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An investigation into the character of Fanny Burney

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allo wed to return to England, but she feil seriously ill and died during the journey.

These sad events cast a shadow over Fanny's life, and when she heard of Susan's death at the very moment that she expected to see her safe back again after all these sufferings, she was almost distracted. Truly patfaetic is her letter to Mrs. Locke. written shortly after Susan's death, which shows how intense her grief was.

"She was the soul of my soul! — and 't is wonderful to me, my dearest Fredy, that the first shock did not join them immediately by the flight of mine — but that over — that dreadful, harrowing, never-to-be-forgotten moment of horror that made me wish to be mad — the ties that after that first endearing period have shared with her my heart, come to my aid ...

"forgive me my distraction. I write so fast I fear you can hardly read; but you will see I am conversing with you, and that will show you how I turn to you for the comfort of your tenderness."1

Though her letters at this period are still fairly natural, it is evident from this expression that she was not in the habit of writing as if she were conversing. That she did do so here is what makes this letter so attractive.

As soon as there was peace between France and England M. d'Arblay took the opportunity to go back to his country in order to try to recover some of his lost property, and was soon afterwards followed by his wife and son. The account of this journey is interesting and lively. It is extraordinary how very little Fanny, who had French friends and even a French husband, knew about France. She is surprised to meet with civility and gentleness on the other side of the Channel. Up to this time she had indeed a very poor opinion of the French, and, if it had not been to join M. d'Arblay, she would not have been at all anxious to

* Diary and Letters, Jan. 9, 1800.