Infomotions, Inc.The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, Volume 1 / Edgeworth, Maria, 1767-1849

Author: Edgeworth, Maria, 1767-1849
Title: The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, Volume 1
Date: 2003-08-13
Contributor(s): Hare, Augustus J. C., 1834-1903 [Editor]
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Title: The Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth, Vol. 1

Author: Maria Edgeworth

Editor: Augustus J. C. Hare

Release Date: September, 2005  [EBook #8825]
[This file was first posted on August 13, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

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THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF

MARIA EDGEWORTH

VOL. I

Edited By

AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE







PREFACE


In her later years Miss Edgeworth was often asked to write a
biographical preface to her novels. She refused. "As a woman," she said,
"my life, wholly domestic, can offer nothing of interest to the public."
Incidents indeed, in that quiet happy home existence, there were none to
narrate, nothing but the ordinary joys and sorrows which attend every
human life. Yet the letters of one so clear-sighted and sagacious--one
whom Macaulay considered to be the second woman of her age--are
valuable, not only as a record of her times, and of many who were
prominent figures in them: but from the picture they naturally give of a
simple, honest, generous, high-minded character, filled from youth to
age with love and goodwill to her fellow-creatures, and a desire for
their highest good. An admirable collection of Miss Edgeworth's letters
was printed after her death by her stepmother and lifelong friend, but
only for private circulation. As all her generation has long since
passed away, Mr. Edgeworth of Edgeworthstown now permits that these
letters should be read beyond the limits of the family circle. An editor
has had little more to do than to make a selection, and to write such a
thread of biography as might unite the links of the chain.

AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE.




MARIA EDGEWORTH


In the flats of the featureless county of Longford stands the large and
handsome but unpretentious house of Edgeworthstown. The scenery here has
few natural attractions, but the loving care of several generations has
gradually beautified the surroundings of the house, and few homes have
been more valued or more the centre round which a large family circle
has gathered in unusual sympathy and love. In his _Memoirs_, Mr.
Edgeworth tells us how his family, which had given a name to Edgeworth,
now Edgeware, near London, came to settle in Ireland more than three
hundred years ago. Roger Edgeworth, a monk, having taken advantage of
the religious changes under Henry VIII., had married and left two sons,
who, about 1583, established themselves in Ireland. Of these, Edward,
the elder, became Bishop of Down and Connor, and died without children;
but the younger, Francis, became the founder of the family of
Edgeworthstown. Always intensely Protestant, often intensely
extravagant, each generation of the Edgeworth family afterwards had its
own picturesque story, till Richard Edgeworth repaired the broken
fortunes of his house, partly by success as a lawyer, partly by his
marriage, in 1732, with Jane Lovell, daughter of a Welsh judge.

Their eldest son, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, was born in 1744, and
educated in his boyhood at Drogheda School and Dublin University.
Strong, handsome, clever, ingenious, and devoted to sports of every
kind, he was a general favourite. But his high spirits often led him
into scrapes. The most serious of these occurred during the festivities
attendant on his eldest sister's marriage with Mr. Fox of Fox Hall, at
which he played at being married to a young lady who was present, by one
of the guests dressed up in a white cloak, with a door-key for a ring.
This foolish escapade would not deserve the faintest notice, if it had
not been seriously treated as an actual marriage by a writer in the
_Quarterly Review._

In 1761 Richard Edgeworth was removed from Dublin to Corpus Christi
College at Oxford. There he arrived, regretting the gaieties of Dublin,
and anxious to make the most of any little excitements which his new
life could offer. Amongst the introductions he brought with him was one
to Mr. Paul Elers, who, himself of German extraction, had made a
romantic marriage with Miss Hungerford, the heiress of Black Bourton in
Oxfordshire. Mr. Elers honourably warned Mr. Edgeworth, who was an old
friend of his, that he had four daughters who were very pretty, and that
his friend had better be careful, as their small fortunes would scarcely
fit one of them to be the wife of his son. But the elder Mr. Edgeworth
took no notice--Richard was constantly at Black Bourton; and in 1763,
being then only nineteen, he fled with Miss Anna Maria Elers to Gretna
Green, where they were married. Great as was Mr. Edgeworth's
displeasure, he wisely afterwards had the young couple remarried by
license.

The union turned out unhappily. "I soon felt the inconveniences of an
early and hasty marriage," wrote the bridegroom; "but, though I heartily
repented my folly, I determined to bear with firmness and temper the
evil which I had brought on myself." His eldest child, Richard, was born
before he was twenty; his second, Maria, when he was twenty-four. Though
he became master of Edgeworthstown by the death of his father in 1769,
he for some years lived chiefly at Hare Hatch, near Maidenhead. Here he
already began to distract his attention from an ungenial home by the
endless plans for progress in agriculture and industry, and the
disinterested schemes for the good of Ireland, which always continued to
be the chief occupation of his life. It was his inventive genius which
led to his paying a long visit to Lichfield to see Dr. Darwin. There he
lingered long in pleasant intimacy with the doctor and his wife, with
Mr. Wedgwood, Miss Anna Seward--"the Swan of Lichfield"--and still more,
with the eccentric Thomas Day, author of _Sandford and Merton_, who
became his most intimate friend, and who wished to marry his favourite
sister Margaret, though she could not make up her mind to accept him,
and eventually became the wife of Mr. Ruxton of Black Castle. With Mrs.
Seward and her daughters lived at that time--partly for educational
purposes--Honora Sneyd, a beautiful and gifted girl, who had rejected
the addresses of the afterwards famous Major Andre, and who now also
refused those of Mr. Day. "In Honora Sneyd," wrote Mr. Edgeworth, "I saw
for the first time in my life a woman that equalled the picture of
perfection existing in my imagination. And then my not being happy at
home exposed me to the danger of being too happy elsewhere." When he
began to feel as if the sunshine of his life emanated from his
friendship with Miss Sneyd, he was certain flight was the only safety.
So leaving Mrs. Edgeworth and her little girls with her mother, he made
his escape to France, only taking with him his boy, whom he determined
to educate according to the system of Rousseau. Then, for two years, he
remained at Lyons, employing his inventive and mechanical powers in
building bridges.

Meantime, the early childhood of Maria Edgeworth, who was born, 1st
January 1767, in the house of her grandfather, Mr. Elers, at Black
Bourton, was spent almost entirely with relations in Oxfordshire, or
with her maternal great-aunts, the Misses Blake, in Great Russell Street
in London. It was in their house that her neglected and unloved
mother--always a kind and excellent, though a very sad woman--died after
her confinement of a third daughter (Anna) in 1773. On hearing of what
he considered to be his release, Mr. Edgeworth hurried back at once to
England, and, before four months were over, he was married to Miss
Honora Sneyd, whose assent to so hasty a marriage would scarcely prepare
those who were unacquainted with her for the noble, simple, and faithful
way in which she ever fulfilled the duties of a wife and stepmother. The
son of the first marriage, Richard Edgeworth, went, by his own choice,
to sea, but the three little girls, Maria, Emmeline, and Anna, returned
with their father and stepmother to Edgeworthstown, where they had a
childhood of unclouded happiness.

In 1775 Maria Edgeworth, being then eight years old, was sent to a
school at Derby, kept by Mrs. Lataffiere, to whom she always felt much
indebted, though her stepmother, then in very failing health, continued
to take part in her education by letter.


MRS. HONORA EDGEWORTH _to_ MARIA.

BEIGHTERTON, NEAR SHIFFNALL,

_Oct. 10, 1779._

I have received your letter, and I thank you for it, though I assure you
I did not expect it. I am particularly desirous you should be convinced
of this, as I _told_ you I would write first. It is in vain to attempt
to please a person who will not tell us what they _do_ and what they do
_not_ desire; but as I tell you very fully what I think may be expected
from a girl of your age, abilities, and education, I assure you, my dear
Maria, you may entirely depend upon me, that as long as I have the use
of my understanding, I shall not be displeased with you for omitting
anything which I had before told you I did not expect. Perhaps you may
not quite understand what I mean, for I have not expressed myself
clearly. If you do not, I will explain myself to you when we meet; for
it is very agreeable to me to think of conversing with you as my equal
in every respect but age, and of my making that inequality of use to you
by giving you the advantage of the experience I have had, and the
observations I have been able to make, as these are parts of knowledge
which nothing but time can bestow.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the spring of 1780 Mrs. Honora Edgeworth died of consumption, leaving
an only son, Lovell, and a daughter, Honora. Mr. Edgeworth announced
this--which to her was a most real sorrow--to his daughter Maria in a
very touching letter, in which he urges her to follow her lost
stepmother's example, especially in endeavouring to be "amiable,
prudent, and _of use;_" but within eight months he married again. Mrs.
Honora Edgeworth, when dying, had been certain that he would do so, and
had herself indicated her own sister Elizabeth as the person whose
character was most likely to secure a happy home to him and his
children. So, with his usual singularity, though he liked her less than
any of her other sisters, and though he believed her utterly unsuited to
himself, he followed the advice which had been given, and in spite of
law and public opinion, Elizabeth Sneyd became the third Mrs. Edgeworth
within eight months of her sister's death.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing (wrote Mr. Edgeworth) is more erroneous than the common belief
that a man who has lived in the greatest happiness with one wife will be
the most averse to take another. On the contrary, the loss of happiness
which he feels when he loses her necessarily urges him to endeavour to
be again placed in the situation which constituted his former felicity.

I felt that Honora had judged wisely and from a thorough knowledge of my
character, when she advised me to marry again as soon as I could meet
with a woman who would make a good mother to my children, and an
agreeable companion to me. She had formed an idea that her sister
Elizabeth was better suited to me than any other woman, and thought I
was equally suited to her. But, of all Honora's sisters, I had seen the
least of Elizabeth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth proved herself worthy of her sister's
confidence. She was soon adored by her stepchildren, and her conduct to
them was in all respects maternal. Maria at this time was removed from
Bath to the school of Mrs. Davis, in Upper Wimpole Street, London, where
she had excellent masters. Here her talent as an improvisatrice was
first manifested in the tales she used to tell to her companions in
their bedroom at night. She also, by his desire, frequently wrote
stories and sent them for her father's criticism and approval. During
holidays which she often spent with his old friend Mr. Day at Anningsly,
she benefited by an admirable library and by Mr. Day's advice as to her
reading.

In 1782 Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth returned to Ireland, taking the whole
family with them. Maria was now fifteen, and was old enough to be
interested in all the peculiarities of the Irish as contrasted with the
English character, soon showing such natural aptitude for dealing with
those around her, that her father entrusted her with all his accounts,
and practically employed her as his agent for many years. Thus she
obtained an insight into the lives and characters of her humbler
neighbours, which was of inestimable value to her, when afterwards
writing her sketches of Irish life. She already began to plan many
stories, most of which were never finished. But Mr. Edgeworth
discouraged this. In the last year of her life Miss Edgeworth wrote: "I
remember a number of literary projects, if I may so call them, or
_apercus_ of things which I might have written if I had time or capacity
so to do. The word _apercu_ my father used to object to. 'Let us have
none of your _apercus_, Maria: either follow a thing out clearly to a
conclusion, or do not begin it: begin nothing without finishing it.'"

Building and planting, alterations and improvements of every kind at
Edgeworthstown were at once begun by Mr. Edgeworth, but always within
his income. He also made two rules: he employed no middlemen, and he
always left a year's rent in his tenants' hands. "Go before Mr.
Edgeworth, and you will surely get justice," became a saying in the
neighbourhood.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some men live with their families without letting them know their
affairs (wrote Miss Edgeworth), and, however great may be their
affection and esteem for their wives and children, think that they have
nothing to do with business. This was not my father's way of thinking.
On the contrary, not only his wife, but his children, knew all his
affairs. Whatever business he had to do was done in the midst of his
family, usually in the common sitting-room; so that we were intimately
acquainted, not only with his general principles of conduct, but with
the minute details of their everyday application. I further enjoyed some
peculiar advantages: he kindly wished to give me habits of business; and
for this purpose allowed me, during many years, to assist him in copying
his letters of business, and in receiving his rents.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the younger children Mr. Edgeworth's educational system was of the
most cheerful kind; they were connected with all that was going on, made
sharers in all the occupations of their elders, and not so much taught
as shown how best to teach themselves. "I do not think one tear per
month is shed in this house, nor the voice of reproof heard, nor the
hand of restraint felt," wrote Mr. Edgeworth to Dr. Darwin. Both in
precept and practice he was the first to recommend what is described by
Bacon as the experimental mode of education. "Surely," says Miss
Edgeworth, "it would be doing good service to bring into a popular form
all that metaphysicians have discovered which can be applied to practice
in education. This was early and long my father's object. The art of
teaching to invent--I dare not say, but of awakening and assisting the
inventive power by daily exercise and excitement, and by the application
of philosophic principles to trivial occurrences--he believed might be
pursued with infinite advantage to the rising generation."

Maria Edgeworth found very congenial society in the family of her
relation, Lord Longford, at Pakenham, which was twelve miles from
Edgeworthstown, and in that of Lord Granard, at Castle Forbes, nine
miles distant. Lady Granard's mother, Lady Moira, full of wit and
wisdom, and with great nobility of character, would pour out her rich
stores of reminiscence for the young girl with ceaseless kindness. But
more than any other was her life influenced, helped, cheered, and
animated by the love of her father's sister Margaret, Mrs. Ruxton, the
intimate friend and correspondent of forty-two years, whose home, Black
Castle, was within a long drive of Edgeworthstown. Mrs. Ruxton's three
children--Richard, Sophy, and Margaret--were Maria Edgeworth's dearest
companions and friends.

The great love which Miss Edgeworth always felt for children was tried
and developed to its fullest extent in the ever increasing family
circle. Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth added nine more brothers and sisters to
the group of six which already existed; the eldest of them, Henry, born
in 1782, was entrusted to Maria's especial care.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS CHARLOTTE SNEYD.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Dec. 9, 1787._

I think, my dear Aunt Charlotte, I did not know till Henry returned to
us after his six weeks' absence, how very agreeable even a child of his
age can make himself, but I am sure that his journey has been productive
of so much pleasure to me from the kindness and approbation you have
shown, and has left on my mind so full a conviction of your skill in the
art of education, that I should part with Henry again to-morrow with
infinitely more security and satisfaction than I did two months ago. I
was really surprised to see with what ease and alacrity little Henry
returned to all his former habits and occupations, and the very slight
change that appeared in his manner or mind; nothing seemed strange to
him in anything, or anybody about him. When he spoke of you to us he
seemed to think that we were all necessarily connected in all our
commands and wishes, that we were all one _whole_--one great polypus
soul. I hope my father will tell you himself how much he liked your
letter, "the overflowings of a full mind, not the froth of an empty
one."

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1790 the family group was first broken by the death from consumption,
at fifteen, of Honora, the beautiful only daughter of Mrs. Honora
Edgeworth.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 11, 1790._

Your friendship, my dear Aunt Ruxton, has, I am sure, considerably
alleviated the anguish of mind my father has had to feel, and your
letter and well-deserved praise of my dear mother's fortitude and
exertion were a real pleasure to her. She has indeed had a great deal to
bear, and I think her health has suffered, but I hope not materially. In
my father's absence, she ordered everything, did everything, felt
everything herself. Unless, my dear aunt, you had been present during
the last week of dear Honora's sufferings, I think you could not form an
idea of anything so terrible or so touching. Such extreme fortitude,
such affection, such attention to the smallest feelings of others, as
she showed on her deathbed!

My father has carefully kept his mind occupied ever since his return,
but we cannot help seeing his feelings at intervals. He has not slept
for two or three nights, and is, I think, far from well to-day.

He said the other day, speaking of Honora, "My dear daughters, I promise
you one thing, I never will reproach any of you with Honora. I will
never reproach you with any of her virtues." There could not be a kinder
or more generous promise, but I could not help fearing that my father
should refrain from speaking of her too much, and that it would hurt his
mind. He used to say it was a great relief to him to talk of my mother
Honora.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the summer of 1791 Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth went to England, leaving
Maria in sole charge of the large family at home. She used to amuse her
young sisters at this time by stories, which she would write on a slate
during the leisure moments her many occupations permitted, and which she
would read aloud to them in the evening. By their interest or questions
she estimated the stories, which became the foundation of _The Parent's
Assistant._ When her father was with her she always wrote a sketch of an
intended story, and submitted it to his approval, being invariably
guided by his advice. In October Maria was desired to follow her parents
to Clifton, bringing nearly all the children with her, a formidable
undertaking for a young girl in those days of difficult travelling.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MRS. RUXTON, AFTER RETURNING FROM A VISIT TO BLACK CASTLE.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN. _October 1791._

My dear mother is safe and well, and a fine new sister, I suppose you
have heard. My very dear aunt, since the moment I came home till this
instant my hands have trembled, and my head whirled with business, but
the delightful hope of seeing my dear father and mother at Bristol is in
fine perspective at the end. My father has just written the kindest
letter possible, and Emmeline is transcribing his directions about our
journey. We are to set off as soon as we can--on Tuesday morning next, I
believe, for my father is extremely impatient for us to come over. I
write by this night's post to Mr. Hanna, to take lodgings for us in
Dublin, and we are, as you will see, to go by Holyhead. As to coming
round by Black Castle, it is out of the question. For everybody's sake
but my own, I regret this: for my own I do not, the few hours I should
have to spend in your company would not, my dearest aunt, balance the
pain of parting with you all again, which I did feel thoroughly, and if
I had not had the kindest friends and the fullest occupation the moment
I came home, I should have been in the lamentables a long time. Tell my
dear uncle I never shall forget the kindness of his manner towards me
during the whole of my stay at Black Castle, and the belief that he
thinks well of his little niece adds much to her happiness, perhaps to
her vanity, which he will say there was no occasion to increase. And
now, dear Sophy, for your _roaring blade_, Thomas Day, Esq., [Footnote:
This little brother was born the day before the Edgeworth family
received the news of the sudden death of their old friend Mr. Day in
1789.] he is in readiness to wait upon you whenever you can, and will
have the charity to receive him. Name the day, my dear aunt, which will
be the least inconvenient if you can, and Molly or John Langan shall
bring him in the old or new chaise to your door, where I hope he will
not salute you with a cry, but if he does do not be surprised.

You see, my dear aunt, that I am in a great hurry by my writing, but no
hurry, believe me, can drive out of my mind the remembrance of all the
kindness I received at Black Castle. Oh, continue to love your niece;
you cannot imagine the pleasure she felt when you kissed her, and said
you loved her a thousand times better than ever you did before.


MR. SMITH'S, HOLYHEAD,

_Friday Morning._

We are this instant arrived, my dear aunt, after a thirty-three hours'
passage; all the children safe and well, but desperately sick; poor
little Sneyd especially. The packet is just returning, and my head is so
giddy that I scarcely know what I write, but you will only expect a few
shabby lines to say we are not drowned. Mr. Ussher Edgeworth [Footnote:
Brother to the Abbe Edgeworth, who resided in Dublin.] and my Aunt Fox's
servant saw us on board, and Mr. E. was so very good to come in the
wherry with us and see us into the ship. We had the whole cabin to
ourselves; no passenger, except one gentleman, son-in-law to Mr. Dawson,
of Ardee, he was very civil to us, and assisted us much in landing, etc.
I felt, besides, very glad to see one who knew anything even of the name
of Ruxton. Adieu, my dear aunt; all the sick pale figures around me with
faint voices send their love to you and my uncle.


MARIA _to_ MR. RUXTON.

PRINCE'S BUILDINGS, CLIFTON,

_Dec. 29, 1791._

My Dear Uncle--If you are going to the canal put this letter in your
pocket, and do not be troubled in your conscience about reading it, but
keep it till you are perfectly at leisure: for I have nothing strange or
new to tell you. We live just the same kind of life that we used to do
at Edgeworthstown; and though we move amongst numbers, are not moved by
them, but feel independent of them for our daily amusement. All the
_phantasmas_ I had conjured up to frighten myself, vanished after I had
been here a week, for I found that they were but phantoms of my
imagination, as you very truly told me. We live very near the Downs,
where we have almost every day charming walks, and all the children go
bounding about over hill and dale along with us. My aunt told me that
once when you were at Clifton, when full dressed to go to a ball at
Bath, you suddenly changed your mind, and undressed again, to go out a
walking with her, and now that I see the walks, I am not surprised, even
if you were not to have had the pleasure of my aunt's company. My father
has got a _transfer_ of a ticket for the Bristol library, which is an
extremely fine one; and what makes it appear ten times finer is, that it
is very difficult for strangers to get into. From thence he can get
almost any book for us he pleases, except a few of the most scarce,
which are by the laws of the library immovable. No ladies go to the
library, but Mr. Johns, the librarian, is very civil, and my mother went
to his rooms and saw the beautiful prints in Boydell's Shakespear.
Lavater is to come home in a coach to-day. My father seems to think much
the same of him that you did when you saw him abroad, that to some
genius he adds a good deal of the mountebank. My father is going soon to
Bath, Madame de Genlis is there, and he means to present the translation
of _Adele and Theodore_ to her: [Footnote: Maria Edgeworth, by her
father's advice, had made a translation of _Adele et Theodore_ in 1782,
but the appearance of Holcroft's translation prevented its publication.]
he had intended to have had me introduced to her, but upon inquiry he
was informed that she is not visited by demoiselles in England.

For some time I kept a Bristol journal, which I intended to send to
Black Castle in form of a newspaper, but I found that though every day's
conversation and occurrences appeared of prodigious importance just at
the moment they were passing, yet afterwards they seemed so flat and
stale as not to be worth sending. I must however tell you that I had
materials for one brilliant paragraph about the Duchess of York. Mr.
Lloyd had seen the wondrous sight. "When she was to be presented to the
Queen, H.R.H. kept Her Majesty waiting nearly an hour, till at last the
Queen, fearing that some accident had happened, sent to let the Duchess
know that she was waiting for her. When the Duchess at length arrived,
she was so frightened--for a Royal Duchess can be frightened as well as
another--that she trembled and tottered in crossing the presence chamber
so that she was obliged to be supported. She is very timid, and never
once raised her eyes, so that our correspondent cannot speak decidedly
as to the expression of her countenance, but if we may be allowed to say
so, she is not a beauty, and is very low. She was dressed in white and
gold," etc. etc.

The children all desire their love: they were playing the other day at
going to Black Castle, and begged me to be Aunt Ruxton, which I assured
them I would if I could; but they insisted on my _being_ Sophy, Letty,
and Margaret at the same time, and were not quite contented at my
pleading this to be out of my power.


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

CLIFTON, _March 9, 1792._

I wish, my dear Sophy, that you could know how often I think of you and
wish for you, whenever we see or hear anything that I imagine you would
like. How does your ward go on? My mother desires me to say the kindest
things to you, and assure yourself, my dear Sophy, that when my mother
says the kindest, they are always at the same time the truest. She is
not a person ever to forget a favour, and the care and trouble you are
now bestowing on little Thomas Day will be remembered probably after you
have forgotten it. But my father interrupts me at this moment, to say
that if I am writing to Sophy I must give him some room at the end, so I
shall leave off my fine speeches. We spend our time very agreeably here,
and have in particular great choice of books. I don't think the children
are quite as happy here as they used to be at home, it is impossible
they should be, for they have neither the same occupations nor liberty.
It is however "restraint that sweetens liberty," and the joy they show
when they run upon the Downs, hunting fossils, and clambering, is indeed
very great. Henry flatters himself that he shall some time or other have
the pleasure of exhibiting his collection to Cousin Sophy, and rehearses
frequently in the character of showman. Dr. Darwin has been so good as
to send him several fossils, etc., with their names written upon them,
and he is every day adding to his little stock of _larning._ There is a
very sensible man here who has also made him presents of little things
which he values much, and he begins to _mess_ a great deal with gums,
camphor, etc. He will at least never come under Dr. Darwin's definition
of a fool. "A fool, Mr. Edgeworth, you know, is a man who never tried an
experiment in his life." My father tells me that Henry has acquired a
taste for improving himself, and that all he has now to fear is my taste
for improving him.

We went the other day to see a collection of natural curiosities at a
Mr. Broderip's, of Bristol, which entertained us very much. My father
observed he had but very few butterflies, and he said, "No, sir, a
circumstance which happened to me some time ago, determined me never to
collect any more butterflies. I caught a most beautiful butterfly,
thought I had killed it, and ran a pin through its body to fasten it to
a cork: a _fortnight_ afterward I happened to look in the box where I
had left it, and I saw it writhing in agony: since that time I have
never destroyed another."

My father has just returned from Dr. Darwin's, where he has been nearly
three weeks: they were extremely kind, and pressed him very much to take
a house in or near Derby for the summer. He has been, as Dr. Darwin
expressed it, "breathing the breath of life into the brazen lungs of a
clock" which he had made at Edgeworthstown as a present for him. He saw
the first part of Dr. Darwin's _Botanic Garden_; L900 was what his
bookseller gave him for the whole! On his return from Derby, my father
spent a day with Mr. Keir, the great chemist, at Birmingham: he was
speaking to him of the late discovery of fulminating silver, with which
I suppose your ladyship is well acquainted, though it be new to Henry
and me. A lady and gentleman went into a laboratory where a few grains
of fulminating silver were lying in a mortar: the gentleman, as he was
talking, happened to stir it with the end of his cane, which was tipped
with iron,--the fulminating silver exploded instantly, and blew the
lady, the gentleman, and the whole laboratory to pieces! Take care how
you go into laboratories with gentlemen, unless they are like Sir Plume
skilled in the "nice conduct" of their canes.

Have you seen any of the things that have been lately published about
the negroes? We have just read a very small pamphlet of about ten pages,
merely an account of the facts stated to the House of Commons.
Twenty-five thousand people in England have absolutely left off eating
West India sugar, from the hope that when there is no longer any demand
for sugar the slaves will not be so cruelly treated. Children in several
schools have given up sweet things, which is surely very benevolent;
though whether it will at all conduce to the end proposed is perhaps
wholly uncertain, and in the meantime we go on eating apple pies
sweetened with sugar instead of with honey. At Mr. Keir's, however, my
father avers that he ate excellent custards sweetened with honey. Will
it not be rather hard upon the poor bees in the end?

Mrs. Yearsly, the milkwoman, whose poems I daresay my aunt has seen,
lives very near us at Clifton: we have never seen her, and probably
never shall, for my father is so indignant against her for her
ingratitude to her benefactress, Miss Hannah More, that he thinks she
deserves to be treated with _neglect._ She was dying, absolutely
expiring with hunger, when Miss More found her. Her mother was a
washerwoman, and washed for Miss More's family; by accident, in a
tablecloth which was sent to her was left a silver spoon, which Mrs.
Yearsly returned. Struck with this instance of honesty, which was
repeated to her by the servants, Miss More sent for her, discovered her
distress and her genius, and though she was extremely eager in preparing
some of her own works for the press, she threw them all aside to correct
Mrs. Yearsly's poems, and obtained for her a subscription of L600. In
return, Mrs. Yearsly accused her of having defrauded her, of having been
actuated only by vanity in bringing her abilities to light--a new
species of vanity from one authoress to another--in short, abused her in
the basest and most virulent manner. Would you go to see Mrs. Yearsly?

Lo! I have almost filled the Bristol Chronicle, and have yet much that I
wish to say to you, dear Sophy, and that I could tell you in one
half-hour, talking at my usual rate of nine miles an hour: when that
will be, it is impossible to tell. My mother is now getting better. All
the children are perfectly well: Bessy's eyes are not inflamed:
Charlotte _est faite a peindre et plus encore a aimer_, if that were
French.

       *       *       *       *       *

Little Thomas Day Edgeworth died at the age of three, whilst he was in
the care of the Ruxtons, and about the same time Maria Edgeworth's own
brother Richard, who had paid a long visit to his family at Clifton,
returned to North Carolina, where he had married and was already a
father.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS RUXTON.

ASHTON BOWER, CLIFTON, _August 14, 1792._

Last Saturday my poor brother Richard took leave of us to return to
America. He has gone up to London with my father and mother, and is to
sail from thence. We could not part with him without great pain and
regret, for he made us all extremely fond of him. I wish my dear aunt
could have seen him; he was very sensible of her kindness, and longed to
have a letter from her. He is to come over in '95. Emmeline is still
with Lady Holt and Mrs. Bracebridge, at Atherstone, in Warwickshire.
Miss Bracebridge, grand-daughter to Lady Holt, is a very agreeable
companion to my sister, though some years younger, and she enjoys the
society at Atherstone very much. They are most unwilling to part with
her; but now she has been absent two months, and we all begin to _growl_
for her return, especially now that my brother is gone, who was "in
himself a host."

I am engaged to go in October to pay a visit to Mrs. Charles Hoare. I
believe you may remember my talking to you of this lady, and my telling
you that she was my friend at school,[Footnote: Miss Robinson.] and had
corresponded with me since. She was at Lisbon when we first came to
England, and I thought I had little prospect of seeing her, but the
moment she returned to England she wrote to me in the kindest and most
pressing manner to beg I would come to her. Immediately after this, I
dare not add that she is a most amiable and sensible woman, lest Sophy
should exclaim, "Ah! vanity! because she likes you, Mademoiselle Marie!"

My uncle, William Sneyd, whom I believe you saw at Edgeworthstown, has
just been with us for three weeks, and in that time filled five quires
of paper with dried plants from the neighbouring rocks. He says there is
at Clifton the richest harvest for botanists. How I wish you were here
to reap it. Henry and I will collect anything that we are informed is
worthy of your Serene Highness's collection. There is a species of
cistus which grows on S. Vincent's rock, which is not, I am told, to be
found in any other part of England. Helpless as I am and scoffed at in
these matters, I will contrive to get some of it for you. A shoemaker
showed us a tortoise shell which he had for sale. I wished to have
bought it for La Sophie, but upon inquiry I found it could not be had
for less than a guinea; now I thought at the utmost it would not give
Sophy above half a crown's worth of pleasure, so I left the shoemaker in
quiet possession of his African tortoise. He had better fortune with two
shells, admirals, which he sold to Lady Valentia for three guineas.

We begin to be hungry for letters. The children all desire their love to
you; Charlotte is very engaging, and promises to be handsome; Sneyd _is_
and promises everything; Henry will, I think, through life always do
more than he promises; little Honora is a sprightly blue-eyed child, at
nurse with a woman who is the picture of health and simplicity, in a
beautiful romantic cottage, just such a cottage as you would imagine for
the residence of health and simplicity. Lovell is perfectly well, and
desires his kind love to you. Dr. Darwin has paid him very handsome
compliments in his lines on the Barbarini vase, in the first part of the
_Botanic Garden_, which my father has just got.

Has my aunt seen the _Romance of the Forest_? It has been the
fashionable novel here, everybody read and talked of it; we were much
interested in some parts of it. It is something in the style of the
_Castle of Otranto_, and the horrible parts are we thought well worked
up, but it is very difficult to keep Horror breathless with his mouth
wide open through three volumes.

Adieu, my dear Sophy: do not let my aunt forget me, for I love her very
much; and as for yourself, take care not to think too highly of Cousin
Maria, but see her faults with indulgence, and you will I think find her
a steady and affectionate friend.


_To_ MISS S. RUXTON.

FLEET STREET, LONDON,

_October 17, 1792._

I have been with Mrs. Charles Hoare a week, and before I left Clifton
had a budget in my head for a letter to you, which I really had not a
moment's time to write. I left them all very well, just going to leave
Ashton Bower, which I am not sorry for, though it has such a pretty
romantic name; it is not a fit Bower to live in in winter, it is so cold
and damp. They are going to Prince's Place again, and I daresay will fix
there for the winter, though my father has talked of Bath and Plymouth.

I find in half-rubbed-out notes in my pocket-book, "Sophy--Slave-ship:
Sophy--Rope-walk: Sophy--Marine acid: Sophy--Earthquake:
Sophy--Glasshouse," etc.: and I intended to tell you _a la longue_ of
these.

We went on board a slave-ship with my brother, and saw the dreadfully
small hole in which the poor slaves are stowed together, so that they
cannot stir. But probably you know all this.

Mrs. Hoare was at Lisbon during two slight shocks of an earthquake; she
says the night was remarkably fine, there was no unwholesome feeling
that she can remember in the air, immediately preceding the shock: but
they were sitting with the windows open down to the ground, looking at
the clearness of the sky, when they felt the shock. The doors and
windows, and all the furniture in the room shook for a few instants:
they looked at one another in silent terror. But in another instant
everything was still, and they came to the use of their voices. Numbers
of exaggerated accounts were put into the public papers, and she
received vast numbers of terrified letters from her friends in England.
So much for the earthquake. The marine acid I must leave till I have my
father at my elbow, lest in my great wisdom I should set you wrong.

About the glasshouse: there is one Stephens, an Englishman, who has set
up a splendid glasshouse at Lisbon, and the Government have granted him
a pine wood sixteen miles in extent to supply his glasshouse with fuel.
He has erected a theatre for his workmen, supplied them with scenes,
dresses, etc.; and they have acquired such a taste for theatrical
amusements, that it has conquered their violent passion for drinking
which formerly made them incapable of work three days in the week; now
they work as hard as possible, and amuse themselves for one day in the
week.

Of the beauty of the Tagus, and its golden sands, and the wolves which
Mrs. Hoare had the satisfaction of seeing hunted, I must speak when I
see you. Mrs. Hoare is as kind as possible to me, and I spend my time at
Roehampton as I like: in London that is not entirely possible. We have
only come up to town for a few days. Mr. Hoare's house at Roehampton is
an excellent one indeed: a library with nice books, small tables upon
castors, low sofas, and all the other things which make rooms
comfortable. Lady Hoare, his mother, is said to be a very amiable,
sensible woman: I have seen her only once, but I was much entertained at
her house at Barnelms, looking at the pictures. I saw Zeluco's figure in
Le Brun's "Massacre of the Innocents." My aunt will laugh, and think
that I am giving myself great airs when I talk of being entertained
looking at pictures; but assure her that I remember what she used to say
about taste, and that without affectation I have endeavoured to look at
everything worth seeing.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

STANHOPE STREET, LONDON,

_Nov. 6, '92._

I left Roehampton yesterday, and took leave of my friend Mrs. Charles
Hoare, with a high opinion of her abilities, and a still higher opinion
of her goodness. She was exceedingly kind to me, and I spent most of my
time with her as I liked: I say most, because a good deal of it was
spent in company where I heard of nothing but chariots and horses, and
curricles and tandems. Oh, to what contempt I exposed myself in a
luckless hour by asking what a tandem was! I am going in a few days to
meet Mrs. Powys at Bath. Since I have been away from home I have missed
the society and fondness of my father, mother, and sisters more than I
can express, and more than beforehand I should have thought possible: I
long to see them all again. Even when I am most amused I feel a void,
and now I understand what an aching void is, perfectly well. You know
they are going back to Prince's Buildings to the nice house we had last
winter; and Emmeline writes me word that the great red puddle which we
used to call the Red Sea, and which we were forced to wade through
before we could get to the Downs, will not this winter be so terrible,
for my father has made a footpath for his "host."


CLIFTON, _Dec. 13, '92._

(The day we received yours.)

The day of retribution is at hand, my dear aunt: the month of May will
soon come, and then, when we meet face to face, and voucher to voucher,
it shall be truly seen whose letter-writing account stands fullest and
fairest in the world. Till then, "we'll leave it all to your honour's
honour." But why does my dear aunt write, "I can have but little more
time to spend with my brother in my life," [Footnote: Mrs. Ruxton lived
thirty-nine years after this letter was written.] as if she was an old
woman of one hundred and ninety-nine and upwards? I remember, the day I
left Black Castle, you told me, if you recollect, that "you had one foot
in the grave;" and though I saw you standing before me in perfect
health, sound wind and limb, I had the weakness to feel frightened, and
never to think of examining where your feet really were. But in the
month of May we hope to find them safe in your shoes, and I hope that
the sun will then shine out, and that all the black clouds in the
political horizon will be dispersed, and that "freemen" will by that
time eat their puddings and hold their tongues. Anna and I stayed one
week with Mrs. Powys [Footnote: The most intimate friend of Mrs. Honora
Edgeworth.] at Bath, and were very thoroughly occupied all the time with
seeing and--I won't say with being seen; for though we were at three
balls, I do not believe any one saw us. The Upper Rooms we thought very
splendid, and the playhouse pretty, but not so good as the theatre at
Bristol. We walked all over Bath with my father, and liked it extremely:
he showed us the house where he was born.


GLOUCESTER ROW, CLIFTON,

_July 21, 1793._

My father is just returned to us from Mr. Keir's.... Come over to us,
since we cannot go to you. "Ah, Maria, you know I would come if I
could." But can't you, who are a great woman, trample upon
impossibilities? It is two years since we saw you, and we are tired of
_recollecting_ how kind and agreeable you were. Are you the same Aunt
Ruxton? Come and see whether we are the same, and whether there are any
people in the world out of your own house who know your value better.

During the hot weather the thermometer was often 80, and once 88. Mr.
Neville, a banker, has taken a house here, and was to have been my
father's travelling companion, but left him at Birmingham: he has a
fishing-stool and a wife. We like the fishing-stool and the wife, but
have not yet seen the family. My father last night wrote a letter of
recommendation to you for a Mr. Jimbernat, a Spanish gentleman, son to
the King of Spain's surgeon, who is employed by his Court to travel for
scientific purposes: he drank tea with us, and seems very intelligent.
Till I saw him I thought a Spaniard must be tall and stately: one may be
mistaken.

Adieu, for there are matters of high import coming, fit only for the pen
of pens.

R.L. EDGEWORTH in continuation.

The matters of high importance, my dear sister, have been already
communicated to you in brief, and indeed cannot be detailed by any but
the parties. Dr. Beddoes, the object of Anna's vows,[Footnote: Dr.
Thomas Beddoes, the celebrated physician and chemist, followed the
Edgeworth family to Ireland, where he was married to Anna Edgeworth,
Maria's youngest _own_ sister.] is a man of abilities, and of great
name in the scientific world as a naturalist and chemist: good-humoured,
good-natured, a man of honour and virtue, enthusiastic and sanguine, and
very fond of Anna.


MARIA _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Nov. 18, 1793._

This evening my father has been reading out Gay's _Trivia_ to our great
entertainment. I wished very much, my dear aunt, that you and Sophy had
been sitting round the fire with us. If you have _Trivia_, and if you
have time, will you humour your niece so far as to look at it? I think
there are many things in it which will please you, especially the
"Patten and the Shoeblack," and the old woman hovering over her little
fire in a hard winter. Pray tell me if you like it. I had much rather
make a bargain with any one I loved to read the same book with them at
the same hour, than to look at the moon like Rousseau's famous lovers.
"Ah! that is because my dear niece has no taste and no eyes." But I
assure you I am learning the use of my eyes main fast, and make no
doubt, please Heaven I live to be sixty, to see as well as my
neighbours.

I am scratching away very hard at the Freeman Family.[Footnote: _i.e.
Patronage_, which, however, was laid aside, and not published till
1813.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In November 1793 the Edgeworth family returned to Ireland, where Mr.
Edgeworth's inventive genius became occupied with a system of telegraphy
on which he expended much time and money. It was offered to the
Government, but declined. Maria Edgeworth was occupied at this time with
her _Letters for Literary Ladies_, as well as with "Toys and Tasks"
which formed one of her chapters on _Practical Education._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb 23, 1794._

Thank my aunt and thank yourself for kind inquiries after _Letters for
Literary Ladies._ [Footnote: Published in 1795--an early plea in favour
of female education.] I am sorry to say they are not as well as can be
expected, nor are they likely to mend at present: when they are fit to
be seen--if that happy time ever arrives--their first visit shall be to
Black Castle. They are now disfigured by all manner of crooked marks of
papa's critical indignation, besides various abusive marginal notes,
which I would not have you see for half a crown sterling, nor my aunt
for a whole crown as pure as King Hiero's; with which crown I am sure
you are acquainted, and know how to weigh it as Honora did at eight
years old, though Mr. Day would not believe it. I think my mother is
better this evening, but she is so very cheerful when she has a moment's
respite, that it deceives us. She calls Lovell the Minute Philosopher at
this instant, because he is drawing with the assistance of a magnifying
glass with a universal joint in his mouth; so that one eye can see
through it while he draws a beautifully small drawing of the new front
of the house. I have just excited his envy even to clasping his hands in
distraction, by telling him of a man I met with in the middle of
Grainger's _Worthies of England_, who drew a mill, a miller, a bridge, a
man and horse going over the bridge with a sack of corn, all visible,
upon a surface that would just cover a sixpence.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 8, 1794._

My father is perfectly well, and very busy out of doors and indoors. He
brought back certain books from Black Castle, amongst which I was glad
to see the _Fairy Tales_; and he has related, with various
embellishments suited to the occasion, the story of Fortunatus, to the
great delight of young and old, especially of Sneyd, whose eyes and
cheeks expressed strong approbation, and who repeated it afterwards in a
style of dramatic oratory, which you would have known how to admire.

We are reading a new book for children, _Evenings at Home_, which we
admire extremely. Has Sophy seen them? And has she seen the fine Aurora
Borealis which was to be seen last week, and which my father and Lovell
saw with ecstasies? The candles were all put out in the library, and a
wonderful bustle made, before I rightly comprehended what was going on.


EDGEWORTHSTOWN, 1794.

I will look for the volume of the _Tableau de Paris_ which you think I
have; and if it is in the land of the living, it shall be coming forth
at your call. Do you remember our reading in it of the _garcon
perruquier_ who dresses in black on a Sunday, and leaves his everyday
clothes, white and heavy with powder, in the middle of the room, which
he dares not peep into after his metamorphosis? I like to read as well
as to talk with you, my dear aunt, because you mix the grave and gay
together, and put your long finger upon the very passages which my
short, stumpy one was just starting forward to point out, if it could
point.

You are very good indeed to wish for "Toys and Tasks," but I think it
would be most unreasonable to send them to you now. We are a very small
party, now that my father, Anna, and Lovell are gone; but I hope we
shall be better when you come.


_To_ MRS. ELIZABETH EDGEWORTH.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, 1794.

All's well at home; the chickens are all good and thriving, and there is
plenty of provender, and of everything that we can want or wish for:
therefore we all hope that you will fully enjoy the pleasures of Black
Castle without being anxious for your bairns.

Pray tell my dear aunt that I am not ungrateful for all the kindness she
showed to me while I was with her: it rejoiced my heart to hear her say,
when she took leave of me, that she did not love me less for knowing me
better.

Kitty wakened me this morning saying, "Dear, ma'am, how charming you
smell of coals! quite charming!" and she snuffed the ambient air.
[Footnote: The coal burnt at Black Castle was naturally more agreeable
to Mrs. Billamore (a faithful servant) than the bog turf used at
Edgeworthstown.]


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _July_ 2, 1794,
  having the honour to be the fair
  day of Edgeworthstown, as is well
  proclaimed to the neighbourhood
  by the noise of pigs squeaking,
  men bawling, women brawling,
  and children squealing, etc.

I will tell you what is going on, that you may see whether you like your
daily bill of fare.

There are, an' please you, ma'am, a great many good things here. There
is a balloon hanging up, and another going to be put on the stocks:
there is soap made, and making from a receipt in Nicholson's
_Chemistry_: there is excellent ink made, and to be made by the same
book: there is a cake of roses just squeezed in a vice, by my father,
according to the advice of Madame de Lagaraye, the woman in the black
cloak and ruffles, who weighs with unwearied scales, in the frontispiece
of a book, which perhaps my aunt remembers, entitled _Chemie de gout et
de l'odorat._ There are a set of accurate weights, just completed by the
ingenious Messrs. Lovell and Henry Edgeworth, partners: for Henry is now
a junior partner, and grown an inch and a half upon the strength of it
in two months. The use and ingenuity of these weights I do, or did,
understand; it is great, but I am afraid of puzzling you and disgracing
myself attempting to explain it; especially as, my mother says, I once
sent you a receipt for purifying water with charcoal, which she avers to
have been above, or below, the comprehension of any rational being.

My father bought a great many books at Mr. Dean's sale. Six volumes of
_Machines Approuves_, full of prints of paper mills, gunpowder mills,
_machines pour remonter les batteaux, machines pour_--a great many
things which you would like to see I am sure over my father's shoulder.
And my aunt would like to see the new staircase, and to see a kitcat
view of a robin redbreast sitting on her nest in a sawpit, discovered by
Lovell, and you would both like to pick Emmeline's fine strawberries
round the crowded oval table after dinner, and to see my mother look so
much better in the midst of us.

  If these delights thy soul can move,
  Come live with us and be our love.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Aug. 11, 1794._

Nothing wonderful or interesting, nothing which touches our hopes or
fears, which either moves us to laugh or to be doleful, can happen
without the idea of Aunt Ruxton immediately arising. This, you will
think, is the preface to at least either death or marriage; but it is
_only_ the preface to a history of Defenders.

