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This is evident from the fate of her succeeding works. Her next, . Cecilia,' published five years after, though perhaps better in every respect, maintained and only maintained her reputation—it was no longer a miracle: the growth of years and increased knowledge of society and the world had rendered it not even surprising ; besides il n'y a que le premier pas qui coute,' and if genius were to be progressive with age and opportunity, the authoress of

Evelina' at seventeen might have been expected to produce even a better work than Cecilia' at two-and-twenty, Camilla, published in 1796, near twenty years after • Evelina,' and we think not inferior to it as a literary work—though it is certainly below

Cecilia'in every view—was almost a failure, and a failure chiefly by contrast with the promise given by the dawning youth of the author.

It was, therefore, not without surprise, that, in the long and circumstantial account given by Madame d'Arblay of the composition of Evelina,' we observed that no allusion was made to what we had always considered the most extraordinary ingredient in the story—the author's age. This induced us to look into the matter a little more closely, when we were additionally surprised to find that every little incident which could have led to any exact calculation of the interval between burning the manuscripts when the author had attained her fifteenth year,' and the publication of Evelina' in 1778, and, in short, every clue to the date of Madame d’Arblay's birth has been most curiously obliterated. To a cursory reader, the interval between Caroline Evelyn' and Evelina,' would appear certainly not to exceed two or three years; and the mention of the disguise of the young messenger by the laughing committee would confirm the idea of a boyish and girlish frolic. After turning the volumes over again and again, and wasting a good deal of time in pursuit of evidence on this point, we were about to give up the hopes of any new discovery and to acquiesce in the received opinion, when we discovered a casual hint that she was born at Lynn; and, as her father left that town in 1760, it was clear that she was somewhat older than had hitherto been supposed. This induced an inquiry at Lynn, and we have found, in the registry of St. Margaret's parish there, that Frances, the daughter of Charles and Esther Burney, was baptized in July, 1752;' so that she was past twenty-five when : Evelina' was published: and also that her disguised young messenger? (born in 1757) was not only twenty years of age, but had, we believe, already graduated at the university, We need not repeat our observation of the vast difference between a shy, backward, neglected girl of seventeen, writing in the play-roon, and a woman of five-andtwenty, who had probably passed seven or eight years in general

society;

society; and we are, therefore, not much surprised that Madame d'Arblay, though she may have had no share in propagating the original error, should have shown so little anxiety to correct it. To this feeling, therefore, we are now constrained to attribute that studious omission of dates which had at first appeared quite unaccountable,

We have said that Camilla' was inferior to Cecilia :'-her fourth novel, The Wanderer,' reviewed in this Journal in 1817, was infinitely worse, and the work now before us is, in point of literary taste and style, worst of all. Here then comes a second wonder: why should it have happened, that she not only did not surpass, but fell so infinitely short of her early efforts ? We thought, at first, that her long residence in France might have occasioned some difficulty in the use of her native language--but that reason would not account for the inferiority of Camilla.' The only rational explanation we can give is, that becoming, while yet young, so suddenly celebrated, she thought it necessary to watch her expressions, and to mount her language to the scale of her new reputation in society--she became a précieuse, and in looking after a dignity suited to her literary rank, she has lost the natural ease and unaffected grace which were her greatest charm. If this be not the cause of so remarkable a change, we know not what it is. As to the style of these Memoirs, there is another cause which may have contributed to give it that strange pomposity which we have had but too much occasion to notice. A novel writer is obliged to make up for the paucity of events by a superabundance of verbal details. A potent, pointed, piercing, yet delicious dart'-(vol. i., p. 61); eyes of the finest azure beamed the brightest intelligence?—? he flew with extatic celerity to her with whom eternal bondage would be a state celestial -(p. 78), and such hyperboles, may do very well to fill up the space between one event and another, and to give to imaginary beings a certain air of locality and reality ; but when all this comes to be applied to real matter-of-fact personages, it is absurd. The loss of a friend in a novel might be described, without much offence, as Madame d'Arblay notices Dr. Burney's regret for the loss of Mr. Bewley ;-but when applied to the effect which the death of a Suffolk apothecary would have on a London music-master, who were, though old acquaintance, no companions, and saw one another but once in two or three years, the fallacy of the pompous expression, thus placed in juxtaposition with the real current of human affairs and human feelings, becomes ridiculous. Fictitious life, of which novels are the history, is made up of words, of epithets, of amplification, of touches-the smaller the better; real history is made up of the larger facts--of what a man did, not what he said, of

