George Hooker Colton.

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under the poppies like a young partridge. Often
Lave I had much trouble in pursuing sucking kids,
often have I toiled in running after new-born
calves; but this was an ever-varying and unat-
tainable labor. Being weary, for I am old, and
resting on my staff, (watchina; him meanwhile that
he might not escape,) I inquired to whom of my
neighbors he belonged, and what he meant by
gathering fruit in another man's garden? He made
no answer, but standing beside me, he smiled softly
and pelted me with myrtle-berries. I know not
how it was, but he soothed me so that I could no
longer be angry. I implored him therefore to come



within reach, and to fear nothing; and I swore by
the myrtles that I would let him go, that I would
give him apples and pomegranates, and would
permit him always to gather the fruit and pluck
the flowers, if I could obtain from him une .single
kiss. At this he laughed heartily, and said in a
voice such as no swallow, no nightingale, no swan
(a bird as long-lived as myself) could utter : " It
is no troub'e for me to kiss you, Philetas, for I
desire to be kissed even more than you desire to
be young : but pray consider, would this favor be
suitable to your years ? For your old age would
be of no avail to deter you from following me after
>ou had gotten one kiss. I am ditScult to be over-
taken by a hawk, and by an eagle, and by any
bird that is swifter even than these. I am not a
child, and although I seem to be one, yet am I
older than Saturn, than all time itself I knew
you when in early youth you used to feed a wide-
spreading herd in yonder marsh, when you loved
Amaryllis; hut you did not see me, although I used
to stand close by the girl. However, I gave her
to you, and now your sons are good herdsmen and
good husbandmen. At present I tend Daphnis
and Chloe, and when I have brought them to-
gether in the morning, I come into your garden and
please myself with the flowers and plants, and I
batlie in the fountains. On this account the flowers
are beautiful, f )r they are watered from my baths.
See now whether any one of your flowers is broken,
whether any fruit has been gathered, whether any
flower root has been trodden down, whether any
fountain is troubled. And I say farewell to the
only one of men who in his old age has seen this
child." With these words he sprang like a y ung
nightingale upon the myrtles, and passing from
branch to branch, he crept through the leaves up
to tlie top. I saw his wings upon his shoulders,
and I saw a little bow between the w-iiils and the
shoulders, and then I saw no longer either them
or him. Unless I have borne these gray hairs in
vain, and unless as I grow older I become more
foolish, you are dedicated to Love, and Love has
the care of you.' » * » « They were quite
delighted as if they had heard a fable, not a his-
tory ; and they inquired what is Love, whether
a boy or a bird, and what p iwer has he ? I'hiletas
answered : — ' My children. Love is a god. young
and beautiful and winged; he therefore delights
in youth, follows after beauty, and gives wings to
the soul. And he has more power tiian Jove. He
governs the elements ; he governs the stars ; he
governs his peers the gods. You have not so much
power over the goats and sheep. The flowers are
all the work of Love ; these plants are his pro-
ductions. Through his influence the rivers flow
and the winds breathe. » * » »' Even I
have been young, and I was in love with Ama-
ryllis. I remembered not food; I sought not after
drink ; I took no sleep. My soul grieved ; my
heart palpitated ; mv body was chilled. I cried
as if beaten ; I was silent as if dead ; I threw my-
self into the rivers as if burning. I blessed the
echo for repeating after me the name of .Amaryllis.' "

There are passages in the Golden Ass,
and Daphnis and Chloe, which would shock
modern delicacy, and would not harmonize



1851.



Madame D^Arhlay.



with our ideas of refinement; which are
often of a sickly tone, so much so, that at
times we are driven to believe that modern
delicacy consists in delicacy of words, and
indelicacy in thought and actions. Dean
Swift pertinently inquires whether any wise
man will say, that if the words drinking,
cheating, lying, and stealing were by Act
of Parliament ejected out of tlie English
tongue and dictionaries, we should all awake
next morning chaste and temj^erate, honest
and just, and lovers of truth ? Is this a fair
consequence ? Yet how many, in this seem-
ingly j)ious age, are shocked at indelicate
allusions, who have no scruples in com-
mitting indelicate acts. In return for the
pleasure derived from works of fancy, and
indeed from almost all our amusements, we
must make pretty liberal concessions ; we
must bear with a great deal that is unnatu-
ral ; we must tolerate many absurdities,
acquiesce in imjjrobabilities, and some-
times even concede what is impossible ; we
must allow a certain distance to the juggler,
and permit him to be inaccessible on the
rear, and sti'ongly intrenched on the flanks ;
we must be content to view the perspective
of a painting from one point only, and con-
sider a motionless statue as a flying Mer-
cury ; to suppose that the hero of an o]:)era is
soliloquizing in a perfect solitude, although
every word gives preternatural activity to
the elbows of fifty fiddlers ; and in spite of
ourselves to feel drowsy during the ballet,
in sympathy with the heroine, who, by a
fiction of the theatre, sleeps soundly in a
hornpipe.

