1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Hayward Roberts

Frances Burney, 1790; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 4:418.



Dr. Gisborne promised me to superintend, and Mr. Keate [Austin Dobson's note: John Keate, 1773-1852, afterwards the famous headmaster of Eton] to see him from time to time. Mr. Keate, also, to show he meant to take some trouble, came to me with a request I would canvass the Provost of Eton, Dr. Roberts, concerning a living for his brother. I told him my little right to such an application; but, for the sake of my poor Columb, I would refuse nothing demanded of me. I therefore posted to Eton; but though I met with every civility from the Provost, I found the request was of a nature impracticable for consent, as it opposed the fixed rules of the College. So I was only paid for the difficult, nay arduous, to me, exertion of asking a favour, by manifesting to Mr. Keate my readiness to allow claim for claim.

You may imagine I made continual inquiries how the poor man went on, but no accounts were promising which reached me during the month.