donderdag 19 juli 2012

Frances D'Arblay -- 20 juli 1778

July 20.-I have had a letter from Susan. She informs me that my father, when he took the books back to Streatham, actually acquainted Mrs. Thrale with my secret. He took an opportunity, when they were alone together, of saying that Upon her recommendation, he had himself, as well as my mother; been reading "Evelina."

Well!" cried she, "and is it not a very pretty book? and a Very clever book? and a very comical book?

"Why,',' answered he. "'tis well enough; but I have something to tell you about it."

"Well? what?" cried she; "has Mrs. Cholmondeley found out the author?"

" No," returned he, " not that I know of, but I believe I have, though but very lately."

"Well, pray let's hear!" cried she, eagerly, "I want to know him of all things."

How my father must laugh at the him!—He then, however, undeceived her in regard to that particular, by telling her it was "our Fanny!" for she knows all about our family, as my father talks to'her of his domestic concerns without any reserve.

A hundred handsome things, of course, followed; and she afterwards read some of the comic parts to Dr. Johnson, Mr. Thrale, and whoever came near her. How I should have quivered had I been there ! but they tell me that Dr. Johnson laughed as heartily as my father himself did.

Nothing can be more ridiculous than the scenes in which I am almost perpetually engaged. Mr. Crisp, who is totally without suspicion, says, almost daily, something that has double the meaning he intends to convey; for, as I am often writing, either letters, Italian, or some of my own vagaries, he commonly calls me the scribe, and the authoress; asks when I shall print; says he will have all my works on royal paper, etc.; and the other day, Mrs. Gast, who frequently lectures me about studying too hard, and injuring my health, said-

'Pray, Miss Burney, now you write so much, when do you intend to publish?"

"Publish?" cried Mr. Crisp, "why, she has published; she brought out a book the other day that has made a great noise "Evelina"— and she bribed the reviewers to speak well of it, and set it a going."

I was almost ready to run out of the room; but, though the hit was so palpable in regard to the book, what he said of the reviewers was so much the contrary that it checked my alarm: indeed, had he the most remote idea of the truth, be would be the last man to have hinted at it before a room full of people.

"Oh!" cried I, as composedly as I could, "that is but a small part of my authorship—I shall give you a list of my folios Soon,"

They had all some jocularity upon the occasion, but I found I was perfectly safe ; indeed my best security is, that my daddy concludes the author to be a man, and all the rest follow as he leads.

Mr. Burney, yesterday, after dinner, said—"Gentlemen and ladies, I'll propose a toast"; then filling his glass, he drank to The author of "Evelina!"

Had they known the author was present, they could not have more civilly accepted the toast; it was a bold kind of drollery in Mr. Burney, for I was fain to drink my own health in a bumper, which he filled for me, laughing heartily himself.

Frances d'Arblay (1752-1840) was een Britse schrijfster. Haar eerste boek Evelina, waarover het hierboven gaat, publiceerde ze aanvankelijk anoniem. Er zijn ook dagboeken van haar gepubliceerd, waaronder The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay.

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