evelina, p. 107 ; his sketches 
of scenes in Evelina, p. 112- 
13; sketches in Royal 
Academy Exhibition (1780), 
p. 229-30, p. 232 ; experiences 
during Gordon Riots, p. 259 ; 
his two portraits of Fanny 
Burney, p. 337-8 

Burney, Elizabeth (Betsy), acts 
in " Way to keep him " and 
" Tom Thumb," p. 77-86 ; at 
Dr. Wall's house, p. 91-2, 

P- 95 

Burney, Esther (Hetty), her 
performance on harpsichord, 
p. 3 ; married her cousin 
Charles Rousseau Burney, 
p. 6 ; p. 14 ; prefers Agujari's 
singing to Gabrielli's, p. 23-4, 
p. 27 ; her performance of 
"Muthel's Duet," p. 31-2, p. 



37 ; advocates Mr. Barlow's 
suit to her sister Fanny, p. 5 1 ; 
meets Dr. Johnson, p. 57-60, 
p. 71 ; p. 76 ; p. 85 ; at Ches- 
ington, p. 182; experiences 
during Gordon Riots, p. 
258-9, p. 266 ; family meeting 
in St. Martin's Street, p. 285 ; 
p. 287 ; death of one of her 
children, p. 327-8 ; p. 352 
Burney, Frances (Fanny), she 
describes the house in St. 
Martin's Street, p. I ; visit 
from Garrick, p. 4-5 ; her 
correspondence with Crisp 
begun, p. 7-8 ; Omai's visit, 
contrasts his character with 
Mr. Stanhope's, anecdote of 
Omai and Duchess of Devon 
shire, p. 8-14 ; Agujari in St. 
Martin's Street, p. 15-17 ; her 
singing, p. 17-21 ; Gabrielli's 
singing and caprices, p. 22-3 ; 
claims of rival singers dis 
cussed, p. 25-9 ; a concert in 
St. Martin's Street, p. 30-2 ; 
visit from James Bruce, p. 
32-7 ; anecdote of Comte de 
Guignes, p. 38-9 ; visit from 
Garrick, his mimicry, "Abel 
Drugger," p. 40-2 ; Mrs. Gar 
rick, Garrick in "Richard 
III.," p. 44-6; meets Mr. 
Barlow, his love letters to 
her, her annoyance, affair de 
scribed in unpublished letter 
to Crisp, Mr. Barlow dis 
missed, p. 49-56 ; first sight 
of Dr. Johnson and of Mrs. 
Thrale, p. 57-65 ; acts in 
" Way to keep him " and 
"Tom Thumb," p. 75-86: at 
Dr. Wall's, festivities, p. 87- 

96 ; early passion for writing, 
composition of Evelina, un 
published correspondence 
with Lowndes, publication of 
book, p. 97-109; Evelinas 
early success, her father's ap 
proval of book, Mrs. Burney's 
interest, well reviewed by 
press, p. 110-15; Dr. John 
son's approbation, Mrs. 
Thrale's delight, secret of 
authorship divulged to Mr. J. 
Crisp, p. 116-20; first visit to j 
Streatham, p. 121-5 5 Dr. 
Johnson's praise of Evelina, \ 
meets James Boswell and Mrs. 
Montagu, Evelina's popu 
larity, p. 125-6 ; Sir Joshua | 
Reynolds', and Sheridan's 
advice to write a play, p. \ 
1 37-43; Burke's praise of 
Evelina, p. 143-4 ; advised by j 
Murphy to write a comedy, ; 
Crisp's warning letter, writes '. 
"Witlings," adverse verdict j 
of Dr. Burney and Crisp, i 
withdraws her play, p. 145- 
54 ; scene from " Witlings," 
p. 1 54-67 ; her affection for 
Crisp, p. 178-81 ; intercourse 
with Pacchierotti, p. 199, p.J 
203 ; departure with Thrales 
for Bath, p. 203-5 ; at De 
vizes, sees future Sir Thomas 
Lawrence, p. 206-10 ; arrival 
in Bath, house in South 
Parade, p. 210-13 ; at Mr. 
Tyson's election as M.C. for 
Lower Rooms, p. 214 ; writes 
of Bath society, Evelina 
talked of, Lord Mulgrave's 
wit, Mrs. Thrale's wit, p. 
216-18 ; Edward Burney's 