There have been lately several flying reports of Defenders, but we never
thought the danger _near_ till to-day. Last night a party of forty
attacked the house of one Hoxey, about half a mile from us, and took, as
usual, the arms. They have also been at Ringowny, where there was only
one servant left to take care of the house; they took the arms and broke
all the windows. To-day Mr. Bond, our high sheriff, paid us a _pale_
visit, thought it was proper something should be done for the internal
defence of the town of Edgeworthstown and the County of Longford, and
wished my father would apply to him for a meeting of the county. My
father first rode over to the scene of action, to inquire into the truth
of the reports; found them true, and on his return to dinner found Mr.
Thompson of Clonfin, and Captain Doyle, nephew to the general and the
wounded colonel, who is now at Granard. Captain Doyle will send a
sergeant and twelve to-morrow; to-night a watch is to sit up, but it is
supposed that the sight of two redcoats riding across the country
together will keep the evil sprites from appearing to mortal eyes "this
watch." My father has spoken to many of the householders, and he
imagines they will come here to a meeting to-morrow, to consider how
best they can defend their lands and tenements; they bring their arms to
my father to take care of. You will be surprised at our making such a
mighty matter of a visit from the Defenders, you who have had soldiers
sitting up in your kitchen for weeks; but you will consider that this is
our first visit.

The arts of peace are going on prosperously. The new room is almost
built, and the staircase is completed: long may we live to run up and
down it.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, 1794.

I will treat you, my dear Letty, like a lady for once, and write to you
upon blue-edged paper, because you have been ill: if you should be well
before you receive this, I shall repent of the extravagance of my
friendship. I believe it was you--or my aunt, the teller of all good
things--who told me of a lady who took a long journey to see her sister,
who she heard was very ill; but, unfortunately, the sister was well
before she got to her journey's end, and she was so provoked, that she
quarrelled with her well sister, and would never have anything more to
do with her.

You will look very blank when you come back from the sea, and find what
doings there have been at Black Castle in your absence. Anna was
extremely sorry that she could not see you again before she left
Ireland; but you will soon be in the same kingdom again, and _that is
one great point gained_, as Mr. Weaver, a travelling astronomical
lecturer, who carried the universe about in a box, told us. "Sir," said
he to my father, "when you look at a map, do you know that the east is
always on your right hand, and the west on your left?"--"Yes," replied
my father, with a very modest look, "I believe I do."--"Well," said the
man of learning, "_that's one great point gained._"


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, 1795.

My father returned late on Friday night, bringing with him a very bad
and a very good thing; the bad thing was a bad cold--the good is Aunt
Mary Sneyd. Emmeline was delayed some days at Lichfield by the broken
bridges, and bad roads, floods and snows, which have stopped man, and
beast, and mail coaches. Mr. Cox, the man who sells camomile drops under
the title of Oriental Pearls, wrote an apology to my Aunt Mary for
neglecting to send the Pearls in the following elegant phrase: "That the
mistake she mentioned he could no ways account for but by presuming that
it must have arisen from impediments occasioned by the inclemencies of
the season!"

When my father went to see Lord Charlemont, he came to meet him, saying,
"I must claim relationship with you, Mr. Edgeworth. I am related to the
Abbe Edgeworth, who is I think an honour to the kingdom--I should say to
human nature."


EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _April 11, 1795._

My father and Lovell have been out almost every day, when there are no
robbers to be committed to jail, at the Logograph.[Footnote: A name
invented to suit the anti-Gallican prejudices of the day.] This is the
new name instead of the Telegraph, because of its allusion to the
logographic printing press, which prints words instead of letters.
Phaenologue was thought of, but Logograph sounds better. My father will
allow me to manufacture an essay on the Logograph, he furnishing the
solid materials and I spinning them. I am now looking over, for this
purpose, Wilkins's _Real Character, or an Essay towards a Universal
Philosophical Language._ It is a scarce and very ingenious book; some of
the phraseology is so much out of the present fashion, that it would
make you smile: such as the synonym for a little man, a Dandiprat.
Likewise two prints, one of them a long sheet of men with their throats
cut, so as to show the windpipe whilst working out the different letters
of the alphabet. The other print of all the birds and beasts packed
ready to go into the ark.

Sir Walter James has written a very kind and sensible letter to my
father, promising all his influence with his Viceregal brother-in-law
about the telegraph. My father means to get a letter from him to Lord
Camden, and present it himself, though he rather doubts whether, all
things taken together, it is prudent to tie himself to Government. The
raising the militia has occasioned disturbances in this county. Lord
Granard's carriage was pelted at Athlone. The poor people here are
robbed every night. Last night a poor old woman was considerably
roasted: the man, who called himself Captain Roast, is committed to
jail, he was positively sworn to here this morning. Do you know what
they mean by the White Tooths? Men who stick two pieces of broken
tobacco pipes at each corner of the mouth, to disguise the face and
voice.


_April_ 20.

Here is a whirlwind in our county, and no angel to direct it, though
many booted and spurred desire no better than to ride _in_ it. There is
indeed an old woman in Ballymahon, who has been the guardian angel of
General Crosby; she has averted a terrible storm, which was just ready
to burst over his head. The General, by mistake, went into the town of
Ballymahon, before his troops came up; and while he was in the inn, a
mob of five hundred people gathered in the street. The landlady of the
inn called General Crosby aside, and told him, that if the people found
him they would certainly tear him to pieces. The General hesitated, but
the abler general, the landlady, sallied forth and called aloud in a
distinct voice, "Bring round the chaise-and-four for the gentleman
_from_ Lanesborough, who is going _to_ Athlone." The General got into
the chaise incog., and returning towards Athlone met his troops, and
thus effected a most admirable retreat.


_Monday Night._

Richard [Footnote: His last visit to Ireland. He returned to America,
and died there in 1796.] and Lovell are at the Bracket Gate. I hope you
know the Bracket Gate, it is near Mr. Whitney's, and so called, as
tradition informs me, from being painted red and white like a bracket
cow. I am not clear what sort of an animal a bracket cow is, but I
suppose it is something not unlike a dun cow and a gate joined together.
Richard and Lovell have a nice tent, and a clock, and white lights, and
are trying nocturnal telegraphs, which are now brought to satisfactory
perfection.

I am finishing "Toys and Tasks;" I wish I might insert your letter to
Sneyd, [Footnote: Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth's second boy.] with the
receipt for the dye, as a specimen of experiments for children. Sneyd
with sparkling eyes returns you his sincere thanks, and my mother with
her love sends you the following lines, which she composed to-day for
him:

  To give me all that art can give,
    My aunt and mother try:
  One teaches me the way to live,
    The other how to _dye._

But though she makes epigrams, my mother is far from well.

       *       *       *       *       *

This year _Letters for Literary Ladies_, Miss Edgeworth's first
published work, was produced by Johnson. In 1796 she published the
collection of stories known as _The Parent's Assistant._ In these, in
the simplest language, and with wonderful understanding of children, and
what would come home to their hearts, she continued to illustrate the
maxims of her father. The "Purple Jar" and "Lazy Laurence" are perhaps
the best-known stories of the first edition. To another was added
"Simple Susan," of which Sir Walter Scott said, "That when the boy
brings back the lamb to the little girl, there is nothing for it but to
put down the book and cry." Most of these stories were written in the
excitement of very troubled times in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN,

_Saturday Night, Jan. 1796._

My father is gone to a Longford committee, where he will I suppose hear
many dreadful Defender stories: he came home yesterday fully persuaded
that a poor man in this neighbourhood, a Mr. Houlton, had been murdered,
but he found he was only _kilt_, and "as well as could be expected,"
after being twice robbed and twice cut with a bayonet. You, my dear
aunt, who were so brave when the county of Meath was the seat of war,
must know that we emulate your courage; and I assure you in your own
words, "that whilst our terrified neighbours see nightly visions of
massacres, we sleep with our doors and windows unbarred."

I must observe though, that it is only those doors and windows which
have neither bolts nor bars, that we leave unbarred, and these are more
at present than we wish, even for the reputation of our valour. All that
I crave for my own part is, that if I am to have my throat cut, it may
not be by a man with his face blackened with charcoal. I shall look at
every person that comes here very closely, to see if there be any marks
of charcoal upon their visages. Old wrinkled offenders I should suppose
would never be able to wash out their stains; but in others a _very_
clean face will in my mind be a strong symptom of guilt--clean hands
proof positive, and clean nails ought to hang a man.


_To_ MISS S. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 27, 1796._

Long may you feel impatient to hear from your friends, my dear Sophy,
and long may you express your impatience as agreeably. I have a great
deal bottled, or rather bundled up for you. Though I most earnestly wish
that my father was in that situation [Footnote: M.P. for the County of
Longford.] which Sir T. Fetherstone now graces, and though my father had
done me the honour to let me copy his Election letters for him, I am not
the least infected with the electioneering rage. Whilst the Election
lasted we saw him only a few minutes in the course of the day, then
indeed he entertained us to our hearts' content; now his mind seems
relieved from a disagreeable load, and we have more of his company.

You do not mention Madame Roland, therefore I am not sure whether you
have read her; if you have only read her in the translation which talks
of her Uncle Bimont's dying of a "fit of the gout _translated_ to his
chest," you have done her injustice. We think some of her memoirs
beautifully written, and like Rousseau: she was a great woman and died
heroically, but I don't think she became more amiable, and certainly not
more happy by meddling with politics; _for_--her head is cut off, and
her husband has shot himself. I think if I had been Mons. Roland I
should not have shot myself for her sake, and I question whether he
would not have left undrawn the trigger if he could have seen all she
intended to say of him to posterity: she has painted him as a harsh,
stiff, pedantic man, to whom she devoted herself from a sense of duty;
her own superiority, and his infinite obligations to her, she has taken
sufficient pains to blazon forth to the world. I do not like all this,
and her duty work, and her full-length portrait _of_ herself _by_
herself. The foolish and haughty Madame de Boismorrel, who sat upon the
sofa, and asked her if she ever wore feathers, was probably one of the
remote causes of the French Revolution: for Madame Roland's Republican
spirit seems to have retained a long and lively remembrance of this
aristocratic visit.

As soon as the blind bookseller [Footnote: A pedlar who travelled
through the country, and sometimes picked up at sales curious books new
and old.] can find them for us, we shall read Miss Williams's _Letters._
I am glad we both prefer the same parts in Dr. Aikin's _Letters_: I
liked that on the choice of a wife, but I beg to except the word
_helper_, which is used so often and is associated with a helper in the
stables. Lovell dined with Mr. Aikin at Mr. Stewart's, at Edinburgh, and
has seen the Comte d'Artois, who he says has rather a silly face,
especially when it smiles. Sneyd is delighted with the four volumes of
_Evenings at Home_, which we have just got, and has pitched upon the
best stories, which he does not, like M. Dalambert, spoil in the
reading--"Perseverance against Fortune," "The Price of a Victory," and
"Capriole." We were reading an account of the pinna the other day, and
very much regretted that your pinna's brown silk tuft had been eaten by
the mice--what will they not eat?--they have eaten my thimble case! I am
sorry to say that, from these last accounts of the pinna and his cancer
friend, Dr. Darwin's beautiful description is more poetic than accurate.
The cancer is neither watchman nor market-woman to the pinna, nor yet
his friend: he has free ingress to his house, it is true, and is often
found there, but he does not visit on equal terms, or on a friendly
footing, for the moment the pinna gets him in he shuts the door and eats
him; or if he is not hungry, kills the poor shrimp and keeps him in the
house till the next day's dinner. I am sorry Dr. Darwin's story is not
true.


_Saturday Night._

I do not know whether you ever heard of a Mr. Pallas, who lives at
Grouse Hall. He lately received information that a certain Defender was
to be found in a lone house, which was described to him; he took a party
of men with him in the night, and got to the house very early in the
morning: it was scarcely light. The soldiers searched the house, but no
man was to be found. Mr. Pallas ordered them to search again, for that
he was certain the man was there: they searched again, in vain. They
gave up the point, and were preparing to mount their horses when one man
who had stayed a little behind his companions, saw something moving at
the end of the garden behind the house: he looked again, and beheld a
man's arm come out of the ground. He ran towards the spot and called his
companions, but the arm had disappeared; they searched, but nothing was
to be seen, and though the soldier persisted in his story he was not
believed. "Come," said one of the party, "don't waste your time here
looking for an apparition among these cabbage-stalks, come back once
more to the house." They went to the house, and there stood the man they
were in search of, in the middle of the kitchen.

Upon examination, it was found that a secret passage had been practised
from the kitchen to the garden, opening under an old meal chest with a
false bottom, which he could push up and down at pleasure. He had
returned one moment too soon.

I beg, dear Sophy, that you will not call my little stories by the
sublime title of "my works," I shall else be ashamed when the little
mouse comes forth. The stories are printed and bound the same size as
_Evenings at Home_, but I am afraid you will dislike the title; my
father had sent _The Parent's Friend_, [Footnote: Mr. Edgeworth had
wished the book to bear this title.] but Mr. Johnson has degraded it
into _The Parent's Assistant_, which I dislike particularly, from
association with an old book of arithmetic called _The Tutor's
Assistant._

       *       *       *       *       *

This was the first appearance of _The Parent's Assistant_, in one small
volume, with the "Purple Jar," which afterwards formed part of
_Rosamond._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

1796.

We heard from Lovell [Footnote: Gone to London with Mr. Edgeworth's
telegraphic invention.] last post. He had reached London, and waited
immediately on Colonel Brownrigg, who was extremely civil, and said he
would present him any day he pleased to the Duke of York. He was
delighted with the telegraphic prospect in his journey: from Nettlebed
to Long Compton, a distance of fifty miles, he saw plainly. He was
afraid that the motion of the stage would have been too violent to agree
with his model telegraph--"his pretty, delicate little telly," as Lovell
calls it. He therefore indulged her all the way with a seat in a
post-chaise, "which I bestowed upon her with pleasure, because I am
convinced that, when she comes to stand in the world upon ground of her
own, she will be an honour to her guardian, her parents, and her
country."

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Edgeworth now began to write some of the stories which were
afterwards published under the title of _Moral Tales_, but which she at
first intended as a sequel to _The Parent's Assistant_; and she began to
think of writing _Irish Bulls._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Oct. 1797._

I do not like to pour out the gratitude I feel for your unremitting
kindness to me, my dear Sophy, in vain thanks; but I may as well pour it
out in words, as I shall probably never be able to return the many good
turns you have done me. I am not nearly ready yet for _Irish Bulls._ I
am going directly to _Parent's Assistant._ Any good anecdotes from the
age of five to fifteen, good latitude and longitude, will suit me; and
if you can tell me any pleasing misfortunes of emigrants, so much the
better. I have a great desire to draw a picture of an anti-Mademoiselle
Panache, a well-informed, well-bred French governess, an emigrant.

By the blind bookseller my father will send you some books, and I hope
that we shall soon have finished Godwin, that he may set out for Black
Castle. There are some parts of his book [Footnote: _Essays_, by the
author of _Caleb Williams._] that I think you will like much--"On
Frankness," and "Self-taught Genius;" but you will find much to blame in
his style, and you will be surprised that he should have written a
dissertation upon English style. I think his essay on Avarice and
Profusion will please you, even after Smith: he has gone a step farther.
I am going to write a story for boys, [Footnote: _The Good Aunt._] which
will, I believe, make a volume to follow the _Good French Governess._ My
father thinks a volume of trials and a volume of plays would be good for
children. He met the other day with two men who were ready to go to law
about a horse which one had bought from the other, because he had one
little fault. "What is the fault?" said my father. "Sir, the horse was
standing with us all the other day in our cabin at the fire, and plump
he fell down upon the middle of the fire and put it out; and it was a
mercy he didn't kill my wife and children as he fell into the midst of
them all. But this is not all, sir; he strayed into a neighbour's field
of oats, and fell down in the midst of the oats, and spoiled as much as
he could have eaten honestly in a week. But that's not all, sir; one
day, please your honour, I rode him out in a hurry to a fair, and he lay
down with me in the ford, and I lost my fair."

       *       *       *       *       *

For the last few years Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth's sisters, Charlotte and
Mary Sneyd, had lived entirely at Edgeworthstown, not only beloved and
honoured by the children of their two sisters, but tenderly welcomed and
cherished by the children of their predecessor, especially by Maria, to
whom no real aunts could have been more dear. During the seventeen years
through which her married life lasted, Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth had
become increasingly the centre of the family circle, to which she had
herself added five sons and four daughters. In every relation of life
she was admirable. Through the summer of 1797 her health rapidly
declined, and in November she died.

Mr. Edgeworth, then past fifty, had truly valued his third wife, of whom
he said that he had "never seen her out of temper, and never received
from her an unkind word or an angry look." Yet, when he lost her, after
his peculiar fashion, he immediately began to think of marrying again.

Dr. Beaufort, Vicar of Collon, was an agreeable and cultivated man, and
had long been a welcome guest at Mrs. Ruxton's house of Black Castle.
His eldest daughter, who was a clever artist, had designed and drawn
some illustrations for Maria Edgeworth's stories. With these Mr.
Edgeworth found fault, and the good-humour and sense with which his
criticisms were received charmed him, and led to an intimacy. Six months
after his wife's death he married Miss Beaufort.

It may sound strange, but it is nevertheless true, that, in Miss
Beaufort, even more than in her predecessors, he gave to his children a
wise and kind mother, and a most entirely devoted friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

MISS EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS BEAUFORT.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 16, 1798._

Whilst you, my dear Miss Beaufort, have been toiling in Dublin, my
father has been delighting himself in preparations for June. The little
boudoir looks as if it intends to be pretty. This is the only room in
the house which my father will allow to be finished, as he wishes that
your taste should finish the rest. Like the man who begged to have the
eclipse put off, we have been here praying to have the spring put off,
as this place never looks so pretty as when the lilacs and laburnums are
in full flower. I fear, notwithstanding all our prayers, that their
purple and yellow honours will be gone before your arrival. There is one
other flower which I am sure will not be in blow for you, "a little
western flower called love in idleness." Amongst the many kindnesses my
father has shown me, the greatest, I think, has been his permitting me
to see his heart _a decouverte_; and I have seen, by your kind sincerity
and his, that, in good and cultivated minds, love is no _idle_ passion,
but one that inspires useful and generous energy. I have been convinced
by your example of what I was always inclined to believe, that the power
of feeling affection is increased by the cultivation of the
understanding. The wife of an Indian yogii (if a yogii be permitted to
have a wife) might be a very affectionate woman, but her sympathy with
her husband could not have a very extensive sphere. As his eyes are to
be continually fixed upon the point of his nose, hers in duteous
sympathy must squint in like manner; and if the perfection of his virtue
be to sit so still that the birds (_vide_ Sacontala) may unmolested
build nests in his hair, his wife cannot better show her affection than
by yielding her tresses to them with similar patient stupidity. Are
there not European yogiis, or men whose ideas do not go much further
than _le bout du nez_? And how delightful it must be to be chained for
better for worse to one of this species! I should guess--for I know
nothing of the matter--that the courtship of an ignorant lover must be
almost as insipid as a marriage with him; for "my jewel" continually
repeated, without new setting, must surely fatigue a little.

You call yourself, dear Miss Beaufort, my friend and companion: I hope
you will never have reason to repent beginning in this style towards me.
I think you will not find me encroach upon you. The overflowings of your
kindness, if I know anything of my own heart, will fertilise the land,
but will not destroy the landmarks. I do not know whether I most hate or
despise the temper which will take an ell where an inch is given. A
well-bred person never forgets that species of respect which is due to
situation and rank: though his superiors in rank treat him with the
utmost condescension, he never is "Hail fellow well met" with them; he
never calls them Jack or Tom by way of increasing his own consequence.

I flatter myself that you will find me gratefully exact _en belle
fille._ I think there is a great deal of difference between that species
of ceremony which exists with acquaintance, and that which should always
exist with the best of friends: the one prevents the growth of
affection, the other preserves it in youth and age. Many foolish people
make fine plantations, and forget to fence them; so the young trees are
destroyed by the young cattle, and the bark of the forest trees is
sometimes injured. You need not, dear Miss Beaufort, fence yourself
round with very strong palings in this family, where all have been early
accustomed to mind their boundaries. As for me, you see my intentions,
or at least my theories, are good enough: if my Practice be but half as
good, you will be content, will you not? But Theory was born in
Brobdingnag, and Practice in Lilliput. So much the better for _me._ I
have often considered, since my return home, as I have seen all this
family pursuing their several occupations and amusements, how much you
will have it in your power to add to their happiness. In a stupid or
indolent family, your knowledge and talents would be thrown away; here,
if it may be said without vanity, they will be the certain source of
your daily happiness. You will come into a new family, but you will not
come as a stranger, dear Miss Beaufort: you will not lead a new life,
but only continue to lead the life you have been used to in your own
happy, cultivated family.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Edgeworth and Miss Beaufort were married 31st May 1798 at St. Anne's
Church in Dublin. Mrs. Edgeworth writes:

When we set off from the church door for Edgeworthstown, the rebellion
had broken out in many parts of Ireland.

Soon after we had passed the second stage from Dublin, one of the
carriage wheels broke down. Mr. Edgeworth went back to the inn, then
called the Nineteen-mile House, [Footnote: Now Enfield: a railway
station.] to get assistance. Very few people were to be found, and a
woman who was alone in the kitchen came up to him and whispered, "The
boys (the rebels) are hid in the potato furrows beyond." He was rather
startled at this intelligence, but took no notice. He found an ostler
who lent him a wheel, which they managed to put on, and we drove off
without being stopped by any of _the boys._ A little farther on I saw
something very odd on the side of the road before us. "What is
that?"--"Look to the other side--don't look at it!" cried Mr. Edgeworth;
and when we had passed he said it was a car turned up, between the
shafts of which a man was hung--murdered by the rebels.

We reached Edgeworthstown late in the evening. The family at that time
consisted of the two Miss Sneyds, Maria, Emmeline, Bessy, Charlotte
(Lovell was then at Edinburgh), Henry, Sneyd, Honora, and William. Sneyd
was not twelve years old, and the other two were much younger. All
agreed in making me feel at once at home, and part of the family; all
received me with the most unaffected cordiality: but from Maria it was
something more. She more than fulfilled the promise of her letter; she
made me at once her most intimate friend; and in all the serious
concerns of life, and in every trifle of the day, treated me with the
most generous confidence.


MARIA _to_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON IN NORTH WALES.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _June 20, '98._

Hitherto all has been quiet in our county, and we know nothing of the
dreadful disturbances in other parts of the country but what we see in
the newspapers. I am sorry my uncle and Richard were obliged to leave
you and my dear aunt, as I know the continual state of suspense and
anxiety in which you must live while they are away. I fear that we may
soon know by experience what you feel, for my father sees in to-night's
paper that Lord Cornwallis is coming over here as Lord-Lieutenant; and
he thinks it will be his duty to offer his services in any manner in
which they can be advantageous. Why cannot we be left in peace to enjoy
our happiness? that is all we have the conscience to ask! We are indeed
happy: the more I see of my friend and mother, the more I love and
esteem her, and the more I feel the truth of all that I have heard you
say in her praise. I do not think I am _much_ prejudiced by her
partiality for me, though I do feel most grateful for her kindness. I
never saw my father at any period of his life appear so happy as he
does, and has done for this month past; and you know that he _tastes_
happiness as much as any human being can. He is not of the number of
those _qui avalent leurs plaisirs, il sait les gouter._ So little change
has been made in the way of living, that you would feel as if you were
going on with your usual occupations and conversation amongst us. We
laugh and talk, and enjoy the good of every day, which is more than
sufficient. How long this may last we cannot tell. I am going on in the
old way, writing stories. I cannot be a captain of dragoons, and sitting
with my hands before me would not make any of us one degree safer. I
know nothing more of _Practical Education_: it is advertised to be
published. I have finished a volume of wee, wee stories, about the size
of the "Purple Jar," all about Rosamond. "Simple Susan" went to Foxhall
a few days ago, for Lady Anne to carry to England.

My father has made our little room so nice for us; they are all fresh
painted and papered. O rebels! O French! spare them! We have never
injured you, and all we wish is to see everybody as happy as ourselves.


EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Aug. 29, '98._

We have this moment learned from the sheriff of this county, Mr. Wilder,
who has been at Athlone, that the French have got to Castlebar. They
changed clothes with some peasants, and so deceived our troops. They
have almost entirely cut off the carbineers, the Longford militia, and a
large body of yeomanry who opposed them. The Lord-Lieutenant is now at
Athlone, and it is supposed that it will be their next object of attack.
My father's corps of yeomanry are extremely attached to him, and seem
fully in earnest; but, alas! by some strange negligence their arms have
not yet arrived from Dublin. My father this morning sent a letter by an
officer going to Athlone, to Lord Cornwallis, offering his services to
convey intelligence or reconnoitre, as he feels himself in a most
terrible situation, without arms for his men, and no power of being
serviceable to his country. We who are so near the scene of action
cannot by any means discover what _number_ of the French actually
landed: some say 800, some 1800, some 18,000, some 4000. The troops
march and countermarch, as they say themselves, without knowing where
they are going, or for what.

Poor Lady Anne Fox! [Footnote: Wife of Mr. Edgeworth's nephew.] she is
in a dreadful situation; so near her confinement she is unable to move
from Foxhall to any place of greater safety, and exposed every moment to
hear the most alarming reports. She shows admirable calmness and
strength of mind. Francis and Barry [Footnote: Brothers of the fourth
Mrs. Edgeworth.] set out to-morrow morning for England: as they do not
go near Conway, my father advises me not to send by them "Simple Susan"
and sundry other little volumes which I wish were in your kind hands.

GOD send the French may soon go, and that you may soon come.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

MRS. FALLON'S INN, LONGFORD,

_Sept. 5, '98._

We are all safe and well, my dearest aunt, and have had two most
fortunate escapes from rebels and from the explosion of an ammunition
cart. Yesterday we heard, about ten o'clock in the morning, that a large
body of rebels, armed with pikes, were within a few miles of
Edgeworthstown. My father's yeomanry were at this moment gone to
Longford for their arms, which Government had delayed sending. We were
ordered to decamp, each with a small bundle: the two chaises full, and
my mother and Aunt Charlotte on horseback. We were all ready to move,
when the report was contradicted: only twenty or thirty men were now, it
was said, in arms, and my father hoped we might still hold fast to our
dear home.

Two officers and six dragoons happened at this moment to be on their way
through Edgeworthstown, escorting an ammunition cart from Mullingar to
Longford: they promised to take us under their protection, and the
officer came up to the door to say he was ready. My father most
fortunately detained us: they set out without us. Half an hour
afterwards, as we were quietly sitting in the portico, we heard--as we
thought close to us--a clap of thunder, which shook the house. The
officer soon afterwards returned, almost speechless; he could hardly
explain what had happened. The ammunition cart, containing nearly three
barrels of gunpowder, packed in tin cases, took fire and burst, halfway
on the road to Longford. The man who drove the cart was blown to
atoms--nothing of him could be found; two of the horses were killed,
others were blown to pieces and their limbs scattered to a distance; the
head and body of a man were found a hundred and twenty yards from the
spot. Mr. Murray was the name of the officer I am speaking of: he had
with him a Mr. Rochfort and a Mr. Nugent. Mr. Rochfort was thrown from
his horse, one side of his face terribly burnt, and stuck over with
gunpowder. He was carried into a cabin; they thought he would die, but
they now say he will recover. The carriage has been sent to take him to
Longford. I have not time or room, my dear aunt, to dilate or tell you
half I have to say. If we had gone with this ammunition, we must have
been killed.

An hour or two afterwards, however, we were obliged to fly from
Edgeworthstown. The pikemen, three hundred in number, actually were
within a mile of the town. My mother, Aunt Charlotte, and I rode; passed
the trunk of the dead man, bloody limbs of horses, and two dead horses,
by the help of men who pulled on our steeds: we are all safely lodged
now in Mrs. Fallon's inn.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth narrates:

Before we had reached the place where the cart had been blown up, Mr.
Edgeworth suddenly recollected that he had left on the table in his
study a list of the yeomanry corps, which he feared might endanger the
poor fellows and their families if it fell into the hands of the rebels.
He galloped back for it--it was at the hazard of his life--but the
rebels had not yet appeared. He burned the paper, and rejoined us
safely.

The landlady of the inn at Longford did all she could to make us
comfortable, and we were squeezed into the already crowded house. Mrs.
Billamore, our excellent housekeeper, we had left behind for the return
of the carriage which had taken Mr. Rochfort to Longford; but it was
detained, and she did not reach us till the next morning, when we
learned from her that the rebels had not come up to the house. They had
halted at the gate, but were prevented from entering by a man whom she
did not remember to have ever seen; but he was grateful to her for
having lent money to his wife when she was in great distress, and we
now, at our utmost need, owed our safety and that of the house to his
gratitude. We were surprised to find that this was thought by some to be
a suspicious circumstance, and that it showed Mr. Edgeworth to be a
favourer of the rebels! An express arrived at night to say the French
were close to Longford: Mr. Edgeworth undertook to defend the gaol,
which commanded the road by which the enemy must pass, where they could
be detained till the King's troops came up. He was supplied with men and
ammunition, and watched all night; but in the morning news came that the
French had turned in a different direction, and gone to Granard, about
seven miles off; but this seemed so unlikely, that Mr. Edgeworth rode
out to reconnoitre, and Henry went to the top of the Court House to look
out with a telescope. We were all at the windows of a room in the inn
looking into the street, when we saw people running, throwing up their
hats and huzzaing. A dragoon had just arrived with the news that General
Lake's army had come up with the French and the rebels, and completely
defeated them at a place called Ballinamuck, near Granard. But we soon
saw a man in a sergeant's uniform haranguing the mob, not in honour of
General Lake's victory, but against Mr. Edgeworth; we distinctly heard
the words, "that young Edgeworth ought to be dragged down from the Court
House." The landlady was terrified; she said Mr. Edgeworth was accused
of having made signals to the French from the gaol, and she thought the
mob would pull down her house; but they ran on to the end of the town,
where they expected to meet Mr. Edgeworth. We sent a messenger in one
direction to warn him, while Maria and I drove to meet him on the other
road. We heard that he had passed some time before with Major Eustace,
the mob seeing an officer in uniform with him went back to the town, and
on our return we found them safe at the inn. We saw the French prisoners
brought in in the evening, when Mr. Edgeworth went after dinner with
Major Eustace to the barrack. Some time after, dreadful yells were heard
in the street: the mob had attacked them on their return from the
barrack--Major Eustace being now in coloured clothes, they did not
recognise him as an officer. They had struck Mr. Edgeworth with a
brickbat in the neck, and as they were now, just in front of the inn,
collaring the major, Mr. Edgeworth cried out in a loud voice, "Major
Eustace is in danger." Several officers who were at dinner in the inn,
hearing the words through the open window, rushed out sword in hand,
dispersed the crowd in a moment, and all the danger was over. The
military patrolled the streets, and the sergeant who had made all this
disturbance was put under arrest. He was a poor, half-crazed fanatic.

The next day, the 9th of September, we returned home, where everything
was exactly as we had left it, all serene and happy, five days
before--only five days, which seemed almost a lifetime, from the dangers
and anxiety we had gone through.


MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Sept. 9, '98._

You will rejoice, I am sure, my dear Sophy, to see by the date of this
letter that we are safe back at Edgeworthstown. The scenes we have gone
through for some days past have succeeded one another like the pictures
in a magic-lantern, and have scarcely left the impression of reality
upon the mind. It all seems like a dream, a mixture of the ridiculous
and the horrid. "Oh ho!" says my aunt, "things cannot be very bad with
my brother, if Maria begins her letters with magic-lantern and
reflections on dreams."

When we got into the town this morning we saw the picture of a deserted,
or rather a shattered village--many joyful faces greeted us at the doors
of the houses--none of the windows of the new houses in Charlotte Row
were broken: the mob declared they would not meddle with them because
they were built by the two good ladies, meaning my aunts.

Last night my father was alarmed at finding that both Samuel and John,
[Footnote: John Jenkins, a Welsh lad; both he and Samuel thought better
of it and remained in the service.] who had stood by him with the utmost
fidelity through the Longford business, were at length panic-struck:
they wished now to leave him. Samuel said: "Sir, I would stay with you
to the last gasp, if you were not so foolhardy," and here he cried
bitterly; "but, sir, indeed you have not heard all I have heard. I have
heard about two hundred men in Longford swear they would have your
life." All the town were during the whole of last night under a similar
panic, they were certain the violent Longford yeomen would come and cut
them to pieces. Last night was not pleasant, but this morning was
pleasant--and why it was a pleasant morning I will tell you in my next.


_Sept. 19._

I forgot to tell you of a remarkable event in the history of our return;
all the cats, even those who properly belong to the stable, and who had
never been admitted to the honours of the sitting in the kitchen, all
crowded round Kitty with congratulatory faces, crawling up her gown,
insisting upon caressing and being caressed when she reappeared in the
lower regions. Mr. Gilpin's slander against cats as selfish, unfeeling
animals is thus refuted by stubborn facts.

When Colonel Handfield told the whole story of the Longford mob to Lord
Cornwallis, he said he never saw a man so much astonished. Lord
Longford, Mr. Pakenham, and Major Edward Pakenham, have shown much
warmth of friendship upon this occasion.

Enclosed I send you a little sketch, which I traced from one my mother
drew for her father, of the situation of the field of battle at
Ballinamuck, it is about four miles from The Hills. My father, mother,
and I rode to look at the camp; perhaps you recollect a pretty turn in
the road, where there is a little stream with a three-arched bridge: in
the fields which rise in a gentle slope, on the right-hand side of this
stream, about sixty bell tents were pitched, the arms all ranged on the
grass; before the tents, poles with little streamers flying here and
there; groups of men leading their horses to water, others filling
kettles and black pots, some cooking under the hedges; the various
uniforms looked pretty; Highlanders gathering blackberries. My father
took us to the tent of Lord Henry Seymour, who is an old friend of his;
he breakfasted here to-day, and his plain English civility, and quiet
good sense, was a fine contrast to the mob, etc. Dapple, [Footnote:
Maria Edgeworth's horse.] your old acquaintance, did not like all the
sights at the camp as well as I did.


_Oct 3, '98._

My father went to Dublin the day before yesterday, to see Lord
Cornwallis about the Court of Enquiry on the sergeant who harangued the
mob. About one o'clock to-day Lovell returned from the Assizes at
Longford with the news, met on the road, that expresses had come an hour
before from Granard to Longford, for the Reay Fencibles, and all the
troops; that there was another _rising_ and an attack upon Granard: four
thousand men the first report said, seven hundred the second. What the
truth may be it is impossible to tell, it is certain that the troops are
gone to Granard, and it is yet more certain that all the windows in this
house are built halfway up, guns and bayonets dispersed by Captain
Lovell in every room. The yeomanry corps paraded to-day, all steady:
guard sitting up in house and in the town to-night.


_Thursday Morning._

All alive and well. A letter from my father: he stays to see Lord
Cornwallis on Friday. Deficient arms for the corps are given by Lord
Castlereagh.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth writes:

The sergeant was to have been tried at the next sessions, but he was by
this time ashamed and penitent, and Mr. Edgeworth did not press the
trial, but knowing the man was, among his other weaknesses, very much
afraid of ghosts, he said to him as he came out of the Court House, "I
believe, after all, you had rather see me alive than have my ghost
haunting you!"

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1798 _Practical Education_ was published in two large octavo volumes,
bearing the joint names of Richard and Maria Edgeworth upon their
title-page. This was the first work of that literary partnership of
father and daughter which Maria Edgeworth describes as "the joy and
pride of my life."

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Nov. 19, '98._

You have, I suppose, or are conscious that you ought to have, whitlows
upon your thumb and all your four fingers for not writing to me! Tell me
what you are saying and doing, and above all where you are going. My
father has taken me into a new partnership--we are writing a comedy:
will you come and see it acted? He is making a charming theatre in the
room over his study: it will be twice as large as old Poz's little
theatre in the dining-room. My aunt's woollen wig for old Poz is in high
estimation in the memory of man, woman, and child here. I give you the
play-bill:

  Mrs. Fangle (a rich and whimsical widow)               Emmeline.
  Caroline (a sprightly heiress)                         Charlotte.
  Jemima (Mrs. Fangle's waiting-maid)                    Bessy.
  Sir Mordant Idem (in love with Mrs. Fangle,
      and elderly, and hating anything _new_)            Henry.
  Opal (nephew to Sir Mordant, and hating
      everything _old_, in love with Caroline,
      and wild for illuminatism)                         Sneyd.
  Count Babelhausen (a German illuminatus,
      trying to marry either Mrs. Fangle or
      Caroline)                                          Lovell.
  Heliodorus and Christina (Mrs. Fangle's             }  William
      children, on whom she tries strange             }   and
      experiments)                                    }  Honora.


To explain illuminatism I refer you to Robinson's book called _Proofs of
a Conspiracy._ It was from this book, which gives a history of the
cheats of Freemasonry and Illuminatism, that we took the idea of Count
Babelhausen. The book is tiresome, and no sufficient proofs given of the
facts, but parts of it will probably interest you.

Lovell has bought a fine apparatus and materials for a course of
chemical lectures which he is going to give us. The study is to be the
laboratory: I wish you were _in it._

In the _Monthly Review_ for October there is this anecdote. After the
King of Denmark, who was somewhat silly, had left Paris, a Frenchman,
who was in company with the Danish Ambassador, but did not know him,
began to ridicule the King--"Ma foi! il a une tete! une tete--"
"Couronnee," replied the Ambassador, with presence of mind and
politeness. My father, who was much delighted with this answer, asked
Lovell, Henry, and Sneyd, without telling the right answer, what they
would have said.

  Lovell: "A head--and a heart, sir."
  Henry: "A head--upon his shoulders."
  Sneyd: "A head--of a King."

Tell me which answer you like best. Richard will take your _Practical
Education_ to you.

       *       *       *       *       *

The play mentioned in the foregoing letter was twice acted in January
1799, with great applause, under the title of _Whim for Whim._ Mr.
Edgeworth's mechanism for the scenery, and for the experiments tried on
the children, were most ingenious. Mrs. Edgeworth painted the scenery
and arranged the dresses.

The day after the last performance of _Whim for Whim_, the family went
to Dublin for Mr. Edgeworth to attend Parliament, the last Irish
Parliament, he having been returned for the borough of St. John's Town,
in the County of Longford. In the spring Mrs. Edgeworth and Maria
accompanied him to England.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MISS CHARLOTTE SNEYD.

DUBLIN, _April 2, 1799._

In the paper of to-night you will see my father's farewell speech on the
Education Bill.

Some time ago, amongst some hints to the Chairman of the Committee of
Education, you sent one which I have pursued: you said that the early
lessons for the poor should speak with detestation of the spirit of
revenge: I have just finished a little story called "Forgive and
Forget," upon this idea. I am now writing one on a subject recommended
to me by Dr. Beaufort, on the evils of procrastination; the title of it
is "By-and-Bye." [Footnote: The title was afterwards changed to
"To-morrow."] I am very much obliged to Bessy and Charlotte for copying
the Errata of _Practical Education_ for me, and should be _extremely_
obliged to the whole Committee of Education and Criticism at
Edgeworthstown, if they would send corrections to me from their own
brains; the same eye (if I may judge by my own) can only see the same
things in looking over the book twenty times. Tell Sneyd that there is a
political print just come out, of a woman, meant for Hibernia, dressed
in orange and green, and holding a pistol in her hand to oppose the
Union.


MRS. EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

RICHMOND PLACE, CLIFTON,

_May 26, '99._

We are very well settled here, and this house is quite retired and quite
quiet. The prospects are very beautiful, and we have charming green
fields in which we walk, and in which dear Sophy could botanise at her
ease.

A young man, a Mr. Davy,[Footnote: Sir Humphry Davy, the distinguished
chemist and philosopher, born 1778, died 1829.] at Dr. Beddoes', who has
applied himself much to chemistry, has made some discoveries of
importance, and enthusiastically expects wonders will be performed by
the use of certain gases, which inebriate in the most delightful manner,
having the oblivious effects of Lethe, and at the same time giving the
rapturous sensations of the Nectar of the Gods! Pleasure even to madness
is the consequence of this draught. But faith, great faith, is I believe
necessary to produce any effect upon the drinkers, and I have seen some
of the adventurous philosophers who sought in vain for satisfaction in
the bag of _Gaseous Oxyd_, and found nothing but a sick stomach and a
giddy head.

Our stay at Clifton was made very agreeable (writes Mrs. Edgeworth) by
the charm of Dr. and Mrs. Beddoes' society; [Footnote: Dr. Beddoes,
described by Sir Humphry Davy as "short and fat, with nothing
_externally_ of genius or science," was very peculiar. One of his
hobbies was to convey cows into invalids' bedrooms, that they might
"inhale the breath of the animals," a prescription which naturally gave
umbrage to the Clifton lodging-house-keepers, who protested that they
had not built or furnished their rooms for the hoofs of cattle. Mrs.
Beddoes had a wonderful charm of wit and cheerfulness.] her grace,
genius, vivacity, and kindness, and his great abilities, knowledge, and
benevolence, rendered their house extremely pleasant. We met at Clifton
Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld. He was an amiable and benevolent man, so eager
against the slave-trade, that when he drank tea with us, he always
brought some East India sugar, that he might not share our wickedness in
eating that made by the negro slave. Mrs. Barbauld, whose _Evenings at
Home_ had so much delighted Maria and her father, was very pretty, and
conversed with great ability in admirable language.


MARIA _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

CLIFTON, _June 5, 1799._

Good news, my dearest aunt, my mother is fast asleep: she has a fine
little daughter, who has just finished eating a hearty supper. At nine
minutes before six this evening, to my great joy, my little sister Fanny
came into the world.

We are impatient for dear Sophy's arrival. My father sends his kindest
love to his dear sister, who has been always the sharer of his pains and
pleasures. I said my mother was asleep, and though my father and I talk
in our sleep, all people do not; if she did, I am sure she would say,
"Love to my Sister Ruxton, and my friend Letty."

       *       *       *       *       *

During this summer the Edgeworths visited Dr. Darwin, whom Maria
Edgeworth considered not only a first-rate genius, but one of the most
benevolent, as well as wittiest of men. He stuttered, but far from this
lessening the charm of his conversation, Miss Edgeworth used to say that
the hesitation and slowness with which his words came forth added to the
effect of his humour and shrewd good sense. Dr. Darwin's sudden death,
17th April 1802, whilst he was writing to Mr. Edgeworth, was a great
sorrow to his Irish friends.

The family returned home in September 1799.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS RUXTON, LIVING AT ARUNDEL IN SUSSEX.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN,

_Jan, 29, 1800._

More precious to us than Arundelian marbles are letters from Arundel,
and after an interval of almost three months dear Sophy's letter was
most welcome. I have no complaints to make of you--_sorrow_ bit of right
have I to complain of you. Some time ago we took a walk to see the old
castle of Cranalagh, from which in the last Rebellion (but one) Lady
Edgeworth was turned out: part of it, just enough to swear by, remains
to this day, and with a venerable wig of ivy at top cuts a very
respectable figure; and, moreover, there are some of the finest laurels
and hollies there that I ever saw, and as fine a smell of a pigsty as
ever I smelt, and an arbor-vitae tree, of which I gathered a leaf, and
thought that I and my gloves should never for the remainder of our lives
get rid of the smell of bad apples, of which this same tree of life
smells. But I have not yet come to the thing I was going to say about
the castle of Cranalagh, viz.--for I love old-fashioned viz.--when we
got near the ruined castle, out comes a barking dog, just such another
as assailed us at the old castle near Black Castle, to which we walked
full fifteen years ago; the first walk I ever took with Sophy, and how
she got home without her shoe, to this hour I cannot comprehend. It was
this barking dog which brought you immediately to my mind, and if I have
given you too much of it you must forgive me. Now we are upon the
subject of old castles, do you remember my retailing to you, at second
hand, a description of my father's visit to the Marquis de la Poype's
old chateau in Dauphiny, with the cavern of bats and stalactites? A
little while ago my father received a letter in a strange hand, which I
copy for my aunt and you, as I think it will please you as it did us, to
see that this old friend of my father's remembers him with so much
kindness through all the changes and chances that have happened in
France. The letter is from the Marquis de la Poype, who addressed it to
the Abbe Edgeworth, in hopes that the Abbe could transmit it to my
father--the lines at the end are in the Abbe's own hand--the handwriting
of so great and good a man is a curiosity.

Before this reaches you my father will be in Dublin, he goes on Saturday
next to the call of the House for the grand Union business. Tell my aunt
that he means to speak on the subject on Monday. His sentiments are
unchanged: that the Union would be advantageous to all the parties
concerned, but that England has not any right to do to Ireland _good
against her will._

Will you tell me what means you have of getting parcels from London to
Arundel? because I wish to send to my aunt a few "Popular Tales," which
I have finished, as they cannot be wanted for some months by Mr. Johnson.
We have begged Johnson to send _Castle Rackrent_, [Footnote: Published
without the author's name in 1800]. I hope it has reached you: do not
mention to any one that it is ours. Have you seen _Minor Morals_, by
Mrs. Smith? There is in it a beautiful little botanical poem called the
"Calendar of Flora."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Castle Rackrent_, the story of an Irish estate, as told by Thady, the
old steward, was first published anonymously in 1800. Its combination of
Irish humour and pathos, and its illustration of the national character,
first led Walter Scott to try his own skill in depicting Scottish
character in the same way. "If I could," he said to James Ballantyne,
"but hit Miss Edgeworth's wonderful power of vivifying all her persons,
and making them live as _beings_ in your mind, I should not be afraid."
With the publication of _Castle Rackrent_, which was intended to depict
the follies of fashionable life, and was speedily followed by _Belinda_
[Footnote: There is no doubt that _Belinda_ was much marred by the
alterations made by Mr. Edgeworth, in whose wisdom and skill his far
cleverer daughter had unlimited and touching confidence.] the Edgeworths
immediately became famous, and the books were at once translated into
French and German.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN,

_Oct. 20, 1800._

This morning dear Henry [Footnote: Eldest son of Mrs. Elizabeth
Edgeworth.] took leave of home, and set out for Edinburgh. "God prosper
him," as I in the language of a fond old nurse keep continually saying
to myself.

