Wednesday, April 23, 2008

reverencing and admiring

Miss F. Burney to Dr. Burney.

Monday, June 19th, 1786.

How great must have been your impatience, dearest sir! but my interview has only this morning taken place. Everything is settled, and tomorrow morning I go to the Queen's Lodge, to see the apartments, and to receive my instructions. I must confess myself extremely frightened and full of alarms, at a change of situation so great, so unexpected, so unthought of. Whether I shall suit it or not, heaven only knows, but I have a thousand doubts. Yet nothing could be sweeter than the Queen, more encouraging, more gentle, or more delicate. She did not ask me one question concerning my qualifications for the charge; she only said, with the most condescending softness, "I am sure, Miss Burney, we shall suit one another very well." And, another time, "I am sure we shall do very well together." And what is it, dear Sir, you suppose to be my business? Not to attend any of the Princesses but the Queen herself! This, indeed, was a delightful hearing, reverencing and admiring her as I have so sincerely done ever since I first saw her. And in this, my amazement is proportioned to my satisfaction ; for the place designed me is that of Mrs. Haggerdorn, who came with her from Germany, and it will put me more immediately and more constantly in her presence than any other place, but that of Mrs. Schwellenberg, in the Court. The prepossession the Queen has taken in my favor is truly extraordinary, for it seems as if her real view was, as Mr. Smelt hinted, to attach me to her person. She has been long, she told Mrs. Delany, looking out for one to supply the place of Mrs. Haggerdorn, whose ill health forces her back to Germany; "and I was led to think of Miss Burney, first by her books: then by seeing her; then by always hearing how she was loved by her friends; but chiefly by your friendship for her." I fancy my appointment will take place very soon.
F. B.

-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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