sketches of scenes in Evelina, 
sees them in R.A. Exhibition 
(1780), p. 229-32 ; returns to 
Bath, p. 236-7 ; letter from 
Pacchierotti, p. 238-41 ; Bath 
festivities, visits Bath Easton 
Villa, p. 241-52 ; hears of 
Riots in London, outrages in 
Bath, quits Bath, at Salisbury 
and Southampton, p. 275-82 ; 
family meeting in St. Martin's 
Street, at Chesington, James 
Burney's promotion, p. 285-6 ; 
her unpublished letters on her 
sister Susan's engagement to 
be married to Captain Phillips, 
writing Cecilia at Chesington, 
Susan's marriage, visits her 
and Captain Phillips at 
Ipswich, p. 318-24; interrup 
tions to progress of Cecilia, 
ill-health, visit at Chesington, 
P- 3 2 5~3 returns home, 
publication of Cecilia, Dr. 
Johnson's and Burke's praise 
of book, p. 330-4 ; visit to 
Brighthelmstone, unpublished 
letters from, her portrait by 
Edward Burney, her minia 
ture, p. 335-9 ; a Cecilia Epi 
logue in Morning Herald, 
P- 339-4 1 5 sensation caused 
by scenes in Cecilia, p. 341-3 ; 
Dr. Johnson's irascibility, p. 
143-4 ; returns to London, Ceci 
lia's popularity on the Conti 
nent, Lafayette's words, Ma- 
caulay's appreciation, Crisp's 
words, p. 347-8 ; Pacchie- 
rotti's attachment to her, p. 
349-50 ; marries theChevelier 
d'Arblay, Crisp's words, p. 350 
Jurney, Hannah (daughter of 

Richard Burney of Worcester), 
p. 83 

Burney, Captain James (after 
wards Rear- Admiral), p. 6 ; 
brings Omai to St. Martin's 
Street, p. 8-13 ; his promo 
tion, 191-2 ; appointed to 
command of Latona, p. 
285-6 ; introduces Captain 
Phillips to his family, served 
under Captain Cook, p. 317 ; 


Burney, James (son of Richard 
Burney of Worcester), acts 
in " Way to keep him " and 
" Tom Thumb," p. 77-86 ; at 
Dr. Wall's house, p. 89, p. 95 

Burney, Rebecca (sister of Dr. 
Burney), p. 5 1 

Burney, Rebecca (Becky), 
daughter of Richard Burney 
of Worcester, acts in " Way 
to keep him" and "Tom 
Thumb," p. 77-86 

Burney, Richard (of Worcester), 
elder brother of Dr. Burney, 
at his house Barborne Lodge, 
p. 75-86 

Burney, Richard, Junr., acts in 
" Way to keep him " and 
" Tom Thumb," p. 77-84 ; at 
Dr. Wall's house, p. 89-90, 
p. 95-6 

Burney, Richard (Dick), little 
son of Dr. and Mrs. Burney, 
p. 6 ; p. 193 

Burney, Susan, p. 6 ; p. 9 ; Agu- 
jari's and Gabrielli's singing, 
p. 23, 27-8 ; sees Dr. Johnson 
first time, p. 57~9 ; meets 
Garrick at theatre, p. 66-9 ; 
p. 109 ; her letters on Eve 
lina's success, p. 1 10-12, p. 



114-17; reading of "Wit 
lings," at Chesington, p. 149- 
51 ; fear of invasion (1779), 
p. 1 68 ; music at Chesington, j 
p. 182-3 >' her unpublished 
Journals, describes gathering 
in Opera House, Pacchie- 
rotti's singing, p. 179-202 ; 
at the Pantheon, Fischer 
and Cramer, Pacchierotti, p. 
202-5 5 Dr. Johnson and Mrs. 
Williams in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 219-21 ; intercourse 
with Lady Clarges, p. 221- 
4 ; Pacchierotti and Sheridan, 
p. 224-6 ; variety in Pacchie- 
rotti's singing, p. 226-8 ; 
describes in unpublished 
journals outrages during Gor 
don Riots (1780), witnesses 
incendiary fires, p. 254~6o, 
p. 263-4 ; Burneys' house in 
danger, valuables removed, 
p. 265-7 ; Pacchierotti, ar 
rival of good news, fear at an 
end, p. 269-74 ; hears of 
riots in Bath, p. 278-9; family 
meeting in St. Martin's Street, 
p. 285 ; social intercourse 
described in unpublished 
journals, a concert, Pacchie 
rotti, Cramer, etc., p. 287-91 ; 
Baretti, Fulke Greville, Mer 
lin, Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, etc., p. 292-5 ; 
Barry, p. 298-9 ; engaged to 
be married to Captain Moles- 
worth Phillips, her marriage 
(1782), goes to live at Ipswich, 
p. 318-24 