Mr. Chenevix, a famous chemist, was so good as to come here lately to
see my father upon the faith of Mr. Kirwan's assurance that he would
"like Mr. Edgeworth." I often wished for you, my dear Sophy, whilst this
gentleman was here, because you would have been so much entertained with
his conversation about bogs, and mines, and airs, and acids, etc. etc.
His history of his imprisonment during the French Revolution in Paris, I
found more to my taste. When he was thrown into prison he studied
Chaptal and Lavoisier's _Chemistry_ with all his might, and then
represented himself as an English gentleman come over to study chemistry
in France, and M. Chaptal got him released, and employed him, and he got
acquainted with all the chemists and scientific men in France. Mr.
Chenevix has taken a house in Brook Street, London, and turned the
cellar into a laboratory; the people were much afraid to let it to him,
they expected he would blow it up.


EDGEWORTHSTOWN,

_Dec. 2, 1800._

My mother has had a sore throat, and Aunt Charlotte and Honora have had
feverish attacks, and John Jenkins has had fever, so that my father was
obliged to remove him to his own house in the village. There has been
and is a fever in the lanes of Edgeworthstown, and so quickly does ill
news fly, that this got before us to Collon, to the Speaker's, where we
were invited, and had actually set out last week to spend a few days
there. When we got to Allenstown, we were told that a servant from the
Speaker's had arrived with a letter, and had gone on to Edgeworthstown
with it: we waited for his return with the letter, which was to forbid
our going to Collon, as Mrs. Foster, widow of the Bishop, was there with
her daughters, and was afraid of our bringing infection! We performed
quarantine very pleasantly for a week at Allenstown. Mrs. Waller's
inexhaustible fund of kindness and generosity is like Aboulcasin's
treasure, it is not only inexhaustible, but take what you will from it
it cannot be perceptibly diminished. Harriet Beaufort [Footnote: Sister
of Mrs. Edgeworth.] is indeed a charming excellent girl; I love and
esteem her more and more as I know her better: she has been at different
times between three and four months in the house with us, and I have had
full opportunities of seeing down to the kitchen, and up to the garret
of her mind.

You are so near Johnson, [Footnote: The bookseller.] that you must of
course know more of Maria's sublime works than Maria knows of them
herself; and besides Lovell, who thinks of them ten times more than
Johnson, has not let you rest in ignorance. An octavo edition of
_Practical Education_ is to come out at Christmas: we have seen a
volume, which looks as well as can be expected. The two first parts of
_Early Lessons_, containing Harry and Lucy, two wee, wee volumes, have
just come over to us. Frank and Rosamond will, I suppose, come after
with all convenient speed. How _Moral Tales_ are arranged, or in what
size they are to appear, I do not know, but I guess they will soon be
published, because some weeks ago we received four engravings for
frontispieces; they are beautifully engraved by Neagle, and do justice
to the designs, two of which are by my mother, and two by Charlotte. I
hope you will like them. There are three stories which will be new to
you, "The Knapsack," "The Prussian Vase," and "Angelina."

Now, my dear friend, you cannot say that I do not tell you what I am
doing. My father is employed making out Charts of History and
Chronology, such as are mentioned in _Practical Education._ He has just
finished a little volume containing Explanations of Poetry for children:
it explains "The Elegy in a Country Churchyard," "L'Allegro," "Il
Penseroso," and "The Ode to Fear." It will be a very useful schoolbook.
It goes over to-night to Johnson, but how long it will remain with him
before you see it in print I cannot divine.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth narrates:

_Belinda_ was published in 1801. Maria was at Black Castle when the
first copy reached her; she contrived, before her aunt saw it, to tear
out the title-pages of the three volumes, and her aunt read it without
the least suspicion of who was the author, and excessively entertained
and delighted, she insisted on Maria's listening to passage after
passage as she went on. Maria affected to be deeply interested in some
book she held in her hand, and when Mrs. Ruxton exclaimed, "Is not that
admirably written?" Maria coldly replied, "Admirably read, I think." And
then her aunt, as if she had said too much, added, "It may not be so
very good, but it shows just the sort of knowledge of high life which
people have who live in the world." Then again and again she called upon
Maria for her sympathy, till quite provoked at her faint acquiescence,
she at last accused her of being envious: "I am sorry to see my little
Maria unable to bear the praises of a rival author."

At this Maria burst into tears, and showing her aunt the title-page she
declared herself the author. But Mrs. Ruxton was not pleased--she never
liked _Belinda_ afterwards, and Maria had always a painful recollection
of her aunt's suspecting her of the meanness of envy.

In 1801 a second edition of _Castle Rackrent_ was published, "By Maria
Edgeworth," as its success was so triumphant that some one--I heard his
name at the time but do not now remember it, and it is better
forgotten--not only asserted that he was the author, but actually took
the trouble to copy out several pages with corrections and erasures, as
if it was his original MS.!

The _Essay on Irish Bulls_ was published in 1802, "By R.L. Edgeworth and
Maria Edgeworth, author of _Castle Rackrent._" A gentleman, much
interested in improving the breed of Irish cattle, sent, on seeing the
advertisement, for this work on Irish Bulls; he was rather confounded by
the appearance of the classical bull at the top of the first page, which
I had designed from a gem, and when he began to read the book he threw
it away in disgust: he had purchased it as Secretary to the Irish
Agricultural Society.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the partnership in this book, Miss Edgeworth writes long afterwards:

       *       *       *       *       *

The first design of the essay was my father's; under the semblance of
attack, he wished to show the English public the eloquence, wit, and
talents of the lower classes of people in Ireland. Working zealously
upon the ideas which he suggested, sometimes what was spoken by him was
afterwards written by me; or when I wrote my first thoughts, they were
corrected and improved by him; so that no book was ever written more
completely in partnership. On this, as on most subjects, whether light
or serious, when we wrote together, it would now be difficult, almost
impossible, to recollect which thoughts were originally his and which
were mine.

The notes on the Dublin shoeblacks' metaphorical language are chiefly
his. I have heard him tell that story with all the natural,
indescribable Irish tones and gestures of which written language can
give but a faint idea. He excelled in imitating the Irish, because he
never overstepped the modesty or the assurance of nature. He marked
exquisitely the happy confidence, the shrewd wit of the people, without
condescending to produce effect by caricature. He knew not only their
comic talents, but their powers of pathos; and often when he had just
heard from me some pathetic complaint, he has repeated it to me while
the impression was fresh. In his chapter on Wit and Eloquence in _Irish
Bulls_, there is a speech of a poor free-holder to a candidate who asked
for his vote: this speech was made to my father when he was canvassing
the county of Longford. It was repeated to me a few hours afterwards,
and I wrote it down instantly without, I believe, the variation of a
word.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Aug. 1, 1802._

You are a goose or a gosling, whichever you like best, for I perceive
you are in great anxiety lest my poor little imagination should not have
been completely set to rights. Now set your heart at ease, for I,
putting my left hand upon my heart, because I could not conveniently put
my right, which holds the pen, though I acknowledge that would be much
more graceful, do hereby declare that I perfectly understood and
understand the explanation contained in your last, and am fully
satisfied, righted, and delighted therewith.

I have been much interested by the _Letters from Lausanne_; I think them
in some parts highly pathetic and eloquent, but as to the moral tendency
of the book I cannot find it out, turn it which way I will. I think the
author wrote merely with the intention of showing how well he could
paint passion, and he has succeeded. The Savage of Aveyron [Footnote: A
little history of a boy found in France, "a wild man of the woods." He
was brought to Paris, and the philosophers disputed much on his mental
powers; but he died before they came to any conclusion.] is a thousand
times more interesting to me than Caliste. I have not read anything for
years that interested me so much. Mr. Chenevix will be here in a few
days, when we will cross-question him about this savage, upon whom the
eyes of civilised Europe have been fixed. Mr. Chenevix and his sister,
Mrs. Tuite, and with them Mrs. Jephson, spent a day here last week: she
is clever and agreeable. What did you think of M. Pictet's account of
Edgeworthstown?

       *       *       *       *       *

Professor Marc-Auguste Pictet, of Geneva, visited the Edgeworths this
summer, coming over from Mr. Tuite's, of Sonna, where he was staying
with Mr. Chenevix. He afterwards published an interesting account of his
visit to Edgeworthstown in the _Bibliotheque Britannique_, as well as in
his _Voyage de trois mots en Angleterre_, which was published at Geneva
in 1802. Of Maria Edgeworth he says:

       *       *       *       *       *

I had persuaded myself that the author of the work on Education, and of
other productions, useful as well as ornamental, would betray herself by
a remarkable exterior. I was mistaken. A small figure, eyes nearly
always lowered, a profoundly modest and reserved air, with expression in
the features when not speaking: such was the result of my first survey.
But when she spoke, which was too rarely for my taste, nothing could
have been better thought, and nothing better said, though always timidly
expressed, than that which fell from her mouth.

       *       *       *       *       *

M. Pictet's account of the society at Paris induced Mr. Edgeworth to
determine on going there. He set out in the middle of September, with
Mrs. Edgeworth, Maria, Emmeline, and Charlotte. Emmeline left the rest
of the family at Conway, and went to stay with Mrs. Beddoes at Clifton,
where she was married to Mr. King (or Konig, a native of Berne), a
distinguished surgeon.

In London Mr. Edgeworth purchased a roomy coach, in which his family
travelled very comfortably.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

LOUGHBOROUGH, _Sept. 25, 1802._

I calculate, my dear Sophy, that you have accused me at least a hundred
times of being lazy and good-for-nothing, because I have not written
since we left Dublin; but do not be angry, I was not well during the
time we were in Dublin, nor for two or three days after we landed: but
three days' rest at Bangor Ferry recovered me completely, and thanks to
Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman, I am now in perfectly good
plight.

To take up things at the beginning. We had a tedious passage, but
Charlotte and I sat upon deck, and were well enough to be much amused
with all the manoeuvring of the sails, etc. The light reflected upon the
waters from the lighthouse contracted instead of diverging: I mention
this, because there was an argument held upon the subject either at
Black Castle or at Collon. As we were all sitting upon deck drinking tea
in the morning, a large, very large, woman who was reading opposite to
us, fell from her seat with a terrible noise. We all thought she had
fallen down dead: the gentlemen gathered round her, and when she was
lifted up, she was a shocking spectacle, her face covered with blood,
she had fallen upon one of the large nails in the deck. She recovered
her senses, but when she was carried down to the cabin she fainted
again, and remained two hours senseless. "She has a mother, ma'am," said
the steward, "who is lying a-dying at Holyhead, and she frets greatly
for her." We were told afterwards that this lady has for twenty years
crossed the sea annually to visit her mother, though she never could
make the passage without swooning. She was a coarse, housekeeper-looking
woman, without any pretence to sentimentality, but I think she showed
more affection and real heroism than many who have been immortalised by
the pen or pencil.

Nothing new or entertaining from Holyhead to Bangor. A delightful day at
Bangor, pleasant walk: Charlotte drew some Welsh peasants and children:
we tried to talk to them, but _Dumsarzna_, or words to that effect, "I
don't understand English," was the constant answer, and the few who
could speak English seemed to have no wish to enter into conversation
with us: the farmers intrenched themselves in their houses and shut
their doors as fast as they could when we approached. From Bangor Ferry
we took a pleasant excursion to Carnarvon--do not be afraid, I shall not
give you a long description of the castle--I know you have seen it, but
I wish I knew whether you and I saw it with the same ideas. I could not
have conceived that any building or ruin could have appeared to me so
sublime. The amazing size! the distinctness of the parts! the simplicity
of the design, the thickness of the walls, the air of grandeur even in
decay! In the courtyard of the castle an old horse and three cows were
grazing, and beneath the cornices on the walls two goats, half black
half white, were browsing. I believe that old castles interest one by
calling up ideas of past times, which are in such strong contrast with
the present. In the courtyard of this castle were brewing vessels in
vaults which had formerly perhaps been dungeons, and pitched sails
stretched upon the walls to dry: the spirit of old romance and modern
manufactures do not agree.

Mr. Waitman, the landlord of the Carnarvon Hotel, accompanied us to the
castle, and he was indeed a glorious contrast to the enthusiastic old
man who showed the ruins. This old man's eyes brightened when he talked
of the Eagle Tower, and he seemed to forget that he had a terrible
asthma whilst he climbed the flights of stone stairs. Our landlord, a
thorough Englishman, in shrewd, wilful independence, entertained my
father by his character and conversation, and pleased him by his praises
of Lovell, of whom he spoke with much gratitude. We returned at night to
Bangor Ferry. Early next morning my father and mother, on two Welsh
ponies, trotted off to see Lord Penrhyn's slate quarries. We had orders
to follow them in a few hours. In the meantime who do you think arrived?
Mr. and Mrs. Saunderson, with all their children. They seemed as glad to
see me as I was to see them. They had intended to go another road, but
went on to Conway on purpose to spend the day with us. A most pleasant
day we did spend with them. They were going to Bristol to see their son,
and when they found that Emmeline was going there, they offered in the
kindest and most polite manner to take her with them. We parted with
Emmeline and with them the next morning; they went to Keniogy, which I
can't spell, and we went to Holywell, and saw the copper works, a vast
manufactory, in which there seemed to be no one at work. We heard and
saw large wheels turning without any visible cause, "instinct with
spirit all." At first nothing but the sound of dripping water, then a
robin began to sing amongst the rafters of the high and strange roof.
The manufactory in which the men were at work was a strong contrast to
this desolate place, a stunning noise, Cyclops with bared arms dragging
sheets of red-hot copper, and thrusting it between the cylinders to
flatten it; while it passed between these, the flame issued forth with a
sort of screeching noise. When I first heard it I thought somebody was
hurt: the flame was occasioned by the burning of the grease put between
the rollers. There were a number of children employed drawing straight
lines on the sheets of copper, ready for a man with a large pair of
shears to cut. The whole process was simple.

Saw the famous well, in which the spring supplies a hundred tuns a
minute. Went on to Chester and Newcastle, in hopes of finding Jos.
Wedgwood at Etruria: were told he was not in the country, but just as
our chaise whips up, papa espied Wedgwood's partner, who told him Jos.
_was_ at Etruria: came last night, would stay but one day. Went to
Etruria, Jos. received us as you would expect, and all the time I was
with him I had full in my recollection the handsome manner in which you
told me he spoke of my father. The mansion-house at Etruria is
excellent; but, alas! the Wedgwoods have bought an estate in
Dorsetshire, and are going to leave Etruria. I do not mean that they
have given up their share in the manufactory. Saw a flint mill worked by
a steam-engine just finished, cannot stay to describe it--for two
reasons, because I cannot describe it intelligibly, and because I want
to get on to the Priory to Mrs. and the Miss Darwins. Poor Dr. Darwin!
[Footnote: Dr. Darwin died 17th April 1802.] It was melancholy to go to
that house to which, in the last lines he ever wrote, he had invited us.
The servants in deep mourning: Mrs. Darwin and her beautiful daughters
in deep mourning. She was much affected at seeing my father, and seemed
to regret her husband as such a husband ought to be regretted. I liked
her exceedingly; there was so much heart, and so little constraint or
affectation in all she said and did, or looked. There was a charming
picture of Dr. Darwin in the room, in which his generous soul appeared
and his penetrating benevolent genius. How unlike the wretched
misanthropic print we have seen! While I am writing this at
Loughborough, my father is a few miles off at Castle Donnington. I
forgot to tell you that we spent a delightful day, or remnant of a day,
on our return from the Priory, at Mr. Strutt's.


_To_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

LONDON, NEROT'S HOTEL, _Sept. 27, 1802._

We have been here about an hour, and next to the pleasure of washing
face and hands, which were all covered with red Woburn sand and
Dunstable chalk, and London dust, comes the pleasure of writing to you,
my dear good Aunt Mary. How glad I should be to give you any proof of
gratitude for the many large and little kindnesses you have shown to me.
There is no one in the world who can deserve to be thought of more at
all times, and in all situations, than you; for there is no one thinks
so much of others. As long as there is any one worth your loving upon
earth, you cannot be unhappy. I think you would have been very apt to
make the speech attributed to St. Theresa: "Le pauvre Diable! comme je
le plains! Il ne peut rien aimer. Ah! qu'il doit etre malheureux!"

But whilst I am talking sentiment you may be impatient for news. The
first and best news is, that my father is extremely well. Travelling, he
says, has done him a vast deal of good, and whoever looks at him
believes him. It would be well for all faces if they had that effect on
the spectators, or rather perhaps it would be ill for the credulous
spectators. Isabella of Aragon, _or_ Lord Chesterfield, or both, call a
good countenance the best letter of recommendation. Whenever Nature
gives false letters of recommendation, she swindles in the most
abominable manner. Where she refuses them where they are best deserved,
she only gives additional motive for exertion (_vide_ Socrates or his
bust).[Footnote: An alabaster bust of Socrates, which stood on the
chimney-piece in the drawing-room at Black Castle.] And after all,
Nature is forced out of her letters of recommendation sooner or later.
You know that it is said by Lavater, that the _muscles_ of Socrates'
countenance are beautiful, and these became so by the play given to them
by the good passions, etc. etc. etc.

Charlotte tells me she carried you in her last as far as Loughborough
and Castle Donnington, will you be so good to go on to Leicester with
me? But before we set out for Leicester, I should like to take you to
Castle Donnington, "the magnificent seat of the Earl of Moira." But then
how can I do that, when I did not go there myself? Oh! I can describe
after a description as well as my betters have done before me in prose
and verse, and a description of my father's is better than the reality
seen with my own eyes. The first approach to Donnington disappointed
him; he looked round and saw neither castle, nor park, nor anything to
admire till he came to the top of a hill, when in the valley below
suddenly appeared the turrets of a castle, surpassing all he had
conceived of light and magnificent in architecture: a real castle! not a
modern, bungling imitation. The inside was suitable in grandeur to the
outside; hall, staircase, antechambers; the library fitted up entirely
with books in plain handsome mahogany bookcases, not a frippery
ornament, everything grand, but not gaudy; marble tables, books upon the
tables; nothing littered, but sufficient signs of living and occupied
beings. At the upper end of the room sat two ladies copying music: a
gentleman walking about with a book in his hand: neither Lord Moira nor
Lady Charlotte Rawdon in the room. The gentleman, Mr. Sedley, not having
an instinct like Mademoiselle Panache for a gentleman, did not, till
Lord Moira entered the room and received my father with open arms, feel
sure that he was worthy of more than monosyllable civility. Lord Moira
took the utmost pains to show my father that he was pleased with his
visit, said he must have the pleasure of showing him over the house
himself, and finished by giving him a letter to the Princess Joseph de
Monaco, who is now at Paris. She was Mrs. Doyle. He also sent to Mrs.
Edgeworth the very finest grapes I ever beheld. I wished the moment I
saw them, my dear aunt, that you had a bunch of them.

We proceeded to Leicester. Handsome town, good shops: walked whilst
dinner was getting ready to a circulating library. My father asked for
_Belinda, Bulls_, etc., found they were in good repute--_Castle
Rackrent_ in better--the others often borrowed, but _Castle Rackrent_
often bought. The bookseller, an open-hearted man, begged us to look at
a book of poems just published by a Leicester lady, a Miss Watts. I
recollected to have seen some years ago a specimen of this lady's
proposed translation of Tasso, which my father had highly admired. He
told the bookseller that we would pay our respects to Miss Watts, if it
would be agreeable to her. When we had dined, we set out with our
enthusiastic bookseller. We were shown by the light of a lanthorn along
a very narrow passage between high walls, to the door of a
decent-looking house: a maid-servant, candle in hand, received us. "Be
pleased, ladies, to walk upstairs." A neatish room, nothing
extraordinary in it except the inhabitants. Mrs. Watts, a tall,
black-eyed, prim, dragon-looking woman in the background. Miss Watts, a
tall young lady in white, fresh colour, fair thin oval face, rather
pretty. The moment Mrs. Edgeworth entered, Miss Watts, mistaking her for
the authoress, darted forward with arms, long thin arms, outstretched to
their utmost swing, "OH, WHAT AN HONOUR THIS IS!!" each word and
syllable rising in tone till the last reached a scream. Instead of
embracing my mother, as her first action threatened, she started back to
the farthest end of the room, which was not light enough to show her
attitude distinctly, but it seemed to be intended to express the
receding of awestruck admiration--stopped by the wall. Charlotte and I
passed by unnoticed, and seated ourselves by the old lady's desire: she
after many twistings of her wrists, elbows, and neck, all of which
appeared to be dislocated, fixed herself in her armchair, resting her
hands on the black mahogany _splayed_ elbows. Her person was no sooner
at rest than her eyes and all her features began to move in all
directions. She looked like a nervous and suspicious person electrified.
She seemed to be the acting partner in this house to watch over her
treasure of a daughter, to supply her with worldly wisdom, to look upon
her as a phoenix, and--scold her. Miss Watts was all ecstasy and lifting
up of hands and eyes, speaking always in that loud, shrill, theatrical
tone with which a puppet-master supplies his puppets. I all the time sat
like a mouse. My father asked, "Which of those ladies, madam, do you
think is your sister authoress?"--"I am no physiognomist"--in a
screech--"but I do imagine that to be the lady," bowing as she sat
almost to the ground, and pointing to Mrs. Edgeworth. "No, guess
again."--"Then that must be _she_" bowing to Charlotte. "No."--"Then
this lady," looking forward to see what sort of an animal I was, for she
had never seen me till this instant. To make me some amends, she now
drew her chair close to me, and began to pour forth praises: "Lady
Delacour, O! Letters for Literary Ladies, O!"

Now for the pathetic part. This poor girl sold a novel in four volumes
for ten guineas to Lane. My father is afraid, though she has
considerable talents, to recommend her to Johnson, lest she should not
_answer._ Poor girl, what a pity she had no friend to direct her
talents; how much she made me feel the value of mine!


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

BRUSSELS, _Oct. 15, 1802._

After admiring on the ramparts of Calais the Poissardes with their
picturesque nets, ugly faces, and beautiful legs, we set out for
Gravelines, with whips clacking in a manner which you certainly cannot
forget. The stillness and desolation of Gravelines was like the city in
the Arabian Tales where every one is turned into stone. Fortifications
constructed by the famous Vauban, lunes, and demi-lunes, and curtains,
all which did not prevent the French from trotting through it.

We left Gravelines with an equipage at which Sobriety herself could not
have forborne to laugh: to our London coach were fastened by long rope
traces six Flemish horses of different heights, but each large and
clumsy enough to draw an English waggon. The nose of the foremost horse
was thirty-five feet from the body of the coach, their hoofs all shaggy,
their manes all uncombed, and their tails long enough to please Sir
Charles Grandison himself. These beasts were totally disencumbered of
every sort of harness except one strap which fastened the saddle on
their backs; and high, high upon their backs, sat perfectly
perpendicular, long-waisted postillions in jack-boots, with pipes in
their mouths. The country appeared one vast flat common, without hedges,
or ditches, or trees, tiled farmhouses of equal size and similar form at
even distances. All that the power of monotony can do to put a traveller
to sleep is here tried; but the rattling and jolting on the paved roads
set Morpheus and monotony both at defiance. To comfort ourselves we had
a most entertaining _Voyage dans les Pays Bas par M. Breton_ to read,
and the charming story of Mademoiselle de Clermont in Madame de Genlis's
_Petits Romans._ I never read a more pathetic and finely written tale.

Dunkirk is an ugly, bustling town. Strange-looking _charettes_, driven
by thin men in cocked hats,--the window-shutters turned out to the
streets and painted by way of signs with various commodities. A variety
of things, among them little shifts, petticoats, and corsets, were
fairly spread upon the ground on the bridges and in the streets. The
famous basin, about which there have been such disputes, is little
worth. Voltaire wonders at the English and French waging war "for a few
acres of snow"; he might with equal propriety have laughed at them for
fighting about a _slop-basin._ The _pont-tournant_ is well worth seeing,
and for those who have strong legs and who have breakfasted, it is worth
while to climb the two hundred and sixty-four steps of the tower. Whilst
we were climbing the town clock struck, and the whole tower vibrated,
and the vibration communicated itself to our ears and heads in a most
sublime and disagreeable manner.

At Dunkirk we entered what was formerly called L'ancien Brabant, and all
things and all persons began to look like Dutch prints and Dutch toys,
especially the women with their drop earrings, and their necklaces like
the labels of decanters, their long-waisted, long-flapped jackets of one
colour, and stiff petticoats of another. Even when moving the people all
looked like wooden toys set in motion by strings--the strings in
Flanders must be of gold: the Flemings seem to be all a money-making,
money-loving people: they are fast recovering their activity after the
Revolution.

The road to Bruges, fifty feet broad, solidly paved in the middle,
seems, like all French and Flemish roads, to have been laid out by some
inflexible mathematician: they are always right lines, the shortest
possible between two points. The rows of trees on each side of these
never-ending avenues are of the ugliest sort and figure possible: tall
poplars stripped almost to the top, as you would strip a pen, and
pollarded willows: the giant poplar and the dwarf willow placed side by
side alternately, knight and squire. The postillions have badges like
the badges of charity schools, strapped round their arms; these are
numbered and registered, and if they behave ill, a complaint may be
lodged against them by merely writing their names on the register, which
excludes them from a pension, to which they would be entitled if they
behaved well for a certain number of years. The post-houses are often
lone, wretched places, one into which I peeped, a _grenier_, like that
described by Smollett, in which the murdered body is concealed. At
another post-house we met with a woman calling herself a _servante_, to
whom we took not only an aversion, but a horror; Charlotte said that she
should be afraid, not of that woman's cutting her throat, but that she
would take a mallet and strike her head flat at one blow. Do you
remember the woman in _Caleb Williams_, when he wakens and sees her
standing over him with an uplifted hatchet? Our _servante_ might have
stood for this picture.

Bruges is a very old, desolate-looking town, which seems to have felt in
common with its fellow-towns the effects of the Revolution. As we were
charged very high at the Hotel d'Angleterre, at Dunkirk, my father
determined to go to the Hotel de Commerce at Bruges, an old strange
house which had been a monastery: the man chamber-maid led us through
gallery after gallery, up stairs and down stairs, turning all manner of
ways, with a bunch of keys in his hand, each key ticketed with a pewter
ticket. There were twenty-eight bed-chambers: thank heaven we did not
see them all! I never shall forget the feeling I had when the door of
the room was thrown open in which we were to sleep. It was so large and
so dark, that I could scarcely see the low bed in a recess in the wall,
covered with a dark brown quilt. I am sure Mrs. Radcliffe might have
kept her heroine wandering about this room for six good pages. When we
meet I will tell Margaret of the night Charlotte and I spent in this
room, and the footsteps we heard overhead--just a room and just a night
to suit her taste.

In the morning we went to see the Central School; it is in what was an
old monastery, and the church belonging to it is filled with pictures
collected from all the suppressed convents, monasteries, and churches.
Buonaparte has lately restored some of their pictures to the churches,
but those by Rubens and Raphael are at Paris. In the cabinet of natural
history there is the skeleton and the skin of a man who was guillotined,
as fine white leather as ever you saw. The preparations for these Ecoles
Centrales are all too vast and ostentatious: the people are just
beginning to send their children to them. Government finds them too
expensive, and their number is to be diminished. The librarian of this
Ecole Centrale at Bruges is an Englishman, or rather a Jamaica man, of
the name of Edwards. Brian Edwards was his great friend, and he was well
acquainted with Johnson the bookseller, and Dr. Aikin, and Mr. and Mrs.
Barbauld. Mr. Edwards and his son had often met Lovell at Johnson's, and
spoke of him quite with affection. The two sons spent the evening with
us, and they and their father accompanied us next morning part of our
way to Ghent. We went by the canal barque, as elegant as any
pleasure-boat I ever was in. My father entertained the Edwards with the
history of his physiognomical guesses in a stage-coach. The eldest son
piques himself upon telling character from handwriting. He was positive
that mine could not be the hand of a woman, and then he came off by
saying it was the writing of a _manly_ character! We had an extremely
fine day, and the receding prospect of Bruges, with its mingled spires,
shipping, and windmills, the tops of their giant vanes moving above the
trees, gave a pleasing example of a Flemish landscape, recalling the
pictures of Teniers and the prints of Le Bas. We had good and agreeable
company on board our barque, the Mayor of Bruges and his lady; her
friend, a woman of good family; and an old Baron Triste, of a
sixteen-quartering family. At the name of Mayor of Bruges, you probably
represent to yourself a fat, heavy, formal, self-sufficient
mortal--_tout au contraire_: our Mayor was a thin gentleman, of easy
manners, literature, and amusing conversation: Madame, a beautiful
Provinciale. M. Lerret, the Mayor, found us out to be the Edgeworths
described by M. Pictet in the _Journal Britannique._ Since we came to
France we have found M. Pictet's account very useful, for at every
public library, and in every Ecole Centrale, the _Journal Britannique_
is taken, and we have consequently received many civilities. It was
Sunday, and when we arrived at Ghent, all the middling people of the
town in their holiday clothes were assembled on the banks of the canal
according to custom to see the barque arrive: they made the scene very
cheerful. The old Baron de Triste, though he had not dined, and though
he had, as he said of himself, "un faim de diable," stayed to battle our
coach and trunks through an army of custom-house officers. We stayed two
days at Ghent, and saw pictures and churches without number. Here were
some fine pictures by that Crayer of whom Rubens said, "Crayer! personne
ne te surpassera!" Do not be afraid, my dear Sophy, I am not going to
overwhelm you with pictures, nor to talk of what I don't understand; but
it is extremely agreeable to me to see paintings with those who have
excellent taste and no affectation. At the Ecole Centrale was a smart
little librarian, to whom we were obliged for getting the doors of the
cathedral opened to us _at night_: we went in by moonlight, the
appearance was sublime; lights burning on the altar veiled from sight,
and our own monstrous shadows cast on the pillars, added to the effect.
The verger took one of the tall candles to light us to some monuments in
white marble of exquisite sculpture. There were no pictures, but the
walls were painted in the manner of the Speaker's room at the Temple,
and by the master who taught De Gray. This kind of painting seems to
suit churches, and to harmonise well with sculpture and statues.

My dear friend, I have not room to say half I intended, but let me make
what resolutions I please, I never can get all I want to say to you into
a letter.


_To_ MISS CHARLOTTE SNEYD.

CHANTILLY, _Oct. 29, 1802._

I last night sent a folio sheet to Sophy, giving the history of
ourselves as far as Brussels, where we spent four days very much to our
satisfaction: it is full of fine buildings, charming public walks, the
country about it beautiful. In the Place Royale are two excellent
hotels, Hotel d'Angleterre and Hotel de Flandres, to which we went, and
found that Mr. Chenevix and Mr. Knox were in the other.

My father thought it would be advantageous to us to see inferior
pictures before seeing those of the best masters, that we might have
some points of comparison; and upon the same principle we went to two
provincial theatres at Dunkirk and Brussels: but unluckily, I mean
unluckily for our _principles_, we saw at Brussels two of the best Paris
actors, M. and Madame Talma. The play was Racine's _Andromaque_
(imitated in England as the _Distressed Mother_). Madame Talma played
Andromaque, and her husband Orestes: both exquisitely well. I had no
idea of fine acting till I saw them, and my father, who had seen
Garrick, and Mrs. Siddons, and Yates, and Le Kain, says he never saw
anything superior to Madame Talma. We read the play in the morning, an
excellent precaution, otherwise the novelty of the French mode of
declamation would have set my comprehension at defiance. There was a
ranting Hermione, who had a string too tight round her waist, which made
her bosom heave like the bellows of a bagpipe whenever she worked with
her clasped hands against her heart to pump out something like passion.
There was also a wretched Pyrrhus, and an old Phoenix, whose gray wig I
expected every moment to fall off.

Next to this beautiful tragedy, the thing that interested and amused me
most at Brussels were the dogs: not lap-dogs, but the dogs that draw
carts and heavy hampers. Every day I beheld numbers of these
_traineaux_, often four, harnessed abreast, and driven like horses. I
remember in particular seeing a man standing upright on one of these
little carriages, and behind him two large hampers full of mussels, the
whole drawn by four dogs. And another day I saw a boy of about ten years
old driving four dogs harnessed to a little carriage; he crossed our
carriage as we were going down a street called La Montagne de la Cour,
without fearing our four Flemish horses. La Montagne de la Cour is a
very grand name, and you may perhaps imagine that it means a MOUNTAIN,
but be it known to you, my dear aunt, that in Le Pays Bas, as well as in
the County of Longford, they make mountains of molehills. The whole road
from Calais to Ghent is as flat and as straight as the road to Longford.
We never knew when we came to what the innkeeper and postillions call
mountains, except by the postillions getting off their horses with great
deliberation and making them go a snail's walk--a snail's gallop would
be much too fast. Now it is no easy thing for a French postillion to
walk himself when he is in his boots: these boots are each as large and
as stiff as a wooden churn, and when the man in his boots attempts to
walk, he is more helpless than a child in a go-cart: he waddles on,
dragging his boots after him in a way that would make a pig laugh. As
Lord Granard says, "A pig can whistle, though he has a bad mouth for
it," [Footnote: A long argument on genius and education, between Lady
Moira and Mr. Edgeworth, had been ended by Lord Granard wittily saying,
"A pig may be made to whistle, but he has a bad mouth for it."] I
presume that _by a parity of reasoning_ a pig may laugh. But I must not
talk any more nonsense.

We left Brussels last Sunday (you are looking in your pocket-book, dear
Aunt Mary, for the day of the month; I see you looking). The first place
of any note we went to was Valenciennes, where we saw houses and
churches in ruins, the effect of English wars and French revolutions.
Though Valenciennes lace is very pretty we bought none, recollecting
that though Coventry is famous for ribbons, and Tewkesbury for
stockings, yet only the worst ribbons, and the worst stockings are to be
had at Coventry and Tewkesbury. Besides, we are not expert at counting
Flemish money, which is quite different from French, and puzzling enough
to drive the seven sages of Greece mad. Even the natives cannot count it
without rubbing their foreheads, and counting in their hands, and
repeating _c'a fait, cela fait._ For my part I fairly gave the point up,
and resolved to be cheated rather than go distracted. But indeed the
Flemish are not cheats, as far as I have seen of them. They would go to
the utmost borders of honesty for a couronne de Brabant, or a
demi-couronne, or a double escalin, or a single escalin, or a plaquet,
or a livre, or a sous, or a liard, or for any the vilest denomination of
their absurd coin, yet I do not believe they would go beyond the bounds
of honesty with any but an English Milor: they are privileged dupes. A
maid at the hotel at Dunkirk said to me, "Ah! Madame, nous autres nous
aimons bien de voir rouler les Anglais." Yes, because they think the
English roll in gold.

Now we will go to Cambray, famous for its cambric and its archbishop.
Buonaparte had so much respect for the memory of Fenelon, that he fixed
the seat of the present Archbishopric at Cambray instead of at Lille, as
had been proposed. We saw Fenelon's head here, preserved in a church.
But to return from archbishops to cambrics. Our hostess at Cambray was a
dealer in cambrics, and in her bale of _baptistes_ she seemed literally
to have her being. She was, in spite of cambric and Valenciennes
lace--of which she had a dirty superfluity on her cap lined with
pink--the very ugliest of the female species I had ever beheld. We were
made amends for her by a most agreeable family who kept the inn at Roye:
their ancestors had kept this inn for a hundred and fifty years; the
present landlord and his wife are about sixty-eight and sixty, and their
daughter, about twenty, of a slight figure, vast vivacity in her mind
and in all her motions; she does almost all the business of the house,
and seems to love _papa et maman_ better than anything in the world,
except talking. My father formed a hundred good wishes for her: first,
when he heard her tell a story, she used such admirable variety of
action, that he wished her on the stage: then when she waited at supper,
with all the nimbleness and dexterity of a female harlequin, he wished
that she was married to Jack Langan, that she might keep the new inn at
Edgeworthstown: but his last and best wish for her was that she should
be waiting-maid to you and Aunt Mary. He thought she would please you
both particularly: for my part, I thought she would talk a great deal
too much for you. However, her father and mother would not part with her
for Pitt's diamond.

We saw to-day the residence of the Prince de Conde, and of a long line
of princes famous for virtue and talents--the celebrated palace of
Chantilly, made still more interesting to us by having just read the
beautiful tale by Madame de Genlis, "Mademoiselle de Clermont;" it would
delight my dear Aunt Mary, it is to be had in the first volume of the
_Petits Romans_, and those are to be found by Darcy, if he be not drunk,
at Archer's, Dublin. After going for an hour and a half through thick,
dark forest, in which Virginia might have lived secure from sight of
mortal man, we came into open day and open country, and from the top of
a hill beheld a mass of magnificent building, shaded by wood. I imagined
this was the palace, but I was told that these buildings were only the
stables of Chantilly. The Palace, alas! is no more! it was pulled down
by the Revolutionists. The stables were saved by a petition from the War
Minister, stating that they would make stabling for troops, and to
this use they are now applied. As we drove down the hill we saw the
melancholy remains of the Palace: only the white arches on which it was
built, covered with crumbled stone and mortar. We walked to look at the
riding-house, built by the Prince de Conde, a princely edifice! Whilst
we were looking at it, we heard a flute played near us, and we were told
that the young man who played it was one of the poor Prince de Conde's
chasseurs. The person who showed the ruins to us was a melancholy-
looking man, who had been employed his whole life to show the
gardens and Palace of Chantilly: he is about sixty, and had saved some
hundred pounds in the Prince's service. He now shows their ruins, and
tells where the Prince and Princess once slept, and where there _were_
fine statues, and charming walks.

We have had but one day's rain since we left you; if we had picked the
weather we could not have had finer. The country through which we came
from Brussels was for the most part beautiful, planted in side-scenes,
after my father's manner, you know. The English who can see nothing
worth seeing in this country, must certainly pass through it with huge
blinkers of prejudice.


PARIS, _Wednesday._

We arrived about three o'clock, and are lodged for a few days at the
Hotel de Courlande. I forgot to tell you that we saw an officer with
furred waistcoat, and furred pockets, and monstrous moustache; he looked
altogether very like the Little Gibbon in Shaw's _Zoology_, only the
Little Gibbon does not look as conceited as this man did.

We are now, my dear Aunt Mary, in a magnificent hotel in the fine
square, formerly Place Louis Quinze, afterwards Place de la Revolution,
and now Place de la Concorde. Here the guillotine was once at work night
and day; and here died Louis Seize, and Marie Antoinette, and Madame
Roland: opposite to us is the Seine and _La Lanterne._ On one side of
this square are the Champs Elysees.


_To_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

PARIS, RUE DE LILLE,

_Oct. 31, 1802._

I left off at the Hotel de Courlande. We were told there was a fine view
of Paris from the leads; and so indeed there is, and the first object
that struck us was the Telegraph at work! The first _voiture de remise_
(job-coach in plain English) into which we got, belonged to--whom do you
think?--to the Princess Elizabeth. The Abbe Edgeworth had probably been
in this very coach with her. The master of this house was one of the
King's guards, a Swiss. Our apartments are all on one floor. The day
after our arrival M. Delessert, he whom M. Pictet describes as a French
Rumford, invited us to spend the evening with his mother and sister. We
went: found an excellent house, a charming family, with whom we felt we
were perfectly acquainted after we had been in the room with them for
five minutes. Madame Delessert, [Footnote: The benevolence of the
generous Madame Delessert is said to be depicted in one of the stories
in Berquin's _Ami des Enfans._] the mother, an elderly lady of about
sixty, has the species of politeness and conversation that my Aunt
Ruxton has: I need not say how much I like her. Her daughter, Madame
Gautier, has fine large black eyes, very obliging and sensible, well
dressed, not at all naked: people need not be naked here unless they
choose it. Rousseau's _Letters on Botany_ were written for this lady; he
was a friend of the family. She has two fine children of eight and ten,
to whose education she devotes her time and talents. Her second brother,
Francois Delessert, about twenty, was educated chiefly by her, and does
her great credit, and what is better for her, is extremely fond of her:
he seems the darling of his mother, _Francois mon fils_ she calls him
every minute. In his countenance and manners he is something like Henry;
he has that sober kind of cheerfulness, that ingenuous openness, and
that modest, gentlemanlike ease which pleases without effort, and
without bustle. Madame Gautier does not live at Paris, but at a country
house at Passy, the Richmond of Paris, about two miles out of town. She
invited us to spend a day there, and a most pleasant day we passed. The
situation beautiful, the house furnished with elegance and good sense,
the society most agreeable. M. Delessert _pere_, an old sensible man,
the rest of the family, and Madame de Pastoret, [Footnote: Madame de
Pastoret is the "Madame de Fleury" of Miss Edgeworth's story. She first
established infant schools in France.] a literary and fashionable lady,
with something of Mrs. Saunderson's best style of conversation: M. de
Pastoret, her husband, a man of diplomatic knowledge; Lord Henry Petty,
son of Lord Lansdowne, with whom my father had much conversation; the
Swiss Ambassador, whose name I will not attempt to spell; M. Dumont,
[Footnote: M. Pierre Etienne Louis Dumont, tutor to Lord Henry Petty
(afterwards the famous second Marquis of Lansdowne), had translated
Bentham's _Traites sur la Legislation_, and _Theorie des Peines et des
Recompenses._ He became an intimate friend and much-valued critic of
Miss Edgeworth.] a Swiss gentleman, travelling with Lord Henry Petty,
very sensible and entertaining, I am sorry that he has since left Paris;
M. d'Etaing, of whom I know nothing; and last, but indeed not least, the
Abbe Morellet, [Footnote: The author of several works on political
economy and statistics; born 1727, died 1819.] of whom you have heard my
father speak. O! my dear Aunt Mary, how you would love that man, and we
need not be afraid of loving him, for he is near eighty. But it is
impossible to believe that he is so old when one either hears him speak,
or sees him move. He has all the vivacity, and feeling, and wit of
youth, and all the gentleness that youth ought to have. His conversation
is delightful, nothing too much or too little; sense, and gaiety, and
learning, and reason, and that perfect knowledge of the world which
mixes so well but so seldom with a knowledge of books. He invited us to
breakfast, and this morning we spent with him. My dearest Aunt Mary, I
do wish you had been with us; I know that you would have been so much
pleased. The house so convenient, so comfortable, so many inventions the
same as my father's. He has a sister living with him, Madame de
Montigny, an amiable, sensible woman: her daughter was married to
Marmontel, who died a few years ago: she alas! is not at Paris.

My father did not present any of his letters of introduction till
yesterday, because he wished that we should be masters and mistresses of
our own time to see sights before we saw people. We have been to
Versailles--melancholy magnificence--La petite Trianon: the poor Queen!
and at the Louvre, or as it is now called, La Musee, to see the
celebrated gallery of pictures. I was entertained, but tired with seeing
so many pictures, all to be admired, and all in so bad a light, that my
little neck was almost broken, and my little eyes almost strained out,
trying to see them. We were all extremely interested yesterday seeing
what are called Les Monuments Francais--all the statues and monuments of
the great men of France, arranged according to their dates in the
apartments of the ancient Monastery des Augustins. Here we saw old Hugh
Capet, with his nose broken, and King Pepin, with his nose flattened by
time, and Catherine de Medicis, in full dress, but not in full beauty,
and Francis I., and dear Henry IV.

We have been to the Theatre Francais and to the Theatre Feydau, both
fine houses: decorations, etc., superior to English: acting much
superior in comedy; in tragedy they bully, and rant, and throw
themselves into Academy attitudes too much.


R.L. EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS CHARLOTTE SNEYD.

PARIS, _Nov. 18, 1802._

Maria told you of M. and Madame de Pastoret; in the same house on
another floor--for different families here have entire "apartments," you
observe the word, in one house--we met M. and Madame Suard: [Footnote:
M. Suard was editor of the _Publiciste._] he is accounted one of the
most refined critics of Paris, and has for many years been at the head
of newspapers of different denominations; at present he is at the head
of _La Publiciste._ He is prudent, highly informed, not only in books,
but in the politics of different states and the characters of men in all
the different countries of Europe. Madame Suard has the remains of much
beauty, a _belle esprit_, and aims at singularity and independence of
sentiment. Would you believe it, Mr. Day paid his court to her thirty
years ago? She is very civil to us, and we go to their house once a
week: literati frequent it, and to each of them she has something to
say.

