Juliet in The Wanderer, 1814, goes to work at a milliner’s shop. This is the most amazing thing in Burney since the man in Cecilia shot himself. Millinery tires her, not the work itself, but the fact that she is always on display, she is in a room with other workers; she is depressed by conversation that she dislikes; the war between the customers and sellers is oppressive to her.
The ladies whose practice it was to frequent the shop, thought the time and trouble of its mistress, and her assistants, amply paid by the honour of their presence; and though they tried on hats and caps, till they put them out of shape; examined and tossed about the choicest goods, till they were so injured that they could be sold only at half price; ordered sundry articles, which, when finished, they returned, because they had changed their minds; or discovered that they did not want them; still their consciences were at ease, their honour was self-acquitted, and their generosity was self-applauded, if, after two or three hours of lounging, rummaging, fault-finding and chaffering, they purchased a yard or two of ribbon, or a few skanes of netting silk.
But “Upon further observation, nevertheless, her compassion for the milliner and the work-women somewhat diminished; for she found that their notions of probity were as lax as those of their customers were of justice; and saw that their own rudeness to those who had neither rank nor fortune, kept pace with the haughtiness which they were forced to support, from those by whom both were possessed.”
Eventually “In viewing conflicts such as these, between selfish vanity and cringing cunning, it soon became difficult to decide, which was least congenial to the upright mind and pure morality of Juliet, the insolent, vain, unfeeling buyer, or the subtle, plausible, over-reaching seller.” The two sides have four faults each in that sentence: they are equal for a moment, but the ladies are condemned more insidiously by Burney because they have more power, as Mr Giles says in vol. IV, ch. LXV, when he is speaking to Mrs Ireton: “I don't know why you ladies who are so rich and gay should not try to make yourselves pleasant to those who are poor and sad,” and the Admiral in vol. V, ch. XCII, "For who the devil's the better for her birth and breeding, if they only serve to make her fancy she has a right to be impudent?"
The protagonist wants to settle on her morals and she can't. “I know no longer what is kind or what is cruel, nor have I known for some time past right from wrong, nor good from evil!" said Cecilia in Cecilia after she had lived for months with a guardian who guilted her into giving him money for his debts. It is economics that introduces these problems to Burney’s world, the inequalities of money, which create a level of misunderstanding that is different from the interpersonal kind (which the author still pursues), it is a misunderstanding that confounds direct thought, and it is less optimistic than the interpersonal, since there is no Other to understand; there is no hope that (as at the end of Camilla) the problem will be fixed with some statement of truth. “[E]very doubt was wholly, and even miraculously removed, by learning thus the true feelings of her heart.” With economics it is the opposite: every revelation makes it worse.