At Tea we had more Company; Major Holroyd, his Lady, and Miss Firth , who is on a visit at her House. The 1st of these is major of the militia a very rich Sussex Gentleman, and agreeable enough, - It was he, who, you may remember, Mrs. Thrale said told her he had Dined at Sir Joshua Reynolds' with the Father of the celebrated Lady who writ Evelina, - and congratulated her about knowing me. I suppose he gave me a good stare, but as I did not, at the Time, recollect this circumstance, I did not heed him. His Lady is Tall, genteel, rather sensible, but terribly gossiping and full of the scandal of the place. Miss Firth is, in every thing, like her.
They took us to the Parade before Tea, to see the soldiers mustered, a ceremony the officers are obliged to go through every night. We then returned here and had a chatty and comfortable Evening.
Monday [24 May] was a Field Day, and Captain Fuller invited us to Breakfast with him, before we proceeded to the Downs. We did so, - that is, Mrs. And Miss. T. and I, for Mr. Thrale was not up in Time. Captain Fuller's apartments are on the Steyn, and he had his men all drawn out before the House, and under arms, against we came. He is a very pleasing young man, and I like him very much. He gave us Eggs, Tea and Chocolate for Break fast: he told us that Eggs make the fashionable officer's Breakfast at Brighthelmstone, as being good for the Voice, in which they are obliged to exercise as much as their persons, in giving the Word, and so forth.
After this, Mrs. Holroyd called in her Carriage to take us to the Downs; where was to be the shew. Captain Fuller escorted us on Foot. He belongs to the light Infantry, and was pretty well worked, I believe, with the heat and the exercise before he had done.
Altogether, the morning was pleasant. Major Holroyd, who acted at the General, was extremely polite, and attentive, and came to us between every evolution, to explain and talk over the maneuvers. Captain Fuller, too, whenever he was at liberty, favoured us with his Company, - so we were very grand, and very military.
On our return, we went to the Major's. His House is on the Steyn, and the best, I believe, in the Town, both for situation and fitting up. After this, Mrs. and Miss. Thrale paraded me about the Town, and took me to the principal shops, to see the World.
When we came Home, Capt. Fuller called to excuse himself from Dining here, on account of Business with his men. He got into chat, however, and stayed more than an Hour. He wanted me violently to play to him, - but I am less able than ever so to do , as I literally never touch a key, lest I should be heard.
We drank Tea and spent the Evening at Major Holroyd's. They took us to the Parade, to see the muster , and there we were joined by Capt. Fuller, who went with us to the Major's. There were, also, 3 other officers, Mr. Lucius Concannon, an Irish Lieutenant, a staring, smiling man, of few words; Mr. Godfrey, a very handsome, conceited Youth, and Mr. John Fuller (John Trayton Fuller d. 1812), a heavy, Sussex Headed young man.
Captain Fuller was, again, quite vehement with me to play, - and I had great difficulty, indeed, to escape, - he said he would watch me the whole Time I remained here, and set spys to watch if I was not to be caught, privately, at the Piano Forte; 'And I have 75 servants here,' he said, 'all in my Livery, -' meaning his Company, as you probably guess! Mrs. Holroyd and Miss. Thrale both performed, - and then I was assaulted, and reassaulted, and the Major said he would Head a File of musqueteers against me upon which, all the Officers arose, and came to me in a body, joining in the Petition, - I tried to run for it, but was stopt by a detachment, - Mrs. Thrale joined with them, till, taking my Hand, she found I actually shook, and then she got me off.
Tuesday I accompanied Mrs. and Mr. Thrale to Lewes, a Town about 8 miles from Brighthelmstone, where we went to see Mrs. Shelley, a Cousin of Mrs. Thrale. But found her not at Home. We then proceeded to Dr. Delap, a clergyman, of whom I expect to have more to say in a Day or 2, as he is to visit us, and bring a M.S. play with him! Mr. Shelley me us in our way, and invited us back to his House, - and while we were returning, Captain Fuller came up to the Coach Door, and invite himself to Dine with us. He was at Lewes, with all the Sussex officers, to wait upon the Duke of Richmond; Mrs. Thrale offered him the vacant seat in the Coach, and we went on to the Shelleys.