how

how a lady acted, not how she looked : fictitious life is described by fancied feelings and imputed motives—which it is given to the omniscient author alone to develope-real life, of those broad interests and plain actions of which all mankind are the witnesses and the judges—and it is, we surmise, by confounding these distinctions, that a charming novelist (for such we shall always consider the authoress of Cecilia') has become the most ridiculous of historians.

Even when Madame d’Arblay professes to give us the conversations of Burke, or Dr. Johnson, or Garrick, it is evident that she labours and over-labours her portraits, till they resemble the original as theatrical do real characters,—as the Napoleon or Captain Cook of a melodrama do the general or the sailor.

We are anxious to give our readers some of the anecdotes which Madame d’Arblay relates of those eminent friends, but they are told, for the most part, in a style so diffuse and desultory, that we really find great difficulty in selecting any that come within reasonable limits. We shall, however, endeavour to select some of the most manageable. We begin with a portrait of Mr.Boswellhimself a great portrait-painter, but of whose extraordinary talent in sketching characters and conversations Madame d’Arblay appears even now to have very little conception. She does not appear to be aware that it is by his book'—at which she rather sneers—that she and her father have the best chance of being remembered by posterity. She even seems averse to quote Boswell; and, ridicu. lously enough, refers to Moore's Life of Sheridan for an anecdote of Johnson, quoted in that work from Boswell. It is singular, however, that, as if inspired by the subject, her description of Mr. Boswell is one of the best in her book. We heartily wish that she had caught more of his biographical style and spirit—at once so accurate and so compressed, so simple yet so picturesque, so dramatic and still so real :

• When next Dr. Burney took the Memorialist back to Streatham, he found there, recently arrived from Scotland, Mr. Boswell; whose sprightly Corsican tour, and heroic, almost Quixotic pursuit of General Paoli, joined to the tour to the Hebrides with Dr. Johnson, made him an object himself of considerable attention.

• He spoke the Scotch accent strongly, though by no means so as to affect, even slightly, his intelligibility to an English ear. He had an odd mock solemnity of tone and manner, that he had acquired imperceptibly froin constantly thinking of and imitating Dr. Johnson ; whose own solemnity, nevertheless, far from mock, was the result of pensive rumination. There was also something slouching in the gait and dress of Mr. Boswell, that wore an air, ridiculously enough, of purporting to personify the same model. His clothes were always too large for him; his hair, or wig, was constantly in a state of negligence; and he never for a moment sat still or upright on a chair. Every look and movement displayed either intentional or involuntary imitation. Yet certainly it was not meant as caricature ; for his heart, almost even to idolatry, was in his reverence of Dr. Johnson.

gence;

• Dr. Burney was often surprised that this kind of farcical similitude escaped the notice of the Doctor; but attributed his missing it to a high superiority over any such suspicion, as much as to his nearsightedness; for fully was Dr. Burney persuaded, that had any detection of such imitation taken place, Dr. Johnson, who generally treated Mr. Boswell as a school-boy, whom, without the smallest ceremony, he pardoned or rebuked, alternately, would so indignantly have been provoked, as to have instantaneously inflicted upon him some mark of his displeasure. And equally he was persuaded, that Mr. Boswell, however shocked and even inflamed at receiving it, would soon, from his deep veneration, have thought it justly incurred; and, after a day or two of pouting and sullenness, would have compromised the matter by one of his customary simple apologies, of “Pray, Sir, forgive me !"