At Madame de Pastoret's we met M. Degerando [Footnote: Marie Joseph
Degerando, writer on education and philosophy, 1772-1842.] and M.
Camille Jordan. Not Camille de Jourdan, the assassin, nor Camille
Desmoulins, another assassin, nor General Jourdan, another assassin, but
a young man of agreeable manners, gentle disposition, and much
information; he lives near Paris, with his Pylades Degerando, who is
also a man of much information, married to a pretty sprightly domestic
woman, who nurses her child in earnest. Camille Jordan has written an
admirably eloquent pamphlet on the choice of Buonaparte as first consul
for life; it was at first forbidden, but the Government wisely
recollected that to forbid is to excite curiosity. We three have had
profound metaphysical conferences in which we have avoided contest and
have generally ended by being of the same opinion. We went, by
appointment, to Madame Campan's--she keeps the greatest boarding-school
in France--to meet Madame Recamier, the beautiful lady who had been
nearly squeezed to death in London. How we liked the school and its
conductress, who professes to follow _Practical Education_, I leave to
Maria to tell you. How we like Madame Recamier is easily told; she is
certainly handsome, but there is nothing noble in her appearance; she
was very civil. M. de Prony, [Footnote: Gaspard Clair Francois Marie
Riche, baron de Prony, the great mathematician, 1755-1839.] who is at
the head of the Engineers des Ponts et Chaussees--civil engineers--was
introduced to us by Mr. Watt. I forgot to speak of him; he has just left
Paris. M. de Prony showed us models and machines which would have
delighted William. M. l'Abbe Morellet's niece next engaged our
attention; she and her husband came many leagues to see us; and we met
also Madame de Vergennes, Madame de Remusat, and Madame Nansoutit, all
people of knowledge and charming manners. Madame Lavoisier and the
Countess Massulski, General Kosciusko, Prince Jablounsk_i_, and Princess
Jablounsk_a_, and two other Princesses, I leave to Maria. Mons.
Edelcrantz, private secretary to the King of Sweden; Mons. Eisenman, a
German; Mons. Geofrat, the guardian from Egypt of the Kings of Chaldea
and seven Ibises; Mons. de Montmorenci--that great name: the Abbe
Sicard, who dines here to-morrow; Mons. Pang, Mons. Bertrant, Mons.
Milan, Mons. Dupont, Mons. Bareuil the illuminati man, and Mr. Bilsbury,
I leave to her and Charlotte.


MRS. EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

PARIS, _Nov. 21, 1802._

Mr. Edgeworth's summary of events closed, I believe, last Thursday.
Friday we saw beauty, riches, fashion, luxury, and numbers at Madame
Recamier's; she is a charming woman, surrounded by a group of adorers
and flatterers in a room where are united wealth and taste, all of
modern execution and ancient design that can contribute to its
ornament--a strange _melange_ of merchants and poets, philosophers and
parvenus--English, French, Portuguese, and Brazilian, which formed the
company; we were treated with distinguished politeness by our hostess,
who concluded the evening by taking us to her box at the Opera, where,
besides being in company with the most fashionable women in Paris, _we
were seen_ by Buonaparte himself, who sat opposite to us in a railed
box, through which he could see, but not be seen.

Saturday we saw the magnificent Salle of the Corps Legislatif, and in
the evening passed some hours in the agreeable society of Madame de
Vergennes and her daughters. Sunday we were very happy at home. Monday
morning, just as we were going out, M. Pictet was announced; we neither
heard his name nor distinctly recollected his looks, he is grown so fat
and looks so well, more friendly no man can be. I hope he perceives we
are grateful to him. The remainder of that day was spent in the gallery
of pictures, where we met Mr. Rogers, the poet, and Mr. Abercrombie. The
evening was spent with M. Pictet at his sister's, an agreeable,
well-informed widow, with three handsome daughters. Tuesday we went to
the National Library, where we were shown a large number of the finest
cameos, intaglios, and Roman and Greek medals, and many of the
antiquities brought from Egypt; and in the evening we had again the
pleasure of M. Pictet's company, and of the charming Madame de Pastoret,
who was so obliging as to drink tea with us. Yesterday we had the
pleasure of being at home, when several learned and ingenious men called
on us, and consequently heard one of the most lively and instructive
conversations on a variety of topics for three hours: as I think it is
Mr. Edgeworth's plan to knock you down with names, I will just enumerate
those of our visitors, Edelcrantz, a Swede, Molard, Eisenman, Dupont,
and Pictet the younger. After they went, we paid a short visit to the
pictures and saw the Salle du Tribunat and the Consul's apartments at
the Tuileries: on the dressing-table there were the busts of Fox and
Nelson. At our return home we saw the good Francois Delessert and
another man, who was the man who took Robespierre prisoner, and who has
since made a clock which is wound up by the action of the air on
mercury, like that which Mr. Edgeworth invented for the King of Spain.
He told us many things that made us stare, and many that made us shiver,
and many more that made us wish never to see him again.

In the evening we went to Madame Suard's. Don't imagine that these
ladies are all widows, for they have husbands, and in many instances the
husband _vaut mieux que la femme._ At Madame Suard's we met the famous
Count Lally Tolendal and the Duc de Crillon. This morning Maria has gone
with the Pictets to see the Abbe Sicard's deaf and dumb.

Mr. Edgeworth has not yet seen Buonaparte: he goes to-morrow to wait on
Lord Whitworth as a preliminary step. It is a singular circumstance that
Lord Whitworth, the new Ambassador, has brought to Paris the same
horses, and the same wife, and lives in the same house as the last
Ambassador did eleven years ago: he has married the widow of the Duke of
Dorset, who was here then.

In England many are the tales of scandal that have been related of the
Consul and all his family: I don't believe them. A lady told me it was
"vraiment extraordinaire qu'un jeune homme comme lui ait de moeurs si
exemplaires--et d'ailleurs on ne s'attend pas qu'un homme soit fidele a
une femme qui est plus agee que lui: mais si agee aussi! Il aime la
soumission plus que la beaute: s'il lui dit de se coucher a huit heures,
elle se couche: s'il faut se lever a deux heures, elle se leve! Elle est
une bonne femme, elle a sauve bien des vies."

Has Maria told you that she has had her _Belinda_ translated into French
by the young Count de Segur, an amiable young man of one of the most
ancient families of France, married to a grand-daughter of the
Chancellor d'Aguesseau? Many people support themselves by writing for
journals, and by translating English books, yet the price of literature
seems very low, and the price of all the necessaries of life very high.
The influx of English has, they say, doubled the price of lodgings and
of all luxuries.


MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

PARIS, _Dec. 1, 1802._

I have been treasuring up for some time everything I have seen and heard
which I think would interest you; and now my little head is so full that
I must empty it, or it would certainly burst. All that I have seen and
heard has tended to attach me more firmly to you by the double effect of
resemblance and of contrast. Every agreeable person recalls you; every
disagreeable, makes me exclaim, how different, etc.

I wish I could paint the different people we have seen in little
William's magic-lanthorn, and show them to you. At Madame Delessert's
house there are, and have been for years, meetings of the most agreeable
and select society in Paris: she has the courage absolutely to refuse to
admit either man or woman of whose conduct she cannot approve; at other
houses there is sometimes a strange mixture. To recommend Madame
Delessert still more powerfully to you, I must tell you that she was the
benefactress of Rousseau; he was, it is said, never good or happy except
in her society: to her bounty he owed his retreat in Switzerland. She is
nobly charitable, but if it were not for her friends no one would find
out half the good she does. One of her acts of beneficence is recorded
in Berquin's _Ami des Enfans_, but even her own children cannot tell in
which story it is. Her daughter, Madame Gautier, gains upon our esteem
every day.

Turn the handle of the magic-lanthorn: who is this graceful figure, with
all the elegance of court manners, and all the simplicity of domestic
virtue? She is Madame de Pastoret. She was chosen preceptress to the
Princess in the _ancien regime_ in opposition to the wife of Condorcet,
and M. de Pastoret had I forget how many votes more than Condorcet when
it was put to the vote who should be preceptor to the Dauphin at the
beginning of the Revolution. Both M. and Madame de Pastoret speak
remarkably well; each with that species of eloquence which becomes them.
He was President of the First Assembly, and at the head of the King's
Council: the four other ministers of that council all perished! He
escaped by his courage. As for her, the Marquis de Chastelleux's speech
describes her: "Elle n'a point d'expression sans grace et point de grace
sans expression."

Turn the magic-lanthorn. Here comes Madame Suard and Monsieur, a member
of the Academy: very good company at their house. Among others Lally
Tolendal, who is exceedingly like Father Tom, and whose real name of
Mullalagh he softened into Lally, said to be more eloquent than any man
in France; M. de Montmorenci, worthy of his great name.

Push on the magic-lanthorn slide. Here comes Boissy d'Anglas: a fine
head! Such a head as you may imagine the man to have who, by his single
courage, restrained the fury of one of the National Assemblies when the
head of one of the deputies was cut off and set on the table before him.

Next comes Camille Jordan, with great eloquence of pen, not of tongue;
[Footnote: Orator and statesman, 1771-1821.] and M. de Prony, a great
mathematician, of whom you don't care to know more, but you would if you
heard him.

Who comes next? Madame Campan, mistress of the first boarding-school
here, who educated Madame Louis Buonaparte, and who professes to keep
her pupils entirely separate from servants, according to _Practical
Education_, and who paid us many compliments. Teaches drawing in a
manner superior to anything I had any idea of in English schools: she
gave me a drawing in a gilt frame, which I shall show to you. At Madame
Campan's, as my father told you, we met the beautiful Madame Recamier,
and at her dinner we met the most fashionable tragic and comic poet, and
the richest man in Paris sat beside Charlotte. We went to the Opera with
Madame Recamier, who produces a great sensation whenever she appears in
public. She is certainly handsome, very handsome, but there is much of
the magic of fashion in the enthusiasm she creates.

There is a Russian Princess here, who is always carried in and out of
her carriage by two giant footmen, and a Russian Prince, who is so rich
that he is never able to spend his fortune, and asks advice how he shall
do it. He never thinks, it seems, of _giving_ it away.

Who comes next? Kosciusko, [Footnote: The Polish patriot and leader,
1756-1817.] cured of his wounds, simple in his manners, like all truly
great men. We met him at the house of a Polish Countess, whose name I
cannot spell.

Who comes next? M. de Leuze, who translated the _Botanic Garden_ as well
as it could be translated into Fenelon prose; and M. and Madame de
Vinde, who have a superb gallery of paintings, and the best concerts in
Paris, and a library of eighteen thousand volumes well counted and well
arranged; and what charms me more than either the books or the pictures,
a little grand-daughter of three years old, very like my sweet Fanny,
with stockings exactly the same as those Aunt Mary knitted for her, and
listing shoes precisely like what Fanny used to wear: she sat on my
knee, and caressed me with her soft, warm little hands, and looked at me
with her smiling intelligent eyes.

_Dec._ 3. Here I am at the brink of the last page, and I have said
nothing of the Apollo, the Invalides, or Les Sourds et Muets. What shall
I do? I cannot speak of everything at once, and when I speak to you so
many things crowd upon my mind.


Here, my dear aunt, I was interrupted in a manner that will surprise you
as much as it surprised me, by the coming in of Monsieur Edelcrantz, a
Swedish gentleman, whom we have mentioned to you, of superior
understanding and mild manners: he came to offer me his hand and heart!!

My heart, you may suppose, cannot return his attachment, for I have seen
but very little of him, and have not had time to have formed any
judgment, except that I think nothing could tempt me to leave my own
dear friends and my own country to live in Sweden.

My dearest aunt, I write to you the first moment, as next to my father
and mother no person in the world feels so much interest in all that
concerns me. I need not tell you that my father,

  Such in this moment as in all the past,

is kindness itself; kindness far superior to what I deserve, but I am
grateful for it.


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

PARIS, RUE DE LILLE, No. 525,

_Dec. 8, 1802._

I take it for granted, my dear friend, that you have by this time seen a
letter I wrote a few days ago to my aunt. To you, as to her, every
thought of my mind is open. I persist in refusing to leave my country
and my friends to live at the Court of Stockholm, and he tells me (of
course) that there is nothing he would not sacrifice for me except his
duty: he has been all his life in the service of the King of Sweden, has
places under him, and is actually employed in collecting information for
a large political establishment. He thinks himself bound in honour to
finish what he has begun. He says he should not fear the ridicule or
blame that would be thrown upon him by his countrymen for quitting his
country at his age, but that he should despise himself if he abandoned
his duty for any passion. This is all very reasonable, but reasonable
for him only, not for me; and I have never felt anything for him but
esteem and gratitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth, however, writes:

       *       *       *       *       *

Maria was mistaken as to her own feelings. She refused M. Edelcrantz,
but she felt much more for him than esteem and admiration; she was
exceedingly in love with him. Mr. Edgeworth left her to decide for
herself; but she saw too plainly what it would be to us to lose her, and
what she would feel at parting from us. She decided rightly for her own
future happiness and for that of her family, but she suffered much at
the time and long afterwards. While we were at Paris, I remember that in
a shop where Charlotte and I were making some purchases, Maria sat apart
absorbed in thought, and so deep in reverie, that when her father came
in and stood opposite to her she did not see him till he spoke to her,
when she started and burst into tears. She was grieved by his look of
tender anxiety, and she afterwards exerted herself to join in society,
and to take advantage of all that was agreeable during our stay in
France and on our journey home, but it was often a most painful effort
to her. And even after her return to Edgeworthstown, it was long before
she recovered the elasticity of her mind. She exerted all her powers of
self-command, and turned her attention to everything which her father
suggested for her to write. But _Leonora_, which she began immediately
after our return home, was written with the hope of pleasing the
Chevalier Edelcrantz; it was written in a style which he liked, and the
idea of what he would think of it was, I believe, present to her in
every page she wrote. She never heard that he had even read it. From the
time they parted at Paris there was no sort of communication between
them, and beyond the chance which brought us sometimes into company with
travellers who had been in Sweden, or the casual mention of M.
Edelcrantz in the newspapers or scientific journals, we never heard more
of one who had been of such supreme interest to her, and to us all at
Paris, and of whom Maria continued to have all her life the most
romantic recollection. I do not think she repented of her refusal, or
regretted her decision; she was well aware that she could not have made
him happy, that she would not have suited his position at the Court of
Stockholm, and that her want of beauty might have diminished his
attachment. It was better perhaps that she should think so, as it calmed
her mind, but from what I saw of M. Edelcrantz I think he was a man
capable of really valuing her. I believe that he was much attached to
her, and deeply mortified at her refusal. He continued to reside in
Sweden after the abdication of his master, and was always distinguished
for his high character and great abilities. He never married. He was,
except very fine eyes, remarkably plain. Her father rallied Maria about
her preference of so ugly a man; but she liked the expression of his
countenance, the spirit and strength of his character, and his very able
conversation. The unexpected mention of his name, or even that of
Sweden, in a book or a newspaper, always moved her so much that the
words and lines in the page became a mass of confusion before her eyes,
and her voice lost all power.

I think it right to mention these facts, because I know that the lessons
of self-command which she inculcates in her works were really acted upon
in her own life, and that the resolution with which she devoted herself
to her father and her family, and the industry with which she laboured
at the writings which she thought were for the advantage of her
fellow-creatures, were from the exertion of the highest principle. Her
precepts were not the maxims of cold-hearted prudence, but the result of
her own experience in strong and romantic feeling. By what accident it
happened that she had, long before she ever saw the Chevalier
Edelcrantz, chosen Sweden for the scene of _The Knapsack_ I do not know,
but I remember his expressing his admiration of that beautiful little
piece, and his pleasure in the fine characters of the Swedish gentleman
and peasants.


CHARLOTTE EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. CHARLOTTE SNEYD.

RUE DE LILLE, CHEZ LE CITOYEN VERBER,

_Dec. 8, 1802._

MY DEAR AUNT CHARLOTTE--One of the great objects of a visit to Paris
was, you know, to see Buonaparte; the review is, as you see by the
papers, over, and my father has not spoken to the great man--no, he did
not wish it. All of our distant friends will be I am afraid
disappointed, but some here think that my father's refusal to be
presented to him shows a proper pride. All the reasons for this mode of
conduct will serve perhaps for debate, certainly for conversation when
we return.

Madame Suard says that those societies are most agreeable where there
are fewest women: if there were not women superior to her I should not
hesitate to assent to her proposition, and I should with pleasure read
Madame de Stael's book called _Le Malheur d'etre femme._ If, on the
contrary, all women were Madame de Pastorets, or Madame Delesserts, or
Madame Gautiers, I think I should take up the book with the intention
not to be convinced.

Some of the most horrible revolutionists were the most skilled in the
sciences, and are held in the utmost detestation by numbers of sensible
men who admire their ingenuity and talents. We saw one of these, a
teacher at one of the chief Academies, and my father, who was standing
near him, heard him, after having been talking on several most amusing
and interesting subjects, give one of the deepest sighs he ever heard.

The Abbe de Lille reads poetry particularly well, his own verses in a
superior manner: we heard him, and were extremely pleased. He is very
old, and so blind that his wife, whom he calls "Mon Antigone," is
obliged to lead him.

As you may suppose, we go as often as we can to the Gallery. I thank my
dear Aunt Mary for thinking of the pleasure I should have in seeing the
Venus de Medicis; she has not yet arrived, but I have seen the Apollo,
who did surprise me! On our way here we had seen many casts of him, and
I have seen with you some prints: I could not have believed that there
could have been so much difference between a copy and the original.

_10th._ You see I am often interrupted. I will introduce you to our
company last night at the Delesserts'. All soirees here begin at nine
o'clock.

"Madame Edgeworth" is announced:--room full without being
crowded--enough light and warmth. M. Delessert _pere_ at a card-table
with a gentleman who is a partner in his bank, and an elderly lady.
There is a warm corner in the room, which is always large enough to
contain Madame Delessert and two or three ladies and gentlemen. Madame
Delessert advances to receive Madame Edgeworth, and invites her to sit
beside her with many kind words and looks. Madame Gautier expresses her
joy at seeing us. Now we are seated. M. Benjamin Delessert advances with
his bow to the ladies. Madame Gautier, my father, and Maria, get
together. M. Pictet, nephew to our dear Pictet, makes his bow and adds a
few words to each. "Mademoiselle Charlotte," says Madame Delessert to
me, "I was just speaking of you." I forget now what she had been saying,
I have only the agreeable idea. Madame Grivel enters, a clever,
good-natured little woman, wife to the partner who is at cards. Enter M.
Francois Delessert and another gentleman. How the company divides and
changes itself I am not at present supposed to know, for young M. Pictet
has seated himself between my mother and me, and has a long conversation
with me, in which Madame Grivel now and then joins: she is on the other
side of me. Mademoiselle Lullin, our friend Pictet's sister, and his and
her virtues are discussed. Physics and meta-physics ensue; harmony,
astonishing power of chords in music, glass broken by vibration, dreams,
Spain--its manners and government. Young M. Pictet has been there:
people there have little to do, because their wants are easily supplied.

Here come tea and cakes, sweetmeats, grapes, cream, and all the goods of
life. The lady who was playing at cards now came and sat beside me,
amusing me for a long time with a conversation on--what do you
think?--Politics and the state of France! M. Francois repeats some good
lines very well. Laughter and merriment. Now we are obliged to go, and
with much sorrow we part.

I see I never told you that we saw the Review, and we _saw_ a man on a
white horse ride down the ranks; we _saw_ that he was a little man with
a pale face, who seemed very attentive to what he was about, and this
was all we _saw_ of Buonaparte.


MARIA EDGEWORTH to MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

PARIS, _Dec. 1802._

I add to the list of remarkables and agreeables the Count and Countess
de Segur, father and mother to our well-bred translator; [Footnote: Of
_Belinda_] she a beautiful grandmother, he a nobleman of the old school,
who adds to agreeable manners a great deal of elegant literature.
Malouet, the amiable and able councillor of the King, must also be added
to your list: we met him yesterday, a fine countenance and simple
manners; he conversed freely with my father, not at all afraid of
_committing_ himself. In general I do not see that prodigious fear of
committing themselves, which makes the company of some English men of
letters and reputation irksome even to their admirers. Mr. Palmer, the
great man of taste, who has lived for many years in Italy, is here, and
is very much provoked that the French can now see all the pictures and
statues he has been admiring, without stirring out of Paris. The Louvre
is now so crowded with pictures, that many of them are seen to
disadvantage. The Domenichino, my Aunt Ruxton's favourite, is not at
present _visible._ Several of the finest pictures are, as they say,
_sick_, and the physicians are busy restoring them to health and beauty.
May they not mar instead of mending! A Raphael which has just come out
of their hospital has the eyes of a very odd sort of modern blue. The
Transfiguration is now in a state of convalescence; it has not yet made
its appearance in public, but we were admitted into the sick-room.

Half Paris is now stark mad about a picture by Guerin of Phedre and
Hippolyte, which they actually think equal to Raphael.

Of the public buildings Les Invalides appears to me the finest; here are
all the flags and standards used in battle, or won from foreign
nations,--a long-drawn aisle of glory that must create ambition in the
rising generation of military in France. We saw here a little boy of
nine years old with his tutor, looking at Turenne's monument, which has
been placed with great taste, alone, with the single word TURENNE upon
the sarcophagus. My father spoke to the little boy and his tutor, who
told him he had come to look at a picture in which the heroic action of
one of the boy's ancestors is portrayed. We went into the hospital
library, and found a circle of old soldiers, sitting round a stove all
reading most comfortably. It was a very pleasing and touching sight. One
who had lost both his hands, and who had iron hooks at the end of his
wrists, was sitting at a table reading _Telemaque_ with great attention;
he turned over the leaves with these hooks.

My aunt asks me what I think of French society? All I have seen of it I
like extremely, but we hear from all sides that we see only the best of
Paris,--the men of literature and the _ancienne noblesse._ _Les nouveaux
riches_ are quite a different set. My father has seen something of them
at Madame Tallien's (now Cabarus), and was disgusted. Madame Recamier is
of quite an opposite sort, though in the first fashion, a graceful and
_decent_ beauty of excellent character. Madame de Souza, the Portuguese
Ambassadress, is a pretty and pleasing woman, authoress of _Adele de
Senanges_, which she wrote in England. Her friends always proclaim her
title as author before her other titles, and I thought her a pleasing
woman before I was told that she had pronounced at Madame Lavoisier's an
eloquent eulogium on _Belinda._ I have never heard any person talk of
dress or fashions since we came to Paris, and very little scandal. A
scandalmonger would be starved here. The conversation frequently turns
on the new _petites pieces_ and little novels which come out every day,
and are talked of for a few days with as much eagerness as a new fashion
in other places. They also talk a vast deal about the little essays of
criticism. In yesterday's _Journal des Debats_, after a flaming
panegyric on Buonaparte, "Et apres avoir parle de l'univers de qui
peut-on parler? Des plus grandes des Poetes--de Racine": then follows a
criticism on _Phedre._

We saw the grand Review the day before yesterday from a window that
looked out on the court of the Louvre and Place de Carousal. Buonaparte
rode down the lines on a fine white Spanish horse. Took off his hat to
salute various generals, and gave us a full view of his pale, thin,
woebegone countenance. He is very little, but much at ease on horseback:
it is said he never appears to so much advantage as on horseback. There
were about six thousand troops, a fine show, well appointed, and some,
but not all, well mounted. On those who had distinguished themselves in
the battle of Marengo all eyes were fixed. While I was looking out of
the window a gentleman came in who had passed many years in Spain: he
began to talk to me about Madrid, and when he heard my name, he said a
Spanish lady is translating _Practical Education_ from the French. She
understands English, and he gave us her address that we may send a copy
of the book to her.

Mr. Knox, who was presented to Buonaparte, and who saw all the wonderful
presentations, says that it was a huddled business, all the world
received in a very small room. Buonaparte spoke more to officers than to
any one else, affected to be gracious to the English. He said,
"L'Angleterre est une grande nation, _aussi bien_ que la France, il faut
que nous soyons amis!" Great men's words, like little men's dreams, are
sometimes to be interpreted by the rule of contraries.


_To_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

PARIS, _Jan. 10, 1803._

_Siecle reparateur,_ as Monge has christened this century.

I will give you a journal of yesterday: I know you love journals. Got up
and put on our shoes and stockings and cambric muslin gowns, which are
in high esteem here, fur-tippets and _fur-clogs_,--GOD bless Aunt Mary
and Aunt Charlotte for them,--and were in coach by nine o'clock, drove
to the excellent Abbe Morellet's, where we were invited to breakfast to
meet Madame d'Ouditot, the lady who inspired Rousseau with the idea of
Julie. Julie is now seventy-two years of age, a thin woman in a little
black bonnet: she appeared to me shockingly ugly; she squints so much
that it is impossible to tell which way she is looking; but no sooner
did I hear her speak, than I began to like her; and no sooner was I
seated beside her, than I began to find in her countenance a most
benevolent and agreeable expression. She entered into conversation
immediately: her manner invited and could not fail to obtain confidence.
She seems as gay and open-hearted as a girl of fifteen. It has been said
of her that she not only never did any harm, but never suspected any.
She is possessed of that art which Lord Kames said he would prefer to
the finest gift from the queen of the fairies,--the art of seizing the
best side of every object. She has had great misfortunes, but she has
still retained the power of making herself and her friends happy. Even
during the horrors of the Revolution, if she met with a flower, a
butterfly, an agreeable smell, a pretty colour, she would turn her
attention to these, and for the moment suspend her sense of misery, not
from frivolity, but from real philosophy. No one has exerted themselves
with more energy in the service of her friends. I felt in her company
the delightful influence of a cheerful temper, and soft attractive
manners,--enthusiasm which age cannot extinguish, and which spends but
does not waste itself on small but not trifling objects. I wish I could
at seventy-two be such a woman! She told me that Rousseau, whilst he was
writing so finely on education, and leaving his own children in the
Foundling Hospital, defended himself with so much eloquence that even
those who blamed him in their hearts, could not find tongues to answer
him. Once at dinner, at Madame d'Ouditot's, there was a fine pyramid of
fruit. Rousseau in helping himself took the peach which formed the base
of the pyramid, and the rest fell immediately. "Rousseau," said she,
"that is what you always do with all our systems; you pull down with a
single touch, but who will build up what you pull down?" I asked if he
was grateful for all the kindness shown to him? "No, he was ungrateful:
he had a thousand bad qualities, but I turned my attention from them to
his genius and the good he had done mankind."

After an excellent breakfast, including tea, chocolate, coffee, buttered
and unbuttered cakes, good conversation, and good humour, came M.
Cheron, husband of the Abbe Morellet's niece, who is translating _Early
Lessons_, French on one side and English on the other. Didot has
undertaken to publish the _Rational Primer_, which is much approved of
here for teaching the true English pronunciation.

Then we went to a lecture on Shorthand, or _Passigraphy_, and there we
met Mr. Chenevix, who came home to dine with us, and stayed till nine,
talking of Montgolfier's _belier_ for throwing water to a great height.
We have seen it and its inventor: something like Mr. Watt in manner, not
equal to him in genius. He had received from M. de la Poype a letter my
father wrote some years ago about the method of guiding balloons, and as
far as he could judge he thought it might succeed.

We went with Madame Recamier and the Russian Princess Dalgourski to La
Harpe's house, to hear him repeat some of his own verses. He lives in a
wretched house, and we went up dirty stairs, through dirty passages,
where I wondered how fine ladies' trains and noses could go, and were
received in a dark small den by the philosopher, or rather devot, for he
spurns the name of philosopher: he was in a dirty reddish night-gown,
and very dirty nightcap bound round the forehead with a superlatively
dirty chocolate-coloured ribbon. Madame Recamier, the beautiful, the
elegant, robed in white satin trimmed with white fur, seated herself on
the elbow of his armchair, and besought him to repeat his verses.
Charlotte has drawn a picture of this scene. We met at La Harpe's Lady
Elizabeth Foster and Lady Bessborough: very engaging manners.

We were a few days ago at a Bal d'Enfants; this you would translate a
children's ball, and so did we, till we were set right by the
learned:--not a single child was at this ball, and only half a dozen
unmarried ladies: it is a ball given by mothers to their grown-up
children. Charlotte appeared as usual to great advantage, and was much
admired for her ease and unaffected manners. She danced one English
country dance with M. de Crillon, son of the Gibraltar Duke: when she
stood up, a gentleman came to me and exclaimed, "Ah, Mademoiselle votre
soeur va danser, nous attendons le moment ou elle va _paraitre._" She
appeared extremely well from not being anxious to appear at all. To-day
we stayed at home to gain time for letters, etc., but thirteen visitors,
besides the washerwoman, prevented our accomplishing all our great and
good purposes. The visitors were all, except the washerwoman, so
agreeable, that even while they interrupted us, we did not know how to
wish them gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 27th January Mr. Edgeworth received a peremptory order from the
French Government to quit Paris immediately. He went with Maria to the
village of Passy. Their friend, Madame Gautier, generously offered to
them the use of her house there, but they would not compromise her. M.
de Pastoret and M. Delessert visited Mr. Edgeworth the next morning,
fearless of Buonaparte and his orders, and the day after M. Pictet and
M. Le Breton came to say that he could return to Paris. There had been
some misapprehension from Mr. Edgeworth having been supposed to be
brother to the Abbe Edgeworth. He wrote to Lord Whitworth that he would
never deny or give up the honour of being related to the Abbe. Lord
Whitworth advised him to state the exact degree of relationship, which
he did, and we heard no more of the matter. [Footnote: The Abbe
Edgeworth (who called himself M. de Firmont, from the estate possessed
by his branch of the family) was first cousin once removed to Mr.
Edgeworth, being the son of Essex, fifth son of Sir John Edgeworth, and
brother to Mr. Edgeworth's grandfather, Colonel Francis Edgeworth of
Edgeworthstown.]


MISS CHARLOTTE EDGEWORTH _to_ C.S. EDGEWORTH. PARIS, _Feb. 21, 1803._

We went yesterday to see the consecration of a Bishop at Notre Dame, and
here I endured with satisfaction most intense cold for three hours, and
saw a solemn ridiculous ceremony, and heard music that went through me:
I could not have believed that sounds could have been so fine: the
alternate sounds of voices and the organ, or both together, and then the
faint, distant murmur of prayers: each peal so much in harmony as to
appear like one note beginning softly, rising, rising, rising,--then
dying slowly off. There was one man whose voice was so loud, so full and
clear, that it was equal to the voices of three men. The church itself
is very fine: we were placed so as to see below us the whole ceremony.
The solemnity of the manner in which they walked, their all being
dressed alike, and differently from the rest of the people, rendered
these priests a new set of beings. The ceremony appeared particularly
ridiculous, as we could not hear a word that was said, because the
church is so large, and we were at too great a distance, and all we
could see was a Bishop dressing or undressing, or lying on the ground!
The Archbishop of Paris, who performed the chief part of the ceremony,
is a man about eighty years of age, yet he had the strength to go
through the fatigue which such a ceremony requires for three hours
together in very great cold, and every action was performed with as much
firmness as a man of fifty could do it, and there was but one part which
he left out,--the walking round along with the other bishops with the
cross borne before them. We were told that he has often gone through
similar fatigue, and in the evening, or an hour after, amused a company
at dinner with cheerful, witty conversation: he is not a man of letters,
but he has abilities and knowledge of the world. All these men were
remarkably tall and fine-looking, some very venerable: there were about
sixty assembled. It appears extraordinary that there should not be one
little or mean-looking among a set of people who are not like soldiers
chosen for their height, and as they must have come from different parts
of France. I think there is a greater variety of sizes among the French
than among us: if all the people who stand in the street of
Edgeworthstown every Sunday were Frenchmen, you would see ten remarkably
little for one that you see there, and ten remarkably tall. I think
there are more remarkably tall men in Ireland than in England. Maria is
writing a story, [Footnote: Miss Edgeworth made a sketch for the story
of _Madame de Fleury_ about this time, but did not finish it till long
afterwards. The incident of the locked-up children was told to her by
Madame de Pastoret, to whom it happened, and Maria took the name De
Fleury from M. de Pastoret's country house, the Chateau de Fleury.] and
has a little table by the fire, at which she sits as she used to do at
Edgeworthstown for half an hour together without stirring, with her pen
in her hand; then she scribbles on very fast. My father intends to
present his lock, with a paper giving some account of it, by way of
introduction to the society of which he is a member, _La Societe pour
encourager les arts et metiers._ I suppose you see in the newspapers
that the ancient Academy is again established under the name of the
Institute?


MRS. EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

PARIS, _Feb. 22, 1803._

The cough you mention has been epidemic here. The thermometer as low as
9 deg. on the morning of the 15th; next day 40 deg., and the most charming
weather has succeeded: the streets have been so well washed by the rain
and scraped by the snow-cleaners, that they are actually dry and clean
for the first time since October, which is fortunate, as the streets are
crowded with people for the carnival, some in masks, some disguised as
apothecaries, old women, harlequins, and knights-errant, followed by
hundreds and thousands of men, women, and children, to whom they say
what they can, generally nonsense devoid of wit.

Last Thursday, _jeudi-gras_, we dined at two, and were at St. Germain at
six, at Madame Campan's, where we had been invited to see some plays
acted by her pupils. The little theatre appeared already full when we
entered. We stood a few seconds near the door, when Madame Campan cried
out from above, "Placez Madame Edgeworth, faites monter Madame et sa
compagnie." So we went up to the gallery, where we had very good places
next to a Polish Princess and half a dozen of her countrywomen, who are
all polite and well-bred. The crowd increased, many more than there was
room for. The famous Madame Visconti and Lady Yarmouth sat behind us.
Lady Elizabeth Foster and Lady Bessborough not far from us; and below
there were a number of English, the Duchess of Gordon and her beautiful
daughter, Lady Georgiana. Madame Louis Buonaparte, who had been one of
Madame Campan's _eleves_, was the principal Frenchwoman. The piece,
_Esther_, was performed admirably; the singing of the choir of young
girls charming, and the _petite piece, La Rosiere de Salency_, was
better still: you know it is a charming thing, and was made so touching
as to draw tears from every eye.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth writes:

At the time this letter was written rumours that war would break out
with England began to be prevalent in Paris. Mr. Edgeworth inquired
among his friends, who said they feared it was true. He decided to set
out immediately, and we began to pack up. Other friends contradicted
this fear. We were anxious on another account to leave Paris, from the
bad state of Henry Edgeworth's health, his friends at Edinburgh urging
us to go there to see him. Better news of him, and the hope that the
rumours of war were unfounded, made us suspend our packing. M. Le Breton
called, and said he was sure of knowing before that evening the truth as
to Buonaparte's warlike intentions, and that if Mr. Edgeworth met him at
a friend's that night, he would know by his suddenly putting on his hat
that war was imminent. He was unable to visit us again, and afraid if he
wrote that his letter might be intercepted, and still more was he afraid
of being overheard if he said anything at the party where they were to
meet. Mr. Edgeworth went, and saw M. Le Breton, who did suddenly put on
his hat, and on Mr. Edgeworth's return to us he said we must go.

The next day was spent in taking leave of our kind friends, from whom we
found it so painful to part, and who expressed so much regret at losing
us, and so much doubt as to the probability of war, that Mr. Edgeworth
promised that if on his arrival in London, his Paris friends wrote to
say Peace, he would return to them, and bring over the rest of his
family from Ireland for a year's residence.


MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

CALAIS, _March 4, 1803._

At last, my dear Aunt Mary, we have actually left Paris. Perhaps we may
be detained here for some days, as the wind is directly against us; but
we have no reason to lament, as we are in Grandsire's excellent house,
and have books and thoughts enough to occupy us. Thoughts of friends
from whom we have parted, and of friends to whom we are going. How few
people in this world are so rich in friends! When I reflect upon the
kindness which has been shown to us abroad, and upon the affection that
awaits us at home, I feel afraid that I shall never be able to deserve
my share of all this happiness.

Charlotte is perfectly well: I believe no young woman was ever more
admired at Paris than she has been, and none was ever less spoiled by
admiration.


DOVER, _March_ 6.

All alive and merry: just landed, after a fine passage of six hours.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth narrates:

On our arrival in London, we found the expected letter from M. Le
Breton. It had been agreed that if there was to be peace, he was to
conclude his letter with "Mes hommages a la charmante Mademoiselle
Charlotte": if war, the _charmante_ was to be omitted. He ended his
letter, which made not the smallest allusion to politics or public
events, with "Mes hommages a Mademoiselle Charlotte," and we set out for
Edinburgh.

On the first rumours of war, while we were in France, Mr. Edgeworth
wrote to warn his son Lovell, who was on his way from Geneva to Paris,
but he never received the letter: he was stopped on his journey, made
prisoner, and remained among the _detenus_ for eleven years, till the
end of the war in 1814.


MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

EDINBURGH, _March 19, 1803._

Just arrived in Edinburgh, all four in perfect health, and I cannot
employ myself better than in _bringing up_ the history of our last week
at Paris. The two most memorable events were Madame Campan's play and
the visit to Madame de Genlis. The theatre at Madame Campan's was not
much larger than our own; the dresses "magnificent beyond description";
the acting and the dancing infinitely too good for any but young ladies
intended for the stage. The play was Racine's _Esther_, and it
interested me the next day to read Madame de Sevigne's account of its
representation by the young ladies of St. Cyr, under the patronage of
Madame de Maintenon. Madame de Genlis's beautiful _Rosiere de Salency_
was acted after _Esther_, and the scene where the mother denounces her
daughter, and pushes her from her, was so admirably written and so
admirably played, that it made me forget the stage, the actors, and the
spectators,--I could not help thinking it real.

Full of the pleasure I had received from the _Rosiere de Salency_, I was
impatient to pay a visit to Madame de Genlis. A few days afterwards we
dined with Mr. and Mrs. Scotto, rather a stupid party of gentlemen.
After dinner my father called me out of the room and said, "Now we will
go to see Madame de Genlis." She had previously written to say she would
be glad to be personally acquainted with Mr. and Miss Edgeworth. She
lives--where do you think?--where Sully used to live, at the Arsenal.
Buonaparte has given her apartments there. Now I do not know what you
imagined in reading Sully's _Memoirs_, but I always imagined that the
Arsenal was one large building, with a facade to it like a very large
hotel or a palace, and I fancied it was somewhere in the middle of
Paris. On the contrary, it is quite in the suburbs. We drove on and on,
and at last we came to a heavy archway, like what you see at the
entrance of a fortified town: we drove under it for the length of three
or four yards in total darkness, and then we found ourselves, as well as
we could see by the light of some dim lamps, in a large square court,
surrounded by buildings: here we thought we were to alight; no such
thing; the coachman drove under another thick archway, lighted at the
entrance by a single lamp, we found ourselves in another court, and
still we went on, archway after archway, court after court, in all which
reigned desolate silence. I thought the archways, and the courts, and
the desolate silence would never end: at last the coachman stopped, and
asked for the tenth time where the lady lived. It is excessively
difficult to find people in Paris: we thought the names of Madame de
Genlis and the Arsenal would have been sufficient, but the whole of this
congregation of courts, and gateways, and houses, is called the Arsenal,
and hundreds and hundreds of people inhabit it who are probably perfect
strangers to Madame de Genlis. At the doors where our coachman inquired,
some answered that they knew nothing of her, some that she lived in the
Fauxbourg St. Germain, others believed that she might be at Passy,
others had heard that she had apartments given to her by Government
somewhere in the Arsenal, but could not tell where; while the coachman
thus begged his way, we anxiously looking out at him, from the middle of
the great square where we were left, listened for the answers that were
given, and which often from the distance escaped our ears. At last a
door pretty near to us opened, and our coachman's head and hat were
illuminated by the candle held by the person who opened the door, and as
the two figures parted with each other we could distinctly see the
expression of their countenances and their lips move: the result of this
parley was successful: we were directed to the house where Madame de
Genlis lived, and thought all difficulties ended. No such thing, her
apartments were still to be sought for. We saw before us a large,
crooked, ruinous stone staircase, lighted by a single bit of candle
hanging in a vile tin lantern in an angle of the bare wall at the turn
of the staircase--only just light enough to see that the walls were bare
and old, and the stairs immoderately dirty. There were no signs of the
place being inhabited except this lamp, which could not have been
lighted without hands. I stood still in melancholy astonishment, while
my father groped his way into a kind of porter's lodge, or den, at the
foot of the stairs, where he found a man who was porter to various
people who inhabited this house. You know the Parisian houses are
inhabited by hordes of different people, and the stairs are in fact
streets, and dirty streets to their dwellings. The porter, who was
neither obliging nor intelligent, carelessly said that "Madame de Genlis
logeait au seconde a gauche, qu'il faudrait tirer sa sonnette," he
believed she was at home, if she was not gone out. Up we went by
ourselves, for this porter, though we were strangers, and pleaded that
we were so, never offered to stir a step to guide or to light us. When
we got to the second stage, we faintly saw by the light from the one
candle at the first landing-place, two dirty large folding-doors, one
set on the right and one on the left, and hanging on each a bell, no
larger than what you see in the small parlour of a small English inn. My
father pulled one bell and waited some minutes--no answer: pulled the
other bell and waited--no answer: thumped at the left door--no answer:
pushed and pulled at it--could not open it: pushed open one of the
right-hand folding-doors--utter darkness: went in, as well as we could
feel, there was no furniture. After we had been there a few seconds we
could discern the bare walls and some strange lumber in one corner. The
room was a prodigious height, like an old playhouse. We retreated, and
in despair went down again to the stupid or surly porter. He came
upstairs very unwillingly, and pointed to a deep recess between the
stairs and the folding-doors: "Allez, voila la porte et tirez la
sonnette." He and his candle went down, and my father had but just time
to seize the handle of the bell, when we were again in darkness. After
ringing this feeble bell we presently heard doors open, and little
footsteps approaching nigh. The door was opened by a girl of about
Honora's size, holding an ill-set-up, wavering candle in her hand, the
light of which fell full upon her face and figure: her face was
remarkably intelligent: dark sparkling eyes, dark hair, curled in the
most fashionable long cork-screw ringlets over her eyes and cheeks. She
parted the ringlets to take a full view of us, and we were equally
impatient to take a full view of her. The dress of her figure by no
means suited the head and the elegance of her attitude: what her "nether
weeds" might be we could not distinctly see, but they seemed to be a
coarse short petticoat, like what Molly Bristow's children would
wear--not on Sundays, a woollen gray spencer above, pinned with a single
pin by the lapels tight across the neck under the chin, and open all
below. After surveying us, and hearing that our name was Edgeworth, she
smiled graciously, and bid us follow her, saying, "Maman est chez elle."
She led the way with the grace of a young lady who has been taught to
dance, across two antechambers, miserable-looking, but miserable or not,
no house in Paris can be without them. The girl, or young lady, for we
were still in doubt which to think her, led us into a small room, in
which the candles were so well screened by a green tin screen that we
could scarcely distinguish the tall form of a lady in black, who rose
from her armchair by the fireside as the door opened: a great puff of
smoke issuing from the huge fireplace at the same moment. She came
forward, and we made our way towards her as well as we could through a
confusion of tables, chairs and work-baskets, china, writing-desks and
ink-stands, and bird-cages, and a harp. She did not speak, and as her
back was now turned to both fire and candle, I could not see her face,
or anything but the outline of her form, and her attitude; her form was
the remains of a fine form, and her attitude that of a woman used to a
better drawing-room. I, being foremost, and she silent, was compelled to
speak to the figure in darkness: "Madame de Genlis nous a fait l'honneur
de nous mander qu'elle voulait bien nous permettre de lui rendre visite,
et de lui offrir nos respects," said I, or words to that effect: to
which she replied by taking my hand and saying something in which
_charmee_ was the most intelligible word. Whilst she spoke she looked
over my shoulder at my father, whose bow I presume told her he was a
gentleman, for she spoke to him immediately as if she wished to please,
and seated us in fauteuils near the fire.

I then had a full view of her face and figure: she looked like the
full-length picture of my great-great-grandmother Edgeworth you may have
seen in the garret, very thin and melancholy, but her face not so
handsome as my great-grandmother's; dark eyes, long sallow cheeks,
compressed thin lips, two or three black ringlets on a high forehead, a
cap that Mrs. Grier might wear,--altogether an appearance of fallen
fortunes, worn-out health, and excessive, but guarded irritability. To
me there was nothing of that engaging, captivating manner which I had
been taught to expect by many even of her enemies; she seemed to me to
be alive only to literary quarrels and jealousies: the muscles of her
face as she spoke, or as my father spoke to her, quickly and too easily
expressed hatred and anger whenever any not of her own party were
mentioned. She is now you know _devote acharnement._ When I mentioned
with some enthusiasm the good Abbe Morellet, who has written so
courageously in favour of the French exiled nobility and their children,
she answered in a sharp voice,

"Oui, c'est un homme de beaucoup d'esprit, a ce qu'on dit, a ce que je
crois meme, mais il faut vous apprendre qu'il n'est pas des NOTRES." My
father spoke of Pamela, Lady Edward Fitzgerald, and explained how he had
defended her in the Irish House of Commons; instead of being pleased or
touched, her mind instantly diverged into an elaborate and artificial
exculpation of Lady Edward and herself, proving, or attempting to prove,
that she never knew any of her husband's plans, that she utterly
disapproved of them, at least of all she suspected of them. This defence
was quite lost upon us, who never thought of attacking: but Madame de
Genlis seems to have been so much used to be attacked, that she has
defences and apologies ready prepared, suited to all possible occasions.
She spoke of Madame de Stael's _Delphine_ with detestation, of another
new and fashionable novel, _Amelie_, with abhorrence, and kissed my
forehead twice because I had not read it, "Vous autres Anglaises vous
etes modestes!" Where was Madame de Genlis's sense of delicacy when she
penned and published _Les Chevaliers du Cygne_? Forgive me, my dear Aunt
Mary, you begged me to see her with favourable eyes, and I went to see
her after seeing her _Rosiere de Salency_ with the most favourable
disposition, but I could not like her; there was something of malignity
in her countenance and conversation that repelled love, and of hypocrisy
which annihilated esteem, and from time to time I saw, or thought I saw
through the gloom of her countenance a gleam of coquetry. But my father
judges much more favourably of her than I do; she evidently took pains
to please him, and he says he is sure she is a person over whose mind he
could gain great ascendency: he thinks her a woman of violent passions,
unbridled imagination, and ill-tempered, but _not_ malevolent: one who
has been so torn to pieces that she now turns upon her enemies, and
longs to tear in her turn. He says she has certainly great powers of
pleasing, though I neither saw nor felt them. But you know, my dear
aunt, that I am not famous for judging sanely of strangers on a first
visit, and I might be prejudiced or mortified by Madame de Genlis
assuring me that she had never read anything of mine except _Belinda_,
had heard of _Practical Education_, and heard it much praised, but had
never seen it. She has just published an additional volume of her
_Petits Romans_, in which there are some beautiful stories, but you must
not expect another "Mademoiselle de Clermont:" one such story in an age
is as much as one can reasonably expect.