Frances Burney (the maiden name of
Madame D'Arblay) was born at Lynn-
Regis, on the 13th of June, 1752. During
her childhood she was the most backward in
learning of the whole family, and at eight
years of age she did not know the alpha-
bet ; but some two years after this she com-
menced scribbling on every bit of paper she
could find, covering them with her effusions,
elegies, plays, and songs, written in charac-
ters illegible to all, save herself. She never
showed them to any one but her sister
Susanna. Among the works she then wrote
was one called Caroline Evelyn. Of this
tale she retained a most vivid recollection,
and many of its incidents were retained in
Evelina. A neighbor recommended to Mrs.
Burney to quicken her daughter's applica-
tion to knowledge by chastisement. " No,



no," replied her mother; " I am not uneasy
about Fanny." She entertained, however,
a great dread -lest Fanny should become an
authoress. Before strangers Miss Burney
was silent and reserved, and her stillness pro-
cured her the name of the " old lady." She
was an attentive observer of what was pass-
ing around her, and when she overcame her
shyness, would enact characters of her own
invention, and after seeing a play would
mimic the actors. Unfortunately she early
lost her mother, and her father, though a
kind and amiable man, seems to have paid
little attention to her, either as regards her
education or pursuits. She had no teacher,
no governess. Dr. Burney's engagements
as an instructor in music, allowed him but
little time to attend to his family. He was
industrious and pereevering, and acquired
the French and Italian languages while
riding on horseback, and afterwards, when
his duties became more pressing, he carried
his meals with him in his carriage in a tin
case, that no time might be lost. The best
company in London visited Dr. Burney's
house, and there could be seen Johnson,
Burke, Sir Joshua Eeynolds, Garrick,
Strange the engraver, Barry, Mason, and
Armstrong. From such men Fanny must
have gleaned much information, and she
listened to the warblings of Pachierotti,
Agujari, and Gabriella. All the musical
talent in London could be found at Burney's
home. Fanny, after attaining her fifteenth
year, considered her passijn for writing as
illaudable, because . fruitless, and she made
a bonfire of all her stock in a paved play-
court, her sister Susanna weeping over the
ashes of Caroline Evelyn. The natural
bent of her mind could not be changed,
and the recollection of Caroline Evelyn still
haunted her imagination. Fanny had no
works of fiction, and her father, though pos-
sessing a considerable library, had but one
novel, Fielding's " Amelia." In secret she
began " Evehna," and after writing a couple
of volumes, a difficulty occurred in finding a
publisher. Dodsley refused it on account
of its being anonymous ; but Lowndes,
another publisher, offered £20 for the copy-
right, which was accepted with alacrity,
and boundless surprise at its magnificence.
There was a subsequent addition of £10
after the third edition — and this was all
Miss Burney ever received for " Evelina,"
although thousands of copies were sold in a



270



Madame D^Arblay.



March,



few months. The first knowledge that Miss
Burney had of tlie pubhcation of " Evehna "
was from an advertisement read aloud at
the breakfast table : " This day was pubhshed
Evelina, or a Young Lady's Entrance into
the World." This novel was published in
1778, Fanny then being twenty-six years of
age. Dr. Burney about this period was
attacked with a violent fever, and Fanny
herself had symptoms of inflammation of
the lungs ; and they thought it advisable to
visit Chesington Hall, the residence of their
mutual friend Mr. Crisp, where she re-
mained several months, unconscious that
" Evehna" was the theme of every tongue.
Her father, sister, and brother Charles, alone
knew her to be the author. Sir Walter
Scott, in his Diary, (November 18, 1826,)
says : "Was introduced by Rogers to Madame
D'Arblay, the celebrated authoress of ' Eve-
lina' and 'Cecilia;' an elderly lady, with no
remains of beauty, but with a simple and
gentle manner, a pleasing expression of
countenance, and apparently quiet feelings.
She told me she had wished to see two per-
sons, myself of course being one, the other
George Canning. Madame D'Arblay told
us that the common story of Dr. Burney,
her father, having brovight home her own
first work, and recommended it to her
perusal, was erroneous. Her father was in
the secret of 'Evehna' being printed. But
the following circumstance may have given
rise to the story. Dr. Burney was at S treat-
ham soon after the publication, where he
found Mrs. Thrale low at the moment, and out
of spirits. While they were talking together,
Johnson, who sat beside her in a kind of
reverie, suddenly broke out, 'You should read
this new work. Madam, you should read Eve-
lina ; every one says it is excellent, and they
are right.' The delighted father obtained a
commission from Mrs. Thrale to purchase
his daughter's work, and retired the hap-
piest of men. Madame D'Arblay said she
was vvild with joy at this decisive evidence
of her hterary success, and that she could
only give vent to her rapture by dancing
and skipping round a mulberry tree in the
garden. She was very young at this time.
I trust I shall see this lady again."