Burney, Thomas (Tom), acts in 
" Way to keep him " and 
" Tom Thumb," p. 79-86 

Byron, Mrs. (wife of Admiral 
Byron), p. 174; in Bath, p. 
217, p. 243, p. 246 

Byron, Augusta, at Ball in Bath, 
p. 246 

Carter, Elizabeth (translator of 
Epictetus), meets Fanny 
Burney in Bath, p. 243-5 

Carysfort, Lady, p. 138 

Cecilia, novel of, characters in, 
p. 29, p. 74, p. 295-6, p. 320 ; 
book begun in 1780, p. 325 ; 
interruptions to progress, 
original MS., p. 329-30 ; its 
publication (1782) by Payne 
and Cadell, causes great sen 
sation, praised by Dr. John 
son and Burke, p. 331-4 ; its 
extraordinary popularity, p. 
335> P- 339-43J popularity 
abroad, p. 347-8 

Chamier, Anthony, admires 
Gabrielli's singing, p. 27-9 

Chapone, Mrs., emotion on read 
ing Cecilia, p. 343 

Chartres, Due de, words about 
Dr. Johnson, p. 345-6 

Chesington Hall (home of Mr. 
Crisp), p. 7 ; Fanny Burney's 
visit at, p. 75 ; writes part of I 
Evelina there, hears of Eve- \ 
Una's early success while 
there, Dr. Burney's visit, p. 
110-13, p. 119; MS. of 
"Witlings "-read at, p. 149- 
51 ; " Liberty Hall," p. 177- 
9 ; Captain and Mrs. Phillips 
at, p. 324 ; F. B. writing 
Cecilia there, p. 320, p. 329-30 

Chester, Mr. William, p. 93-4 



Cholmondeley, Mrs. (sometimes 
Chol'mly), her admiration of 
Evelina, p. 116-17; meets 
Fanny Burney, p. 141-2 

Clarges, Sir Thomas, p. 221 

Clarges, Lady, p. 199 ; accom 
plished musician, her portrait 
by Gainsborough, her letters 
to Susan Burney, p. 221-4 

Clarke, Sir Philip Jennings, 
p. 192-3 ; experiences during 
Gordon Riots, p. 279-80 

Colla, Signor, p. 15-17 

Cook, Captain James (navi 
gator), p. 191 ; James Burney 
and Molesworth Phillips serve 
under him, his murder by 
natives of Owhyhee, p. 317 

Cooke, Kitty, lives at Chesing- 
ton Hall, p. 119; hears 
" Witlings " read aloud, p. 
149 ; p. 183, 184 ; p. 285-6 ; 

P- 329 

Coussmaker, Captain, p. 78, p. 
89, p. 92, p. 95 

Coussmaker, Miss, Dr. Burney 
reads Evelina to, p. 1 1 1 

Cowper, William, calls Omai 
" the gentle savage," p. 8 ; his 
lines on the burning of Lord 
Mansfield's library, p. 260 

Cramer, Wilhelm (musical com 
poser), p. 203 ; in St. Martin's 
Street, his incomparable play 
ing on harpsichord, p. 287-9 

Crewe, Mrs., in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 71 

Crisp, Samuel, friend and ad 
viser of Burney family, his 
correspondence with Fanny 
Burney, p. 6-8 ; his judgment 
on singing of Agujari and 
Gabrielli, p. 23-4 ; letter on 