I had almost forgotten to tell you that the little girl who showed us in
is a girl whom she is educating, "_Elle m'appelle maman, mais elle n'est
pas ma fille._" The manner in which this little girl spoke to Madame de
Genlis, and looked at her, appeared to me more in her favour than
anything else. She certainly spoke to her with freedom and fondness, and
without any affectation. I went to look at what the child was writing,
she was translating Darwin's _Zoonomia._ I read some of her translation,
it was excellent; she was, I think she said, ten years old. It is
certain that Madame de Genlis made the present Duke of Orleans such an
excellent mathematician, that when he was during his emigration in
distress for bread, he taught mathematics as a professor in one of the
German Universities. If we could see or converse with one of her pupils,
and hear what they think of her, we should be able to form a better
judgment than from all that her books and enemies say for or against
her. I say her _books_, not her _friends_ and enemies, for I fear she
has no friends to plead for her, except her books. I never met any one
of any party who was her friend: this strikes me with real melancholy;
to see a woman of the first talents in Europe, who lived and has shone
in the gay court of the gayest nation in the world, now deserted and
forlorn, living in wretched lodgings, with some of the pictures and
finery, the wreck of her fortunes, before her eyes, without society,
without a single friend, admired--and despised: she lives literally in
spite, not in pity. Her cruelty in drawing a profligate character of the
Queen after her execution, in the _Chevaliers du Cygne_, her taking her
pupils at the beginning of the Revolution to the revolutionary clubs,
her connection with the late Duke of Orleans and her hypocrisy about it,
her insisting upon being governess to his children when the Duchess did
not wish it, and its being supposed that it was she who instigated the
Duke in all his horrible conduct; and more than all the rest, her own
attacks and _apologies_, have brought her into all this isolated state
of reprobation. And now, my dear aunt, I have told you all I know, or
have heard, or think about her; and perhaps I have tired you, but I
fancied that it was a subject particularly interesting to you, and if I
have been mistaken you will with your usual good-nature forgive me and
say, "I am sure Maria meant it kindly."

Now to fresh fields.--In London you know that we had the pleasure of
meeting Mr. and Mrs. Sneyd, and Emma: there is such a general likeness
between her and Charlotte, that they might pass for sisters. Mrs. Sneyd
bribed us to like her by her extreme kindness. We went to Covent Garden
Theatre and saw the new play of _John Bull_: some humour, and some
pathos, and one good character of an Irishman, but the contrast between
the elegance of the French theatre and the _grossierete_ of the English
struck us much. But this is the judgment of a disappointed playwright!

Now, Aunt Mary, scene changes to York, where we stayed a day to see the
Minster; and as we had found a parcel of new books for us at Johnson's,
from Lindley Murray, we thought ourselves bound to go and see him. We
were told that he lived about a mile from York, and in the evening we
drove to see him. A very neat-looking house: door opened by a pretty
Quaker maidservant: shown into a well-furnished parlour, cheerful fire,
everything bespeaking comfort and happiness. On the sofa at the farther
end of the room was seated, quite upright, a Quaker-looking man in a
pale brown coat, who never attempted to rise from his seat to receive
us, but held out his hand, and with a placid, benevolent smile said,
"You are most welcome--I am heartily glad to see you; it is my
misfortune that I cannot rise from my seat, but I must be as I am, as I
have been these eighteen years." He had lost the use of one arm and
side, and cannot walk--not paralytic, but from the effects of a fever.
Such mild, cheerful resignation, such benevolence of manners and
countenance I never saw in any human being. He writes solely with the
idea of doing good to his fellow-creatures. He wants nothing in this
life, he says, neither fortune nor fame--he seems to forget that he
wants health--he says, "I have so many blessings." His wife, who seemed
to love and admire "my husband" as the first and best of human beings,
gave us excellent tea and abundance of good cake.

I have not room here under the seal for the Minster, nor for the giant
figures on Alnwick Castle, nor for the droll man at the beautiful town
of Durham; but I or somebody better than me will tell of them, and of
Mrs. Green's drawings and painted jessamine in her window, and Mr.
Wellbeloved and his charming children, and Mr. Horner, [Footnote:
Francis Horner.] at Newcastle, and Dr. Trotter, at ditto. My father
says, "I hope you have done;" and so perhaps do you.

_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDINBURGH, _March 30, 1803._

In a few days I hope we shall see you. I long to see you again, and to
hear your voice, and to receive from you those kind looks and kind
words, which custom cannot stale. I believe that the more variety people
see, the more they become attached to their first and natural friends. I
had taken a large sheet of paper to tell you some of the wonders we have
seen in our nine days' stay in Edinburgh, but my father has wisely
advised me to content myself with a small sheet, as I am to have the joy
of talking to you so soon, and may then say volumes in the same time
that I could write pages. I cannot express the pleasure we have felt in
being introduced to Henry's delightful society of friends here, both
those he has chosen for himself and those who have chosen him. Old and
young, grave and gay, join in speaking of him with a degree of affection
and esteem that is most touching and gratifying. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart
[Footnote: Mr. and Mrs. Dugald Stewart. As Professor at the University
of Edinburgh, Mr. Stewart gave those lectures which Sir James Mackintosh
said "breathed the love of virtue into whole generations of pupils."]
surpassed all that I had expected, and I had expected much. Mr. Stewart
is said to be naturally or habitually grave and reserved, but towards us
he has broken through his habits or his nature, and I never conversed
with any one with whom I was more at ease. He has a grave, sensible
face, more like the head of Shakespear than any other head or print that
I can remember. I have not heard him lecture; no woman can go to the
public lectures here, and I don't choose to go in men's or boys'
clothes, or in the pocket of the Irish giant, though he is here and well
able to carry me. Mrs. Stewart has been for years wishing in vain for
the pleasure of hearing one of her husband's lectures. She is just the
sort of woman you would like, that you would love. I do think it is
impossible to know her without loving her; indeed, she has been so kind
to Henry, that it would be doubly impossible (an Irish impossibility) to
us. Yet you know people do not always love because they have received
obligations. It is an additional proof of her merit, and of her powers
of pleasing, that she makes those who _are_ under obligations to her
forget that they are bound to be grateful, and only remember that they
think her good and agreeable.


_To_ MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH (the second sister in the family of the
name).

GLASGOW, _April 4, 1803._

I have not forgotten my promise to write to you, and I think I can give
you pleasure by telling you that Henry is getting better every day,
[Footnote: Henry was only better for a time: he was never really
restored to health, though he lived till 1813.] and that we have all
been extremely happy in the company of several of his friends in
Edinburgh and Glasgow. He has made these friends by his own good
qualities, and good conduct, and we hear them speak of him with the
greatest esteem and affection. This morning Dr. Birkbeck, one of Henry's
friends, took us to see several curious machines, in a house where he
gives lectures on mechanical and chemical subjects. He is going to give
a lecture on purpose for children, and he says he took the idea for
doing so from _Practical Education._ He opened a drawer and showed to me
a little perspective machine he had made from the print of my father's;
and we were also very much surprised to sec in one of his rooms a large
globe of silk, swelled out and lighted by a lamp withinside, so that
when the room was darkened we could plainly see the map of the world
painted on it, as suggested in _Practical Education._ My father
mentioned to this gentleman my Aunt Charlotte's invention of painting
the stars on the inside of an umbrella: he was much pleased with it, and
I think he will make such an umbrella.... Tell Sneyd that we saw at
Edinburgh his old friend the Irish giant. I suppose he remembers seeing
him at Bristol? he is so tall that he can with ease lean his arm on the
top of the room door. I stood beside him, and the top of my head did not
reach to his hip. My father laid his hand withinside of the giant's
hand, and it looked as small as little Harriet's would in John Langan's.
This poor giant looks very sallow and unhealthy, and seemed not to like
to sit or stand all day for people to look at him.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the return of the family to Edgeworthstown, Miss Edgeworth at once
began to occupy herself with preparing for the press _Popular Tales_,
which were published this year. She also began _Emilie de Coulanges,
Madame de Fleury_, and _Ennui_, and wrote _Leonora_ with the romantic
purpose already mentioned.

In 1804 she found time to write _Griselda_, which she amused herself
with at odd moments in her own room without telling her father what she
was about. When finished, she sent it to Johnson, who had the
good-nature, at her request, to print a title-page for a single copy
without her name to it: he then sent it over to Mr. Edgeworth as a new
novel just come out. Mr. Edgeworth read it with surprise and admiration.
He could not believe Maria could have had the actual time to write it,
and yet it was so like her style; he at last exclaimed, "It must be
Anna's. Anna has written this to please me. It is by some one we are
interested in, Mary was so anxious I should read it." Miss Sneyd was in
the secret, and had several times put it before him on the table: at
last she told him it was Maria's. He was amused at the trick, and
delighted at having admired the book without knowing its author.

       *       *       *       *       *

MISS EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. CHARLOTTE SNEYD. BLACK CASTLE, _December 1804._

Though Henry will bring you all the news of this enchanted castle, and
though you will hear it far better from his lips than from my pen, I
cannot let him go without a line. I need not tell you I am perfectly
happy here, and only find the day too short. Pray make Henry give you an
account of the grand dinner we were at, and the Spanish priest who
called Rousseau and Voltaire _vagabones_, and the gentleman who played
the "Highland Laddie" on the guitar, and of Mr. Grainger, who was
_present_ at one of the exhibitions of that German spectre-monger
celebrated in Wraxall.

The cottages are improving here, the people have paved their yards, and
plant roses against their walls. My aunt likes _Ennui._ I had thoughts
of finishing it here, but every day I find some excuse for idleness.


_To_ MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.

BLACK CASTLE, _Jan. 1805._

I have thought of you often when I heard things that would entertain
you, and thought I had collected a great store, but when I rummage in my
head, for want of having had, or taken time to keep the drawers of my
cabinet of memory tidy, I cannot find one single thing that I want,
except that it is said that plants raised from cuttings do not bear such
fine flowers as those raised from seeds.--That a lady, whose parrot had
lost all its feathers, made him a flannel jacket. . . . I will bring a
specimen of the silk spun by the _Processionaires_, of whom my aunt gave
you the history. There is a cock here who is as great a tyrant in his
own way as Buonaparte, and a poor Barbary cock who has no claws, has the
misfortune to live in the same yard with him; he will not suffer this
poor defenceless fellow to touch a morsel or grain of all the good
things Margaret throws to them till he and all his protegees are
satisfied.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 26, 1805._

I have been reading _a power_ of good books: _Montesquieu sur la
Grandeur et Decadence des Romains_, which I recommend to you as a book
you will admire, because it furnishes so much food for thought, it shows
how history may be studied for the advantage of mankind, not for the
mere purpose of remembering facts and repeating them.

Sneyd [Footnote: Second son of Mrs. Elizabeth Edgeworth.] has come home
to spend a week of vacation with us. He is now full of logic, and we
perpetually hear the words _syllogisms_, and _predicates, majors_ and
_minors, universals_ and _particulars, affirmatives_ and _negatives_,
and BAROK and BARBARA, not Barbara Allen or any of her relations: and we
have learnt by logic that a stone is not an animal, and conversely that
an animal is not a stone. I really think a man talking logic on the
stage might be made as diverting as the character of the _Apprentice_
who is arithmetically mad; pray read it: my father read it to us a few
nights ago, and though I had a most violent headache, so that I was
forced to hold my head on both sides whilst I laughed, yet I could not
refrain. Much I attribute to my father's reading, but something must be
left to Murphy. I have some idea of writing in the intervals of my
_severer studies_ for _Professional Education_, a comedy for my father's
birthday, but I shall do it up in my own room, and shall not produce it
till it is finished. I found the first hint of it in the strangest place
that anybody could invent, for it was in Dallas's _History of the
Maroons_, and you may read the book to find it out, and ten to one you
miss it. At all events pray read the book, for it is extremely
interesting and entertaining: it presents a new world with new manners
to the imagination, and the whole bears the stamp of truth. It is not
well written in general, but there are particular parts admirable from
truth of description and force of feeling.

Your little goddaughter Sophy is one of the most engaging little
creatures I ever saw, and knows almost all the birds and beasts in
Bewick from the tom-tit to the hip-po-pot-a-mus, and names them in a
sweet little droll voice.


_To_ HENRY EDGEWORTH, AT EDINBURGH.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _March 1805._

It gives me the most sincere pleasure to see your letters to my father
written just as if you were talking to a favourite friend of your own
age, and with that manly simplicity characteristic of your mind and
manner from the time you were able to speak. There is something in this
perfect openness and in the courage of daring to be always yourself,
which attaches more than I can express, more than all the
Chesterfieldian arts and graces that ever were practised.

The worked sleeves are for Mrs. Stewart, and you are to offer them to
her,--nobody can say I do not know how to choose my ambassadors well! If
Mrs. Stewart should begin to say, "O! it is a pity Miss Edgeworth should
spend her time at such work!" please to interrupt her speech, though
that is very rude, and tell her that I like work very much, and that I
have only done this at odd times, after breakfast you know, when my
father reads out Pope's _Homer_, or when there are long sittings, when
it is much more agreeable to move one's fingers than to have to sit with
hands crossed or clasped immovably. I by no means accede to the doctrine
that ladies cannot attend to anything else when they are working:
besides, it is contrary, is not it, to all the theories of _Zoonomia_?
Does not Dr. Darwin show that certain habitual motions go on without
interrupting trains of thought? And do not common sense and experience,
whom I respect even above Dr. Darwin, show the same thing?


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _March 25, 1805._

To-morrow we all, viz. Mr. Edgeworth, two Miss Sneyds, and Miss Harriet
Beaufort, and Miss Fanny Brown, and Miss Maria, and Miss Charlotte, and
Miss Honora, and Mr. William Edgeworth, go in one coach and one chaise
to Castle Forbes, to see a play acted by the Ladies Elizabeth and
Adelaide Forbes, Miss Parkins, Lord Rancliffe, Lord Forbes, and I don't
know how many grandees with tufts on their heads, for every grandee man
must now you know have a tuft or ridge of hair upon the middle of his
pate. Have you read Kotzebue's _Paris_? Some parts entertaining, mostly
stuff. We have heard from Lovell, still a prisoner at Verdun, but in
hopes of peace, poor fellow.


_To_ C. SNEYD EDGEWORTH, AT TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 4, 1805._

We are all very happy and tolerably merry with the assistance of William
and the young tribe, who are always at his heels and in full chorus with
him. Charlotte _cordials_ me twice a day with _Cecilia_, which she reads
charmingly, and which entertains me as much at the third reading as it
did at the first.

We are a little, but very little afraid of being swallowed up by the
French: they have so much to swallow and digest before they come to us!
They did come once very near to be sure, but they got nothing by it.


_To_ MISS S. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _June 1, 1805._

My father's birthday was kept yesterday, much more agreeably than last
year, for then we had company in the house. Yesterday Sneyd, now at home
for his vacation, who is ever the promoter of gaiety, contrived a pretty
little _fete champetre_, which surprised us all most agreeably. After
dinner he persuaded me that it was indispensably necessary for my health
that I should take an airing; accordingly the chaise came to the door,
and Anne Nangle, and my mother, with little Lucy in her arms, and Maria
were rolled off, and after them on horseback came rosy Charlotte, all
smiles, and Henry, with eyes brilliant with pleasure--riding again with
Charlotte after eight months' absence. It was a delightful evening, and
we thought we were pleasing ourselves sufficiently by the airing, so we
came home _thinking of nothing at all_, when, as we drove round, our
ears were suddenly struck with the sound of music, and as if by
enchantment, a fairy festival appeared upon the green. In the midst of
an amphitheatre of verdant festoons suspended from white staffs, on
which the scarlet streamers of the yeomen were flying, appeared a
company of youths and maidens in white, their heads adorned with
flowers, dancing; while their mothers and their little children were
seated on benches round the amphitheatre. John Langan sat on the pier of
the dining-room steps, with Harriet on one knee and Sophy on the other,
and Fanny standing beside him. In the course of the evening William
danced a reel with Fanny and Harriet, to the great delight of the
spectators. Cakes and syllabubs served in great abundance by good Kitty,
formed no inconsiderable part of the pleasures of the evening. William,
who is at present in the height of electrical enthusiasm, proposed to
the dancers a few electrical sparks, to complete the joys of the day.
All--men, women, and children--flocked into the study after him to be
_shocked_, and their various gestures and expressions of surprise and
terror mixed with laughter, were really diverting to my mother, Anne
Nangle, and me, who had judiciously posted ourselves in the gallery.
Charlotte and Sneyd, as soon as it was dark, came to summon us, and we
found the little amphitheatre on the grass-plat illuminated, the lights
mixed with the green boughs and flowers were beautiful, and boys with
flambeaux waving about had an excellent effect. I do wish you could have
seen the honest, happy face of George, as he held his flambeau bolt
upright at his station, looking at his own pretty daughter Mary. O my
dear aunt, how much our pleasure would have been increased if you had
been sitting beside us at the dining-room window.


_To_ MISS MARGARET RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _June 21, 1805._

I had a most pleasant long letter from my father to-day. He has become
acquainted with Mrs. Crewe--"Buff and blue and Mrs. Crewe"--and gives an
account of a _dejeuner_ at which he _assisted_ at her house at Hampstead
as quite delightful. Miss Crewe charmed him by praising "To-morrow," and
he claimed, he says, remuneration on the spot--a song, which it is not
easy to obtain: she sang, and he thought her singing worthy of its
celebrity. He was charmed with old Dr. Burney, who at eighty-two was the
most lively, well-bred, agreeable man in the room. Lord Stanhope begged
to be presented to him, and he thought him the most wonderful man he
ever met.

Tell my aunt _Leonora_ is in the press.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Sept 6, 1805._

Thank you, thank you. Unless you could jump into that skin out of which
I was ready to jump when your letter was read, you could not tell how
very much I am obliged by your so kindly consenting to come.

I have been at Pakenham Hall and Castle Forbes: at Pakenham Hall I was
delighted with "that sweetest music," the praises of a friend, from a
person of judgment and taste. I do not know when I have felt so much
pleasure as in hearing sweet Kitty Pakenham speak of your Sophy; I never
saw her look more animated or more pretty than when she was speaking of
her.

Lady Elizabeth Pakenham has sent to me a little pony, as quiet and
almost as small as a dog, on which I go trit-trot, trit-trot; but I
hope it will never take it into its head to add

  When we come to the stile,
  Skip we go over.


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 7, 1806._

I am ashamed to tell you I have been so idle that I have not yet
finished _Madame de Fleury._ You will allow that we have gadded about
enough lately: Sonna, Pakenham Hall, Farnham, and Castle Forbes. I don't
think I told you that I grew quite fond of Lady Judith Maxwell, and I
flatter myself she did not dislike me, because she did not keep me in
the ante-chamber of her mind, but let me into the boudoir at once.

So Lord Henry Petty is Chancellor of the Exchequer--at twenty-four on
the pinnacle of glory!

Sneyd and Charlotte have begun _Sir Charles Grandison_: I almost envy
them the pleasure of reading Clementina's history for the first time. It
is one of those pleasures which is never repeated in life.


_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

ROSSTREVOR, _March 21, 1806._

I have spent a very happy week at Collon; [Footnote: Dr. Beaufort,
father of the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth, was Vicar of Collon.] I never saw
your mother in such excellent spirits. She and Dr. Beaufort were so good
as to bring me to Dundalk, where my aunt had appointed to meet me; but
her courage failed her about going over the Mountain road, and she sent
Mr. Corry's chaise with hired horses. I foresaw we should have a battle
about those horses, and so we had--only a skirmish, in which I came off
victorious! Your father, who, next to mine, is, I think, the best and
most agreeable traveller in the world, walked us about Dundalk and to
the Quay, etc., whilst the horses were resting, and we ate black
cherries and were very merry. They pitied me for the ten-mile stage I
was to go alone, but I did not pity myself, for I had Sir William
Jones's and Sir William Chambers's _Asiatic Miscellany._ The
metaphysical poetry of India, however, is not to my taste; and though
the Indian Cupid, with his bow of sugar-cane and string of bees and five
arrows for the five senses, is a very pretty and very ingenious little
fellow, I have a preference in favour of our own Cupid, and of the two
would rather leave orders with "my porter" to admit the "well-known
boy." [Footnote: From an Address to Cupid, by the Duc de Nivernois,
translated by Mr. Edgeworth.]

Besides the company of Sir William Jones, I had the pleasure of meeting
on the road Mr. Parkinson Ruxton and Sir Chichester Fortescue, who had
been commissioned by my aunt to hail me; they accordingly did so, and
after a mutual broadside of compliments, they sheered off. The road to
Newry is like Wales--Ravensdale, three miles of wood, glen, and
mountain.

My aunt and Sophy were on the steps of the inn at Newry to receive me.
The road from Newry to Rosstrevor is both sublime and beautiful. The inn
at Rosstrevor is like the best sort of English breakfasting inn. But to
proceed with my journey, for I must go two miles and a half from
Rosstrevor to my aunt's house. Sublime mountains and sea--road, a flat
gravelled walk, walled on the precipice side. You see a slated English
or Welsh-looking farmhouse amongst some stunted trees, apparently in the
sea; you turn down a long avenue of firs, only three feet high, but
old-looking, six rows deep on each side. The two former proprietors of
this mansion had opposite tastes--one all for straight, and the other
all for serpentine lines; and there was a war between snug and
picturesque, of which the traces appear every step you proceed. You seem
driving down into the sea, to which this avenue leads; but you suddenly
turn and go back from the shore, through stunted trees of various sorts
scattered over a wild common, then a dwarf mixture of shrubbery and
orchard, and you are at the end of the house, which is pretty. The front
is ugly, but from it you look upon the bay of Carlingford--Carlingford
Head opposite to you--vessels under sail, near and distant--little
islands, sea-birds, and landmarks standing in the sea. Behind the house
the mountains of Morne. I saw all this with admiration, tired as I was,
for it was seven o'clock. In the parlour is a surprising chimney-piece,
as gigantic as that at Grandsire's at Calais, with wonderful wooden
ornaments and a tablet representing Alexander's progress through India,
he looking very pert, driving four lions.

After dinner I was so tired, that in spite of all my desire to see and
hear, I was obliged to lie down and refit. After resting, but not
sleeping, I groped my way down the broad old staircase, _felt_ my road,
passed _two_ clock-cases on the landing-place, and arrived in the
parlour, where I was glad to see candles and tea, and my dear aunt, and
Sophy, and Margaret's illumined, affectionate faces. Tea. "Come, now,"
says my aunt, "let us show Maria the wonderful passage; it looks best by
candlelight." I followed my guide through a place that looks like Mrs.
Radcliffe in lower life--passage after passage, very low-roofed, and
full of strange lumber; came to a den of a bed-chamber, then another,
and a study, all like the hold of a ship, and fusty; but in this study
were mahogany bookcases, glass doors, and well-bound, excellent books.
All kinds of tables, broken and stowed on top of each other, and parts
of looking-glasses, looking as if they had been there a hundred years,
and jelly glasses on a glass stand, as if somebody had supped there the
night before. Turn from the study and you see a staircase, more like a
step-ladder, very narrow, but one could squeeze up at a time, by which
we went into a place like that you may remember at the post-house in the
Low Countries--two chambers, if chambers they could be called, quite
remote from the rest of the house, low ceilings, strange scraps of
many-coloured paper on the walls, an old camp bed, a feather bed with
half the feathers out; one window, low, but wide.

"Out of that window," said my aunt, "as Isabella told us, the corpse was
carried."

"Who is Isabella?" cried I; but before my aunt could answer I was struck
with new wonder at the sight of two French looking-glasses, in gilt
frames, side by side, reaching from the ceiling to the floor, and placed
exactly opposite the bed! [Footnote: This mysterious apartment had
belonged to a poor crazed lady who died there, and who had, as Isabella,
the gardener's wife, related, a passion for fine papers, different
patterns of which were put on the walls to please her, and also the
French mirrors, on which she delighted to look from her bed. And when
she died her coffin was, to avoid the crooked passages, taken out of the
window.]

I was now so tired that I could neither see, hear, nor understand,
imagine, or wonder any longer. Sophy somehow managed to get my clothes
off, and literally put me into bed. The images of all these people and
things flitted before my eyes for a few seconds, and then I was fast
asleep.

Mrs. and Miss Fortescue came in the morning, and among other things
mentioned the fancy ball in Dublin. Mrs. Sheridan [Footnote: Mrs. Tom
Sheridan.] was the handsomest woman there. The Duchess of Bedford was
dressed as Mary Queen of Scots, and danced with Lord Darnley. At supper
the Duchess _motioned_ to Lady Darnley to come to her table; but Lady
Darnley refused, as she had a party of young ladies. The Duchess
reproached her rather angrily. "Oh," said Lady Darnley, "when the Queen
of Scots was talking to Darnley, it would not have done for me to have
been too near them."


MRS. EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _April 3, 1806._

We were at Gaybrook when your letter came, and when the good news of
Miss Pakenham's happiness arrived: [Footnote: Catherine, second daughter
of the second Lord Longford, married, 10th April 1806, Sir Arthur
Wellesley, afterwards the first and great Duke of Wellington. He had, at
this time, just returned from India, after a stay of eleven years.] it
was announced there in a very pleasant, sprightly letter from your
friend Miss Fortescue. Your account of the whole affair is really
admirable, and is one of those tales of real life in which the romance
is far superior to the generality of fictions. I hope the imaginations
of this hero and heroine have not been too much exalted, and that they
may not find the enjoyment of a happiness so long wished for inferior to
what they expected. Pray tell dear good Lady Elizabeth we are so
delighted with the news, and so engrossed by it, that, waking or
sleeping, the image of Miss Pakenham swims before our eyes. To make the
romance perfect we want two material documents--a description of the
person of Sir Arthur, and a knowledge of the time when the interview
after his return took place.


MARIA _to_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

ALLENSTOWN, _May-day, 1806._

Dr. Beaufort, tell Charlotte, saw Sir Arthur Wellesley at the Castle:
handsome, very brown, quite bald, and a hooked nose. He could not travel
with Lady Wellesley; he went by the mail. He had overstayed his leave a
day. She travelled under the care of his brother, the clergyman.


_To_ MISS MARGARET RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 23, 1806._

I have been laughed at most unmercifully by some of the phlegmatic
personages round the library table for my impatience to send you _The
Mine._ "Do you think Margaret cannot live five minutes longer without
it? Saddle the mare, and ride to Dublin, and thence to Black Castle or
Chantony with it, my dear!"

I bear all with my accustomed passiveness, and am rewarded by my
father's having bought it for me; and it is now at Archer's for you.
Observe, I think the poem, as a drama, tiresome in the extreme, and
absurd, but I wish you to see that the very letters from the man in the
quick-silver mine which you recommended to me have been seized upon by a
poet of no inferior genius. Some of the strophes of the fairies are most
beautifully poetic.

Lady Elizabeth Pakenham told us that when Lady Wellesley was presented
to the Queen, Her Majesty said, "I am happy to see you at my court, so
bright an example of constancy. If anybody in this world deserves to be
happy, you do." Then Her Majesty inquired, "But did you really never
write _one_ letter to Sir Arthur Wellesley during his long
absence?"--"No, never, madam."--"And did you never think of him?
"--"Yes, madam, very often."

I am glad constancy is approved of at courts, and hope "the bright
example" may be followed.


_To_ MISS SOPHY RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _July 12, 1806._

This is the third sheet of paper in the smallest hand I could write I
have had the honour within these three days to spoil in your service,
stuffed full of geological and chemical facts, which we learned from our
two philosophical travellers, Davy and Greenough; but when finished I
persuaded myself they were not worth sending. Many of the facts I find
you have in Thomson and Nicholson, which, "owing to my ignorance," as
poor Sir Hugh Tyrold would say, "I did not rightly know."

Our travellers have just left us, and my head is in great danger of
bursting from the multifarious treasures that have been stowed and
crammed into it in the course of one week. Mr. Davy is wonderfully
improved since you saw him at Bristol: he has an amazing fund of
knowledge upon all subjects, and a great deal of genius. Mr. Greenough
has not, at first sight, a very intelligent countenance, yet he _is_
very intelligent, and has a good deal of literature and anecdote,
foreign and domestic, and a taste for wit and humour. He has travelled a
great deal, and relates well. Dr. Beddoes is much better, but my father
does not think his health safe. I am very well, but shamefully idle:
indeed, I have done nothing but hear; and if I had had a dozen pair
extraordinary of ears, and as many heads, I do not think I could have
heard or held all that was said.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 1807._

While Charlotte [Footnote: Charlotte Edgeworth, the idol and beauty of
the family, died, after a long illness, 7th April 1807.] was pretty well
we paid our long-promised visit to Coolure, and passed a few very
pleasant days there. Admiral Pakenham is very entertaining, and appears
very amiable in the midst of his children, who doat on him. He spoke
very handsomely of your darling brother, and diverted us by the mode in
which he congratulated Richard on his marriage: "I give you joy, my good
friend, and I am impatient to see the woman who has made an honest man
of you."

Colonel Edward Pakenham burned his instep by falling asleep before the
fire, out of which a turf fell on his foot, and so he was, luckily for
us, detained a few days longer and dined and breakfasted at Coolure. He
is very agreeable, and unaffected, and modest, after all the flattery he
has met with. [Footnote: Colonel, afterwards Sir Edward Pakenham,
distinguished in the Peninsular War, fell in action at New Orleans, 8th
January 1815.]


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Sept. 1807._

My beloved aunt and friend--friend to my least fancies as well as to my
largest interests,--thank you for the six fine rose-trees, and thank you
for the little darling double-flowering almond tree. Sneyd asked if
there was nothing for him? so I very generously gave him the
polyanthuses and planted them with my own hands at the corners of his
garden pincushions.

Mr. Hammond may satisfy himself as to the union of commerce and
literature by simply reading the history of the Medici, where commerce,
literature, and the arts made one of the most splendid, useful, and
powerful coalitions that ever were seen in modern times. Here is a fine
sentence! Mr. Hammond once, when piqued by my raillery, declared that he
never in his life saw, or could have conceived, till he saw me, that a
_philosopher_ could laugh so much and so heartily.

Enclosed I send a copy of an epitaph written by Louis XVIII., on the
Abbe Edgeworth; I am sure the intention does honour to H.M. heart, and
the critics here say the Latin does honour to H.M. head. William
Beaufort, who sent it to my father, says the epitaph was communicated to
him by a physician at Cork, who being a Roman Catholic of learning and
foreign education, maintains a considerable correspondence in foreign
countries.


_To_ HENRY EDGEWORTH, IN LONDON.

PAKENHAM HALL,

_Christmas Day_, 1807.

A Merry Christmas to you, my dear Henry and Sneyd! I wish you were here
at this instant, and you would be sure of one; for this is really the
most agreeable family and the pleasantest and most comfortable castle I
ever was in.

We came here yesterday--the _we_ being Mr. and Mrs. Edgeworth, Honora,
and me. A few minutes after we came, arrived Hercules Pakenham--the
first time he had met his family since his return from Copenhagen. My
father has scarcely ever quitted his elbow since he came, and has been
all ear and no tongue.

Lady Wellesley was prevented by engagements from joining this party at
Pakenham Hall; both the Duke and Duchess of Richmond are so fond of
her as no tongue can tell. The Duke must have a real friendship for Sir
Arthur; for while he was at Copenhagen his Grace did all the business of
his office for him.


_To_ C. SNEYD EDGEWORTH, IN LONDON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Jan. 1, 1808._

A Happy New Year to you, my dear Sneyd. It is so dark, I can hardly see
to write, and it has been pouring such torrents of rain, hail, and snow,
that I began to think, with John Langan, that the "old prophecies found
in a bog" were all accomplishing, and that Slievegaulry was beginning to
set out [Footnote: An old woman had, before Christmas, gone about the
neighbourhood saying that, on New Year's Day, Slievegaulry, a little
hill about five miles from Edgeworthstown, would come down with an
earthquake, and settle on the village, destroying everything.] on its
proposed journey. My mother has told you about these predictions, and
the horror they have spread through the country _entirely._ The old
woman who was the cause of the mischief is, I suppose, no bigger than a
midge's wing, as she has never been found, though diligent search has
been made for her. Almost all the people in this town sat up last night
to _receive_ the earthquake.

We have had the same physiognomical or character-telling _fishes_ that
you described to Honora. Captain Hercules Pakenham brought them from
Denmark, where a Frenchman was selling them very cheap. Those we saw
were pale green and bright purple. They are very curious: my father was
struck with them as much, or more, than any of the children; for there
are some wonders which strike in proportion to the knowledge, instead of
the ignorance, of the beholders. Is it a leaf? Is it galvanic? What is
it? I wish Henry would talk to Davy about it. The fish lay more quiet in
my father's hand than could have been expected; only curled up their
tails on my Aunt Mary's; tolerably quiet on my mother's; but they could
not lie still one second on William's, and went up his sleeve, which I
am told their German interpreters say is the worst sign they can give.
My father suggested that the different degrees of dryness or moisture in
the hands cause the emotions of these sensitive fish, but after _drying_
our best, no change was perceptible. I thought the pulse was the cause
of their motion, but this does not hold, because my pulse is slow, and
my father's very quick. It was ingenious to make them in the shape of
fish, because their motions exactly resemble the breathing, and panting,
and floundering, and tail-curling of fish; and I am sure I have tired
you with them, and you will be sick of these fish. [Footnote: It was
afterwards ascertained that these conjuring fish had been brought from
Japan by the Dutch, and were made of horn cut extremely thin. Their
movements were occasioned, as Mr. Edgeworth supposed, from the warm
moisture of the hand, but depended upon the manner in which they were
placed. If the middle of the fish was made to touch the warmest part of
the hand, it contracted, and set the head and tail in motion.]


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _April 1808._

We have just had a charming letter from Mrs. Barbauld, in which she asks
if we have read _Marmion_, Mr. Scott's new poem: we have not. I have
read _Corinne_ with my father, and I like it better than he does. In one
word, I am dazzled by the genius, provoked by the absurdities, and in
admiration of the taste and critical judgment of Italian literature
displayed through the whole work. But I will not I dilate upon it in
a letter; I could talk of it for three hours to you and my aunt. I
almost broke my foolish heart over the end of the third volume, and my
father acknowledges he never read anything more pathetic.

Pray remember my garden when the Beauforts come to us. It adds very much
to my happiness, especially as Honora and all the children have shares
in it, and I assure you it is very cheerful to see the merry,
scarlet-coated, busy little workwomen in their territories, sowing, and
weeding, and transplanting hour after hour.


_June 4._

Lady Elizabeth Pakenham and Mrs. Stewart and her son Henry, a fine
intelligent boy, and her daughter Kitty, who promises to be as gentle as
her mother, have been here. I liked Mrs. Stewart's conversation much,
and thought her very interesting.


_June 9._

My father and mother have gone to the Hills to settle a whole clan of
tenants whose leases are out, and who _expect that because_ they have
all lived under his Honour, they and theirs these hundred years, that
his Honour shall and will contrive to divide the land that supported ten
people amongst their sons and sons' sons, to the number of a hundred.
And there is Cormac with the reverend locks, and Bryan with the flaxen
wig, and Brady with the long brogue, and Paddy with the short, and Terry
with the butcher's-blue coat, and Dennis with no coat at all, and Eneas
Hosey's widow, and all the Devines, pleading and quarrelling about
boundaries and bits of bog. I wish Lord Selkirk was in the midst of
them, with his hands crossed before him; I should like to know if he
could make them understand his _Essay on Emigration._

My father wrote to Sir Joseph Banks to apply through the French
Institute for leave for Lovell to travel as a _literate_ in Germany, and
I have frequently written about him to our French friends; and those
passages in my letters were never answered. All their letters are now
written, as Sir Joseph Banks observed, under evident constraint and
fear.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth writes:

This summer of 1808 Mr. and Mrs. Ruxton and their two daughters passed
some time with us. My father, mother, and sister came also, and Maria
read out _Ennui_ in manuscript. We used to assemble in the middle of the
day in the library, and everybody enjoyed it. One evening when we were
at dinner with this large party, the butler came up to Mr. Edgeworth.
"Mrs. Apreece, sir; she is getting out of her carriage." Mr. Edgeworth
went to the hall door, but we all sat still laughing, for there had been
so many jokes about Mrs. Apreece, who was then travelling in Ireland,
that we thought it was only nonsense of Sneyd's, who we supposed had
dressed up some one to personate her; and we were astonished when Mr.
Edgeworth presented her as the real Mrs. Apreece. She stayed some days,
and was very brilliant and agreeable. She continued, as Mrs. Apreece and
as Lady Davy, to be a kind friend and correspondent of Maria's.


MARIA _to_ C. SNEYD EDGEWORTH, AT EDINBURGH.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Dec. 30, 1808._

How little we can tell from day to day what will happen to us or our
friends. I promised you a merry frankful of nonsense this day, and
instead of that we must send you the melancholy account of poor Dr.
Beddoes' death. [Footnote: Dr. Beddoes, who had married Anna Edgeworth,
was the author of almost innumerable books. His pupil, Sir Humphry Davy,
says: "He had talents which would have exalted him to the pinnacle of
philosophical eminence, if they had been applied with discretion."] I
enclose Emmeline's letter, which will tell you all better than I can.
Poor Anna! how it has been possible for her weak body to sustain her
through such trials and such exertions, GOD only knows. My father and
mother have written most warm and pressing invitations to her to come
here immediately, and bring all her children. How fortunate it was that
little Tom [Footnote: Thomas Lovell Beddoes, 1803-1849, author of _The
Bride's Tragedy_, and of _Death's Jest-Book._] came here last summer,
and how still more fortunate that the little fellow returned with Henry
to see his poor father before he died.


To MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Jan. 1809._

On Friday we went to Pakenham Hall. We sat down thirty-two to dinner,
and in the evening a party of twenty from Pakenham Hall went to a grand
ball at Mrs. Pollard's. Mrs. Edgeworth and I went, papa and Aunt Mary
stayed with Lady Elizabeth. Lord Longford acted his part of Earl Marshal
in the great hall, sending off carriage after carriage, in due
precedence, and with its proper complement of beaux and belles. I was
much entertained: had Mrs. Tuite, and mamma, and Mrs. Pakenham, and the
Admiral to talk and laugh with: saw abundance of comedy. There were
three Miss ----s, from the County of Tipperary, three degrees of
comparison--the positive, the comparative, and the superlative;
excellent figures, with white feathers as long as my two arms joined
together, stuck in the front of what were meant for Spanish hats. How
they towered above their sex, divinely vulgar, with brogues of true
Milesian race! Supper so crowded that Caroline Pakenham and I agreed to
use one arm by turns, and thus with difficulty found means to reach our
mouths. Caroline grows upon me every time I see her; she is as quick as
lightning, understands with half a word literary allusions as well as
humour, and follows and leads in conversation with that playfulness and
good breeding which delight the more because they are so seldom found
together. We stayed till between three and four in the morning. Lord
Longford had, to save our horses which had come a journey, put a pair of
his horses and one of his postillions to our coach: the postillion had,
it seems, amused himself at a _club_ in Castle Pollard while we were at
the ball, and he had amused himself so much that he did not know the
ditch from the road: he was ambitious of passing Mr. Dease's
carriage--passed it: attempted to pass Mr. Tuite's, ran the wheels on a
drift of snow which overhung the ditch, and laid the coach fairly down
on its side in the ditch. We were none of us hurt. The _us_ were my
mother, Mr. Henry Pakenham, and myself. My mother fell undermost; I
never fell at all, for I clung like a bat to the handstring at my side,
determined that I would not fall upon my mother and break her arm. None
of us were even bruised. Luckily Mrs. Tuite's carriage was within a few
yards of us, and stopped, and the gentlemen hauled us out immediately.
Admiral Pakenham lifted me up and carried me in his arms, as if I had
been a little doll, and set me down actually on the step of Mrs. Tuite's
carriage, so I never wet foot or shoe. And now, my dear aunt, I have
established a character for courage in overturns for the rest of my
life! The postillion was not the least hurt, nor the horses; if they had
not been the quietest animals in the world we should have been undone:
one was found with his feet level with the other's head. The coach could
not be got out of the deep ditch that night, but Lord Longford sent a
man to sleep in it, that nobody else might, and that no one might steal
the glasses. It came out safe and sound in the morning, not a glass
broken. Miss Fortescue, Caroline, and Mr. Henry Pakenham went up, just
as we left Pakenham Hall, to town or to the Park to Lady Wellesley, who
gives a parting ball, and then follows Sir Arthur to England.


EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 2, 1809. ._

This minute I hear a carman is going to Navan, and I hasten to send you
the _Cottagers of Glenburnie_, [Footnote: By Miss Elizabeth Hamilton,
with whom Miss Edgeworth had become intimate at Edinburgh in 1803.]
which I hope you will like as well as we do. I think it will do a vast
deal of good, and besides it is extremely interesting, which all _good_
books are not: it has great powers, both comic and tragic. I write in
the midst of Fortescues and Pakenhams, with dear Miss Caroline P., whom
I like every hour better and better, sitting on the sofa beside me,
reading Mademoiselle Clairon's _Memoirs_, and talking so entertainingly,
that I can scarcely tell what I have said, or am going to say.

I like Mrs. Fortescue's conversation, and will, as Sophy desires,
converse as much as possible with obliging and ever-cheerful Miss
Fortescue. But indeed it is very difficult to mind anything but
Caroline.


_Feb. 5._

Three of the most agreeable days I ever spent we have enjoyed in the
visit of our Pakenham Hall friends to us. How delightful it is to be
with those who are sincerely kind and well-bred: I would not give many
straws for good breeding without sincerity, and I would give at any time
ten times as much for kindness _with_ politeness as for kindness without
it. There is something quite captivating in Lady Longford's voice and
manners, and the extreme vivacity of her countenance, and her quick
change of feelings interested me particularly: I never saw a woman so
little spoiled by the world. As for Caroline Pakenham, I love her. They
were all very polite about the reading out of _Emilie de Coulanges_, and
took it as a mark of kindness from me, and not as an exhibition. Try to
get and read the _Life of Dudley, Lord North_, of which parts are highly
interesting. I am come to the Ambition in _Marie de Menzikoff_, which I
like much, but the love is mere brown sugar and water. The mother's
blindness is beautifully described. My father says "Vivian" will stand
next to "Mrs. Beaumont" and "Ennui"; I have ten days' more work at it,
ten days' more purgatory at other corrections, and then, huzza! a heaven
upon earth of idleness and reading, which is my idleness. Half of
_Professional Education_ is printed.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _March 1809._

Indeed you are quite right in thinking that the expressions of affection
from my uncle and you are more delightful to me than all the compliments
or admiration in the world could be. It is no new thing for me to be
happy at Black Castle, but I think I was particularly happy there this
last time. You both made me feel that I added to the pleasures of your
fireside, which after all, old-fashioned or not, are the best of all
pleasures. How I did laugh! and how impossible it is not to laugh in
some company, or to laugh in others. I have often wondered how my ideas
flow or ebb without the influence of my will; sometimes when I am with
those I love, flowing faster than tongue can utter, and sometimes
ebbing, ebbing, till nought but sand and sludge are left.

We have been much entertained with _Le petit Carilloneur._ I would send
it to you, only it is a society book; but I do send by a carman two
volumes of Alfieri's _Life_ and Kirwan's _Essay on Happiness_, and the
Drogheda edition of _Parent's Assistant_, which, with your leave, I
present to your servant Richard.

