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An investigation into the character of Fanny Burney

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Miss Farren, who spoke the epilogue. Instantly I shrank back, so astonished and so ashamed of my public situation, that I was almost ready to take to my heels and run, for it seemed as if I were there purposely in that conspicuous place —

'To list attentive to my own applause.'

"The king immediately raised his opera-glass to look at me, laughing heartily — the queen's presently took the same direction — all the princesses looked up, and all the attendants, and all the maids of honour!

"I protest I was never more at a loss what to do with myself: nobody was in the front row with me but Miss Goldsworthy, who instantly seeing how I was disconcerted, prudently and good-naturedly forbore taking any notice of me. I sat as far back as I could, and kept my fan against the exposed profile for the rest of the night, never once leaning forward, nor using my glass.

"None of the royal family spoke to me on this matter till a few days after; but I heard from Mrs. Delany they had all declared themselves sorry for the confusion it had caused me. And some time after the queen could not forbear saying, 'I hope, Miss Burney, you minded the epilogue the other night?'

"And the king, very comically, said: 'I took a peep at

you! I could not help that. I wanted to see how you

looked when your father first discovered your writing — and now I think I know!'"1

Mr. Austin Dobson points out that Fanny's quotation from the epilogue is wrong. The correct lines are: 'And oft let soft Cecilia win your praise; While Reason guides the clue in Fancy's Maze.' It shows that Fanny wrote down her diary spontaneously, without verifying matters.

1 Op. cit. March, i787-