The Sussex Militia, formed in 1778, became in 1845 the Royal Sussex Light Infantry, and in 1881 it became the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, of the regular Royal Sussex Regiment.
Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1735-1806)
by George Romney
oil on canvas, 1776
On display at the
National Portrait Gallery
John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield
by Henry Edridge, 1798
Fountain, Old Stein Brighton
Margaret 'Peggy' Pitches (1760 - 1840) married the 7th Earl of Coventry in 1783. Ironically, she commis- sioned a folly of her own, a mock castle designed by James Wyatt. The Broadway Tower built in 1797 is located on the Cotswold escarpment edge.
Captain Fuller, to Ridicule, I believe, her affectation, took the contrary extreme; he put on an awkward, clownish Countenance, shuffled the Cards with a ludicrous clumsiness, and making various vulgar grimaces, licked his Thumb in order to deal!
This failing, her next attempt was more spirited; she looked over his Hand, and, declaring all cheating was allowable at Commerce, snatched one of his Cards to make her own Hand better.
The Captain, however, had so little gallantry, that instead of regarding this theft as a favour, and offering her her choice of what she pleased, he insisted upon having his Card returned!-and when she resisted, recovered it, in an easy manner, by exposing all her Hand, and then, very composedly proceeded with the Game without comment.
This determined insensibility made her give him up,-she blushed, and sat quiet the rest of the evening.
From Journal Letter to Susanna Burney 29 May 1779
Peggy Pitches , who is the greatest little Coquet in Sussex, fixed her Eyes, and aimed her dart, at Captain Fuller, - she smiled, tittered, lisped, languished, and played pretty all the Evening, - but the Captain was totally insensible, - he has, indeed, so little passion for flirtation, that he would rather listen to Mr. Murphy, the Bishop, or Mrs. Thrale, than either speak to, or look at, the most celebrated Toast in the kingdom.
But Peggy, who thought a red Coat a certain prognostick of gallantry, was not easily to be discouraged; when she found her little graces not merely ineffectual, but wholly unobserved, she began to set down her cards, in a pretty, affected, manner, protesting she did not know how to play, and begging his advice; - nothing, however, ensued from this, but that, by his inattention and indifference, I fancy he thought her a Fool.
When it came to her turn to deal, she mixed the cards, let them drop, tittered, and flung herself into sundry attitudes, and then begged the Captain to shuffle and deal for her.
They have a large and charming House in this Town; Mrs. Shelley is just a good sort of Woman, she has a great family, of very fine Children. We spent all the morning with them, and then, with our Captain, came Home, and had the most agreeable Ride.
The Country about this place has a most singular appearance; there is not a Tree within several miles, but Hill rises above Hill in quantity innumerable. The sea is the great object from all parts.
In the evening of Tuesday we had a large party, consisting of the Bishop of Peterborough, his Lady, the Holroyds, Miss Firth, and our light Infantry Captain.
The Bishop is a man of very mild manners, and most courteous demeanor; his Lady is pretty and lively. They, Mr. Thrale and Mrs. Holroyd played at Cards from Tea to supper, and the rest of us formed into occasional little parties
From the Journal Letter to Susanna Burney 21- 27 May 1779
The Sussex militia, of which the Duke of Richmond is Colonel, is now here. Mr. Fuller (John Fuller 1757-1834), a very intimate young friend of Mr. Thrale, who is Captain of a Company belonging to it, Dined with us. He is a Young man of a very large Fortune, remarkably handsome, and very gay, sensible, unaffected and agreeable.
Frances "Fanny" Burney was born at Lynn Regis, now called King's Lynn, Norfolk , on 13 June 1752. Her father, Dr Charles Burney, was a music historian. Although largely self-educated Fanny Burney was a prolific writer since the age of ten. Her best known works are the novels Evelina (1778), Cecilia(1782), Camilla (1796) and The Wanderer(1814).
Fanny Burney's journals (1786-1840) provide great insight into the literate society of the period and her intimates such as Hester Thrale and Dr. Johnson. At the age of forty-two she married French exile General Alexandre D'Arblay and they had one son, Alexandre, in 1794.