Fanny Burney, a strong, independent minded writer from the eighteenth century, served for a while at the court as a kind of lady-in-waiting to the queen.  The job, which sounds a doddle, was actually oppressive and stressful since the queen didn’t have any sense of Fanny’s need or right to privacy.  As a result Fanny was becoming ill and exhausted.  Her father’s response when she told him of her suffering was a joy of compassion and kindliness.

‘If you wish to resign – my House – my Purse – my Arms – shall be open to receive you back!’

Source: Dr. Burney, quoted in Fanny Burney, Journals and Letters, selected by Peter Sabor & Lars Troide (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 2001), p. 303


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