1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry Harington the Younger

Frances Burney, 1780; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 1:367-69.



Soon after, Dr. Harrington arrived, which closed our party. Miss L— went whispering to him, and then came up to me, with a look of dismay, and said,

"Oh, ma'am, I'm so prodigiously concerned; Mr. Henry won't come!"

"Who, ma'am?"

"Mr. Henry, ma'am, the doctor's son." But, to be sure, he does not know you are here, or else — but I'm quite concerned, indeed, for here now we shall have no young gentlemen!"

"Oh, all the better," cried I. "I hope we shall be able to do very well without."

"Oh yes, ma'am, to be sure. I don't mean for any common young gentlemen; but Mr. Henry, ma'am, it's quite another thing; — however, I think he might have come; but I did not happen to mention in my card that you were to be here, and so — but I think it serves him right for not coming to see me."

Soon after the mamma hobbled to me, and began a furious panegyric upon my book, saying, at the same time,

"I wonder, Miss, how you could get at them low characters. As to the lords and ladies, that's no wonder at all; but, as to t'others, why, I have not stirred, night nor morning, while I've been reading it: if I don't wonder how you could be so clever!"

And much, much more. And, scarcely had she unburthened herself, ere Miss L— trotted back to me, crying, in a tone of mingled triumph and vexation,

"Well, ma'am, Mr. Henry will be very much mortified when he knows who has been here; that he will, indeed: however, I'm sure he deserves it!"

I made some common sort of reply, that I hoped he was better engaged, which she vehemently declared was impossible.

We had now some music. [Miss L— sung various old elegies of Jackson, Dr. Harrington, and Linley, and oh how I dismalled in hearing them! Mr. Whalley, too, sung "Robin Gray, and divers other melancholic ballads, and Miss Thrale sang "Ti seguire fedele."]

But the first time there was a cessation of harmony, Miss L—, again respectfully approaching me, cried,

"Well, all my comfort is that Mr. Henry will be prodigiously mortified! But there's a ball to-night, so I suppose he's gone to that. However, I'm sure if he had known of meeting you young ladies here — but it's all good enough for him, for not coming!"

"Nay,"cried I, "if meeting young ladies is a motive with him, he can have nothing to regret while at a ball, where he will see many more than he could here."

"Oh, ma'am, as to that — but I say no more, because it mayn't be proper; but, to be sure, if Mr. Henry had known — however, he'll be well mortified!"