And when the rumour has become certainty she adds:
"So great, however, had been my incredulity, so unspeakable . . . was my astonishment, that I feel satisfied, if my heart had been engaged in this af fair, if my affections had been touched beyond gratitude and esteem, the instantaneous effect of this sudden conviction would infallibly have been immediate death by an apoplectick stroke, and let me as I recount this most thankfully consider my almost wonderful preservation. He has risked my whole earthly peace with a defiance of all mental integrity the mbst extraordinary to be imagined! . .. What may have stimulated him, I can form no idea, his conscience seemed so delicate, so disinterested . . .
It is not him I have to thank that he has not broken my heart! It is Heaven alone I have to praise."1
It is difficult to find out how far this sad experience has affected Fanny, for several factors conspired to make her life at court sad after this. The royal family returned to Windsor and Fanny had to go back to the dull court routine and the disagreeable company of Mrs. Schwellenberg. What made life at court particularly dismal at that time was the illness of the king. The queen was in great distress and Fanny's surroundings were extremely depressing, especially when, for the recovery of the king, the court removed to Kew.
It was in Kew Gardens that Fanny met with the extraordinary adventure which has been mentioned as an example of her artfulness. During a walk by herself she accidentally met the king and his attendants. As strict orders had been given to avoid the king, she tried to prevent this meeting by running away. But the king had seen her and as she did not stop when he called out, he pursued her, till she was ordered by the doctors to stop. An extremely kind
1 Printed in: Fanny Burney at the Court of Queen Charlotte, by Constance Hill, p. 315-