Mr. Barlow's suit to F. B., p. 
$f-2 ; her reply, p. 54-5 ; 
letter upon Johnson and Gar- 
rick, p. 64-5 ; secret of author 
ship of Evelina divulged to 
him, p. 118-20; his words 
on value of F. B's. Journals, 
p. 144; "Witlings," his ad 
verse verdict on, F. F's. letter, 
p. 146-53 ; fear of invasion, p. 
168-9 his affection for F. B., 
p. 180-2 ; " his exquisite taste 
in Fine Arts," p. 182-3 J re 
ceives visits from Mr. and 
Mrs. Thrale, visits Streatham, 
p. 183-6, p. 285 ; receives 
visit from Captain Phillips, 
p. 319-20 ; Captain and Mrs. 
Phillips at Chesington, p. 
324 ; letter on division of 
F. B's. affections, p. 327 ; 
F. B's. visit to Chesington, 
p. 328-30 ; his approval of 
Cecilia, p. 333 ; his words to 
F. B. on her success in life, 

P- 348, p. 350 
Crutchley, Mr. J., p. 192-3 


Davenant, Mr., p. 74 

Davis, Mr. H., at Gloucester, 
p. 92-4 

Deffand, Mme. la Marquise du, 
anecdote of, p. 312 

Deiden, Baron (Danish Am 
bassador), in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 30 

Deiden, Baroness, in St. Mar 
tin's Street, her performance 
on harpsichord, p. 30-2 

Delany, Mrs., emotion on read 
ing Cecilia, p. 343 



Delap, Dr., p. 344 
Devonshire, Georgiana,Duchess 

of, anecdote of, p. 14 
Dickinson, Miss, p. 49 
Dimsdale, Baron, at the Hoole's 

house, p. 305 
Dodsley, Mr. (bookseller of Pall 

Mall), declines to publish 

Evelina, p. 99-100 
Duncan, Lady Mary, interest in 

Pacchierotti, p. 224 

Edgecumbe, Lord (Mount), 
anecdote of, during fear of 
invasion, p. 173-4 

Edgecumbe, Emma Lady, in 
St. Martin's Street, p. 26-7 ; 
at the Opera House, p. 119 

Evelina, Novel of, its composi 
tion and publication, unpub 
lished correspondence with 
Lowndes, p. 97-109 ; Dr. 
Burney's interest in book, p. 
110-15; we H reviewed, Dr. 
Johnson's approbation, p. 
115-19, p. 123-36 ; "Long 
Room at Hampstead," p. 
126-9; Burke's praise of book, 
p. 143; "Long Room," p. 
182; "all Bath mad after," 
p. 217 ; Edward Burney's 
sketches of scenes in, p. 
229-30, p. 232 

Fielding, Justice, house burnt 
by rioters, p. 259 

Fischer, Johann Christian (haut- 
bois player), p. 203 ; his por 
trait by Gainsborough, p. 233 

Francis, Clement, marries Char 
lotte Burney, p. 350-1 

Franklin, Dr., his chapel in 
Great Queen's Street, anec 
dote of, p. 303 

Gabrielli, Signora, p. 16-17 ; 

her caprice, p. 21 ; singing 

compared with Agujari's, 

Garrick's opinion, p. 22-5 ; 

discussions on, p. 26-9 
Gainsborough, Thomas, his 

portrait of Lady Clarges, p. 

222 ; his pictures in R.A. 

Exhibition of 1780, p. 233-4 
Gardiner, W. (painter), p. 312- 


Garrick, David, friend of Burney 
family, p. 4-5 ; unpublished 
letter on Gabrielli's singing, 
p. 24-5 ; in St. Martin's Street, 
his mimicry, power of chang 
ing countenance, p. 40-3 ; 
fondness for children, his 
11 piercing eyes," p. 43-4 ; in 
character of Richard III., 
Hogarth's words, Pope's 
words, p. 45-6 ; Dr. Johnson's 
criticism of his character, p. 
61-4 ; intercourse with Bur- 
neys, p. 66-71, p. 210 

Garrick, Mrs., p. 4; manners 
"all elegance," affection for 
Dr. Burney, p. 44-5 

Gast, Mrs. (sister of Mr. Crisp), 
hears " Witlings " read aloud, 
p. 149-50; p. 183; writes of 
Evelina, p. 216-7 

George III., p. 10, p. 13 ; p. 62 

Gibbon, Edward (historian), 
anecdote of, p. 312 



Gillies, Dr., p. 205 ; experiences 

during Gordon Riots, p. 259 
Goldsmith, Oliver, his lines upon 

Garrick, p. 63 
Gordon, Lord George, his "no 

Popery " riots, p. 254-74 ; 

riots in Bath, p. 275-9 J i n 

London, is sent to the Tower, 

p. 274, p. 281 
Greville, Fulke, in St. Martin's 

Street, p. 71, 73-4; p. 220, 

p. 292-4 

Greville, Mrs., p. 71-2 
Guignes, M. le Comte de (French 

Ambassador), anecdote of, p. 