The Grinding Organ [Footnote: Afterwards published in 1827 in a small
volume, entitled _Little Plays._] went off on Friday night better than I
could have expected, and seemed to please the spectators. Mrs. Pakenham
brought four children, and Mr. and Mrs. Thompson two sons, Mr. and Mrs.
Keating two daughters, which, with the Beauforts, Molly, George, and the
rest of the servants, formed the whole audience. I am sure you would
have enjoyed the pleasure the Bristows showed on seeing and hearing Mary
Bristow perform her part, which she did with perfect propriety. Sophy
and Fanny were excellent, but as they were doomed to be the _good_
children, they had not ample room and verge enough to display powers
equal to the little termagant heroine of the night. William in his Old
Man (to use the newspaper style) was correct and natural. Mr. Edgeworth
as the English Farmer evinced much knowledge of true English character
and humour. Miss Edgeworth as the Widow Ross, "a cursed scold," was
quite at home. It is to be regretted that the Widow Ross has no voice,
as a song in character was of course expected; the Farmer certainly gave
"a fair challenge to a fair lady." His Daniel Cooper was given in an
excellent style, and was loudly encored.


_April 28._

The Primate [Footnote: William Stuart, Archbishop of Armagh, fifth son
of the third Earl of Bute.] was very agreeable during the two days he
spent here. My father travelled with him from Dublin to Ardbraccan, and
this reputed silent man never ceased talking and telling entertaining
anecdotes till the carriage stopped at the steps at Ardbraccan. This I
could hardly credit till I myself heard his Grace burst forth in
conversation. The truth of his character gives such value to everything
he says, even to his humorous stories. He has two things in his
character which I think seldom meet--a strong taste for humour, and
strong feelings of indignation. In his eye you may often see alternately
the secret laughing expression of humour, and the sudden open flash of
indignation. He is a man of the warmest feelings, with the coldest
exterior I ever saw--a master mind. I could not but be charmed with him,
because I saw that he thoroughly appreciated my father.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tales of Fashionable Life_ were published in June 1809, and greatly
added to the celebrity of their authoress. "Almeria" is the best, and
full of admirable pictures of character. In all, the object is to depict
the vapid and useless existence of those who live only for society.
Sometimes the moralising becomes tiresome. "Vraiment Miss Edgeworth est
digne de l'enthousiasme, mais elle se perd dans votre triste utilite,"
said Madame de Stael to M. Dumont when she had read the Tales. In that
age of romantic fiction an attempt to depict life as it really was took
the reading world by surprise.

"As a writer of tales and novels," wrote Lord Dudley in the _Quarterly
Review_, "Miss Edgeworth has a very marked peculiarity. It is that of
venturing to dispense common sense to her readers, and to bring them
within the precincts of real life and natural feeling. She presents them
with no incredible adventures or inconceivable sentiments, no
hyperbolical representations of uncommon characters, or monstrous
exhibitions of exaggerated passion. Without excluding love from her
pages, she knows how to assign to it its just limits. She neither
degrades the sentiment from its true dignity, nor lifts it to a
burlesque elevation. It takes its proper place among the passions. Her
heroes and heroines, if such they may be called, are never miraculously
good, nor detestably wicked. They are such men and women as we see and
converse with every day of our lives, with the same proportional mixture
in them of what is right and what is wrong, of what is great and what is
little."

Lord Jeffrey, writing in the _Edinburgh Review_, said: "The writings of
Miss Edgeworth exhibit so singular an union of sober sense and
inexhaustible invention, so minute a knowledge of all that distinguishes
manners, or touches on happiness in every condition of human fortune,
and so just an estimate both of the real sources of enjoyment, and of
the illusions by which they are so often obstructed, that we should
separate her from the ordinary manufacturers of novels, and speak of her
Tales as works of more serious importance than much of the true history
and solemn philosophy that comes daily under our inspection.... It is
impossible, I think, to read ten pages in any of her writings without
feeling, not only that the whole, but that every part of them, was
intended to do good."

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _June 1809._

A copy of _Tales of Fashionable Life_ [Footnote: The first set
containing "Ennui," "Madame de Fleury," "Almeria," "The Dun," and
"Manoeuvring," in three volumes.] reached us yesterday in a Foster
frank: they looked well enough,--not very good paper, but better than
_Popular Tales._ I am going to write a story called "To-day," [Footnote:
Never written.] as a match for "To-morrow," in which I mean to show that
Impatience is as bad as Procrastination, and the desire to do too much
to-day, and to enjoy too much at present, is as bad as putting off
everything till to-morrow. What do you think of this plan? Write next
post, as, while my father is away, I am going to write a story for his
birthday. My other plan was to write a story in which young men of all
the different professions should act a part, like the "Contrast" in
higher life, [Footnote: "Patronage."] or the "Freeman Family," only
without princes, and without any possible allusion to our own family. I
have another sub-plan of writing "Coelebina in search of a Husband,"
without my father's knowing it, and without reading _Coelebs_, that I
may neither imitate nor abuse it.

I daresay you can borrow Powell's _Sermons_ from Ardbraccan or Dr.
Beaufort; the Primate lent them to my father. There is a charge on the
connection between merit and preferment, and one discourse on the
influence of academical studies and a recluse life, which I particularly
admire, and wish it had been quoted in _Professional Education._

Mr. Holland, a grand-nephew of Mr. Wedgwood's, and son to a surgeon at
Knutsford, Cheshire, and intended for a physician, came here in the
course of a pedestrian tour--spent two days--very well informed. Ask my
mother when she goes to you to tell you all that Mr. Holland told us
about Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld and Mrs. Marcet, who is the author of
_Conversations on Chemistry_--a charming woman, by his account.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Aug. 22, 1809._

I have just been reading Carleton's _Memoirs_, and am in love with the
captain and with his general, Lord Peterborough; and I have also been
reading one of the worst-written books in the language, but it has both
instructed and entertained me--Sir John Hawkins's _Life of Johnson._ He
has thrown a heap of rubbish of his own over poor Johnson, which would
have smothered any less gigantic genius.

M. Dumont writes from Lord Henry Petty's: "Nous avons lu en societe a
Bounds, _Tales of Fashionable Life._ Toute societe est un petit theatre.
'Ennui' et 'Manoeuvring' ont eu un succes marque, il a ete tres vif.
Nous avons trouve un grand nombre des dialogues du meilleur comique,
c'est a dire ceux ou les personnages se developpent sans le vouloir, et
sont plaisants sans songer a l'etre. Il y a des scenes charmantes dans
'Madame de Fleury.' Ne craignez pas les difficultes, c'est la ou vous
brillez."


_To_ MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.

_Nov 30._

We have had a bevy of wits here--Mr. Chenevix, Mr. Henry Hamilton,
Leslie Foster, and his particular friend Mr. Fitzgerald. Somebody asked
if Miss White [Footnote: The then well-known Miss Lydia White, for many
years a central figure in London literary society.] was a bluestocking.
"Oh yes, she is; I can't tell you how blue. What is bluer than
blue?"--"_Morbleu_," exclaimed Lord Norbury. Miss White herself comes
next week.


_Dec. 11._

Among other things Miss White entertained my father with was a method of
drawing the human figure, and putting it into any attitude you please:
she had just learned it from Lady Charleville--or rather not learned it.
A whole day was spent in drawing circles all over the human figure, and
I saw various skeletons in chains, and I was told the intersections of
these were to show where the centres of gravity were to be; but my
gravity could not stand the sight of these ineffectual conjuring tricks,
and my father was out of patience himself. He seized a sheet of paper
and wrote to Lady Charleville, and she answered in one of the most
polite letters I ever read, inviting him to go to Charleville Forest,
and he will go and see these magical incantations performed by the
enchantress herself.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

_December 1809._

I have spent five delightful days at Sonna and Pakenham Hall. Mrs.
Tuite's kindness and Mr. Chenevix's various anecdotes, French and
Spanish, delighted us at Sonna; and you know the various charms both for
the head and heart at Pakenham Hall.

I have just been reading, for the fourth time, I believe, _The Simple
Story_, which I intended this time to read as a critic, that I might
write to Mrs. Inchbald about it; but I was so carried away by it that I
was totally incapable of thinking of Mrs. Inchbald or anything but Miss
Milner and Doriforth, who appeared to me real persons whom I saw and
heard, and who had such power to interest me, that I cried my eyes
almost out before I came to the end of the story: I think it the most
pathetic and the most powerfully interesting tale I ever read. I was
obliged to go from it to correct _Belinda_ for Mrs. Barbauld, who is
going to insert it in her collection of novels, with a preface; and I
really was so provoked with the cold tameness of that stick or stone
Belinda, that I could have torn the pages to pieces: and really, I have
not the heart or the patience to _correct_ her. As the hackney coachman
said, "Mend _you!_ better make a new one."


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Jan. 1810._

I have had a very flattering and grateful letter from Lydia White; she
has sent me a comedy of Kelly's--_A Word to the Wise._ She says the
_Heiress_ is taken from it. Just about the same time I had a letter from
Mrs. Apreece: [Footnote: Afterwards Lady Davy.] she is at Edinburgh, and
seems charmed with all the wits there; and, as I hear from Mr. Holland,
[Footnote: Afterwards Sir Henry Holland.] the young physician who was
here last summer, she is much admired by them. Mrs. Hamilton and she
like one another particularly; they can never cross, for no two human
beings are, body and mind, form and substance, more unlike. We thought
Mr. Holland, when he was here, a young man of abilities--his letter has
fully justified this opinion: it has excited my father's enthusiastic
admiration. He says Walter Scott is going to publish a new poem; I do
not augur well of the title, _The Lady of the Lake._ I hope this lady
will not disgrace him. Mr. Stewart has not recovered, nor ever will
recover, the loss of his son: Mr. Holland says the conclusion of his
lectures this season was most pathetic and impressive--"placing before
the view of his auditors a series of eight-and-thirty years, in which he
had zealously devoted himself to the duties of his office; and giving
the impression that this year would be the period of his public life."

I have had a most agreeable letter from my darling old Mrs. Clifford;
she sent me a curiosity--a worked muslin cap, which cost sixpence, done
in tambour stitch, by a steam-engine. Mrs. Clifford tells me that Mrs.
Hannah More was lately at Dawlish, and excited more curiosity there, and
engrossed more attention, than any of the distinguished personages who
were there, not excepting the Prince of Orange. The gentleman from whom
she drew _Caelebs_ was there, but most of those who saw him did him the
justice to declare that he was a much more agreeable man than Caelebs. If
you have any curiosity to know his name, I can tell you that--young Mr.
Harford, of Blaise Castle.


_Feb. 1810._

My father has just had a letter from your good friend Sir Rupert George,
who desires to be affectionately remembered to you and my uncle. His
letter is in answer to one my father wrote to him about his clear and
honourable evidence on this Walcheren business. Sir Rupert says: "I must
confess I feel vain in receiving commendations from such a quarter. The
situation in which I was placed was perfectly new to me, and I had no
rule for the government of my conduct but the one which has, I trust,
governed all my actions through life--to speak the truth, and fear not.
Allow me on this occasion to repeat to you an expression of the late
Mrs. Delany's to me a few years before she died: 'The Georges, I knew,
would always prosper, from their integrity of conduct. Don't call this
flattery: I am too old to flatter any one, particularly a grand-nephew;
and to convince you of my sincerity, I will add--for which, perhaps, you
will not thank me--that there is not an ounce of wit in the whole
family.'"

"Oh how my sister would like to see this letter of Sir Rupert's!" said
my father; and straightway he told, very much to Sophy and Lucy's
edification, the history of his dividing with sister Peg the first peach
he ever had in his life.


_March 2._

Have you any commands to Iceland? My young friend Mr. Holland proposes
going there from Edinburgh in April. Sir George Mackenzie is the chief
mover of the expedition.

This epigram or epitaph was written by Lord I-don't-know-who, upon
_Doctor_ Addington--Pitt's Addington--in old French:

  Cy dessous reposant
    Le sieur Addington git:
  Politique soi-disant,
    Medecin malgre lui.


_March 19._

The other day we had a visit from a Mrs. Coffy--no relation, she says,
to your Mrs. Coffy. She looked exactly like one of the pictures of the
old London Cries. She came to tell us that she had been at Verdun, and
had seen Lovell. From her description of the place and of him, we had no
doubt she had actually seen him. She came over to Ireland to prove that
some man who is a prisoner at Verdun, and who is a life in a lease, is
not dead, but "all alive, ho!" and my father certified for her that he
believed she had been there. She knew nothing of Lovell but that he was
well, and fat, and a very merry gentleman two years ago. She had been
taken by a French privateer as she was going to see her sons in Jersey,
and left Verdun at a quarter of an hour's notice, as the women were
allowed to come home, and she had not time to tell this to Lovell, or
get a letter from him to his friends. She was, as Kitty said, "a comical
body," but very entertaining, and acted a woman chopping bread and
selling _un liv'--deux liv'--trois liv'--Ah, bon, bon_, as well as Molly
Coffy [Footnote: Mrs. Molly Coffy, for fifty years Mrs. Ruxton's
housekeeper.] herself acted the elephant. She was children's maid to Mr.
Estwick, and Mr. Estwick is, my father says, son to a Mr. Estwick who
used to be your partner and admirer at Bath in former times!!


_To_ C. SNEYD EDGEWORTH, IN LONDON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _April 1810._

I do not like Lord Byron's _English Bards and Scotch Reviewers_, though,
as my father says, the lines are very strong, and worthy of Pope and
_The Dunciad._ But I was so much prejudiced against the whole by the
first lines I opened upon about the "paralytic muse" of the man who had
been his guardian, and is his relation, and to whom he had dedicated his
first poems, that I could not relish his wit. He may have great talents,
but I am sure he has neither a great nor good mind; and I feel dislike
and disgust for his Lordship.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 1810._

Now I have to announce the safe arrival of my aunts and Honora in good
looks and good spirits. My father went to Dublin to meet them. I am
sorry he did not see the Count de Salis, [Footnote: The Count de Salis,
just then going to be married to Miss Foster, daughter of Mr.
Edgeworth's old friend and schoolfellow, the Bishop of Clogher.] but he
was much pleased with Harriet Foster, which I am glad of; for I love
her.


To MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _June 21, 1810._

When shall we two meet again? This is a question which occurs to me much
oftener than even you think, and it always comes into my mind when I am
in any society I peculiarly like, or when I am reading any book
particularly suited to my taste and feelings; and now it comes _a
propos_ to the Bishop of Meath and Mrs. O'Beirne and _The Lady of the
Lake._ By great good fortune, and by the good-nature of Lady Charlotte
Rawdon, we had _The Lady of the Lake_ to read just when the O'Beirnes
were with us. A most delightful reading we had; my father, the Bishop,
and Mr. Jephson reading it aloud alternately. It is a charming poem: a
most interesting story, generous, finely-drawn characters, and in many
parts the finest poetry. But for an old prepossession--an unconquerable
prepossession--in favour of the old minstrel, I think I should prefer
this to either the _Lay_ or _Marmion._ Our pleasure in reading it was
increased by the sympathy and enthusiasm of the guests.

Have you read, or tried to read, Mademoiselle de l'Espinasse's three
volumes of Letters? and have you read Madame du Deffand? [Footnote: The
blind friend and correspondent of Horace Walpole.] Some of the letters
in her collection are very entertaining; those of the Duchesse de
Choiseul, the Comte de Broglie, Sir James Macdonald, and a few of Madame
du Deffand's: the others are full of _fade_ compliments and tiresome
trifling, but altogether curious as a picture of that profligate,
heartless, brilliant, and _ennuyed_ society. There is in these letters,
I think, a stronger picture of _ennui_ than in Alfieri's _Life._ Was his
passion for the Countess of Albany, or for horses, or for pure Tuscan,
the strongest? or did not he love NOTORIETY better than all three?


_Sept._ 1810.

Sir Thomas and Lady Ackland spent a day here: he is nephew to my friend
Mrs. Charles Hoare. He says he is twenty-three, but he looks like
eighteen.


To MISS RUXTON.

_Oct. 1810._

We have had a visit from Captain Pakenham, the Admiral's son, this week:
I like him. I was particularly pleased with his respectful manner to my
father. He has some of his father's quickness of repartee, but with his
_own_ manner--no affectation of his father's style. We were talking of a
Mrs. ----. "What," said I, "is she alive still? The last time I saw her
she seemed as if she had lived that one day longer by particular
desire."--"I am sure, then," said Captain Pakenham, in a slow, gentle
voice,--"I am sure, then, I cannot tell at _whose desire._"

I have been hard at work at Mrs. Leadbeater: I fear my notes are
rubbish.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth writes:

Mrs. Leadbeater, the Quaker lady who lived at Ballitore, whose father
had been tutor to Edmund Burke, and whose Letters have been published,
wrote to Maria this year, asking her advice about a book she had
written, _Cottage Dialogues_, and sent the MS. to her. Mr. Edgeworth
was so much pleased with it, that Maria offered, at Mr. Edgeworth's
suggestion, to add a few notes to give her name to the book; and it was
published by Johnson's successor with great success.

Mr. Edgeworth, Maria, and I went this autumn to Kilkenny to see the
amateur theatricals, with which we were much delighted. Mr. Edgeworth,
who remembered Garrick, said he never saw such tragic acting as Mr.
Rothe, in _Othello_: how true to nature it was, appeared from the
observation of our servant, Pat Newman, who had never seen a play
before, when Mr. Edgeworth asked him if he did not pity the poor woman
smothered in bed: "It was a pity of her, but I declare I pitied the man
the most." The town was full to overflowing, but we were most hospitably
received, though our friends the O'Beirnes were their guests, by Doctor
and Mrs. Butler. He had been a friend of Mr. Edgeworth's when he lived
in the county of Longford, and she had been, when Miss Rothwell, a
Dublin acquaintance of mine. This visit to Kilkenny was rich in
recollections for Maria: the incomparable acting, the number of
celebrated people there assembled, the supper in the great gallery of
old grand Kilkenny Castle, the superb hospitality, the number of
beautiful women and witty men, the gaiety, the spirit, and the
brilliancy of the whole, could have been seen nowhere else.


MISS EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Nov. 1810._

We are to set out for Dublin on the 13th, to hear Davy's Lectures. Lord
Fingal was so kind as to come here yesterday with Lady Teresa Dease, and
he told me that my uncle is gone to Dublin. Tell me everything about it
clearly. Honora, Fanny, and William go with us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth interpolates:

We spent a few weeks in Dublin. Davy's Lectures not only opened a new
world of knowledge to ourselves and to our young people, but were
especially gratifying to Mr. Edgeworth and Maria, confirming, by the
eloquence, ingenuity, and philosophy which they displayed, the high idea
they had so early formed of Mr. Davy's powers.


MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _April 1811._

I think Hardy's _Life of Lord Charlemont_ interesting, and many parts
written in a beautiful style; but I don't think he gives a clear,
well-proportioned history of the times. There is a want of _keeping_ and
perspective in it. The pipe of the man smoking out of the window is as
high as the house. Mr. Hardy is more a portrait than a history painter.

If you have any curiosity to know the names of the writers of some of
the articles in the _Edinburgh Review_, I can tell you, having had
to-day, from my literary intelligencer, Mr. Holland, two huge sheets,
very entertaining and sensible. Jeffrey wrote the article on
Parliamentary Reform and that on the Curse of Kehama, Sydney Smith that
on Toleration, and Malthus that on Bullion; and if you have any
curiosity, I can also tell you those in the _Quarterly_, among whom
Canning is one. Thank my aunt for her information about Walter Scott; my
father will write immediately to ask him here. I wish we lived in an old
castle, and had millions of old legends for him. Have you seen
Campbell's poem of _O'Connor's Child_? it is beautiful. In many parts I
think it is superior to Scott.


_May-day._

This being May-day, one of the wettest I have ever seen, I have been
regaled, not with garlands of May flowers, but with the _legal_
pleasures of the season; I have heard of nothing but _giving notices to
quit, taking possession, ejectments, flittings_, etc. What do you think
of a tenant who took one of the nice new houses in this town, and left
it with every lock torn off the doors, and with a large stone, such as
John Langan could not lift, driven actually through the boarded floor of
the parlour? The brute, however, is rich, and if he does not die of
whisky before the law can get its hand into his pocket, he will pay for
this waste.

I have had another [Footnote: No less than five letters were received by
Miss Edgeworth at different times, from different young people, asking
for a description of the dresses in the "Contrast."] odd letter signed
by three young ladies--Clarissa Craven, Rachel Biddle, and Eliza Finch,
who, after sundry compliments in very pretty language, and with all the
appearance of seriousness, beg that I will do them the favour to satisfy
the curiosity they feel about the wedding dresses of the Frankland
family in the "Contrast." I have answered in a way that will stand for
either jest or earnest; I have said that, at a sale of Admiral Tipsey's
smuggled goods, Mrs. Hungerford bought French cambric muslin wedding
gowns for the brides, the collars trimmed in the most becoming manner,
as a Monmouth milliner assured me, with Valenciennes lace, from Admiral
Tipsey's spoils. I have given all the particulars of the bridegrooms'
accoutrements, and signed myself the young ladies' "obedient servant and
perhaps _dupe._"

I am going on with "Patronage," and wish I could show it to you. _Do_
get _O'Connor's Child_, Campbell's beautiful poem.

Last Saturday there was the most violent storm of thunder and lightning
I ever saw in Ireland, and once I thought I felt the ground shake under
me, for which thought I was at the time laughed to scorn; but I find
that at the same time the shock of an earthquake was felt _in the
country, which shook Lissard House to its foundations._ I tell it to you
in the very words in which it was told to me by Sneyd, who had it from
Councillor Cummin. A man was certainly killed by the lightning near
Finac, _for_ the said councillor was knocked up at six o'clock in the
morning, _to know_ if there was to be a coroner's inquest.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Aug. 30, 1811._

I have written a little play for our present large juvenile audience,
[Footnote: Mrs. Beddoes and her three children were now at
Edgeworthstown.] not for them to act, but to hear; I read it out last
night, and it was liked. The scene is in Ireland, and the title "The
Absentee." When will you let me read it to you? I would rather read it
to you up in a garret than to the most brilliant audience in
Christendom.

Anna's children are very affectionate. Henry is beautiful, and the most
graceful creature I ever saw. The eight children are as happy together
as the day is long, and give no sort of trouble.

What book do you think Buonaparte was reading at the siege of
Acre?--_Madame de Stael sur l'influence des Passions_! His opinion of
her and of her works has wonderfully changed since then. He does not
follow Mazarin's wise maxim, "Let them _talk_ provided they let me
_act._" He may yet find the recoil of that press, with which he meddles
so incautiously, more dangerous than those cannon of which he well knows
the management.


_Note Physical and Economical_

I am informed from high authority, that if you give Glauber's salts to
hens, they will lay eggs as fast as you please!

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _October 1811._

Davy spent a day here last week, and was as usual full of entertainment
and information of various kinds. He is gone to Connemara, I believe, to
fish, for he is a little mad about fishing; and very ungrateful it is of
me to say so, for he sent to us from Boyle the finest trout! and a trout
of Davy's catching is, I presume, worth ten trouts caught by vulgar
mortals. Sneyd went with him to Boyle, saw Lord Lorton's fine place, and
spent a pleasant day. Two of Mr. Davy's fishing friends have since
called upon us: Mr. Solly, a great mineralogist, and Mr. Children, a man
of Kent.

I am working away at "Patronage," but cannot at all come up to my idea
of what it should be.


_To_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

ARDBRACCAN HOUSE, _Nov. 1811._

Nothing worthy of note occurred on our journey to Pakenham Hall, where
we found to our surprise dear Lady Longford and Lord Longford, who had
come an hour before on one of his flying visits, and a whole tribe of
merry laughing children, Stewarts and Hamiltons. Lady Longford showed us
a picture of Lady Wellington and her children; they are beautiful, and
she says very like--Lady Wellington is not like: it is absurd to attempt
to draw Lady Wellington's face; she has no _face_, it is all
countenance. My father and Lady Elizabeth played at cribbage, and I was
looking on: they counted so quickly fifteen two, fifteen four, that I
was never able to keep up with them, and made a sorry figure. Worse
again at some genealogies and intermarriages, which Lady Elizabeth
undertook to explain to me, till at last she threw her arms flat down on
each side in indignant despair, and exclaimed, "Well! you are the
stupidest creature alive!"

When Lord Longford came in I escaped from cribbage and heard many
entertaining things: one was of his meeting a man in the mail coach, who
looked as if he was gouty, and seemed as if he could not stir without
great difficulty, and never without the assistance of a companion, who
never moved an inch from him. At last Lord Longford discovered that this
_gentleman's_ gouty overalls covered _fetters_; that he was a malefactor
in irons, and his companion a Bow Street officer, who treated his
prisoner with the greatest politeness. "Give me leave, sir--excuse
me--one on your arm and one on mine, and then we are sure we can't leave
one another."

A worse travelling companion this than the bear, whom Lord Longford
found one morning in the coach when day dawned, opposite to him--the
gentleman in the fur cloak, as he had all night supposed him to be!

       *       *       *       *       *

A second series of _Tales of Fashionable Life_ appeared in 1812. Of
these "The Absentee" was a masterpiece, and contains one scene which
Macaulay declared to be the best thing written of its kind since the
opening of the twenty-second book of the _Odyssey._ Yet Mrs. Edgeworth
tells that the greater part of "The Absentee" was "written under the
torture of the toothache; it was only by keeping her mouth full of some
strong lotion that Maria could allay the pain, and yet, though in this
state of suffering, she never wrote with more spirit and rapidity." Mr.
Edgeworth advised the conclusion to be a Letter from Larry, the
postillion: he wrote one, and she wrote another; he much preferred hers,
which is the admirable finale to "The Absentee."

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MISS MARGARET RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _July 20, 1812._

I am heartily obliged to my dear Sophy--never mind, you need not turn to
the direction, it _is_ to Margaret, my dear, though it begins with
thanks to Sophy--for being in such haste to relieve my mind from the
agony it was in that _Fashionable Tales_ should reach my aunt. I cannot
by any form of words express how delighted I am that you are none of you
angry with me, and that my uncle and aunt are pleased with what they
have read of "The Absentee." I long to hear whether their favour
continues to the end and extends to the catastrophe, that dangerous rock
upon which poor authors, even after a prosperous voyage, are wrecked,
sometimes while their friends are actually hailing them from the shore.
I have the _Rosamond_ vase [Footnote: A glass vase which Miss Edgeworth
painted for Mrs. Ruxton, in brown, from Flaxman's designs for the
_Odyssey._] madness so strong upon me, that I am out of my dear bed
regularly at half-past seven in the morning, and never find it more than
half an hour till breakfast time, so happy am I daubing. On one side I
have Ulysses longing to taste Circe's cakes, but saying, "No, thank
you," like a very good boy: and on the other side I have him just come
home, and the old nurse washing his feet, and his queen fast asleep in
her chair by a lamp, which I hope will not set her on fire, though it
is, in spite of my best endeavours, so much out of the perpendicular
that nothing but a miracle can keep it from falling on Penelope's crown.

Little Pakenham is going on bravely (not two months old), and I am just
_beginning_ to write again, and am _in_ "Patronage," and have corrected
all the faults you pointed out to me; and Susan, who was a fool, is now
Rosamond and a wit.

I suppose you have heard various _jeux d'esprit_ on the marriage of Sir
Humphry Davy and Mrs. Apreece? I scarcely think any of them worth
copying: the best _idea_ is stolen from the _bon mot_ on Sir John Carr,
"The Traveller be_k_nighted."

"When Mr. Davy concluded his last Lecture by saying that we were but in
the _Dawn_ of Science, he probably did not expect to be so soon
be_k_nighted."

I forget the lines: the following I recollect better:--

  To the famed widow vainly bow
    Church, Army, Bar, and Navy;
  Says she, I dare not take a vow,
    But I will take my Davy.

Another my father thinks is better:

  Too many men have often seen
    Their talents underrated;
  But Davy owns that his have been
    Duly _Appreec_iated.


_Aug 22._

I enclose a copy of Lovell's letter, which will give my dear aunt
exquisite pleasure. His request to my father to pass him over, a
prisoner and of precarious health, and make his next brother his heir,
shows that if he has suffered he has at least had an opportunity of
showing what he is. We shall do all we can to get at Talleyrand or some
friend for his exchange. How happy Lady Wellington must be at this
glorious victory. Had you in your paper an account of her _running_ as
fast as she could to Lord Bury at Lord Bathurst's when he alighted, to
learn the first news of her husband! _Vive l'enthousiasme_! Without it
characters may be very snug and comfortable in the world, but there is a
degree of happiness which they will never taste, and of which they have
no more idea than an oyster can have.


_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

BLACK CASTLE, _Oct. 1812._

After a most delightful journey with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hamilton,
laughing, singing, and talking, we dined with them. [Footnote: Mr. and
Mrs. Hamilton were paying a visit at Edgeworthstown, when the papers
announced Mr. Sadler's intention of crossing the Channel in a balloon
from Dublin. Mr. Edgeworth proposed to Mr. Hamilton that they should go
to Dublin together to see the ascent, and he and Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton,
Maria, Sneyd, William, and two little sisters formed the party.] Dear
old Mr. Sackville Hamilton dined with us, fresh from London:
intellectual and corporeal dainties in abundance. The first morning was
spent in cursing Mr. Sadler for not going up, and in seeing the Dublin
Society House. A charming picture of Mr. Foster, by Beachey, with plans
in his hand, looking full of thought and starting into life and action.
Spent an hour looking over the books of prints in the library--Fanny
particularly pleased with a Houbracken: Harriet with Daniel's Indian
Antiquities: my father with Sir Christopher Wren's and Inigo Jones's
designs. After dinner Richard Ruxton came in, and said my aunt and uncle
had thoughts of coming up to see the balloon. In the evening at
Astley's. The second day to see the elephant: how I pitied this noble
animal, cooped up under the command of a scarcely human creature, who
had not half as much reason as himself. Went on to see the Panorama of
Edinburgh: I never saw a sight that pleased me more; Edinburgh was
before me--Princes Street and George Street--the Castle--the bridge over
dry land where the woman met us and said, "Poor little things they be."
At first a mistiness, like what there is in nature over a city before
the sun breaks out; then the sun shining on the buildings, trees, and
mountains.

Thursday morning, to our inexpressible joy, was fine, and the flag, the
signal that Sadler would ascend, was, to the joy of thousands, flying
from the top of Nelson's Pillar. Dressed quickly--breakfasted I don't
know how--job coach punctual: crowds in motion even at nine o'clock in
the streets: tide flowing all one way to Belvidere Gardens, lent by the
proprietor for the occasion: called at Sneyd's lodgings in Anne Street:
he and William gone: drove on; when we came near Belvidere such strings
of carriages, such crowds of people on the road and on the raised
footpath, there was no stirring: troops lined the road at each side:
guard with officers at each entrance to prevent mischief; but
unfortunately there were only two entrances, not nearly enough for such
a confluence of people. Most imprudently we and several others got out
of our carriages upon the raised footpath, in hopes of getting
immediately at the garden door, which was within two yards of us, but
nothing I ever felt was equal to the pressure of the crowd: they closed
over our little heads, I thought we must have been flattened, and the
breath squeezed out of our bodies. My father held Harriet fast, I behind
him held Fanny with such a grasp! and dragged her on with a force I did
not know I possessed. I really thought your children would never see you
again with all their bones whole, and I cannot tell you what I suffered
for ten minutes. My father, quite pale, calling with a stentor voice to
the sentinels. A fat woman nearly separated me from Fanny. My father
fairly kicked off the terrace a man who was intent upon nothing but an
odious bag of cakes which he held close to his breast, swearing and
pushing. Before us were Mrs. Smyley and Mr. Smyley, with a lady he was
protecting. Unable to protect anybody, he looked more frightened than if
he had lost a hundred causes: the lady continually saying, "Let me back!
let me back! if I could once get to my carriage!"

The tide carried us on to the door. An admirable Scotch officer, who was
mounting guard with a drawn sword, his face dropping perspiration,
exclaimed at the sight of Harriet, "Oh the child! take care of that
child! she will be crushed to death!" He made a soldier put his musket
across the doorway, so as to force a place for her to creep under: quick
as lightning in she darted, and Fanny and I and my father after her. All
was serene, uncrowded, and fresh within the park.

We instantly met Sneyd and William, and the two Mr. Foxes. Music and the
most festive scene in the gardens: the balloon, the beautiful
many-coloured balloon, chiefly maroon colour, with painted eagles, and
garlands, and arms of Ireland, hung under the trees, and was filling
fast from pipes and an apparatus which I leave for William's scientific
description: terrace before Belvidere House--well-dressed groups
parading on it: groups all over the gardens, mantles, scarves, and
feathers floating: all the commonalty outside in fields at half-price.
We soon espied Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, and joined company, and were
extremely happy, and wished for you and dear Honora. Sun shining, no
wind. Presently we met the Solicitor-General: he started back, and made
me such a bow as made me feel my own littleness; then shook my hands
most cordially, and in a few moments told me more than most men could
tell in an hour: just returned from Edinburgh--Mrs. Bushe and daughters
too much fatigued to come and see the balloon.

The Duke and Duchess of Richmond, and Sir Charles Vernon, and Sir
Charles Saxton. The Miss Gunns seated themselves in a happily
conspicuous place, with some gentlemen, on the roof of Belvidere House,
where, with veils flying and telescopes and opera-glasses continually
veering about, they attracted sufficient attention.

Walking on, Sneyd exclaimed, "My Uncle Ruxton!" I darted to him: "Is my
aunt here?"--"Yes, and Sophy, and Margaret, but I have lost them; I'm
looking for them."--"Oh, come with me and we'll find them." Soon we
made our way behind the heels of the troopers' horses, who guarded a
sacred circle round the balloon: found my aunt, and Sophy, and
Mag--surprise and joy on both sides: got seats on the pedestal of some
old statue, and talked and enjoyed ourselves: the balloon filling
gradually. Now it was that my uncle proposed our returning by Black
Castle.

The drum beats! the flag flies! balloon full! It is moved from under the
trees over the heads of the crowd: the car very light and slight--Mr.
Sadler's son, a young lad, in the car. How the horses stood the motion
of this vast body close to them I can't imagine, but they did. The boy
got out. Mr. Sadler, quite composed, this being his twenty-sixth aerial
ascent, got into his car: a lady, the Duchess of Richmond, I believe,
presented to him a pretty flag: the balloon gave two majestic nods from
side to side as the cords were cut. Whether the music continued at this
moment to play or not, nobody can tell. No one spoke while the balloon
successfully rose, rapidly cleared the trees, and floated above our
heads: loud shouts and huzzas, one man close to us exclaiming, as he
clasped his hands, "Ah, musha, musha, GOD bless you! GOD be wid you!"
Mr. Sadler, waving his flag and his hat, and bowing to the world below,
soon pierced a white cloud, and disappeared; then emerging, the balloon
looked like a moon, black on one side, silver on the other; then like a
dark bubble; then less and less, and now only a speck is seen; and now
the fleeting rack obscures it. Never did I feel the full merit of
Darwin's description till then.

Next day, at eight in the morning, my father and William (who proceed to
the Bishop of Derry's) and Fanny went to Collon. Sneyd, Harriet, and I
came here.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Oct. 26, 1812._

Elections have been the order of the day with us as well as with you. I
am glad to tell you that Lord Longford's troubles are over; he is now
here, and has just been telling us that his victory for Colonel Hercules
was as complete as his heart could wish. There would have been a duel
but for Admiral Pakenham. One gentleman in his speech said that another
had made the drummer of his corps play "Protestant Boys." The other
said, "That's a lie;" and both were proceeding to high words, when the
Admiral stepped between them, and said, very gravely, "Gentlemen, I did
not know this meeting was a music meeting, but since you appeal to us
electors to decide your cause by your musical merits, let the past be
past; and now for the present give us each of you a song, and here's the
sheriff,"--who has no more ear than a post--"shall be judge between
you." Everybody laughed, and the two angry gentlemen had to laugh off
their quarrel.

Another gentleman said to the Admiral, after the election was over, "Do
you know, I had a mind to have stood myself; if I had, what would you
have said?"--"That it was all a game of brag, and that, as you had the
shuffling of the pack, there was no knowing what knave might turn up."

Lord Longford told us of Colonel Hercules Pakenham, at the siege of
Badajos, walking with an engineer. A bomb whizzed over their heads and
fell among the soldiers, as they were carrying off the wounded. When the
Colonel expressed some regret, the engineer said, "I wonder you have not
steeled your mind to these things. These men are carried to the
hospital, and others come in their place. Let us go to the depot." Here
the engineer had his wheelbarrows all laid out in nice order, and his
pickaxes arranged in stars and various shapes; but, just as they were
leaving the depot, a bomb burst in the midst of them. "Oh, heavenly
powers, my picks!" cried the engineer, with clasped hands, in despair.


_To_ C. SNEYD EDGEWORTH, IN DUBLIN.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Feb. 10, 1813._

_Rokeby_ is, in my opinion--and let every soul speak for
themselves--most beautiful poetry: the four first cantos and half the
fifth are all I have yet read. I think it a higher and better, because
less Scotch, more universal style of poetry than any Walter Scott has
yet produced, though not altogether perfect of its kind. It has more
discrimination of character, more knowledge of human nature, more
generalised reflection, much more moral aim.

       *       *       *       *       *

In March, Miss Edgeworth accompanied her father and stepmother to
England.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MRS. MARY SNEYD.

BANGOR FERRY, _March 31, 1813._

"I will go and write a few lines of a letter to my dear Aunt Mary."

"Oh! why should you write now, my dear? You have nothing new to tell
her."

"Nothing new, but I love her, and wish to write to her; if I did not
love her, I should be worse than Caliban."

"Well, write only a few lines."

"That is just what I mean to do, and go on with my letter at any odd
place where we _stop the night._"

You have heard of all we saw at Howth, so I go on from Holyhead.
Breakfasted in company with Mr. Grainger: he has lived in very good
company abroad, and told us a variety of entertaining anecdotes:
Caulaincourt, now Due de Vincennes, was brought up in the family of the
Prince de Conde, _l'enfant de la Maison_, the playfellow of the Due
d'Enghien. Buonaparte employed Caulaincourt to seize the Due d'Enghien;
the wretch did so, and has been repaid by a dukedom.

We asked how the present Empress was liked in France. "Not at all by the
Parisians; she is too haughty, has the Austrian scornful lip, and sits
back in her carriage when she goes through the streets." The same
complaint was made against Marie Antoinette. On what small things the
popularity of the high and mighty depends!

Josephine is living very happily, amusing herself with her gardens and
her shrubberies. This _ci-devant_ Empress and Kennedy and Co., the
seedsmen, are, as Mr. Grainger says, in partnership; she has a licence
to send to him what shrubs and seeds she chooses from France, and he has
licence to send cargoes in return to her. Mr. Grainger will carry over
my box to Madame Recamier.

At the inn door at Bangor Ferry we saw a most curiously packed curricle,
with all manner of portmanteaus and hat-boxes slung in various ingenious
ways, and behind the springs two baskets, the size and shape of Lady
Elizabeth Pakenham's basket. A huge bunch of white feathers was sticking
out from one end of one of these baskets; and as we approached to
examine it, out came the live head of a white peacock--a Japan peacock
and peahen. The gentleman to whom the carriage belonged appeared next,
carrying on a perch a fine large macaw. This perch was made to fasten
behind the carriage. The servant who was harnessing the horses would not
tell to whom the carriage belonged. He replied to all inquiries, "It
belongs to that there gentleman."

We have enjoyed this fine day: had a delightful walk before dinner in a
hanging wood by the water-side--pretty sheep-paths, wood anemonies in
abundance, with their white flowers in full blow. Two ploughs going in
the field below the wood: very cheerful the sound of the Welshmen's
voices talking to their horses. The ploughing, giving the idea of
culture and civilisation, contrasted agreeably with the wildness of the
wood and mountains. Good-night.


_Thursday._

This morning we set out for the slate quarries; we took our time, full
time to see everything at leisure. The railways are above six miles
long; they are very narrow. I had formed an idea of their being much
more magnificent, but in this country canals and railways are made as
useful and as little splendid as possible. I was surprised to see these
railways winding round the rocks, and going over heaps of rubbish where
you would think no wheelbarrow even could go.

From the slate-cutting we went to the slate quarries. We had been
admiring the beauty of the landscape. My father did not say anything to
raise my expectations, but when we arrived near the place, he took me by
the hand, and led me over a heap of rubbish, on the top of which there
was a railway. We walked on until we came between two slate mountains,
and found ourselves in the midst of the quarries. It was the most
sublime sight of all the works of man I ever beheld. The men looked like
pigmies. There is a curious cone of grayish-coloured slate standing
alone, which the workmen say is good for nothing; but it is good for its
picturesque appearance. A heavy shower of hail came on, which, falling
between the rifts of the rocks, and blown by the high wind, added to the
sublimity of the scene: we were comfortably sheltered in one of the
sheds.

Finding that Mr. Worthington was at Liverpool, my father determined to
go there, and we have come on to Conway. During a storm of wind,
thunder, and lightning last night it snowed just enough to cover the
tops of the mountains with white, to increase the beauty of the prospect
for us: they appeared more majestic from the strong contrast of bright
lights and broad shades: the leaves of the honeysuckles all green in the
hedges, fine hollies, primroses in abundance: it was literally spring in
the lap of winter. Penmanmawr has, my father says, considerably altered
its appearance, since he knew it first, from the falling of masses of
rock, and the crumbling away of the mighty substance. Cultivation has
crept up its sides to a prodigious height. A little cottage nestled just
under the mountain's huge stone cap. The fragments of rock that have
rolled down, some of them across the road, are ten times the size of the
rock in Mr. Keating's lawn, [Footnote: A curious isolated stone, about
ten feet by four, which stood in the Vicarage lawn at Edgeworthstown,
said to have been aimed at the church by a Pagan giant from the Hill of
Ardagh. It is now destroyed.] and in contrast with this idea of danger
are sheep and lambs feeding quietly; the lambs looking not larger than
little Francis's deceased kittens Muff and Tippet.

We reached Conway at six o'clock. The landlady of the Harp Inn knew my
father, and recollected Lovell and my Aunt Ruxton. The boy to whom
Lovell used to be so good, and who stopped my father on Penmanmawr to
tell him that Lovell had given him Lazy Lawrence, was drowned with many
others crossing the Ferry in a storm. The old harper who used to be the
delight of travellers is now in a state of dotage. There was no harper
at Bangor: the waiter told us "they were no profit to master, and was
always in the way in the passage; so master never lets them come now."

In the midst of all the sublime and beautiful I had a happy mixture of
the comic, for we had a Welsh postillion who entertained us much by his
contracted vocabulary, and still more contracted sphere of ideas. He and
my father could never understand one another, because my father said
"qu_a_rry," and the Welshman said "qu_e_rry"; and the burthen of all he
said was continually asking if we would not like to be "driven to
Caernarvon."

_Friday morning, seven o'clock_, dressed, and ready to go on with my
scribbling. I assure you, my dear kind Aunt Mary, it is a great pleasure
to me to write this letter at odd minutes while the horses are changing,
or after breakfast or dinner for a quarter of an hour at a time, so that
it is impossible that it should tire me. I owe all my present
conveniencies for writing to various Sneyds: I use Emma Sneyd's
pocket-inkstand; my ivory-cutter penknife was the gift of my Aunt
Charlotte, and my little Sappho seal a present of Aunt Mary's.

For miles we have had beautiful hollies in the hedges; I wish my Aunt
Charlotte would be so kind as to have a few small hollies out of
Wilkinson's garden planted in the new ditch between Wood's and Duffy's;
also some cuttings of honeysuckles and pyracanthus--enough can be had
from my garden. I must finish abruptly.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

LIVERPOOL, _April 6, 1813._

Many times--a hundred times within this week--have I wished, my dearest
aunt, to talk over with you the things and people I have seen. I am very
well, very happy, and much entertained and interested.

Liverpool is very fine and very grand, and my father soon found out Mr.
Roscoe; he was so good as to come to see us, and invited us to his
house, Allerton Hall, about seven miles from Liverpool. He is a
benevolent, cheerful, gentlemanlike old man; tall, neither thin nor fat,
thick gray hair. He is very like the prints you have seen of him; his
bow courteous, not courtly; his manner frank and prepossessing, without
pretension of any kind. He enters into conversation readily, and
immediately tells something entertaining or interesting, seeming to
follow the natural course of his own thoughts, or of yours, without
effort. Mrs. Roscoe seems to adore her husband, and to be so fond of her
children, and has such a good understanding and such a warm heart, it is
impossible not to like her. Mr. Roscoe gave himself up to us the whole
day. Allerton Hall is a spacious house, in a beautiful situation: fine
library, every room filled with pictures, many of them presents from
persons in Italy who admired his Leo the Tenth. One of Tasso has a sort
of mad vigilance in the eyes, as if he that instant saw the genius that
haunted him. Mr. Roscoe has arranged his collection admirably, so as to
show, in chronological order, in edifying gradation, the progress of
painting. The picture which he prized the most was by one of Raphael's
masters, not in the least valuable in itself, but for a frieze below it
by Michael Angelo, representing the destruction of the Oracles; it is of
a gray colour. Mr. Roscoe thinks it one of Michael Angelo's earliest
performances, and says it is _conceded_ to be the only original Michael
Angelo in England. Of this I know nothing, but I know that it struck me
as full of genius, and I longed for you and Margaret when we looked at a
portfolio full of Michael Angelo's sketches, drawings, and studies. It
is admirable to see the pains that a really great man takes to improve a
first idea. Turning from these drawings to a room full of Fuseli's
horribly distorted figures, I could not help feeling astonishment, not
only at the bad taste, but at the infinite conceit and presumption of
Fuseli. How could this man make himself a name! I believe he gave these
pictures to Mr. Roscoe, else I suppose they would not be here sprawling
their fantastic lengths, like misshapen dreams. Instead of _le beau_,
they exhibit _le laid_ ideal.

