Friday, April 18, 2008

constancy invariable

Miss F. Burney to Mrs. Thrale.

[July] 1780.

obody does write such sweet letters as my dear Mrs. Thrale, and I would sooner give up a month's allowance of meat, than my week's allowance of an epistle. The report of the parliament's dissolution I hope is premature. I inquire of everybody I see about it, and always hear that it is expected now to last almost as long as it can last. Why, indeed, should government wish to dissolve it, when they meet with no opposition from it? Since I wrote last I have drunk tea with Dr. Johnson. My father took me to Boltcourt, and we found him, most fortunately, with only one brass-headed cane gentleman. Since that, I have had the pleasure to meet him again at Mrs. Reynolds's, when he offered to take me with him to Grubstreet, to see the ruins of the house demolished there in the late riots, by a mob that, as he observed, could be no friend to the Muses! He inquired if I had ever yet visited Grubstreet? but was obliged to restrain his anger when I answered "yes to," because he acknowledged he had never paid his respects to it himself. "However," says he, "you and I, Burney, will go together; we have a very good right to go, so we'll visit the mansions of our progenitors, and take up our own freedom together." There 's for you, madam! What can be grander?

Yesterday I drank tea at Sir Joshua's, and met by accident with Mrs. Cholmondeley; I was very glad to find that her spirits are uninjured by her misfortunes; she was as gay, flighty, entertaining, and frisky as ever. Her spouse is not confined, as was said; he is only gone upon his travels: she seems to bear his absence with remarkable fortitude. After all, there is something in her very attractive; her conversation is so spirited, so humorous, so enlivening, that she does not suffer one's attention to rest, much less to flag, for hours together.

Sir Joshua told me he was now at work upon your pictures, touching them up for Streatham, and that he has already ordered the frames, and shall have them quite ready whenever the house is in order for them.

Adieu, dearest madam, and from me accept not only love, and not only respects, but both, and gratitude, and warmest wishes, and constancy invariable into the bargain.

[Charles Avison Concerto grosso, n. 5]

-from The Diary and Letters of Frances Burney, Madame D'Arblay. revised and edited by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey in 2 volumes (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1880), vol. 1.

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