Hales, Lady, Dr. Burney reads 
Evelina to, p. in ; p. 199; 
p. 259 ; emotion on reading 
Cecilia, p. 342 

Hamilton, Mrs., lives at Chesing- 
ton Hall, p. 119 ; hears 
"Witlings" read aloud, p. 149 ; 
p. 184; p. 285 ; p. 329 

Hardy, Sir Charles, Admiral of 
Channel Fleet at period of 
threatened invasion, p. 169-76 

Harris, Mr. James (author of 
Three Treatises on Music, 
Poetry and Happiness), p. 
30-2 ; p. 199 ; in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 220, p. 221 

Harris, Miss Louisa, her singing, 

P. 31 

Hawkins, Miss Laetitia, de 
scribes Dr. Johnson's appear 
ance, also Mrs. Williams' 
appearance, p. 219-20 

Hayes, Mr., in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 9-13 

Hobart, Honble. Mrs., recites 
Cecilia Epilogue, p. 339-40 

Hoole, John (translator of Meta- 
stasio), intercourse with Bur 
ney family, post in India 
House, literary work, friend of 
Dr. Johnson, gatherings at his 
house described by Charlotte 
Burney, p. 301-6, p. 313-16 

Hoole, Mrs. John, intercourse 
with Burney family, gather 
ings at her house described 
by Charlotte Burney, p. 301- 
6 P- 3i3-i6 

Horneck, Mrs., her admiration 
of Evelina^ p. 138 

House in St. Martin's Street, 
Burney family move into, 
p. i ; described, p. 6 ; ditto, 
p. 197-8; ditto, p. 351-2 

Humphrys, Miss (sister-in-law 
of Richard Burney of Wor 
cester), p. 79, p, 83 

Hyde, Justice, his house sacked 
by rioters, p. 256-60 


Invasion, attempted by French 
and Spanish Fleets, con 
temporary accounts of, p. 


Jebb, Sir Richard, his medical 
treatment of Fanny Burney, 
p. 328 

Jerningham, Edward, (poet) in 
Bath, p. 215-16 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, praise of 
Dr. Burney, p. 5 ; first visit 
in St. Martin's Street, his 
appearance, his conversation, 


criticism of Garrick, p. 57-64 ; 
at gathering in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 71-4 ; interest in 
Evelina, p. 116-18; meets 
Fanny Burney at Streatham, 
his praise of Evelina, talk 
about characters in book, p. 
123-33 J his observance of 
ladies' dress, anecdote of, p. 
134-6 ; approves of F. B. 
writing a play, p. 145, p. 148 ; 
praise of Mr. Crisp's powers 
of mind, p. 185 ; ditto of Mrs. 
Thrale's wit, p. 187 ; p. 188 ; 
p. 190 ; affection for Burney 
family, p. 192, p. 193 ', in St. 
Martin's Street, appearance 
described by Miss L. 
Hawkins, p. 219-21 ; in 
terested in canvass for Mr. 
Thrales' election as M.P. for 
Borough, p. 229-30, p. 232 ; 
with Mrs. Thrale and F. B. 
in Borough, p. 236-7 ; letter 
to Mrs. Thrale, p. 251 ; 
experiences during Gordon 
Riots, p. 255-6, p. 267, p. 272, 
p, 274 ; words about Baretti, 
p. 292 ; in St. Martin's Street, 
anecdote of Mrs. Reynolds, 
p. 294-5 ; his portraits by 
Nollekens, p. 296-7 ; friend 
ship for John Hoole, p. 301 ; 
at the Hoole's house, p. 305, 
p. 314 ; praise of Cecilia, 
332-4 ; at Brighthelmstone, 
P- 335 J admiration of charac- 

ters in Cecilia, p. 340 ; his 
irascible temper, gentleness 
to friends, his translation of 
French verses, p. 343-6 

Jones, Mr., Welsh harper, p. 