At dinner Darwin's poetry was mentioned, and Mr. Roscoe neither ran him
down nor cried him up. He said exactly the truth, that he was misled by
a false theory of poetry--that everything should be picture--and that
therefore he has not taken the means to touch the feelings; and Mr.
Roscoe made what seemed to me a new and just observation, that writers
of secondary powers, when they are to represent either objects of nature
or feelings of the human mind, always begin by a simile: they tell you
what it is like, not what it is.


_April 9._

I finish this at Mr. Holland's, at Knutsford. We spent a delightful day
at Manchester, where we owed our chief pleasure to Dr. Ferrier and his
daughter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.

DERBY, _April 25, 1813._

We have been now five days at Mr. Strutt's. We have been treated with so
much hospitality and kindness by him, and he showed such a high esteem,
and I may say affection for my father, that even if he had not the
superior understanding he possesses, it would be impossible for me not
to like him. From the moment we entered his house he gave up his whole
time to us, his servants, his carriage; everything and everybody in his
family were devoted to us, and all was done with such simplicity of
generosity, that we felt at ease even while we were loaded with favours.
This house is indeed, as Sneyd and William described it, a palace; and
it is plain that the convenience of the inhabitants has everywhere been
consulted: the ostentation of wealth nowhere appears.

Seven hours of one day Mr. Strutt and his nephew Jedediah gave up to
showing us the cotton mills, and another whole morning he gave up to
showing to us the infirmary; he built it--a noble building; hot air from
below conveyed by a _cockle_ all over the house. The whole institution a
most noble and touching sight; such a GREAT thing, planned and carried
into successful execution in so few years by one man!

We dined at Mr. Joseph Strutt's, and were in the evening at Mr. George
Strutt's; and I will name some of the people we met, for Sneyd and
William will like to know whom we saw:--Dr. Forrester, Mr. French, Miss
French, who has good taste, as she proved by her various compliments to
Sneyd; Miss Broadhurst, not my heiress, though she says that, after the
publication of the _Absentee_, people used to turn their heads when she
was announced, and ask if that was Miss Edgeworth's Miss Broadhurst! She
met Sneyd in Dublin; has been lately at Kilkenny, and admired Mr.
Rothe's acting of Othello. We saw a good deal of Mr. Sylvester,
[Footnote: The inventor of the Cockle or Sylvester stove.] who is, I
think, a man of surprising abilities, of a calm and fearless mind: an
original and interesting character. Edward Strutt is indeed all that
Sneyd and William described--a boy of great abilities, affectionate, and
with a frank countenance and manner which win at once. One of our
greatest pleasures has been the hearing everybody, from Edward upwards,
speak of Sneyd and William with such affection, and with such knowledge
of their characters. We all like Miss Lawrence.

We have been at the Priory: Mrs. Darwin at first much out of spirits.
Besides the death of her son, she had lost a grandchild, and her
daughter Harriet, Mrs. Maling, had just sailed with her husband for the
Mediterranean. The Priory is a beautiful place, and Emma Darwin very
beautiful.

We breakfasted at Markeaton with Mr. Mundy: he is a charming old
gentleman, lively, polite, and playful as if he was twenty. He was
delighted to see my father, and they talked over their school days with
great zest. My father was, you know, at school, Mr. Mundy's horse,
"Little Driver."


CAMBRIDGE, _Wednesday._

My mother will tell you the history of our night travels over the bad
road between Leicester and Kettering; my father holding the lantern
stuck up against one window, and my mother against the other the bit of
wax candle Kitty gave me. I don't think we could have got on without it.
Pray tell her, for she laughed when I put it in my box and said it might
be of vast use to us at some odd place.

Mr. Smedley has just called: tell Sneyd we think him very pleasing. I
enclose the "Butterfly's Ball" for Sophy, and a letter to the King
written by Dr. Holland when six years old: his father found him going
with it to the post. Give it to Aunt Mary.

       *       *       *       *       *

This letter was an offer from Master Holland to raise a regiment. He and
some of his little comrades had got a drum and a flag, and used to go
through the manual exercise. It was a pity the letter did not reach the
King: he would have been delighted at it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ C. SNEYD EDGEWORTH.

LONDON, _May 1, 1813._

Please to take this in small doses, but not fasting.

Let us go back, if you please, to Cambridge. Thursday morning we went to
breakfast with Mr. Smedley. It had been a dreadful rainy night, but
luckily the rain ceased in the morning, and the streets were dried by
the wind on purpose for us. In Sidney College we found your friend in
neat, cheerful rooms, with orange-fringed curtains, pretty drawings, and
prints: breakfast-table as plentifully prepared as you could have had
it--tea, coffee, tongue, cold beef, exquisite bread, and many inches of
butter. I suppose you know, but no one else at home can guess, why I say
_inches_ of butter. All the butter in Cambridge must be stretched into
rolls a yard in length and an inch in diameter, and these are sold by
inches, and measured out by compasses, in a truly mathematical manner,
worthy of a university.

Mr. Smedley made us feel at home at once: my mother made tea, I coffee;
he called you "Sneyd," and my father seemed quite pleased. After having
admired the drawings and pictures, and Fanny's kettle-holder, we sallied
forth with our friendly guide. It was quite fine and sunshiny, and the
gardens and academic shades really beautiful. We went to the University
Hall--the election of a new Professor to the Chemical Professorship was
going on. Farish was one of the candidates: the man of whom Leslie
Foster used to talk in such raptures when he first came from Cambridge;
the man who lectured on arches, and whose paradox of the one-toothed
wheel William will recollect. My father was introduced to him, and
invited him to dine with us: Mr. Farish accepted the invitation. We sat
on a bench with a few ladies. A number of Fellows, with black tiles on
their heads, walked up and down the hall, whispering to one another; and
in five minutes Mr. Smedley said, "The election is over: I must go and
congratulate Mr. Professor Farish."

We next proceeded to the University Library, not nearly so fine as the
Dublin College Library. Saw Edward the Sixth's famous little MS.
exercise book: hand good, and ink admirable; shame to the modern
chemists, who cannot make half as good ink now! Saw Faustus' first
printed book and a Persian letter to Lord Wellesley, and an Indian idol,
said to be made of rice, looking like, and when I lifted it feeling as
heavy as, marble. Mr. Smedley smiled at my being so taken with an idol,
and I told him that I was curious about this rice-marble, because we had
lately seen at Derby a vase of similar substance, about which there had
been great debates. Mr. Smedley then explained to me that the same word
in Persian expresses rice and the composition of which these idols are
made.

We saw the MS. written on papyrus leaves: I had seen the papyrus at the
Liverpool Botanic Garden, and had wondered how the stiff bark could be
rolled up; and here I saw that it is not rolled up, but cut in strips
and fastened with strings at each end.

In this library were three casts, taken after death--how or why they
came there I don't know, but they were very striking--one of Charles
XII., with the hole in the forehead where the bullet entered at the
siege of Fredericks-hall; that of Pitt, very like his statue from the
life, and all the prints of him; and that of Fox, shocking! no character
of greatness or ability--nothing but pain, weakness, and imbecility. It
is said to be so unlike what he was in health, that none would know it.
One looks at casts taken after death with curiosity and interest, and
yet it is not probable that they should show the real natural or
habitual character of the person: they can often only mark the degree of
bodily pain or ease felt in the moment of death. I think these casts
made me pause to reflect more than anything else I saw this day.

Went next to Trinity College Library: beautiful! I liked the glass doors
opening to the gardens at the end, and trees in full leaf. The
proportions of this room are excellent, and everything but the ceiling,
which is too plain. The busts of Bacon and Newton excellent; but that of
Bacon looks more like a courtier than a philosopher: his ruff is
elegantly plaited in white marble. By Cipriani's painted window, with
its glorious anachronisms, we were much amused; and I regret that it is
not recorded in Irish Bulls. It represents the presentation of Sir Isaac
Newton to His Majesty George the _Third_, seated on his throne, and
_Bacon_ seated on the steps of the said throne writing! Cipriani had
made the King, Henry VIII., but the Fellows of the College thought it
would be pretty to pay a compliment to His Gracious Majesty George III.,
so they made Cipriani cut off Henry VIII.'s head, and stick King George
in his place: the junction is still to be seen in the first design of
the picture, covered with a pasted paper cravat! like the figure that
changes heads in the _Little Henry_ book.

Saw Milton's original MSS. of his lesser poems, and his letters and his
plan of a tragedy on the subject of _Paradise Lost_, which tragedy I
rejoice he did not write. I have not such delight in seeing the
handwriting of great authors and great folk as some people have; besides
by this time I had become very hungry, and was right glad to accept Mr.
Smedley's proposal that we should repair to his rooms and take some
sandwiches.

Rested, ate, talked, looked at the engravings of Clarke's marbles, and
read the account of how these ponderous marbles had been transported to
England. We saw the marbles themselves. The famous enormous head of
Ceres must have belonged to a gigantic statue, and perhaps at a great
height may have had a fine effect. It is in a sadly mutilated condition;
there is no face; the appearance of the head in front is exactly like
that of Sophy's doll, whose face has peeled off, yet Clarke strokes it
and talks of its beautiful _contour._ The hair is fine, and the figure,
from its vast size, may be sublime.

After having recruited our strength, we set out again to the
Vice-Chancellor Davis's, to see a famous picture of Cromwell. As we
knocked at his Vice-Chancellorship's door, Mr. Smedley said to me, "Now,
Miss Edgeworth, if you would but settle in Cambridge! here is our
Vice-Chancellor a bachelor ... _do_ consider about it."

We went upstairs; found the Vice-Chancellor's room empty; had leisure
before he appeared to examine the fine picture of Cromwell, in which
there is more the expression of greatness of mind and determination than
his usual character of hypocrisy. This portrait seems to say, "Take away
that bauble," not "We are looking for the corkscrew."

The Vice-Chancellor entered, and such a wretched, pale, unhealthy object
I have seldom beheld! He seemed crippled and writhing with rheumatic
pains, hardly able to walk. After a few minutes had passed, Mr. Smedley
came round to me and whispered, "Have you made up your mind?" "Yes,
quite, thank you."

Now for the beauty of Cambridge--the beauty of beauties--King's College
Chapel! On the first entrance I felt silenced by admiration. I never saw
anything at once so beautiful and so sublime. The prints give a good
idea of the beauty of the spandrilled ceiling, with its rich and light
ornaments; but no engraved representation can give an idea of the effect
of size, height, and _continuity_ of grandeur in the whole building.
Besides, the idea of DURATION, the sublime idea of having lasted for
ages, is more fully suggested by the sight of the real building than it
can be by any representation or description: for which reason I only
tell you the effect it had upon my mind.

The organ began to play an anthem of Handel's while we were in the
chapel: I wished for you, my dear Sneyd, particularly at that moment!
Your friend took us up the hundred stairs to the roof, where he was
delighted with the sound of the organ and the chanting voices rising
from the choir below. My father was absorbed in the mechanical wonders
of the roof: that stone roof, of which Sir Christopher Wren said, "Show
me how the first stone was laid, and I will show you how the second is
laid."

Mr. Smedley exclaimed, "Is not the sound of the organ fine?" To which my
father, at cross purposes, answered, "Yes, the iron was certainly added
afterwards."

Mr. Smedley at once confessed that he had no knowledge or taste for
mechanics, but he had the patience and good-nature to walk up and down
this stone platform for three-quarters of an hour. He stood observing my
mother's very eager examination with my father of the defects in the
wooden roof, and pointing out where it had been cut away to admit the
stone, as a proof that the stone roof had been an afterthought; and at
last turned to me with a look of astonishment. "Mrs. Edgeworth seems to
have this taste for mechanics _too._" He spoke of it as a kind of mania.
So I nodded at him very gravely, and answered, "Yes, you will find us
all tinctured with it, more or less." At last, to Mr. Smedley's great
joy, he got my father alive off this roof, and on his way to Downing,
the new college of which Leslie Foster talked so much, and said was to
be like the Parthenon. Shockingly windy walk: thought my brains would
have been blown out. Passed Peter House, and saw the rooms in which Gray
lived, and the irons of his fire-escape at the window. Warned Mr.
Smedley of the danger of my father being caught by a coachmaker's yard
which we were to pass. My father overheard me, laughed, and contented
himself with a side glance at the springs of gigs, and escaped that
danger. I nearly disgraced myself, as the company were admiring the
front of Emmanuel College, by looking at a tall man stooping to kiss a
little child. Got at last, in spite of the wind and coachmakers' yards,
within view of Downing College, and was sadly disappointed. It will
never bear comparison with King's College Chapel.

Home to dinner: Mr. Farish and Mr. Smedley were very agreeable and
entertaining, and _did_ very well together, though such different
persons. Mr. Farish is the most primitive, simple-hearted man I ever
saw.

The bells were ringing in honour of Professor Farish's election, or, as
Mr. Smedley said, at the Professor's expense.

Farish insisted upon it very coolly that they were not ringing for him,
but for a shoulder of mutton.

"A shoulder of mutton! what do you mean?"

"Why, a man left to the University a shoulder of mutton for every
Thursday, on condition that the bells should always ring for him on that
day: so this is for the shoulder of mutton."

Mr. Farish paid us no compliments in words, but his coming to spend the
evening with us the day of his election, when I suppose he might have
been feasted by all the grand and learned in the University, was, I
think, the greatest honour my father has received since he came to
England; and so he felt it.

I suppose you know that Mr. Smedley has published minutes of the trial
of that Mr. Kendal who was accused of having set fire to Sidney College,
and who, though brought off by the talents of Garrow, was so generally
thought to be guilty, and to have only escaped by a quirk of the law,
that he has been expelled the University. What a strange thing that this
trial at Cambridge and that in Dublin, of incendiaries, [Footnote: The
trial in Dublin was that of "Moscow Cavendish."] should take place
within so short a time of each other! It seems as if the fashion of
certain crimes prevailed at certain times.

"Good-bye, Mr. Smedley! I hope you like us half as well as we liked
you." We thought it well worth our while to have come thirty miles out
of our way to see him and Cambridge, and you, Sneyd, have the thanks of
the whole party for your advice.

In passing through the village of Trumpington, and just as we came
within sight of Dr. Clarke's house, [Footnote: Edward Daniel Clarke,
1769-1822, one of the most distinguished travellers of the eighteenth
century, was Professor of Mineralogy at Cambridge.] I urged my father to
call upon him.

"Without an introduction, and two ladies with me! No, with all my
impudence, my dear Maria, I cannot do that."

"Oh, do! you will repent afterwards if you do not: we shall never have
another opportunity of seeing him."

"Well, at your peril, then, be it."

He let down the glass, and ordered the postillion to drive up to Dr.
Clarke's house. I quailed in the corner the moment I heard the order
given, but said nought. Out jumped my father, and during two or three
minutes whilst he was in the house, and my mother and I waiting in the
carriage at the door, I was in an agony. But it was soon over; for out
came little Dr. Clarke flying to us, all civility, and joy, and
gratitude, and honour, and pleasure, "ashamed and obliged," as he handed
us up the steps and into a very elegant drawing-room.

I do not know whether you have seen him, but from the print I had
imagined he was a large man, with dark eyes and hair, and a penetrating
countenance. No such thing: he is a little, square, pale, flat-faced,
good-natured-looking, fussy man, with very intelligent eyes, yet great
credulity of countenance, and still greater benevolence. In a moment he
whisked about the different rooms upstairs and down, to get together
books, sketches, everything that could please us; and Angelica's
drawings--she draws beautifully.

Angelica herself, Mrs. Clarke, is a timid, dark, soft-eyed woman, with a
good figure. I am told it is rude to say a person is very clean, but I
may praise Angelica for looking elegantly clean, brilliantly white, with
a lace Mary Queen of Scots cap, like that which I am sure you remember
on Lady Adelaide Forbes. She received us with timid courtesy, but her
timidity soon wore off, and the half-hour we spent here made us wish to
have spent an hour. Dr. Clarke seemed highly gratified that his travels
in Greece had interested us so much: showed us the original drawings of
Moscow, and a book of views of the ruins at Athens by the draughtsman
who went out with the Duc de Choiseul Gouffier--beautifully done; mere
outlines, perfectly distinct, and giving, I think, better architectural
ideas than we have from more finished and flattered drawings.

We were sorry not to see more, and glad we had seen so much, of Dr.
Clarke and his Angelica, and his fine little boy about five years old. A
tall, dark-eyed, fine fashionable-looking man, Dr. Clarke introduced to
us as Mr. Walpole. My father entered into conversation with him, and
found he had known Captain Beaufort in the Mediterranean.

When we were going away, Dr. Clarke, between my mother and me, seemed
puzzled how to get us both into the carriage at once; but he called to
Mr. Walpole. "Walpole, put this lady into the carriage."

And with a "Meadows" air he obeyed.

Now we are again on the London road, and nothing interrupted our perusal
_Pride and Prejudice_ for the rest of the morning. I am desired not to
give you my opinion of _Pride and Prejudice_, but desire you to get it
directly, and tell us yours.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

LONDON, _May 1813._

I fear Madame de Stael's arrival may be put off till after we leave
town. The Edinburgh review of her book has well prepared all the world
for her. The first persons who came to see us were Sir Humphry and Lady
Davy, who have been uniformly and zealously kind and attentive to us. We
have been frequently at their dinners and parties, and I should fill a
roll as long as that genealogy Foote unrolled across the stage, if I
were to give you a list of the names of all the people we have met at
their house. Of Lord Byron I can tell you only that his appearance is
nothing that you would remark. The Miss Berrys are all that you have
heard of them from people of various tastes; consequently you know that
they are well bred, and have nice tact in conversation. Miss Catharine
Fanshaw I particularly like; she has delightful talents. Her drawings
have charmed my mother, full of invention as well as taste; her "Village
School" and "Village Children at Play" are beautiful compositions, and
her drawings for the Bath Guide are full of humour and character.

Lady Crewe has still the remains of much beauty. Except her dress, which
happened to be blue, there appeared to be nothing else _blue_ about her.
The contrast between her really fashionable air and manners and that of
the _strugglers_ and imitators struck me much: Lady Elizabeth Whitbread
is, in one word, delightful. Miss Fox very agreeable--converses at once,
without preface or commonplace: Lady Charlotte Lindsay ditto: Lady
Darnley has been very polite in her attentions: both Lord and Lady
Hardwicke peculiarly gracious. Lord Somerville I cannot help being
charmed with, for he says he is charmed with Lady Delacour and Lady
Geraldine, whom he pronounces to be perfect women of fashion, and says
they are in high repute in the equerry's room at Court. He was quite
indignant against certain pretenders to fashion. I told him the remark
of a friend of ours, that a gentleman or gentlewoman cannot be made
under two generations. "In less than _five_, madam, I think it scarcely
possible," said he.

Lady Lansdowne, taking in beauty, character, conversation, talents, and
manners, I think superior to any woman I have seen; perfectly natural,
daring to be herself, gentle, sprightly, amiable, and engaging. Lydia
Whyte has been very kind to us, and eager to bring together people who
would suit and please us: very agreeable dinner at her house; she
conducts these _bel esprit_ parties well; her vivacity breaks through
the constraint of those who stand upon great reputations, and are afraid
of committing themselves.

Charming, amiable Lady Wellington! As she truly said of herself, she is
always "Kitty Pakenham to her friends." After comparison with crowds of
others, _beaux esprits_, fine ladies and fashionable _scramblers_ for
notoriety, her dignified graceful simplicity rises in one's opinion, and
we feel it with more conviction of its superiority. She showed us her
delightful children. Lord Longford, just come to town, met us yesterday
at the Exhibition of Sir Joshua Reynolds's pictures. Some of these are
excellent: his children, from the sublime Samuel to the arch Gipsy, are
admirable.

We hope to see Mrs. Siddons act on the 25th; it was thought impossible
to get a box, but the moment my father pronounced the name Edgeworth,
Mr. Brandon, the box-keeper, said he should have one. Lady Charleville,
who is a very clever woman, goes with us with her daughter and Lord
Tullamore. We have been to a grand night at Mrs. Hope's--the rooms
really deserve the French epithet of _superbe_--all of beauty, rank, and
fashion that London can assemble, I may say, in the newspaper style,
were there. The Prince Regent stood one-third of the night holding
converse with Lady Elizabeth Monk, she leaning gracefully on a bronze
ornament in the centre of the room, in the midst of the sacred but very
small circle etiquette could keep round them. About 900 people were at
this assembly; the crowd of carriages were so great, that after sitting
waiting in ours for an hour, the coachman told us there was no chance of
our reaching the door unless we got out and walked. Another good-natured
coachman backed his horses, and we bravely crossed the line and got into
the house and up the staircase, but no power of ours could have got us
on, but for the gloriously large body and the good-natured politeness of
the Archbishop of Tuam, who fortunately met us at the door, recognised
us just as he would have done at Mrs. Bourke's, in the county of
Longford, and made way for us through the crowd, and, in the wake of his
greatness, we sailed on prosperously, and never stopped till he
presented us to his beautiful daughter, who received us with a winning
smile. I asked Mr. Hope who some one was? "I really don't know; I don't
know half the people here, nor do they know me or Mrs. Hope even by
sight. Just now I was behind a lady who was making her _speech_, as she
thought, to Mrs. Hope, but she was addressing a stranger." Among the old
beauties the Duchess of Rutland held her pre-eminence and looked the
youngest.

A few days after we came to town we were told by Mr. Wakefield that
there was to be at the Freemasons' tavern a meeting on the Lancasterian
schools, at which the reports of the Irish Education Committee were to
be alluded to, and that the Dukes of Kent and Sussex, Lord Lansdowne,
Sir James Macintosh, and Mr. Whitbread were all to speak. We went; fine
large hall, ranged with green benches like a lecture room: raised
platform at one end for the _performers_: arm-chairs for the Royal
Dukes, and common chairs for common men. Waited an hour, and were
introduced to various people, among others, to Mr. Allen, who is famous
for his generous benevolence, living most economically and giving
thousands as easily as others would give pence. Dumont came and seated
himself between my mother and me, and the hour's waiting was so filled
with conversation that it seemed but five minutes.

Enter, on the platform, the Royal Dukes preceded by stewards with white
staves; gentlemen of the Committee ranged at the back of the theatre,
one row in front on each side of the Dukes, Lord Lansdowne, Mr.
Whitbread, Mr. Lancaster, two or three others, and Mr. Edgeworth. The
object of the meeting was to effect a junction between the Bell and
Lancasterian parties. It had been previously agreed that Lancaster
should have his debts paid, and should retire and give up his schools.
Lord Lansdowne spoke extremely well, matter and manner; when he adverted
to the Board of Education he turned to my father and called upon him to
support his assertion, that the dignified clergy in Ireland among those
commissioners had acted with liberality. It had been previously arranged
that my father was to move the vote of thanks to the ladies, but of this
we knew nothing; and when he rose and when I heard the Duke of Kent in
his sonorous voice say "Mr. Edgeworth," I was so frightened I dared not
look up, but I was soon reassured. My father's speaking was, next to
Lord Lansdowne's, the best I heard, and loud plaudits convinced me that
I was not singular in this opinion. The Duke of Kent speaks well and
makes an excellent chairman.

Yesterday my father was invited to a Lancasterian dinner; for an account
of it I refer you to Lord Fingal, next to whom my father sat, but as you
may not see him immediately I must tell you that my father's health was
drunk, and that when his name was mentioned, loud applause ensued, and
the Duke of Bedford, after speaking of the fourteenth report of the
Irish Board of Education, pronounced a eulogium on "the excellent letter
which is appended to that report, full of liberality and good sense, on
which indeed the best part of the report seems founded. I mean the
letter by Mr. Edgeworth, to whom this country as well as Ireland is so
much indebted."

Yesterday I had a good hour in comfort to write to you before breakfast,
which was scarcely ended when Mr. Wakefield came in with a letter from
the Duke of Bedford, who is anxious to see my father's experiments on
the draft of wheel-carriages tried. Then came Lord Somerville, who sat
and talked and invited us to his country-house, but all this did not
forward my letter. Then came Lady Darnley; and then my father walked off
with Lord Somerville, and we gave orders no one should be let in; so we
only heard vain thunders at the door, and I got on half a page, but then
came poor Peggy Langan, [Footnote: Grand-daughter to the original of
Thady, in _Castle Rackrent._ Her sister was the original of Simple
Susan.] and her we admitted; she is in an excellent place, with Mrs.
Haldimand, Mrs. Marcet's sister-in-law, and she, Peggy, sat and talked
and told of how happy she was, and how good her mistress was, and we
liked her simplicity and goodness of heart, but as I said before, all
this did not forward my letter. Coach at the door. "Put on your hat,
Maria, and come out and pay visits."

To save myself trouble, I send a list of the visits we made just as my
mother marked them on the card by which we steered. GOD knows how I
should steer without her. The crosses mark the three places where we
were let in. Lady Milbanke is very agreeable, and has a charming
well-informed daughter. Mrs. Weddell is a perfectly well-bred, most
agreeable old lady, sister to Lady Rockingham, who lived in the Sir
Joshua Reynolds set: tells anecdotes of Burke, Fox, and
Windham--magnificent house--fine pictures. We spoke of having just seen
the exhibition of Sir Joshua Reynolds's pictures. "Perhaps if you are
fond of paintings you would take the trouble of walking into the next
room, and I will show you what gives me a particular interest in Sir
Joshua Reynolds's pictures." Large folding-doors opened--large room full
of admirable copies from Sir Joshua Reynolds in crayons, done by Mrs.
Weddell herself. My mother says they are quite astonishing. Her
conversation, as good as her painting, passed through many books lightly
with touch-and-go ease. I mentioned a curious anecdote of Madame
d'Arblay: that when she landed at Portsmouth, a few months ago, and saw
on a plate at Admiral Foley's a head of Lord Nelson, and the word
Trafalgar, she asked what Trafalgar meant! She actually, as Lady Spencer
told me, who had the anecdote from Dr. Charles Burney, did not know that
the English had been victorious, or that Lord Nelson was dead! This is
the mixed effect of the recluse life she led, and of the care taken in
France to keep the people ignorant of certain events. I mentioned a
similar instance in Thiebault's _Memoirs_, of the Chevalier Mason,
living at Potsdam, and not knowing anything of the Seven Years' War.
Then Mrs. Weddell went through Thiebault and Madame de Bareith's
_Memoirs_, and asked if I had ever happened to meet with an odd
entertaining book, Madame de Baviere's _Memoirs._ How little I thought,
my dear Aunt Ruxton, when you gave me that book, that it would stand me
_in stead_ at Mrs. Weddell's--we talked it over and had a great deal of
laughing and diversion.

Came home: found my father dressing to go to Sir Samuel Romilly's--we
two were to dine at Lady Levinge's; while we were dressing a long note
from Miss Berry, sent by her own maid, to apologise for a mistake of her
servants who had said "not at home," and to entreat we would look in on
her this evening--much hurried. Lady Levinge's dinner, which was not on
the table till eight o'clock, was very entertaining, because quite a new
set of people. Called in the evening at Miss Berry's--quite like French
society, most agreeable--had a great deal of conversation with Lady
Charlotte Lindsay. Mr. Ward was there, but I did not hear him. Went,
shamefully late, to Mrs. Sneyd's--then home: found my father in
bed--stood at the foot of it, and heard his account of his dinner. Dr.
Parr, Dumont, Malthus, etc., but I have not time to say more. I have
been standing in my dressing-gown writing on the top of a chest of
drawers, and now I must dress for a breakfast at Lady Davy's, where we
are to meet Lord Byron: but I must say, that at the third place where we
were let in yesterday, Lady Wellington's, we spent by far the most
agreeable half-hour of the day.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth continues:

One day, coming late to dinner at Mr. Horner's, we found Dr. Parr very
angry at our having delayed, and then interrupted dinner, but he ended
by giving Maria his blessing. One of our pleasantest days was a
breakfast at Mr. and Mrs. Carr's, at Hampstead, where we met General and
Mrs. Bentham, just come from Russia, full of interesting information.
Maria also spent a day in the country with Sir Samuel and Lady
Romilly--who was so beautiful and so engaging; and to this day's
happiness Maria often recurred. We met one evening at Lady Charleville's
Mrs. Abington, with whom Maria was much entertained; she recited two
epilogues for us with exquisite wit and grace--she spoke with frankness
and feeling of her career, when often after the triumph of success in
some brilliant character, splendidly dressed, in the blaze of light,
with thunders of applause, she quitted the theatre for her poor little
lonely lodging--and admirably described her disenchanted, dispirited
sensations.

One morning Maria and I went to Westminster Abbey with some friends,
among whom was Sir James Macintosh--only one morning; days might have
been spent without exhausting the information he so easily, and with
such enjoyment to himself, as well as to his hearers, poured forth with
quotations, appropriate anecdotes, and allusions historical, poetical,
and biographical, as we went along.

We unfortunately missed seeing Madame d'Arblay, and we left London
before the arrival of Madame de Stael. We went on the 16th of June to
Clifton, where we spent some days with Mr. and Mrs. King. [Footnote: Mr.
Edgeworth's second daughter Emmeline.]

From Clifton we went to Gloucester, where Maria took up a link of her
former life, paying a visit to Mrs. Chandler, from whom she had received
much kindness at Mr. Day's when her eyes were inflamed. We then went on
to Malvern, where Mrs. Beddoes [Footnote: The third daughter--Anna
Edgeworth.] was then living.


MARIA to MRS. RUXTON.

MALVERN LINKS, _June 1813._

How good you have been, my dear aunt, in sparing Sophy to
Edgeworthstown, and since you have been so good it is in encroaching
human nature to expect that you will be still better, and that you and
my uncle and Mag will come to Edgeworthstown for her; we shall be home
in a fortnight. What joy, what delight to meet you among the dear faces
who will welcome us there. The brilliant panorama of London is over, and
I have enjoyed more pleasure and have had more amusement, infinitely
more than I expected, and received more attention, more kindness than I
could have thought it possible would be shown to me; I have enjoyed the
delight of seeing my father esteemed and honoured by the best judges in
England: I have felt the pleasure of seeing my true friend and mother,
for she has been a mother to me, appreciated in the best society, and
now with the fulness of content I return home, loving my own friends and
my own mode of life preferably to all others, after comparison with all
that is fine and gay, and rich and rare.

We spent four days at Clifton with Emmeline, and if our journey to
England had been productive of no other good, I should heartily rejoice
at our having accomplished this purpose. My father was pleased and
happy, and liked all his three grandchildren very much. You may imagine
how much pleasure this gave me.

We came here the day before yesterday, and have spent our time
delightfully with Anna and her children, and now the carriage is at the
door to take us to Mrs. Clifford's. Yesterday we went to see Samuel
Essington, [Footnote: The servant who was so faithful and so frightened
at the time of the rebellion. He had saved some money and quitted the
service of the Edgeworths in 1800.] at the Essington Hotel. He thought
it was a carriage full of strangers and was letting down the steps when
he beheld my father; his whole face glowed with delight, and the tears
stood in his projecting eyes. "Master! Master, I declare! O sir, ma'am,
miss, Mrs. Beddoes, Miss Edgeworth: how glad I am!"

He showed us his excellent house, and walked us round his beautiful
little lawn and shrubberies, all his own making; and cut moss roses and
blush roses for us with such eagerness and delight. "And all, all owing
to you, sir, that first taught me."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Edgeworth writes:

At Mrs. Clifford's we stayed some days--a beautiful country, not far
from Ross which we visited, and Maria was delighted to see all the
scenes of the Man of Ross. At Mrs. Clifford's we had one day of most
brilliant conversation between Maria, her father, and Sir James
Macintosh, who had just come into that neighbourhood. He joined us,
unexpectedly, one morning as we were walking out, and touching a shawl
Mrs. Clifford wore, "A thousand looms," he said, "are at work in
Cashmere at this instant providing these for you."


MARIA _to_ MRS. MARY SNEYD AT EDGEWORTHSTOWN.

MRS. CLIFFORD'S, _June 1813._

_Saturday Evening._

Received Sneyd's letter. [Footnote: Announcing his engagement to Miss
Broadhurst. It was singular that this was the name of the heroine in
Miss Edgeworth's _Absentee_, who selected from her lovers the one who
united _worth_ and wit, in reminiscence of an epigram of Mr. Edgeworth
on himself, concluding--

  There's an edge to his wit and there's worth in his heart.]

Astonishment! Dear Sneyd, I hope he will be as happy as love and fortune
can make him. All my ideas are thrown into such confusion by this letter
that I _can_ no more. We go to Derby on Tuesday.


To MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _July 26, 1813._

I have delayed a few days writing to you in the expectation of the
arrival of two frankers to send an extract from Dr. Holland's last
letter, which will, I hope, entertain you as much as it entertained us.
I shall long to hear of our good friend Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton's visit
to Black Castle.

We have every reason to be in great anxiety at this moment about a
certain trunk containing all our worldly _duds_, and "Patronage" to
boot, but still I have not been able to work myself into any fears about
it, though it is a month since we ought to have seen it, nor have we
heard any news of it. In the meantime, as I cannot set about revising
"Patronage," I have begun a new series of _Early Lessons_ [Footnote: The
second parts of _Frank, Rosamond_, and _Harry and Lucy._] for which many
mothers told me they wished. I feel that I return with fresh pleasure to
literary work from having been so long idle, and I have a famishing
appetite for reading. All that we saw in London, I am sure I enjoyed
while it was passing as much as possible, but I should be very sorry to
live in that whirling vortex, and I find my taste and conviction
confirmed on my return to my natural friends and my dear home.

I am glad that some of those who showed us hospitality and kindness in
England should have come so soon to Ireland, that we may have some
little opportunity of showing our sense of their attentions. Lord
Carrington, who franks this, is most amiable and benevolent, without any
species of pretension, thinking the best that can be thought of
everything and everybody. Mr. Smith, his son, whom we had not seen in
London, accompanies him, and his tutor, Mr. Kaye, a Cambridge man, and
Lord Gardner, Lord Carrington's son-in-law, suffering from the gouty
rheumatism, or rheumatic gout--he does not know or care which: but
between the twitches of his suffering he is entertaining and agreeable.

We have just seen a journal by a little boy of eight years old, of a
voyage from England to Sicily: the boy is Lord Mahon's son, Lord
Carrington's grandson. [Footnote: Philip Henry, afterwards fifth Earl
Stanhope, the historian.] It is one of the best journals I ever read,
full of facts: exactly the writing of a child, but a very clever child.
It is peculiarly interesting to us from having seen Dr. Holland's
letters from Palermo. Lord Mahon says that the alarm about the plague at
Malta is much greater than it need be--its progress has been stopped: it
was introduced by a shoemaker having, contrary to law and reason,
surreptitiously brought some handkerchiefs from a vessel that had not
performed quarantine. You will nevertheless rejoice that Dr. Holland did
not go to Malta. How you will regret the loss of the portmanteau of
which that vile Ali Pasha robbed him.

Mr. Fox dined with us to-day, and was very agreeable. Lord Carrington
and his travelling companions were at Farnham, where they were most
hospitably received. They had no letters of introduction or intention of
going there; but, finding a horrid inn at Cavan, they applied for
charity to a gentleman for lodging. The gentleman took them to walk in
Lord Farnham's grounds. Lord and Lady Farnham saw and invited them to
the house, and they are full of admiration and almost affection, I
think, for Lord and Lady Farnham: they are so charmed by their
hospitality, their goodness to the poor, their care of the young Foxes,
their magnificent establishment, their neat cottages for their tenants,
and, as Lord Gardner sensibly said, "their judicious economy in the
midst of magnificence."


_August 9._

I like Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton better than ever upon further
acquaintance. She is what the French would call _bonne a vivre_: so
good-humoured, so cheerful, so little disposed to exact attention or to
take an authoritative tone in conversation, so ready to give everybody
their merits, so indulgent for the follies and frailties, and so hopeful
of the reformation of even the faults and vices of the world, that it is
impossible not to respect and love her. She wins upon us daily, and
mixes so well with this family, that I always forget she is a stranger.

Lady Davy is in high glory at this moment, introducing Madame de Stael
everywhere, enjoying the triumph and partaking the gale. They went down,
a delightful party, to Cobham--Madame de Stael, Lady Davy, Lord Erskine,
Rogers, etc.

Have you heard that Jeffrey, the reviewer, is gone to America in pursuit
of a lady, or, as some say, to take possession of an estate left to him
by an uncle: he is to be back in time for the _Edinburgh Review_ in
September!


_August 19._

Lord and Lady Lansdowne came to us on Tuesday. Mr. Greenough comes on
Saturday, and after that I think we shall get to Black Castle. Lord
Longford came yesterday, and though he is not, you know, exuberant in
praise, truly says Lord and Lady Lansdowne are people who must be
esteemed and liked the more they are known.

Mr. Forbes, just returned from Russia, has this moment come, and is
giving a most interesting account of Petersburgh and Moscow: give me
credit for retiring to finish this letter. My father is calling,
calling, calling.


_Nov. 19._

Last night a letter came from Lady Farnham, announcing Francis Fox's
marriage, and naming next Monday for us to go to Farnham. We went last
Monday to a play at Castle Forbes, or rather to three farces--"Bombastes
Furioso," "Of Age To-morrow," and "The Village Lawyer," taken from the
famous _Avocat Patelin_: the cunning servant-boy shamming simplicity was
admirably acted by Lord Rancliffe.

Tell me whether you have seen Madame de Stael's _Essai sur la Fiction_,
prefixed to Zulma, Adelaide, and Pauline--the essay is excellent: I
shall be curious to know whether you think as I do of Pauline. Madame de
Stael calls Blenheim "a magnificent tomb: splendour without, and the
deathlike silence of ennui within." She says she is very proud of having
made the Duke of Marlborough speak four words. At the moment she was
announced he was distinctly heard to utter these words: "Let me go
away." We have just got her _Allemagne._ We have had great delight in
Mrs. Graham's _India_,--a charming woman, writing, speaking, thinking,
or feeling.


_Nov. 25._

A letter from Lady Romilly--so easy, so like her conversation. All agree
that Madame de Stael is frankness itself, and has an excellent heart.
During her brilliant fortnight at Bowood--where, besides Madame de
Stael, her Albertine, M. de Stael, and Count Palmella, there were the
Romillys, the Macintoshes, Mr. Ward, Mr. Rogers, and M. Dumont--if it
had not been for chess-playing, music, and dancing between times, poor
human nature never could have borne the strain of attention and
admiration.


_Jan. 1, 1814._

Hunter has sent a whole cargo of French translations--_Popular Tales_,
with a title under which I should never have known them, _Conseils a mon
Fils! Manoeuvring: La Mere Intrigante; Ennui_--what can they make of it
in French? _Leonora_ will translate better than a better thing. _Emilie
de Coulanges_, I fear, will never stand alone. _L'Absent, The
Absentee_,--it is impossible that a Parisian can make any sense of it
from beginning to end. But these things teach authors what is merely
local and temporary. _Les deux Griseldis de Chaucer et Edgeworth_; and,
to crown all, two works surreptitiously printed in England under our
name, and which are _no better than they should be._

Pray read _Letters to Sir James Macintosh on Madame de Stael's
Allemagne._ My mother says it is exactly what you would have written: we
do not know who is the author.


_Jan. 25._

To-day it began to thaw, and thawed so rapidly that we were in danger of
being flooded, wet pouring in at all parts, and tubs, and jugs, and
pails, and mops running about in all directions, and voices calling, and
avalanches of snow thrown by arms of men from gutters and roofs on all
sides, darkening windows, and falling with thundering noise.

We have been charmed with a little French play, _Les deux Gendres._ I
wish you could get it, and get Mr. Knox to read it to you: he is still
blocked up by the snow at Pakenham Hall.

We have had an entertaining letter, giving an account of a gentleman who
is now in England, a native of Delhi. He practised as an advocate in the
native courts of Calcutta, from Calcutta to Prince of Wales' Island, and
thence to London, and is now Professor of Oriental Languages at
Addiscombe. He was at Dr. Malkins': Mrs. Malkin offered him coffee: he
refused, and backed. "Not coffee in the house of Madam-Doctor. I take
coffee to keep awake; no danger of being drowsy in the house of
Madam-Doctor." He was at a great ball where Lord Cornwallis was
expected, and he said he would go to him and "bless his father's memory
for his conduct in India."

Poor old Robin Woods is very ill, and he has a tame robin that sits on
his foot, and hops up for crumbs. One day that I went in, when they were
at dinner with a bowl of potatoes between them, I said "How happy you
two look!" "Yes, miss, we were that every day since we married."


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

15 BAGGOT STREET, [Footnote: Mr. and Mrs. Sneyd Edgeworth's house in
Dublin.] DUBLIN,

_March 1814._

Here we are: arrived at three o'clock: found Henrica looking very well.
Such a nice, pretty, elegant house! and they have furnished it so
comfortably. It is delightful to see my father here; he enjoys himself
so much in his son's house, and Sneyd and Henrica are so happy seeing
him pleased with everything. Lady Longford has been here this morning;
told us Sir Edward Pakenham was so fatigued by riding an uneasy horse at
the battle of Vittoria, he was not able to join for four days. A buckle
of Lord Wellington's sword-belt saved him: he wrote four times in one
week to Lady Wellington, without ever mentioning his wound. I long for
you to see Henrica; she is so kind, and so well-bred and easy in her
manners.

       *       *       *       *       *

In April Mr. Edgeworth had a dangerous illness. He was just out of
danger, when, late at night on the 10th of May, his son Lovell arrived
from Paris, liberated by the peace after eleven years' detention.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA EDGEWORTH _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 16, 1814/._

My father's contentment at Lovell's [Footnote: The only son of Mr.
Edgeworth's second marriage, with Miss Honora Sneyd.] return has done
him more good than all the advice of all the surgeons, I do believe, now
that the danger is over. If you have suffered from suspense in absence,
yet, my dear aunt, you have been spared the torturing terrors we have
felt at the sight of the daily, hourly changes, so rapid, so
unaccountable: one day, one hour, all hope, the next all despair! The
lamp of life, now bright, starting up high and brilliant, then sinking
suddenly almost to extinction; the flame flitting, flickering, starting,
_leaping_, as it were, on and off by fits. Some day we shall talk it
over in security; now I can hardly bear to look back to it.

All that has passed in France in the last few weeks! a revolution
without bloodshed! Paris taken without being pillaged! the Bourbons,
after all hope and reason for hope had passed, restored to their capital
and their palaces! With what mixed sensations they must enter those
palaces! I daresay it has not escaped my aunt that the Venus de Medicis
and Apollo Belvidere are both missing together: I make no remarks. I
hate scandal--at least I am not so fond of it as the lady of whom it was
said she could not see the poker and tongs standing together without
suspecting something wrong! I wonder where our ideas, especially those
of a playful sort, go at some times? and how it is that they all come
junketing back faster than there is room for them at other times? How is
it that hope so powerfully excites, and fear so absolutely depresses all
our faculties?


_Aug. 24._

Sneyd has received a very polite letter from the Marquis de Bonay, who
is now ambassador at the Court of Denmark. Mrs. O'Beirne and the Bishop,
who like Mons. de Bonay so much, and who have not heard of him for such
a length of time, will be delighted to hear of his emerging into light
and life. What is more to our purpose is, that he says he can furnish
Sneyd with some notes for the Abbe Edgeworth's life, which he had once
intended to write himself: he did put a short notice of his life into
the foreign papers at Mittau. He says he never knew so perfect a human
creature as the Abbe.

I had a letter from Dr. Holland this morning saying at the beginning I
should be surprised at its contents; and so I was. The Princess of Wales
has invited him to accompany her abroad as her physician! After
consulting with his friends he accepted the invitation.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Oct 13, 1814._

I had a letter from the Duchess of Wellington the day before yesterday,
dated from Deal, just when she was going to embark for France. The whole
of the letter was full of her children and of sorrow for quitting them.

Two days ago came a young gentleman, Mr. James Gordon, a nephew of Lady
Elizabeth Whitbread's, with a very polite introductory note from Lady
Elizabeth. He has a great deal of anecdote and information. He has just
come from Paris, and he has given me a better account of Paris, and more
characteristic, well-authenticated anecdotes than I have heard from
anybody else. He mentioned some instances of the gratitude which Louis
XVIII. has shown to people of inferior note in England from whom he had
received kindness, especially to the innkeeper's wife at Berkhampstead.
I am glad for the honour of human nature that this is so.

What do you think Walter Scott says is the most poetical performance he
has read for years? That account of the battle of Leipsic which Richard
lent to us.

We went to Coolure and had a pleasant day. _Waverley_ was in everybody's
hands. The Admiral does not like it: the hero, he says, is such a
shuffling fellow. While he was saying this I had in my pocket a letter
from Miss Fanshawe, received that morning, saying it was delightful.
Lady Crewe tells me that Madame d'Arblay cannot settle in England
because the King of France has lately appointed M. d'Arblay to some high
situation in consequence of his distinguished services.

