ment is opening from the weight of sadness by which I had long believed it utterly demolished. But Time, 'uncalled, unheeded, unawares', — works as secretly upon our spirits as upon our years, and gives us as little foresight into what we can endure, as into how long we shall exist."1
From this time onward the letters are less dejected, though the old cheerfulness was gone for ever. Madame d'Arblay's life remained very retired and without any important events. Alex was ordained, and his mother now began to arrange the manuscripts for the Memoirs of Dr. Burney. This was not an easy task, for her father had left her a large number of letters and private notes, and these, combined with her own memoirs and the family correspondence, formed such an enormous pile of papers that it seemed hopeless to try to arrange them. She worked hard at her new task, but her health began to fail her again. The reading of all those old family papers caused her too much emOtion, and she feit that if she wanted to finish the work at all, she ought to be more careful and not devote whole days to it. In a letter to her sister Hetty she writes:
"I have been suddenly taken a third time, in the middle of the night, with a seizure as if a hundred windmills were turning round in my head: in short, — I had now recourse to serious medical help, and, to come to the sum total, I am now so much better that I believe myself to be merely in the common road of such gentle, gradual decay as, I humbly trust, I have been prepared to meet with highest hope, though with deepest awe — for now many years back.
"The chief changes or reforms from which I reap benefit are, i st. Totally renouncing for the evenings all reviaioh or indulgence in poring over those letters and papers whose contents come nearest to my heart, and work upon its bleeding regrets. Next, transferring to the èvening, as far as is in my power, all of sociality with Alex, or my few
1 Op. cit. Dec. 15, 1820.