Kaufmann, Angelica, her pic 
tures in R.A. Exhibition of 
1780, p. 233-4 

King, Dr., p. 26, p. 38 

Lafayette, General, tribute of 
praise to Fanny Burney's 
works, p. 347-8 

Lawrence, Thomas (afterwards 
Sir Thomas), at Devizes, p. 

Liancourt, Due de, p. 347 
Lock, William, p. 199 
Lock, Mrs. William, p. 199 
Lowndes, Thomas (bookseller, 
Fleet Street), unpublished 
letters concerning Evelina, 
p. 100-8 ; success of Evelina, 
p. 117 


Mansfield, Lord (William 
Murray), destruction of his 
house and library by rioters, 
p. 259-60; his country house 
(Caen Wood) saved from 
destruction by host of the 
" Spaniards Inn," p. 260-1 

Maty, Dr., introduces Agujari 
to the Burneys, p. 15, p. 16 

Merlin, John Joseph, ingenious 
French mechanician, p. 30 ; 
in St. Martin's Street, p. 

Miller, Sir John (of Bath 
Easton Villa), p. 252 

Miller, Lady (of Bath Easton 
Villa), p. 251-3 

Montagu, Mrs. (Elizabeth), 



meets Fanny Burney at 
Streatham, interest in Eve 
lina, p. 130-4; hopes F. B. 
will write a play, p. 146, p. 
147 j in Bath, p. 218, p. 247 ; 
"Queen of the Blues," p. 
308-9, p. 338 ; interest in 
Cecilia, p. 343 

More, Hannah, p. 247 

Mortimer, John Hamilton, 
A.R.A., his illustrations of 
Evelina, p. 112-13 

Mulgrave, Lord, in Bath, his 
wit, p. 216-18 

Murphy, Arthur (dramatist), 
advises Fanny Burney to 
write a comedy, p. 145-6, 
p. 190 


Newton, Sir Isaak, former 
occupant of house in St. 
Martin's Street, p. 1-3 

Nollekens, Joseph (sculptor), 
prototype of " Mr. Briggs " in 
Cecilia, his bust of Dr. John 
son, his group of members of 
"Turk's Head Club" with 
Dr. Johnson as President, 
p. 295-8 

Nollekens, Mrs., p. 296 

Northcote, James, R.A., p. 313 


O'Connor, Mrs., friend of Mr. 
Barlow, p. 47-9 

Omai (Otaheitan Chief), "the 
gentle savage," contrasted 
with Mr. Stanhope, remark 
to Duchess of Devonshire, 
p. 8-14 

Opera House (burnt down 

1789), performance of Rinaldo 
at, p. 199-202 

Orange Coffee House, Hay- 
market, Evelina correspond 
ence addressed to, p. 100, 
p. 102, p. 104 

Orange Street Chapel (adjoining 
house in St. Martin's Street), 
P- 2-3 

Ord, Mrs., in St. Martin's Street, 
p. 220, p. 294 

Ord, Miss, p. 220, p. 294 

Orloff, Prince (favourite of Em 
press Catherine of Russia), in 
St. Martin's Street, p. 37-8 

Orme, Captain, described by 
Charlotte Burney and by 
Boswell, p. 314-15 

Orvilliers, M. d' (Admiral of 
the French Fleet during 
threatened invasion), anec 
dote of, p. 173; p. 176 

Owen, Miss, p. 57 

Pacchierotti, Gasparo (Italian 
Singer), his praise of Burney 
family, p. 5 ; singing de 
scribed by Susan Burney, Dr. 
Burney 's words, p. 198-202 ; 
at the Pantheon, in St. 
Martin's Street, p. 202-5 ; 
intercourse with Lady 
Clarges, Lady Mary Duncan, 
Lady Edgecumbe, Burney's 
affection for him, p. 222-4; 
ill-treatment from Sheridan, 
p. 224-6 ; " endless variety " 
in singing, p. 226-8, p. 235 ; 
letter (in English) to Fanny 
Burney, p. 238-41 ; experi 
ence during Gordon Riots, 



p. 270-1 ; singing in St. 
Martin's Street, his modesty, 
admiration of Burney family, 
p. 287-91 ; interest in Cecilia, 
his name appears in book, 
p. 331-2 ; success of Cecilia, 
p. 341 ; becomes attached to 
F. B., p. 349-50; praise of 
Burney family, p. 351 

