It is is biographical book. Frances Burney was descended from a family which bore the name of Macburney, and which, though probably of Irish origin, had been long settled in Shropshire and was possessed of considerable estates in that county. Unhappily, many years before her birth, the Macburneys began, as if of set purpose and in a spirit of determined rivalry, to expose and ruin themselves. The heir apparent, Mr. James Macburney offended his father by making a runaway match with an actress from Goodman’s - fields — The old gentleman could devise no more judicious mode of wreaking vengeance on his undutiful boy than by marrying the cook. The cook gave birth to a son, named Joseph, who succeeded to all the lands of the family, while James was cut off with a shilling. The favourite son, however, was so extravagant that he soon became as poor as his disinherited brother. Both were forced to earn their bread by their labour. Joseph turned dancing-master and settled in Norfolk. James struck off the Mac from the beginning of his name and set up as a portrait painter at Chester. Here he had a son, named Charles, well known as the author of the “History of Music” and as the father of two remarkable children, of a son distinguished by learning and of a daughter still more honourably distinguished by genius.