Dr. Juhn-ion appreciated very justly both
the abilities and moral excellence of Miss
Burney. On one occasion he observed, that
" Evehna seems a work which should result
from long experience, and deep and intimate



knowledge of the world ; and yet it has been
written without either. Miss Burney is a
real wonder. What she is, she is intui-
tively. Dr. Burney told me she had the
fewest advantages of any of his daughters,
from some pecuHar circumstances ; and such
has been her timidity, that he himself had
not any suspicion of her powers. Modesty
with her is neither pretense nor decorum ;
it is an ingredient in her nature ; for she
who could part with such a work for £20,
could know so little of its Avorth, or of her
own, as to leave no possible doubt of her
humility."

" Eodina^'' is certainly a most excellent
work. It was the first of a class of fic-
titious productions, in which the genius
of an Inchbald, an Austen, an Edgeworth,
and a Lady Morgan, have reaped undying
fame. It possessed merits which caused it
to be placed with pleasure by parents in the
hands of their children. Miss Burney at all
times advocates the cause of religion and
morality. She is a quick and accurate ob-
server of things and persons, and her works
are invaluable as furnishing us with correct
pictures of society, and the habits and man-
ners of her day. The plot of Evelina is
simj)licity itself. A young lady, educated
in the most secluded retirement, makes at
the age of seventeen her first appearace upon
the great and busy stage of life, with a vir-
tuous mind, a cultivated understanding, and
a feeling heait. Her ignorance of the forms,
and inexperience in the manners of the
world, occasion all the little incidents in the
work, and form the natural progression of
the life of a young woman of ob^cure birth,
but of conspicuous beauty. Tu use Miss
Burney's words, we are not transpoited to
the fantastic regions of romance, where fic-
tion is colored by all the gay tints of luxu-
rious imagination, where reason is an out-
cast, and where the sublimity of the mar-
vellous rejects all aid from sober probability.
The heroine of these memoirs, young, artless,
and inexperienced, is

" No faultless monster that the world ne'er saw,"

but the offspring of nature in her simple
attire. When young people are too rigidly
sequestered from the worid, their lively
imaginations paint it to them as a para-
dise of which they have been beguiled ; but
when they see it as it really is, they find it
equally shared by pain and pleasure, hope and



1851.



Madame D^Arhlay.



Ill



disap])ointment. In Evelina the glories of
Rauelagh and Vauxhall are before us ; we
visit the Pantheon and Kensington Gardens
-with a motley and strange group. We have
the rough, noisj', and ignorant Cajitain
ISIirvan ; Madame Duvall, all flutter, grimace,
jabber, rouge and ribbons, the essence of
vulgai'ity ; and the Branghton family — a
rare collection ; and that gem of a cockney
beau, Mr. Smith, " who studies what the
ladies hke ;" the mild, gentlemanly, kind-
hearted Lord Orville ; the dashing Sir
Clement Willoughby; and the country
flower, Evelina, transplanted from the dews
and fresh air and exercise of the country,
to the hot and polluted atmosphere of Lon-
don ball-rooms. Evelina goes to Drury
Lane Theatre, and sees Garrick perform
Ranger; such ease, such vivacity in his
manner, such grace in his motions, such
fire and meaning in his eyes. She could
hardly believe he had studied a written part ;
every word seemed to be uttered from the
impulse of the moment. His action at once
so graceful and so free, his voice so clear, so
melodious, yet so wonderfully various in its
tones, such animation every look spoke. And
when he danced she envied Clarinda, and
wanted to jump on the stage and join them.
Polly Branghton is delightful, — vulgar and
pert ; her father purse-proud and mean ; and
her brother a foolish over-grown school-boy,
whose mirth consists in noise and disturb-
ance, — his delight was in tormenting his
sisters. Mr. Smith was Dr. Johnson's farsor-
ite character. We will give the reader a
few specimens of his elegance : —