Palmer, Miss (niece of Sir 
Joshua Reynolds), p. 141 

Pantheon, Concert at, inatten 
tion of audience, p. 202-4 

Paradise, Mrs., p. 200 ; p. 294 

Penneck, Mr., p. 15 

Pepys, Mr. (afterwards Sir 
William), on Mrs. Thrale's 
" talent of conversation," p. 
187 ; p. 193 ; p. 336 ; rough 
treatment from Dr. Johnson, 

P- 344 
Pepys, Mrs. (afterwards Lady), 

P. 336 

Perkins, Mr., p. 193 ; saves 
Mr. Thrale's brewery from 
destruction by rioters, p. 280-1 

Peterborough, Bishop of, in 
Bath, p. 241-3 

Phillips, Captain Molesworth, 
p. 311 ; Captain of Marines, 
served under Captain Cook, 
gallant action, engaged to be 
married to Susan Burney, 
visit to Chesington, his 
marriage (Jan. 1782), settled 
in Ipswich, p. 317-24; let 
ter from Fanny Burney, p. 

Piozzi, Gabrieli, first meeting 
with Mrs. Thrale, p. 71-3 ; 
"touchy and sensitive," p. 
235-6 ; p. 290 ; p. 296 

Poor, Mr., his conversations with 

Charlotte Burney, p. 304, p. 
306, p. 309 

Portland, Duchess of, emotion 
on reading Cecilia, p. 343 

Queen Charlotte, p. 62 


Rauzzini, Venanzio (singer), p. 
27 ; at Opera House, p. 199 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, in St. 
Martin's Street, p. 5 ; gather 
ing at his house in Leicester 
Square, urges Fanny Burney 
to write a play, p. 137-43 ; 
friends at his house on Rich 
mond Hill, p. 143-4 ; p. 199 ; 
p. 209 ; admires Edward 
Burney's sketches of scenes 
in Evelina, his pictures in 
R.A. Exhibition of 1 780, p. 
2 33-4 5 experiences during 
Gordon Riots, p. 271-2; in 
St. Martin's Street, p. 294 ; 
gathering at his house in 
Leicester Square, p. 332-3 ; 
p. 344 ; his words on Dr. 
Johnson's character, p. 345 

Reynolds, Miss (usually called 
Mrs.), sister of Sir Joshua, in 
St. Martin's Street, anecdotes 
of, p. 294-5 ; her eccentricity, 
p. 311-12 

Riots, Lord George Gordon 
( 1 780), contemporary accounts 
of, personal experiences of 
Burney family during, p. 254- 
64 ; riots in Bath, p. 275-81 

Rons, Mr. Boughton, at the 
Hooles', p. 305, p. 313-14 



Russel, Dr., talk with Dr. 
Johnson, p. 220-1 


Saville, Sir George, house sacked 
by rioters, p. 255-7 

Selwyn, Mr., p. 344 

Seward, William, in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 57, p. 62 ; at 
Streatham, p. 124, p. 126 ; 
" full of fun and pun," p. 31 1- 

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 
advises Fanny to write a 
comedy, p. 142-3, P- H5 J 
negligent treatment of Pac- 
chierotti, p. 224-6, ditto of 
Cramer, p. 289 

Solander, Dr., in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 9 

Stael, Mme. de, p. 347 

Stanhope, Mr., p. 13 

Strange, Mr. (afterwards Sir 
Robert), in St. Martin's Street, 

P- 9, P- 13 

Strange, Mrs. (afterwards 
Lady), in St. Martin's Street, 

P- 33-4 

Strange, Miss, p. 33 
Streatfield, Miss Sophie (the 

S. S.), p. 193, p. 199 ; in St. 

Martin's Street, p. 204-5 

Talleyrand, M. de, p. 347 
Thrale, Mr., visit to Chesington, 
p. 183-5 ; P- I 9 ; in Bath > 
p. 213, p. 214 ; canvass for 
re - election as M.P. for 
Borough, riots in Bath, 
brewery in Borough in danger, 

