Frances [Fanny] Burney

Peter Sabor (ed.), The Court Journals and Letters of Frances Burney, Vol. 1: 1786

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Sunday, Novr, 19th.

While I was at Breakfast, the Door was suddenly opened, & the Queen entered the Room. I started up, & went to meet her. She smiled, asked me what Book I was reading, & then told me to write a Note to Mrs. Delany; "Tell her, said she, that this morning is so very cold & wet, that I think she will suffer by going to Church;—tell her, therefore, that Doctor Queen is of opinion she had better stay & say her prayers at Home."—

I always feel ready to thank her for these instances of goodness to my most venerable Friend, & am afraid lest, some time or other, without weighing the self-important inference, I shall involuntarily do it!—'Tis so sweet in her, I can scarcely refrain.

And afterwards, when I attended her at Noon, she spoke to me a great deal of Mrs. Trimmer,758 that excellent Instructress & Patroness of Children & the Poor; & she made me a Present of her last two little Books:—called The Servant's Friend, & The Two Farmers.759

I have read both, & with true admiration of their design, &, indeed, of their execution. They recommend morality to the lower class of the people in a style suited to their comprehension, & with such sort of entertainment mingled with their instruction as may soberly be enjoyed by them, while yet it lightens the gravity of the lessoning, & makes the counsel palatable & pleasing.

Miss Gomme, by direction of the Queen, who wanted her early in the afternoon, Dined with me. She came an Hour before the rest of the party, & I had a long discourse with her upon Prussia, where she has pg 259passed the greater part of her life.760 She is very sensible, &, I fancy, well informed: but her manner is not pleasing to strangers, & her conversation,—perhaps from great inequality of spirits,—has no flow,—nothing gliding,—it is either abrupt & loquacious, like the rush of a torrent,—or it is lost & stagnant, like the poor little round old fashioned Garden Pond.

At Dinner, Mrs. Delany brought Mr. Dewes & Miss Port. <Both that> & the Eve, went off as usual, indebted for all its Sport to the comic queerness of Colonel Goldsworthy.

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Editor’s Note
758 Sarah Kirby (174–1810), m. (1762) James Trimmer (1739–92). An author and educationist, she wrote numerous books of religious and moral teaching, such as An Easy Introduction to the Knowledge of Nature, and Reading the Holy Scriptures (1780) and Sacred History (1782–5). In 1786, she established a Sunday school in Old Brentford. She had some connections to Court; her father and brother, Joshua and William Kirby, had been appointed Joint Clerks of the Works at Kew and Richmond in 1761.
Editor’s Note
759 The Servant's Friend and The Two Farmers were both published in late 1786.
Editor’s Note
760 Before becoming the princesses' English teacher in 1786, Jane Gomm was employed in Prussia (Fraser, 87).
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