" ' fie, Tcim, — dispute -with a lady ! ' cried Mr.
Smith. ' Now, as fur me, I'm for wiiere you will,
provided this young liidy is of the party; — one
place is the same as another to me, so that it be
but agreeable to the ladies. I Wiiuld go anywhere
with you, Ma'am,' (to me,"! ' unless, indeed, it were
to church; — lia, ha, ha 1 You'll excuse me, Ma'am ;
but really I never could conquer my fear of a par-
son ; — ha, ha, ha ! Really, ladies, [ beg your par-
don for being so rude; but I can't help laughing
for my life ! '"

" ' Why really. Ma'am, as to your being a little
out of sorts, I must own I can't wonder at it, for,
to be sure, man-iage is all in all with the ladies ;
but with us gentlemen it's quite another thing !
Now only put yourself in my place,— suppose you
had such a large acquaintance of gentlemen as I
have, — and that you had always been used to ap-
pear a little — a little smart among them, — why
now, how should you like to let yourself down all
at once into a married man ? ' "



" ' Wliy, Ma'am, the truth is. Miss Biddy and
Polly take no care of anything ; else, I'm sure, they
should be always welcome to my room ; for I'm
never so happy as in obliging the ladii s, — that's
my character. Ma'am:- but really, the last time
they had it, everything was made so greasy and so
nasty, that, upon my word, to a man w)io wishes
to have things a httle genteel, it was quite cruel.
Now, as to you, Ma'am, it's quite another thing;
for I should not mind if everything I had was
spoilt, for the sake of having the |)leasure to
oblige you ; and I assure you, Ma'am, it makes me
quite happy that I have a room good enough to
receive you.' "

" ' My dear Ma'am, you must be a little patient ;
I assure you I have no bad designs, I have not,
upon my word ; but really, there is no resolving
upon such a thing as matrimony all at once ; what
with the loss of one's liberty, and what with the
ridicule of all ones acquaintance,— I assure you,
Ma'am, you're the first lady that ever made me
even demur upon this subject; for after all, my
dear Ma'am, marriage is the devil ! ' "

Captain Mirvan meets a dandy at the
theatre, who discourses in the following plea-
sant and sensible manner : —

" ' For my p;irt,' said Mr. Lovel, ' I confess I sel-
dom listen to the players: one lias so much to do,
in looking about and finding out one's acquaint-
ance, that really one has no time to mind the
stage. Pray,' (most atfectedly fixing his eyes
upon a diamond-ring upon his little finger,) 'pray,
what was the play to-night?'

" ' W hy, what the d -1,' cried the Captain, 'do
you come to the play without knowing what it

is ? •

" ' O yes, sir, yes, very frequently : I have no
time to read play-bills; one merely comes to meet
one's friends, and show that one's alive.'

"'Ha, ha, ha! and so,' cried the C;ipt in, 'it
costs you five shillings a night just to show you're
alive! Well, faith, my friends should all think
me dead and under ground before I'd be at that
expense fur 'em. Howsomever, this here you may
^ake from me,— they'll find you out fast enough if
you have anything to give 'em. Anil so you've
been here all this time, and don't know what the
play was ? '

" ' Why, really, sir, a play requires so much at-
tention,— it is scarce pos^ible to keep awake if one
listens;- for indeed by the tune it is evening, one
has been so fatigued with dining,— or wine, or the
house,— or studying, — that it is — it is jierfctly an
impossibility. But now I think of it, I believe I
have a bill in my pocket; oh, ay, here it i.s— Love
for Love,— ay, true, — ha, ha 1 — how could I be so
stupid ! ' "

Mr. Branghton and his interesting family
visit the opera : —

"'What a jabbering they make!* cried Mr.
Branghton; ' there's no knowing a word they say.
I'ray, what's the reason they can't as well sing in



272



Madame D'Arhlay.



March,



English? — but I suppose the fine folks would not
like it, it' they could understand it.'

" ' How unnatural their action is ! ' said the son :
'why now, who ever saw an Englit^hman put hiui-
Belf in such out-ofthe-way postures?'

"'For my part,' said Miss I'olly, 'I think it's
very pretty, only I don't know what it means.'

"'Lord, what does that signify?' ciicd her
sister; 'miyn't one like a tiling without being so
very particular ? You may see that Miss likes it,
and I don't suppose she knows more of the matter
than we do.' "

The reader can find a neat edition of
" Evelina " among Dove's English Classics.
Whittingham has also pubhshed it in his
collection of pocket novelists.

