1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Melmoth

Frances Burney, 1780; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 1:364-65.



Thursday. — We were appointed to meet the Bishop of Chester at Mrs. Montagu's. This proved a very gloomy kind of grandeur; the Bishop waited for Mrs. Thrale to speak, Mrs. Thrale for the Bishop; so neither of them spoke at all!

Mrs. Montagu care not a fig, as long as she spoke herself, and so she harangued away. Meanwhile Mr. Melmoth, the Pliny Melmoth, as he is called, was of the party, and seemed to think nobody half so great as himself, and, therefore, chose to play first-violin without further ceremony. But, altogether, the evening was not what it was intended to be, and I fancy nobody was satisfied. It is always thus in long-projected meetings.

The Bishop, however, seems to be a very elegant man; Mrs. Porteus, his lady, is a very sensible and well-bred woman: he has also a sister with him, who sat quite mum all the night, and looked prodigiously weary.

Mr. Melmoth seems intolerably self-sufficient — appears to look upon himself as the first man in Bath, and has a proud conceit in look and manner, mighty forbidding. His lady is in nothing like the Bishop's; I am sure I should pity her if she were.

The good Mrs. Cooper was of the party, and a Mrs. Forster. I, as usual, had my friend Greg, at my elbow. If I had not now taken to her, I should absolutely run wild!