brewery saved, leaves Bath, 
halts at Salisbury and South 
ampton, p. 277-82 ; his death 
in April, 1781, p. 314, p. 327 
Thrale, Mrs. (afterwards Piozzi), 
first visit to St. Martin's Street, 
p. 57-62 ; interest in Evelina, 
reports Dr. Johnson's praise 
of book, p. 1 16-18 ; welcomes 
Fanny Burney to Streatham, 
lively talk, letter from Tun- 
bridge Wells, p. 121 - 36 ; 
advises F. B. to write a play, 
p. 145, p. 153-4 ; letters during 
fear of invasion, p. 174, p. 176 ; 
visit to Chesington, receives 
Crisp at Streatham, p. 184-6 ; 
her wit, her powers of con 
versation, p. 187 ; her un 
published letters, James 
Burney's promotion, her affec 
tion for F. B., p. 187-94 ; 
ready pen for verse, trans 
lations, p. 194-6; departure 
with F. B. for Bath, p. 204-5 5 
accounts of Bath society in 
unpublished letters, p. 213- 
16 ; p. 218; in London, 
canvasses for Mr. Thrale's 
re - election as M.P. for 
Borough, p. 230 ; returns with 
F. B. to Bath, p. 236-7 ; Bath 
festivities,?. 241-3, p. 248-51 ; 
visit to Bath Easton, p. 252 ; 
riots in Bath, Mr. Thrale's 
brewery in Borough in danger, 
brewery saved, quits Bath 
with Mr. Thrale and F. B., 
halts at Salisbury and South 
ampton, p. 276-82 ; letter on 
Susan Burney's engagement 
to be married to Captain 
Phillips, p. 318-19 J Mr. 


Thrale's death, F. B's. time 
claimed by her, p. 325 ; fears 
for F. B's. health, p. 330 ; at 
Brighthelmstone, visit from 
F. B., p. 335-7 ; Dr. Johnson 
and needlework, p. 344-5 ; his 
translation of French verses, 
p. 346 ; her praise of Burney 
family, p. 351 

Thrale, Miss, in St. Martin's 
Street, p. 57 ; p. 188 

" Tom Thumb " (Burlesque by 
Fielding), p. 83-6 

Twining, Revd. Thomas ("Aris 
totle Twining "), in St. Mar 
tin's Street, p. 33-7, p. 71 

Tyson, Mr., elected M.C. for 
Lower Rooms in Bath, p. 214, 
p. 246 

Vesey, Mrs., founder of " Blue 
stocking Club," meetings of 
members at her house, her 
eccentricities, p. 306-9 


Wall, Dr., founder of the Wor 
cester China manufactory, 
p. 87 

Wall, Dr. (John), at Barborne 
Lodge, p. 78 ; his house in 
Gloucester, visit from Fanny 
Burney and her cousins, his 
eccentricities, p. 87-96 

Wall, Mrs. John, p. 88-96 

Walpole, Horace, letters on fear 
of invasion, p. 169, p. 173-5 '> 
on Bath Easton Villa, p. 251 ; 

experiences during Gordon 

Riots, p. 264, p. 268-9, P- 2 7* ; 

riots in Bath, p. 277-8 
"Way to keep him" (by 

Murphy), acted at Barborne 

Lodge, p. 76-82, p. 89 
West, Benjamin, R.A., ceiling 

in Somerset House painted 

by him, p. 233 
Williams, Mrs. (the blind 

poetess), in St. Martin's Street, 

p. 5, p. 219 ; appearance 

described by Miss Laetitia 

Hawkins, p. 220; p. 221; in 

St. Martin's Street, p. 294 ; 

at the Hooles' house, p. 305 
Williamson, Captain, p. 310 
Winchester, Dean of, in St. 

Martin's Street, p. 25-6 
" Witlings, The," Fanny Bur- 

ney's unpublished play of, p. 

148 - 54 ; scene from play 

given, p. 154-7 
Wright, Joseph (of Derby), his 

picture in R. A. Exhibition 

of 1780, p. 234 


Yates, Mrs., chief actress at 
large theatre (or Opera 
House) in Haymarket, p. 

Yates, Mr., p. 304 

Zoffany, Johann, R.A., his 
picture in R.A. Exhibition 
of 1780, p. 234-5 



JUNIPER HALL: A Rendezvous of 
Certain Illustrious Personages during the French Re 
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1 7 



PR Hill, Constance 


m. jLk v^^ **K* w^^***^^*^ 

3316 The house in St. Martin's