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An investigation into the character of Fanny Burney

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Tragedy, even your friend Dr. Delap's was inferior in point of laughable circumstances. She was at the representation in spite of all I coud say of the ill effects so much agitation as she must necessarily feel woud have upon an invalide, for she has been extremely ill. . . In truth it needed no discernment to see how it woud go, and I was grievd that a woman of so much merit must be so much mortified. The Audience were quite angelic and only laughed where it was impossible to avoid it. . . Her brother negotiated the whole business, I never saw herself, but she went to my brothers the next day and nobly said, she had been deceivd by her friends, that she saw it was a very bad thing, and withdrew it immediately — that was done like a woman of an exalted Spirit and has wonderfully raisd her in the Opinion of all those who know the circumstances."1

In July 1796 appeared Camilla, at which she had been working for several years. A rough sketch had already been drawn up at Windsor. At the publication of this new novel, which was printed by subscription Madame d'Arblay's famous old friends showed once more that they had not forgotten her. In particular Mrs. Boscawen, Mrs. Crewe and Mrs. Locke took great pains to obtain subscribers, and so did Hastings, while Burke, in spite of illness and sorrow at the death of his brother and his only son, in an extremely kind letter expressed his friendship and admiration for Madame d'Arblay. Fanny was pleased that she was allowed to dedicate the book to the queen and together with her husband she went to Windsor to present it. She was delighted with the kind reception not only of herself, but also of M. d'Arblay, and in the Memoirs of Dr. Burney she mentioned the moment on Windsor Terrace when the king spoke to M. d'Arblay as the proudest instant of her life.

The usual opinion of the critics is that there is a gradual

1 W. Wright Roberts: Charles and Fanny Burney in the light of the new Thrale Correspondence in the John Rylands Library, p. 17-