British Fiction, 18001829

BRUNTON, Mary. Discipline (1814)

Anecdotal Records

Letter from Anne Grant to Catherine Maria Fanshawe.
13 Dec 1814.
I received a present two days since of Discipline, a new work by Mrs Brunton, author of Self-Control. I now know and like her, but am not sure I shall like her book.
Source: Memoir and Correspondence of Mrs Grant of Laggan, ed. by J. P. Grant, 3 vols (London: Longman, 1844), II, 62.
Notes: Self-Control is EN2 1811: 25.

Letter from Elizabeth Hamilton to Miss J[oanna?] B[aillie?].
7 Mar 1815.
Let no one say that imagination does not operate on this side the Tweed! What do you think of ‘Discipline?’—of ‘Waverley?’—of ‘Guy Mannering?’ Are they not all excellent in their way? The first cannot be considered as a picture of life: it must be judged of merely as an illustration of a [186/187] theory, and, as such, has many beauties. The two last are portrait pieces of first-rate excellence: the painter a Gerard Dow—not a Michael Angelo; but in his own peculiar department comes near perfection. Though the name of Scott does not grace the title-page, it is seen in every other page of both performances.
Source: Elizabeth Benger, Memoirs of the Late Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton. With a Selection from her Correspondence, and Other Unpublished Writings, 2 vols (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1818), II, 186–87.
Notes: Letter is addressed from George Street, Edinburgh. Waverley is EN2 1814: 52; Guy Mannering is EN2 1815: 46.

Letter from Sarah Harriet Burney to Charlotte Francis Barrett.
5 Apr 1815.
‘Discipline’ people tell me to read, but I have no stomach to it, I believe because of the name, fool that I am!—But one thing is, that I did not like the other book by that author, Self Controul, and so I have no appetite to try the second.
Source: The Letters of Sarah Harriet Burney, ed. by Lorna J. Clark (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1997), p. 193.
Notes: Charlotte Francis was Burney’s niece; she married Henry Barrett in 1807. The letter is addressed to her at Richmond, Surrey.

Letter from Mary Brunton to Captain William Balfour.
21 Apr 1815.
[Brunton thanks her brother for his criticisms of Discipline; she acknowledges the truth in all of his comments,] except in your attack upon my Scotchman; who, I assure you, is not so very marble, but that he is in high favour with the ladies. A handsome fashionable young one, the other day, embargoed Mr Miller in a corner of his own shop, till he should tell her who Maitland was; since, ‘beyond all doubt, the character was a real one.’ // As for the Highlands, you know, they are quite the rage. All the novel-reading Misses have seen and admired them in the verdure and sunshine of July. Now, what novel-reading Miss ever had common sense enough to doubt, that what is plea- [lxxvii/lxxviii] sing to the eye, should be desirable in possession; or that what charms for an evening, should delight for ever? // As for my religion, I allow that there is too much for amusement, perhaps for good taste; nevertheless, I cannot bate you one iota. For the great purpose of the book is to procure admission for the religion of a sound mind and of the Bible, where it cannot find access in any other form. Yes! I say the great purpose; for, though I love money dearly, money is not my motive for writing as I do; not for the complexion and sentiments of my books. [Brunton acknowledges that she would probably earn more money if she softened the moral tone of her works.]
Source: Mary Brunton, Emmeline. With Some Other Pieces. To Which is Prefixed a Memoir of her Life, Including Some Extracts from her Correspondence (Edinburgh: Manners and Miller, and Constable and Co; London: John Murray, 1819), pp. lxxvii-lxxviii.
Notes: Robert Miller was a partner in the firm of Manners & Miller; Manners and Miller co-published Discipline with Longman & Co.

Letter from Susan Ferrier to Charlotte Clavering.
I am happy you like ‘Discipline,’ but you have mistaken me in thinking I meant it to be returned, as it was intended as a small addition to your library, being one of the very few novels I think fit for family use.
Source: Memoir and Correspondence of Susan Ferrier. 1782–1854. Collected by her Grand-Nephew John Ferrier, ed. by John A. Doyle (London: Murray, 1898; rpt. London: Eveleigh, 1929), p. 125.
Notes: Date is from contents. Letter has only ‘Friday, 7th’ but was written from a house in Morningside, Edinburgh that the Ferriers had for the summer in 1815.

Letter from unknown correspondent to Lady Charlotte Bury.
5 Nov 1817.
‘Discipline’ is to come out, by the authoress of ‘Self Control’. It is very good, and I like it better than the other by the same writer. It is methodistical in the second volume—too much so; but the last is extremely interesting. Certainly she is a powerful writer. […] There are some highland persons drawn in the characters in ‘Discipline’, which are very cleverly sketched, and amuse me beyond measure. I am to meet the authoress, Mrs. Brunton to-night; but I am told she has no conversational powers.
Source: Lady Charlotte Bury, The Diary of a Lady-In-Waiting, ed. by A. F. Steuart, 2 vols (London: Lane, 1908), II, 122.
Notes: Date given is the date of the entry where the letter is quoted in Lady Charlotte’s diary.

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