Evelina had the effect of introducing Miss
Burney to the charming society that as-
sembled at Streatham, the residence of Mrs.
Thrale, — witty, sensible, good-hearted Mrs.
Thrale, a creature of life, spirit, and conver-
sational power, the delight of all who had
the pleasure to know her. There Johnson
was an almost constant guest ; there Burk'i
was to be found irradiating the table with
bursts of genius ; and Windham, and Sheri-
dan, and Reynolds, and all the great and
celebrated persons of the day. Here Miss
Burney enjoyed the true friendship which
Johnson entertained for her, and she fully
appreciated the loving heart of the "fine
old lion," and she to him was " dear little
Burney," and his " little character monger."
Those were glorious days at Streatham for
Fanny Burney. They were the happiest of
her whole hfe. At her particular solicita-
tion Dr. Johnson gave her a small engrav-
ing of his portrait, from a painting by Sir
Joshua Reynolds ; and a little while after
she was examining it at a distant table. The
Doctor in crossing the room stopped to dis-
cover what she was occupied with, and on
discovering it, he see-sawed for a moment or
two, and then exclaimed: "Ah, ha! Sam
Johnson ! I see thee ! and an ugly dog thou
art." She became acquainted with Mrs.
Carter, Mi-s. Montague, Mra. Vesey, Miss
Monckton, Hannah More, Mrs. Barbauld,
Mrs. Chapone, Horace Walpole, Soame
Jenyns, and her society was courted by the
fair, fashionable, and learned ; but she soon
grew weary of this excitement. In 1782
she says : " I begin to be heartily sick and
fatigued of this continual round of visiting,
and these eternal new acquaintances." And
in allusion to the parti'es to which she was
constantly engaged, she observes : " For my



own part, if I wished to prescribe a cure for
dissipation, I should think none more effec-
tual than to give it a free course. The
many who have lived so from year to year
amaze me now more than ever; for now
more than ever I can judge what dissipation
has to offer. I would not lead a life of daily
engagements even for another month, for
any pay short of the most serious and sub-
stantial benefit. I have been tired some
time, though I have only now broke out;
but I will restore my own spirit and plea-
sure, by getting more courage in making
refusals, and by giving that zest to com-
pany and diversion which can only be given
by making them subservient to convenience,
and by taking them in turn with quietness
and retirement."

While at Streatham, by the persuasion of
Mrs. Thrale and other friends, Miss Burney
was induced to write a comedy, which she
entitled " The Witlings." Mr. Murphy
thought highly of it, but at the suggestion
of her friend Mr. Crisp, she was induced
to drop it. His chief objection to it was,
that it bore a great resemblance toMohere's
" Les Femmes Savantes," a play which
Burney had never seen or read. She after-
wards, in 1795, attempted a tragedy called
"Edwy and Elgiva," which was brought
out at Drury Lane Theatre, but never pub-
lished.

Mis? Burney adopted the epistolary style
in writing Evelina. There are three methods
of writing a story, generally adopted by
novelists : The narrative, in which the author
himself relates the whole adventure. Cer-
vantes adopted this manner in his Don
Quixote. It is the most usual way. The
author is supposed to know everything — the
secret springs of action ; and he can tell
events when and in what manner he pleases.
He can be diffuse or concise, witty or grave,
according to the vein he is in. He can re-
fresh himself with digressions, and by these
means can utter sentiments and display
knowledge which would not be appropriate
to any of the charactci-s. But to heighten
the interest of the story, and give it pictu-
resque effect, frequent dialogues are neces-
sary. Another method is that of memoirs,
where the subject of the adventures relates
his own story. De Foe was a perfect master
of this style. It has the advantage of the
warmth and feehng a person may be sup-
posed to have in his own affairs. Marivaux



1851.



Madame D''Arhlay.



273



followed this plan in bis minute and affect-
ing story of " La Vie de Marianne." A third
waj remains, that of epistolary correspon-
dence. Richardson has gained a deathless
feme by his novels, in all of which lie makes
use of letters. It gives a rare opjiortunity
for display of character, and minuteness of
description, and keen and delicate insight
into the springs of human action. It is im-
probable in one respect, for we can hardly
suppose that a correspondence should be
preserved and form a connected story ; and
the author labors under the same difficulty
that so often assails the dramatist, the neces-
sity of having some insipid confidant, into
the porches of whose ear the incidents of
the plot may be gradually unfolded. Rous-
seau adopted the epistolary style in "La



Online LibraryGeorge Hooker ColtonThe American review : a Whig journal of politics, literature, art, and science (Volume 13) → online text (page 53 of 108)