• Dr. Johnson, though often irritated by the officious importunity of Mr. Boswell, was really touched by his attachment. It was indeed surprising, and even affecting, to remark the pleasure with which this great man accepted personal kindness, even froin the simplest of mankind; and the grave formality with which he acknowledged it even to the meanest. Possibly it was what he most prized, because what he could least command; for personal partiality hangs upon lighter and slighter qualities than those which earn solid approbation; but of this, if he had least command, he had also least want: his towering superiority of intellect elevating him above all competitors, and regularly establishing him, wherever he appeared, as the first being of the society.

As Mr. Boswell was at Streatham only upon a morning visit, a collation was ordered, to which all were assembled. Mr. Boswell was preparing to take a seat that he seemed, by prescription, to consider as his own, next to Dr. Johnson; but Mr. Seward, who was present, waived his hand for Mr. Boswell to move farther on, saying, with a smile, " Mr. Boswell, that seat is Miss Burney's."

• He stared, amazed : the asserted claimant was new and unknown to him, and he appeared by no means pleased to resign his prior rights. But, after looking round for a minute or two, with an important air of demanding the meaning of this innovation, and receiving no satisfaction, he reluctantly, almost resentfully, got another chair, and placed it at the back of the shoulder of Dr. Jolinson; while this new and unheard of rival quietly seated herself as if not hearing what was passing ; for she shrunk from the explanation that she feared might ensue, as she saw a smile stealing over every countenance, that of Dr. Johnson himself not excepted, at the discomfiture and surprise of Mr. Boswell.

• Mr. Boswell, however, was so situated as not to remark it in the Doctor; and of every one else, when in that presence, he was unob

servant,

VOL. XLIX. NO. XCVII,

I

servant, if not contemptuous. In truth, when he met with Dr. Johnson, he commonly forbore even answering anything that was said, or attending to anything that went forward, lest he should miss the smallest sound from that voice to which he paid such exclusive, though merited homage. But the moment that voice burst forth, the attention which it excited in Mr. Boswell amounted almost to pain. His eyes goggled with eagerness; he leant his ear almost on the shoulder of the Doctor; and his mouth dropt open to catch every syllable that might be uttered; nay, he seemed not only to dread losing a word, but to be anxious not to miss a breathing ; as if hoping from it, latently, or mystically, some information. But when, in a few minutes, Dr. Johnson, whose eye did not follow him, and who had concluded him to be at the other end of the table, said something gaily and good-humouredly, by the appellation of Bozzy, and discocovered by the sound of the reply that Bozzy had planted himself, as closely as he could, behind and between the elbows of the new usu and his own, the Doctor turned angrily round upon him, and, clapping his hand rather loudly upon his knee, said, in a tone of displeasure, “ What do you do there, Sir ?_Go to the table, Sir!"

• Mr. Boswell instantly, and with an air of affright, obeyed: and there was something so unusual in such humble submission to so imperious a command, that another smile gleamed its way across every mouth except that of the Doctor and of Mr. Boswell, who now, very unwillingly, took a distant seat. But, ever restless when not at the side of Dr. Johnson, he presently recollected something that he wished to exhibit, and, hastily rising, was running away in its search, when the Doctor, caling after him, authoritatively said,

" What are you thinking of, Sir ? Why do you get up before the cloth is removed ?Come back to your place, Sir!" Again, and with equal obsequiousness, Mr. Boswell did as he was bid ; when the Doctor, pursing his lips, not to betray rising risibility, muttered half to himself, “ Running about in the middle of meals !-one would take you for a Brangton!”—“ A Brangton,* Sir ?” repeated Mr. 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, yet always apprehensive of falling into some disgrace with Dr. Johnson, said, in a low tone, 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 ?” Mrs. Thrale only heartily laughed, but without answering; as she saw one of her guests uneasily fearful of an explanation. But Mr. Seward cried, “ I'll tell you, Boswell, I'll tell you !--if you will walk with me into the paddock; only let us wait till the table is cleared, or I shall be taken for a Brangton, too!” They soon went off together ; and Mr. Boswell, no doubt, was fully informed of the road that had led to the usurpation by which he had thus been annoyed. But the Brangton fabricator took care to * The name of a yulgar family in Evelina.

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