Shall I tell you what they, my father and all of them, are doing at this
moment? Sprawling on the floor looking at a new rat-trap. Two pounds of
butter vanished the other night out of the dairy; they had been put in a
shallow pan with water in it, and it is averred the rats ate it, and
Peggy Tuite, the dairymaid, to make the thing more credible, gives the
following reason for the rats' conduct. "Troth, ma'am, they were
affronted at the new rat-trap, they only licked the milk off it, and
that occasioned them to run off with the butter!"

Mr. and Mrs. Pollard have spent a day here, and brought with them Miss
Napier. My father is charmed with her beauty, her voice, and her
manners. We talked over _Waverley_ with her. I am more delighted with it
than I can tell you: it is a work of first-rate genius.


_To the_ AUTHOR of "WAVERLEY."

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Oct. 23, 1814._

Aut Scotus, Aut Diabolus!

We have this moment finished _Waverley._ It was read aloud to this large
family, and I wish the author could have witnessed the impression it
made--the strong hold it seized of the feelings both of young and
old--the admiration raised by the beautiful descriptions of nature--by
the new and bold delineations of character--the perfect manner in which
character is ever sustained in every change of situation from first to
last, without effort, without the affectation of making the persons
speak in character--the ingenuity with which each person introduced in
the drama is made useful and necessary to the end--the admirable art
with which the story is constructed and with which the author keeps his
own secrets till the proper moment when they should be revealed, whilst
in the meantime, with the skill of Shakspear, the mind is prepared by
unseen degrees for all the changes of feeling and fortune, so that
nothing, however extraordinary, shocks us as improbable: and the
interest is kept up to the last moment. We were so possessed with the
belief that the whole story and every character in it was real, that we
could not endure the occasional addresses from the author to the reader.
They are like Fielding: but for that reason we cannot bear them, we
cannot bear that an author of such high powers, of such original genius,
should for a moment stoop to imitation. This is the only thing we
dislike, these are the only passages we wish omitted in the whole work:
and let the unqualified manner in which I say this, and the very
vehemence of my expression of this disapprobation, be a sure pledge to
the author of the sincerity of all the admiration I feel for his genius.

I have not yet said half we felt in reading the work. The characters are
not only finely drawn as separate figures, but they are grouped with
great skill, and contrasted so artfully, and yet so naturally as to
produce the happiest dramatic effect, and at the same time to relieve
the feelings and attention in the most agreeable manner. The novelty of
the Highland world which is discovered to our view powerfully excites
curiosity and interest: but though it is all new to us it does not
embarrass or perplex, or strain the attention. We never are harassed by
doubts of the probability of any of these modes of life: though we did
not know them, we are quite certain they did exist exactly as they are
represented. We are sensible that there is a peculiar merit in the work
which is in a measure lost upon us, the _dialects_ of the Highlanders,
and the Lowlanders, etc. But there is another and a higher merit with
which we are as much struck and as much delighted as any true-born
Scotchman could be: the various gradations of Scotch feudal character,
from the high-born chieftain and the military baron, to the noble-minded
lieutenant Evan Dhu, the robber Bean Lean, and the savage Callum Beg.
The _Pre_--the Chevalier, is beautifully drawn--

  A prince: ay, every inch a prince!

His polished manners, his exquisite address, politeness, and generosity,
interest the reader irresistibly, and he pleases the more from the
contrast between him and those who surround him. I think he is my
favourite character: the Baron Bradwardine is my father's. He thinks it
required more genius to invent, and more ability uniformly to sustain
this character than any other of the masterly characters with which the
book abounds. There is indeed uncommon art in the manner in which his
dignity is preserved by his courage and magnanimity, in spite of all his
pedantry and his _ridicules_, and his bear and bootjack, and all the
raillery of M'Ivor. M'Ivor's unexpected "bear and bootjack" made us
laugh heartily.

But to return to the dear good baron: though I acknowledge that I am not
as good a judge as my father and brothers are of his recondite learning
and his law Latin, yet I feel the humour, and was touched to the quick
by the strokes of generosity, gentleness, and pathos in this old man,
who is, by the bye, all in good time worked up into a very dignified
father-in-law for the hero. His exclamation of "Oh! my son! my son!" and
the yielding of the fictitious character of the baron to the natural
feelings of the father is beautiful. (Evan Dhu's fear that his
father-in-law should die quietly in his bed made us laugh almost as much
as the bear and bootjack.)

Jinker, in the battle, pleading the cause of the mare he had sold to
Balmawhapple, and which had thrown him for want of the proper bit, is
truly comic: my father says that this and some other passages respecting
horsemanship could not have been written by any one who was not master
both of the great and little horse.

I tell you without order the great and little strokes of humour and
pathos just as I recollect, or am reminded of them at this moment by my
companions. The fact is that we have had the volumes--only during the
time we could read them, and as fast as we could read--lent to us as a
great favour by one who was happy enough to have secured a copy before
the first and second editions were sold in Dublin. When we applied, not
a copy could be had; we expect one in the course of next week, but we
resolved to write to the author without waiting for a second perusal.
Judging by our own feeling as authors, we guess that he would rather
know our genuine first thoughts, than wait for cool second thoughts, or
have a regular eulogium or criticism put in the most lucid manner, and
given in the finest sentences that ever were rounded.

Is it possible that I have got thus far without having named Flora or
Vich Ian Vohr--the _last Vich Ian Vohr!_ Yet our minds were full of them
the moment before I began this letter: and could you have seen the tears
forced from us by their fate, you would have been satisfied that the
pathos went to our hearts. Ian Vohr from the first moment he appears,
till the last, is an admirably-drawn and finely-sustained
character--new, perfectly new to the English reader--often
entertaining--always heroic--sometimes sublime. The gray spirit, the
Bodach Glas, thrills _us_ with horror. _Us!_ What effect must it have
upon those under the influence of the superstitions of the Highlands!
This circumstance is admirably introduced: this superstition is a
weakness quite consistent with the strength of the character, perfectly
natural after the disappointment of all his hopes, in the dejection of
his mind, and the exhaustion of his bodily strength.

Flora we could wish was never called _Miss MacIvor_, because in this
country there are tribes of vulgar Miss _Macs_, and this association is
unfavourable to the sublime and beautiful of _your_ Flora--she is a true
heroine. Her first appearance seized upon the mind and enchanted us so
completely, that we were certain she was to be your heroine, and the
wife of your hero--but with what inimitable art, you gradually convince
the reader that she was not, as she said of herself, _capable of making
Waverley happy._ Leaving her in full possession of our admiration, you
first make us pity, then love, and at last give our undivided affection
to Rose Bradwardine--sweet Scotch Rose! The last scene between Flora and
Waverley is highly pathetic--my brother wishes that _bridal garment_
were _shroud:_ because when the heart is touched we seldom use metaphor,
or quaint alliteration-bride-favour, bridal garment.

There is one thing more we could wish changed or omitted in Flora's
character. I have not the volume, and therefore cannot refer to the
page; but I recollect in the first visit to Flora, when she is to sing
certain verses, there is a walk, in which the description of the place
is beautiful, but _too long_, and we did not like the preparation for a
_scene_--the appearance of Flora and her harp was too like a common
heroine, she should be far above all stage effect or novelist's trick.

These are, without reserve, the only faults we found, or _can_ find in
this work of genius. We should scarcely have thought them worth
mentioning, except to give you proof positive that we are not
flatterers. Believe me, I have not, nor can I convey to you the full
idea of the pleasure, the delight we have had in reading _Waverley_, nor
of the feeling of sorrow with which we came to the end of the history of
persons whose real presence had so filled our minds--we felt that we
must return to the _flat realities_ of life, that our stimulus was gone,
and we were little disposed to read the "Postscript, which should have
been a Preface."

"Well, let us hear it," said my father, and Mrs. Edgeworth read on.

Oh! my dear sir, how much pleasure would my father, my mother, my whole
family, as well as myself have lost, if we had not read to the last
page! And the pleasure came upon us so unexpectedly--we had been so
completely absorbed that every thought of ourselves, of our own
authorship, was far, far away.

Thank you for the honour you have done us, [Footnote: Walter Scott, in
his "Postscript," said that it had been his desire in _Waverley_ "in
some distant degree to emulate the admirable Irish portraits drawn by
Miss Edgeworth."] and for the pleasure you have given us, great in
proportion to the opinion we had formed of the work we had just
perused--and believe me, every opinion I have in this letter expressed,
was formed before any individual in the family had peeped to the end of
the book, or knew how much we owed you.--Your obliged and grateful

MARIA EDGEWORTH.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Dec. 26, 1814._

"A merry Christmas and a happy New Year" to you, my dear Sophy, and to
my aunt, and uncle, and Margaret. I have just risen from my bed, where I
had been a day and a half with a violent headache and pains, or as John
Langan calls them, _pins_ in my bones. We have been much entertained
with _Mansfield Park._ Pray read _Eugene et Guillaume_, a modern _Gil
Blas_; too much of opera intrigues, but on the whole it is a work of
admirable ability. Guillaume's character beautiful, and the gradual
deterioration of Eugene's character finely drawn; but the following it
out becomes at last as disgusting and horrible as it would be to see the
corruption of the body after the spirit had fled.


_January 1815._

I send you some beautiful lines to Lord Byron, by Miss Macpherson,
daughter of Sir James Macpherson. As soon as my father hears from the
Dublin Society we shall go to Dublin.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

15 BAGGOT STREET, DUBLIN,

_Feb 1815._

Our time here has been much more agreeably spent than I had any hopes it
would be. My father has been pleased at some dinners at Mr. Knox's, Mr.
Leslie Foster's, and at the Solicitor-General's. Mrs. Stewart is
admirable, and Caroline Hamilton the most entertaining and agreeable
_good_ person I ever saw; she is as good as any saint, and as gay, and
much gayer, than any sinner I ever happened to see, male or female.

The Beauforts are at Mrs. Waller's: they came up in a hurry, summoned by
a Mrs. Codd, an American, or from America, who has come over to claim a
considerable property, and wants to be identified. She went a journey
when she was thirteen, with Doctor and Mrs. Beaufort and my mother, and
they are the only people in this country who can and will swear _to_ her
and _for_ her. I will tell you when we meet of her entree with Sir Simon
Bradstreet,--and I will tell you of Honora's treading on the parrot at
Mrs. Westby's party,--and I will tell you of Fenaigle and his ABC. I
think him very stupid. Heaven grant me the power of forgetting his Art
of Memory.


_To_ C.S. EDGEWORTH.

BLACK CASTLE, _May 10, 1815._

We, that is my father, mother, little Harriet, and I, went on Sunday
last to Castletown--the two days we spent there, delightful. Lady Louisa
Connolly is one of the most respectable, amiable, and even at seventy, I
may say, charming persons I ever saw or heard. Having known all the most
worthy, as well as the most celebrated people who have lived for the
last fifty years, she is full of characteristic anecdote, and fuller of
that indulgence for human creatures which is consistent with a thorough
knowledge of the world, and a quick perception of all the foibles of
human nature--with a high sense of religion, without the slightest
tincture of ostentation, asperity, or bigotry. She is all that I could
have wished to represent in Mrs. Hungerford, and her figure and
countenance gave me back the image in my mind.

Her niece, Miss Emily Napier, is graceful, amiable, and very engaging.

My father went home with Harriet direct from Castletown, but begged my
mother and me to return to Dublin for a fancy ball. We did not go to the
Rotunda, but saw enough of it at Mrs. Power's. Lady Clarke (Lady
Morgan's sister), as "Mrs. Flannigan, a half gentlewoman, from
Tipperary," speaking an admirable brogue, was by far the best character,
and she had presence of mind and a great deal of real humour--her
husband attending her with kitten and macaw.

Next to her was Mrs. Robert Langrishe, as a Frenchwoman, admirably
dressed. Mrs. Airey was a Turkish lady, in a superb dress, given to her
by Ali Pasha. There were _thatched_ "Wild Men from the North," dancing
and stamping with whips and clumping of the feet, from which Mrs. Bushe
and I fled whenever they came near us. Having named Mrs. Bushe, I must
mention that whenever I have met her, she has been my delight and
admiration from her wit, humour, and variety of conversation.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Aug. 1815._

I send a note from Lady Romilly, and one from Mr. Whishaw: the four
travellers mentioned in that note called upon us yesterday,--Mr. and
Mrs. Smith, of Easton Grey, Miss Bayley, and Mr. Fuller. Mrs. Smith is
stepdaughter to a certain Mrs. Chandler, who was very kind to me at Mrs.
Day's, and I was heartily glad to see her daughter, even stepdaughter,
at Edgeworthstown, and _my_ kind, dear, best of stepmothers seconded my
intentions to my very heart's wish: I am sure they went away satisfied.
I gave them a note to Lady Farnham, which will I think produce a note of
admiration! While these visitors were with us Mrs. Moutray came over
from Lissard, and we rejoiced in pride of soul to show them our Irish
Madame de Sevigne. _Her_ Madame de Grignan is more agreeable than ever.
Mrs. Moutray told me of a curious debate she heard between Lady C.
Campbell, Lady Glenbervie, and others, on the Modern Griselda, with
another lady, and a wager laid that she would not read it out to her
husband. Wager lost by skipping.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

_October 16._

I send you a letter of Joanna Baillie's; her simple style is so
different from the _fine_ or the _gossip_ style.

Did you ever hear this epigram, a translation from Martial?

  Their utmost power the gods have shown,
  In turning Niobe to stone:
  But man's superior power you see,
  Who turns a stone to Niobe.

Here is an epigram quite to my taste, elegant and witty, without
ill-nature or satire.

Barry Fox has come home with his regiment,[Footnote: Captain Fox had
been serving in Canada. On Buonaparte's return from Elba, his regiment,
the 97th, was summoned home. When the transport entered Plymouth
harbour, and the officers were told that Buonaparte was in the vessel
they had just sailed past, they thought it an absurd jest.] and is very
gentlemanlike.


_January 10, 1816._

The authoress of _Pride and Prejudice_ has been so good as to send to me
a new novel just published, _Emma._ We are reading _France in 1814 and
1815_, by young Alison and Mr. Tytler: the first volume good. We are
also reading a book which delights us all, though it is on a subject
which you will think little likely to be interesting to us, and on which
we had little or no previous knowledge. I bought it on Mr. Brinkley's
recommendation, and have not repented--Cuvier's _Theory of the Earth._
It is admirably written, with such perfect clearness as to be
intelligible to the meanest, and satisfactory to the highest capacity.

I have enlarged my plan of plays, which are not now to be for young
people merely, but rather _Popular Plays_, [Footnote: Published in 1817,
in one volume, containing "Love and Law."] for the same class as
_Popular Tales._ Excuse huddling things together. Mrs. O'Beirne, of
Newry, who has been here, told us a curious story. A man near Granard
robbed a farmer of thirty guineas, and hid them in a hole in the church
wall. He was hurried out of the country by some accident before he could
take off his treasure, and wrote to the man he had robbed and told him
where he had hid the money: "Since it can be of no use to me you may as
well have it." The owner of the money set to work _grouting_ under the
church wall, and many of the good people of Granard were seized with Mr.
Hill's fear there was a plot to undermine the church, and a great piece
of work about it.


_March 21._

I send a letter of Mrs. O'Beirne's, telling of Archdeacon de Lacy's
[Footnote: It happened that when Albertine de Stael was to be married to
M. de Broglie, at Florence, the only Protestant clergyman to be had was
Archdeacon de Lacy, son-in-law to Mrs. Moutray, the friend of Nelson and
Collingwood.] marrying Madame de Stael's daughter to the Duc de Broglie!
My father is pretty well to-day, and has been looking at a fine bed of
crocuses in full blow in my garden, and is now gone out in the carriage,
and I must have a _scene_ ready for him on his return.

I have been ever since you were here mending up the little plays;
cobbling work, which takes a great deal of time, and makes no show.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in January 1816 that Maria Edgeworth received a letter from Miss
Rachael Mordecai, of Richmond, Virginia, gently reproaching her with
having so often made Jews ridiculous in her writings, and asking her to
give a story with a good Jew. This was the origin of _Harrington_, and
the commencement of a correspondence with Miss Mordecai, and of a
friendship with her family.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

_July 24._

Mr. Strutt and his son have within these few minutes arrived here. He
wrote only yesterday to say that being at Liverpool, he would not be so
near Ireland without going to Edgeworthstown; I hope my father may be
able to enjoy their company, but he was very ill all last night and this
morning.


_August 25._

I lose not a moment, my dearest aunt, in communicating to you a piece of
intelligence which I am sure will give you pleasure: Lord Longford is
going to be married--to Lady Georgiana Lygon, daughter of Lord
Beauchamp. You will be glad to see the letter Lord Longford wrote upon
the occasion.

Everybody is writing and talking about Lord Byron, but I am tired of the
subject. _The all for murder, all for crime_ system of poetry will now
go out of fashion; as long as he appeared an outrageous mad villain he
might have ridden triumphant on the storm, but he has now shown himself
too base, too mean, too contemptible for anything like an heroic devil.
Pray, if you have an opportunity, read Haygarth's poem of "Greece." I
like it much, I like the mind that produced it; the poetry is not always
good, but there is a _spirit_ through the whole that sustains it and
that elevates and invigorates the mind of the reader.


_September_ 18.

You know, my dear aunt, it is a favourite opinion of my father's that
_things come in bundles:_ that _people_ come in bundles is, I think,
true, as, after having lived, without seeing a creature but our own
family for months, a press of company comes all at once. The very day
after the Brinkleys had come to us, and filled every nook in the house,
the enclosed letter was brought to me. I was in my own little den, just
beginning to write for an hour, as my father had requested I would, "let
who would be in the house." On opening the letter and seeing the
signature of Ward, I was in hopes it was the Mr. Ward who made the fine
speech and wrote the review of _Patronage_ in the _Quarterly_, and of
whom Madame de Stael said that he was the only man in England who really
understood the art of conversation. However, upon re-examining the
signature, I found that our gentleman who was waiting at the gate for an
answer was another Ward, who is called "the great R. Ward"--a very
gentlemanlike, agreeable man, full of anecdotes, bon-mots, and
compliments. I wish you had been here, for I think you would have been
entertained much, not only by his conversation, but by his character; I
never saw a man who had lived in the world so anxious about the opinions
which are formed of him by those with whom he is conversing, so quick at
discovering, by the countenance and by _implication_, what is thought of
him, or so incessantly alert in guarding all the suspected places in
your opinion. He disclaimed memory, though he has certainly the very
best of memories for wit and bon-mots that man was ever blessed with.
Mr. Ward was Under-secretary of State during a great part of Pitt's
administration, and has been one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and is
now Clerk of the Ordnance, and has been sent to Ireland to reform abuses
in the Ordnance. He speaks well, and in agreeable voice. He told me that
he had heard in London that I had a sort of Memoria Technica, by which I
could remember everything that was said in conversation, and by certain
motions of my fingers could, while people were talking to me, note down
all the ridiculous points!! He happened to have passed some time in his
early life at Lichfield, and knew Miss Seward, and Dr. Darwin, and
various people my father and aunts knew; so this added to his power of
making himself agreeable. Of all the multitude of good things he told
us, I can only at this moment recollect the lines which he repeated, by
Dr. Mansel, the Bishop of Bristol, on Miss Seward and Mr. Hayley's
flattery of each other:--

  "Prince of poets, England's glory,
    Mr. Hayley, _that_ is you!"
  "Ma'am, you carry all before you,
    Lichfield swan, indeed you do!"
  "In epic, elegy, or sonnet,
    Mr. Hayley, you're divine!"
  "Madam, take my word upon it,
    You yourself are all the Nine."

Some of his stories at dinner were so entertaining, that even old
George's face cut in wood could not stand it; and John Bristow and the
others were so bewildered, I thought the second course would never be on
the table.


_November 18._

We are reading one of the most entertaining and interesting and NEW
books I ever read in my life--Tully's _Residence in Tripoli_, written by
the sister of the consul, who resided there for ten years, spoke the
language, and was admitted to a constant intercourse with the ladies of
the seraglio, who are very different from any seraglio ladies we ever
before heard of. No Arabian tale is equal in magnificence and
entertainment; no tragedy superior in strength of interest to the
tragedy recorded in the last ten pages of this incomparable book. Some
people affect to disbelieve, and say it is manufactured; but it would be
a miracle that it was invented with such consistency.


_Jan 1817._

Mr. Knox has come and gone: two of the plays were read to him. My father
gave him a sketch of each, and desired him to choose: he chose the
genteel comedy, "The Two Guardians," and I read it; and those who sat by
told me afterwards that Mr. Knox's countenance showed he was much
amused, and that he had great sympathy. For my part, I had a _glaze_
before my eyes, and never once saw him while I was reading. He made some
good criticisms, and in consequence I altered one scene, and dragged out
Arthur Onslow by the head and heels--the good boy of the piece; and we
found he was never missed, but the whole much lightened by throwing this
heavy character overboard. Next night "The Rose, Thistle, and Shamrock":
Mr. Knox laughed, and seemed to enjoy it much.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Edgeworth was now failing rapidly, though as much interested as ever
in all that was going on around. "How I do enjoy my existence!" he often
exclaimed. His daughter, however, says that "he did not for his own sake
desire length of life: he only prayed that his mind might not decay
before his body," and it did not; his mental powers were as bright and
vigorous as ever to the last.

On the 16th of February Maria Edgeworth read out to her father the first
chapter of _Ormond_ in the carriage going to Pakenham Hall to see Lord
Longford's bride. It was the last visit that Mr. Edgeworth paid
anywhere. He had expressed a wish to his daughter that she should write
a story as a companion to _Harrington_, and in all her anguish of mind
at his state of health, she, by a remarkable effort of affection and
genius, produced the earlier gay and brilliant pages of _Ormond_--some
of the gayest and most brilliant she ever composed. The interest and
delight which her father, ill as he was, took in this beginning,
encouraged her to go on, and she completed the story. _Harrington_,
written as an apology for the Jews, had dragged with her as she wrote
it, and it dragged with the public. But in _Ormond_ she was on Irish
ground, where she was always at her very best. Yet the characters of
King Corny and Sir Ulick O'Shane, and the many scenes full of wit,
humour, and feeling, were written in agony of anxiety, with trembling
hand and tearful eyes. As she finished chapter after chapter, she read
them out--the whole family assembling in her father's room to listen to
them. Her father enjoyed these readings so exceedingly, that she was
amply rewarded for the efforts she made.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _May 31, 1817._

This day, so anxiously expected, has arrived--the only birthday of my
father's for many, many years which has not brought unmixed feelings of
pleasure. He had had a terrible night, but when I went into his room and
stood at the foot of his bed, his voice was strong and cheerful, as
usual. I put into his hand the hundred and sixty printed pages of
_Ormond_ which kind-hearted Hunter had successfully managed to get ready
for this day. How my dear father can, in the midst of such sufferings,
and in such an exhausted state of body, take so much pleasure in such
things, is astonishing. Oh, my dear Sophy, what must be the fund of warm
affection from which this springs! and what infinite, exquisite pleasure
to me! "Call Sneyd directly," he said, and swallowed some stir-about,
and said he felt renovated. Sneyd was seated at the foot of his bed.
"Now, Maria, dip anywhere, read on." I began: "King Corny recovered."
Then he said, "I must tell Sneyd the story up to this."

And most eloquently, most beautifully did he tell the story. No mortal
could ever have guessed that he was an invalid, if they had only _heard_
him _speak._ Just as I had here stopped writing my father came out of
his room, looking wretchedly, but ordered the carriage, and said he
would go to Longford to see Mr. Fallon about materials for William's
bridge. He took with him his three sons, and "Maria to read
_Ormond_"--great delight to me. He was much pleased, and this wonderful
father of mine drove all the way to Longford: forced our way through the
tumult of the most crowded market I ever saw--his voice heard clear all
the way down the street--stayed half an hour in the carriage on the
bridge talking to Mr. Fallon; and we were not home till half-past six.
He could not dine with us, but after dinner he sent for us all into the
library. He sat in the arm-chair by the fire; my mother in the opposite
arm-chair, Pakenham in the chair behind her, Francis on a stool at her
feet, Maria beside them; William next, Lucy, Sneyd; on the sofa opposite
the fire, as when you were here, Honora, Fanny, Harriet, and Sophy; my
aunts next to my father, and Lovell between them and the sofa. He was
much pleased at Lovell and Sneyd's coming down for this day.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Edgeworth died on the 13th of June, in his seventy-second year. He
had been--by his different wives--the father of twenty-two children, of
whom thirteen survived him. The only son of his second marriage, Lovell
Edgeworth, succeeded to Edgeworthstown, but persuaded his stepmother and
his numerous brothers and sisters still to regard it as a home.

To enable the reader to understand the relationships of the large family
circle, it may be well to give the children of Mr. Edgeworth.

  1st marriage with Anna Maria Elers.
    Richard, b. 1765; d. s.p. 1796.
    Maria, b. 1767; d. unmarried, 1849.
    Emmeline married, 1802, John King, Esq.
    Anna, married, 1794, Dr. Beddoes.

  2nd marriage with Honora Sneyd.
    Lovell, b. 1776; d. unmarried, 1841.
    Honora, d. unmarried, 1790.

  3rd marriage with Elizabeth Sneyd.
    Henry, b. 1782; d. unmarried, 1813.
    Charles Sneyd, b. 1786; d .s.p. 1864.
    William, b. 1788; d. 1792.
    Thomas Day, b. 1789; d. 1792.
    William, b. 1794; d. s.p. 1829.
    Elizabeth, d. 1800.
    Caroline, d. 1807.
    Sophia, d. 1785.
    Honora, married, 1831, Admiral Sir J. Beaufort, and died,
      his widow, 1858.

  4th marriage with Frances Anna Beaufort.
    Francis Beaufort, b. 1809; married, 1831, Rosa Florentina Eroles,
      and had four sons and a daughter.  The second son, Antonio Eroles,
      eventually succeeded his uncle Sneyd at Edgeworthstown.
    Michael Pakenham, b. 1812; married, 1846, Christina Macpherson,
      and had issue.
    Frances Maria (Fanny), married, 1829, Lestock P. Wilson, Esq.,
      and died, 1848.
    Harriet, married, 1826, Rev. Richard Butler, afterwards Dean of
      Clonmacnoise.
    Sophia, married, 1824, Barry Fox, Esq. and d. 1837.
    Lucy Jane, married, 1843, Rev. T.R. Robinson, D.D.


During the months which succeeded her father's death, Maria wrote
scarcely any letters; her sight caused great anxiety. The tears, she
said, felt in her eyes like the cutting of a knife. She had overworked
them all the previous winter, sitting up at night and struggling with
her grief as she wrote _Ormond_; and she was now unable to use them
without pain.

In October she went to Black Castle, and remained there till January
1818, having the strength of mind to abstain almost entirely from
reading and writing.

It required all Maria Edgeworth's inherited activity of mind, and all
her acquired command over herself, to keep up the spirits of her family
on their return to Edgeworthstown: from which the master-mind was gone,
and where the light was quenched. But, notwithstanding all the
depression she felt, she set to work immediately at what she now felt to
be her first duty--the fulfilment of her father's wish that she should
complete the Memoirs of his life, which he had himself begun. Yet her
eyes were still so weak that she seldom allowed herself what had been
her greatest relaxation--writing letters to her friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Jan. 24, 1818._

My dearest aunt and friend--friend of my youth and age, and beloved
sister of my father, how many titles you have to my affection and
gratitude, and how delightful it is to me to feel them all! Since I have
parted from you, I have felt still more than when I was with you the
peculiar value to me of your sympathy and kindness. I find my spirits
sink beyond my utmost effort to support them when I leave you, and they
rise involuntarily when I am near you, and recall the dear trains of old
associations, and the multitude of ideas I used to have with him who is
gone for ever. Thank you, my dear aunt, for your most kind and touching
letter. You have been for three months daily and hourly soothing, and
indulging, and nursing me body and mind, and making me forget the sense
of pain which I could not have felt suspended in any society but yours.
My uncle's opinion and hints about the Life I have been working at this
whole week. Nothing can be kinder than Lovell is to all of us.

I have read two-thirds of Bishop Watson's life. I think he bristles his
independence too much upon every occasion, and praises himself too much
for it, and above all complains too much of the want of preferment and
neglect of him by the Court. I have Madame de Stael's Memoirs of her
father's private life: I have only read fifty pages of it--too much of a
French Eloge--too little of his private life. There is a _Notice_ by
Benjamin Constant of Madame de Stael's life prefixed to this work, which
appears to me more interesting and pathetic than anything Madame de
Stael has yet said of her father.


_February 21._

I must and will write to my Aunt Ruxton to-day, if the whole College of
Physicians, and the whole conclave of cardinal virtues, with Prudence
primming up her mouth at the head of them, stood before me. I entirely
agree with you, my dearest aunt, on one subject, as indeed I generally
do on most subjects, but particularly about _Northanger Abbey_ and
_Persuasion._ The behaviour of the General in _Northanger Abbey_,
packing off the young lady without a servant or the common civilities
which any bear of a man, not to say gentleman, would have shown, is
quite outrageously out of drawing and out of nature. _Persuasion_--
excepting the tangled, useless histories of the family in
the first fifty pages--appears to me, especially in all that relates to
poor Anne and her lover, to be exceedingly interesting and natural. The
love and the lover admirably well drawn: don't you see Captain
Wentworth, or rather don't you in her place feel him taking the
boisterous child off her back as she kneels by the sick boy on the sofa?
And is not the first meeting after their long separation admirably well
done? And the overheard conversation about the nut? But I must stop: we
have got no farther than the disaster of Miss Musgrave's jumping off the
steps.

I am going on, but very slowly, and not to my satisfaction with my work.


_To_ MRS. SNEYD EDGEWORTH.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _March 27._

I agree with you in thinking the _MS. de Sainte-Helene_ a magnificent
performance. My father was strongly of opinion that it was not written
by Buonaparte himself, and he grounded this opinion chiefly upon the
passages relative to the Duc d'Enghien: _c'etait plus qu'un crime,
c'etait une faute_; no man, he thought, not even Nero, would, in writing
for posterity say that he had committed a crime instead of a fault. But
it may be observed that in the Buonaparte system of morality which runs
through the book, nothing is considered what we call a crime, unless it
be what he allows to be a fault. His proof that he did not murder
Pichegru is, that it would have been useless. Le _cachet de_ Buonaparte
is as difficult to imitate as _le cachet de Voltaire._ I know of but
three people in Europe who could have written it: Madame de Stael,
Talleyrand, or M. Dumont. Madame de Stael, though she has the ability,
could not have got so plainly and shortly through it. Talleyrand has
_l'esprit comme un demon_, but he could not for the soul of him have
refused himself a little more wit and wickedness. Dumont has not enough
audacity of mind.


_To_ MRS. STARK. [Footnote: Daughter of Mr. Bannatyne, of Glasgow.]

SPRING FARM, N.T. MOUNT KENNEDY, _June_ 1818.

I am, and have been ever since I could any way command my attention,
intent upon finishing those Memoirs of himself which my father left me
to finish and charged me to publish. Yet I have accepted an invitation
to Bowood, from Lady Lansdowne, whom I love, and as soon as I have
finished I shall go there. As to Scotland, I have no chance of getting
there at present, but if ever I go there, depend upon it, I shall go to
see you. Never, never can I forget those happy days we spent with you,
and the warmhearted kindness we received from you and yours: those were
"sunny spots" in my life.


_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

BOWOOD, _Sept._ 1818.

I will tell you how we pass our day. At seven I get up--this morning at
half-past six, to have the pleasure of writing to you, my dearest
mother, be satisfied I never write a word at night: breakfast is at half
after nine, very pleasant: afterwards we all _stray_ into the library
for a few minutes, and settle when we shall meet again for walking,
etc.: then Lady Lansdowne goes to her dear dressing-room and dear
children, Dumont to his attic, Lord Lansdowne to his out-of-door works,
and we to our elegant dressing-room, and Miss Carnegy to hers. Between
one and two is luncheon: happy time! Lady Lansdowne is so cheerful,
polite, and easy, just as she was in her walks at Edgeworthstown: but
very different walks are the walks we take here, most various and
delightful, from dressed shrubbery and park walks to fields with
inviting paths, wide downs, shady winding lanes, and happy cottages--not
_dressed_, but naturally well placed, and with evidence in every part of
their being suited to the inhabitants.

After our walk we dress and make haste for dinner. Dinner is always
pleasant, because Lord and Lady Lansdowne converse so agreeably--Dumont
also--towards the dessert. After dinner, we find the children in the
drawing-room: I like them better and better the more I see of them. When
there is company there is a whist table for the gentlemen. Dumont read
out one evening one of Corneille's plays, "Le Florentin," which is
beautiful, and was beautifully read. We asked for one of Moliere, but he
said to Lord Lansdowne that it was impossible to read Moliere aloud
without a quicker eye than he had _pour de certains propos_: however,
they went to the library and brought out at last as odd a choice as
could well be made, with Mr. Thomas Grenville as auditor, "Le vieux
Celibataire," an excellent play, interesting and lively throughout, and
the old bachelor himself a charming character. Dumont read it as well as
Tessier could have read it; but there were things which seemed as if
they were written on purpose for the Celibataire who was listening, and
the Celibataire who was reading.

Lord Lansdowne, when I asked him to describe Rocca [Footnote: Second
husband of Madame de Stael.] to me, said he heard him give an answer to
Lord Byron which marked the indignant frankness of his mind. Lord Byron
at Coppet had been going on abusing the stupidity of the good people of
Geneva: Rocca at last turned short upon him--"Eh! milord, pourquoi donc
venez-vous vous _fourrer_ parmi ces honnetes gens?"

Madame de Stael--I jumble anecdotes together as I recollect them--Madame
de Stael had a great wish to see Mr. Bowles, the poet, or as Lord Byron
calls him, the sonneteer; she admired his sonnets, and his Spirit of
Maritime Discovery, and ranked him high as an English genius. In riding
to Bowood he fell, and sprained his shoulder, but still came on. Lord
Lansdowne alluded to this in presenting him to Madame de Stael before
dinner in the midst of the listening circle. She began to compliment him
and herself upon the exertion he had made to come and see her: "O ma'am,
say no more, for I would have done a great deal more to see so great a
_curiosity!_"

Lord Lansdowne says it is impossible to describe the _shock_ in Madame
de Stael's face--the breathless astonishment and the total change
produced in her opinion of the man. She afterwards said to Lord
Lansdowne, who had told her he was a simple country clergyman, "Je vois
bien que ce n'est qu'un simple cure qui n'a pas le sens commun, quoique
grand poete."

Lady Lansdowne, just as I was writing this, came to my room and paid me
half an hour's visit. She brought back my father's MS., which I had lent
to her to read: she was exceedingly interested in it: she says, "It is
not only entertaining but interesting, as showing how such a character
was formed."


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

BOWOOD, _Sept. 19, 1818._

You know our history up to Saturday last, when Lord and Lady Grenville
left Bowood: there remained Mr. Thomas Grenville, Le vieux Celibataire,
two Horts, Sir William and his brother, Mr. Gally Knight, and Lord and
Lady Bathurst, with their two daughters. Mr. Grenville left us
yesterday, and the rest go to-day. Mr. Grenville was very agreeable:
dry, quiet humour: grave face, dark, thin, and gentlemanlike: a lie-by
manner, entertained, or entertaining by turns. It is curious that we
have seen within the course of a week one of the heads of the
ministerial, and one of the ex-ministerial party. In point of ability,
Lord Grenville is, I think, far superior to any one I have seen here.
Lord Lansdowne, with whom I had a delightful _tete-a-tete_ walk
yesterday, told me that Lord Grenville can be fully known only when
people come to do political business with him: there he excels. You know
his preface to Lord Chatham's _Letters._ His manner of speaking in the
House is not pleasing, Lord Lansdowne says: from being very near-sighted
he has a look of austerity and haughtiness, and as he cannot see all he
wants to see, he throws himself back with his chin up, determined to
look at none. Lord Lansdowne gave me an instance--I may say a
warning--of the folly of judging hastily of character at first sight
from small circumstances. In one of Cowper's letters there is an absurd
character of Lord Grenville, in which he is represented as a
_petit-maitre._ This arose from Lord Grenville taking up his
near-sighted glass several times during his visit. There cannot, in
nature or art, be a man further from a _petit-maitre._

Lady Bathurst is remarkably obliging to me: we have many subjects in
common--her brother, the Duke of Richmond, and all Ireland; her aunt,
Lady Louisa Connolly, and Miss Emily Napier, and all the Pakenhams, and
the Duchess of Wellington. The Duke lately said to Mrs. Pole, "After
all, home is what we must look to at last."

Lady Georgiana is a very pretty, and I need scarcely say,
fashionable-looking young lady, easy, agreeable, and quite unaffected.

This visit to Bowood has surpassed my expectation in every respect. I
much enjoy the sight of Lady Lansdowne's happiness with her husband and
her children: beauty, fortune, cultivated society, in short, everything
that the most reasonable or unreasonable could wish. She is so amiable
and so desirous to make others happy, that it is impossible not to love
her; and the most envious of mortals, I think, would have the heart
opened to sympathy with her. Then Lord and Lady Lansdowne are so fond of
each other, and show it, and _don't show it_, in the most agreeable
manner. His conversation is very various and natural, full of
information, given for the sake of those to whom he speaks, never for
display. What he says always lets us into his feelings and character,
and therefore is interesting.


_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH

THE GROVE, EFFING, _Oct. 4, 1818._

I mentioned one day at dinner at Bowood that children have very early a
desire to produce an effect, a sensation in company. "Yes," said Lord
Lansdowne, "I remember distinctly having that feeling, and acting upon
it once in a large and august company, when I was a young boy, at the
time of the French Revolution, when the Duke and Duchess de Polignac
came to Bowood, and my father was anxious to receive these illustrious
guests with all due honour. One Sunday evening, when they were all
sitting in state in the drawing-room, my father introduced me, and I was
asked to give the company a sermon. The text I chose was, quite
undesignedly, 'Put not your trust in princes.' The moment I had
pronounced the words, I saw my father's countenance change, and I saw
changes in the countenances of the Duke and Duchess, and of every face
in the circle. I saw I was the cause of this; and though I knew my
father wanted to stop me, I would go on, to see what would be the
effect. I repeated my text, and preached upon it, and as I went on, made
out what it was that affected the congregation."

Afterwards Lord Shelburne desired the boy to go round the circle and
wish the company good-night; but when he came to the Duchesse de
Polignac, he could not resolve to kiss her; he so detested the patch of
rouge on her cheek, he started back. Lord Shelburne whispered a bribe in
his ear--no, he would not; and they were obliged to laugh it off. But
his father was very much vexed.


HAMPSTEAD, _Oct. 13._

We had a delightful drive here yesterday from Epping. Joanna Baillie and
her sister, most kind, cordial, and warm-hearted, came running down
their little flagged walk to welcome us. Mrs. Hunter, widow of John
Hunter, dined here yesterday; she wrote "The son of Alnomac shall never
complain," and she entertained me exceedingly; and both Joanna and her
sister have most agreeable and new conversation--not old, trumpery
literature over again, and reviews, but new circumstance worth telling,
apropos to every subject that is touched upon: frank observations on
character, without either ill-nature or the fear of committing
themselves: no blue-stocking tittle-tattle, or habits of worshipping, or
being worshipped: domestic, affectionate, good to live with, and,
without fussing continually, doing what is most obliging, and whatever
makes us feel most at home. Breakfast is very pleasant in this house,
and the two good sisters look so neat and cheerful.


_Oct 15._

We went to see Mrs. Barbauld at Stoke Newington. She was gratified by
our visit, and very kind and agreeable.


BOWOOD, _Nov._ 3, 1818.

We have just returned to dear Bowood. We went to Wimbledon, where Lady
Spencer was very attentive and courteous: she is, I may say, the
cleverest person I have seen since I came to England. At parting she
"GOD blessed" me. We met there Lady Jones, widow of Sir William--thin,
dried, tall old lady, nut-cracker chin, penetrating, benevolent,
often--smiling, black eyes; and her nephew, young Mr. Hare; [Footnote:
Augustus William Hare, one of the authors of _Guesses on Truth._] and,
the last day, Mr. Brunel. [Footnote: Afterwards Sir Mark Isambard
Brunel, engineer of the Thames Tunnel, Woolwich Arsenal, etc.,
1769-1849.]

This moment Mrs. Dugald Stewart, who was out walking, has come in--the
same dear woman! I have seen Mr. Stewart--very, very weak--he cannot
walk without an arm to lean on.


BOWOOD, _Nov. 4, 1818._

The newspapers have told you the dreadful catastrophe--the death, and
the manner of the death, of that great and good man, Sir Samuel Romilly.
My dearest mother, there seems no end of horrible calamities. There is
no telling how it has been felt in this house. I did not know till now
that Mr. Dugald Stewart had been so very intimate with Sir Samuel, and
so very much attached to him--forty years his friend: he has been
dreadfully shocked. He was just getting better, enjoyed seeing us,
conversed quite happily with me the first evening, and I felt reassured
about him; but what may be the consequence of this stroke none can tell.
I rejoice that we came to meet him here: they say that I am of use
conversing with him. Lord Lansdowne looks wretchedly, and can hardly
speak on the subject without tears, notwithstanding all his efforts.


_To_ MISS WALLER. [Footnote: Miss Waller was aunt of Captain Beaufort
and the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth.]

BYRKELY LODGE, _Nov. 24, 1818._

In the gloom which the terrible and most unexpected loss of Sir Samuel
Romilly cast over the whole society at Bowood during the last few days
we spent there, I recollect some minutes of pleasure. When I was
consulting Mrs. Dugald Stewart about my father's MS., I mentioned
Captain Beaufort's opinion on some point; the moment his name had passed
my lips, Mr. Stewart's grave countenance lighted up, and he exclaimed,
"Captain Beaufort! I have the very highest opinion of Captain Beaufort
ever since I saw a letter of his, which I consider to be one of the best
letters I ever read. It was to the father of a young gentleman who died
at Malta, to whom Captain Beaufort had been the best of friends. The
young man had excellent qualities, but some frailties. Captain
Beaufort's letter to the father threw a veil over the son's frailties,
and without departing from the truth, placed all his good qualities in
the most amiable light. The old man told me," continued Mr. Stewart,
"that this letter was the only earthly consolation he ever felt for the
loss of his son; he spoke of it with tears streaming from his eyes, and
pointed in particular to the passage that recorded the warm affection
with which his son used to speak of him."

It is delightful to find the effect of a friend's goodness thus coming
round to us at a great distance of time, and to see that it has raised
him in the esteem of those we most admire.

Mr. Stewart has not yet recovered his health; he is more alarmed, I
think, than he need to be by the difficulty he finds in recollecting
names and circumstances that passed immediately before and after his
fever. This hesitation of memory, I believe, everybody has felt more or
less after any painful event. In every other respect Mr. Stewart's mind
appears to me to be exactly what it ever was, and his kindness of heart
even greater than we have for so many years known it to be.

We are now happy in the quiet of Byrkely Lodge. We have not had any
visitors since we came, and have paid only one visit to the Miss
Jacksons. Miss Fanny is, you know, the author of _Rhoda_; Miss Maria,
the author of a little book of advice about _A Gay Garden._ I like the
Gay Garden lady best at first sight, but I will suspend my judgment
prudently till I see more.

I have just heard a true story worthy of a postscript even in the
greatest haste. Two stout foxhunters in this neighbourhood who happened
each to have as great a dread of a spider as ever fine lady had or
pretended to have, chanced to be left together in a room where a spider
appeared, crawling from under a table, at which they were sitting.
Neither durst approach within arm's length of it, or touch it even with
a pair of tongs; at last one of the gentlemen proposed to the other, who
was in thick boots, to get on the table and jump down upon his enemy,
which was effected to their infinite satisfaction.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

BYRKELY LODGE, _Jan. 20, 1819._

I see my little dog on your lap, and feel your hand patting his head,
and hear your voice telling him that it is for Maria's sake he is there.
I wish I was in his place, or at least on the sofa beside you at this
moment, that I might in five minutes tell you more than my letters could
tell you in five hours.

I have scarcely yet recovered from the joy of having Fanny actually with
me, and with me just in time to go to Trentham, on which I had set my
foolish heart. We met her at Lichfield. We spent that evening there--the
children of four different marriages all united and happy together.
Lovell took Francis [Footnote: Son of the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth, who was
going to the Charter-house, and who had accompanied his sister Fanny,
with Lovell, from Edgeworthstown.] on with him to Byrkely Lodge, and we
went to Trentham.

When Honora and I had Fanny in the chaise to ourselves, ye gods! how we
did talk! We arrived at Trentham by moonlight, and could only just see
outlines of wood and hills: silver light upon the broad water, and
cheerful lights in the front of a large house, with wide-open hall door.
Nothing could be more polite and cordial than the reception given to us
by Lady Stafford, and by her good-natured, noblemanlike lord. During our
whole visit, what particularly pleased me was the manner in which they
treated my sisters: not as appendages to an authoress, not as young
ladies merely _permitted_, or to fill up as _personnages muets_ in
society; on the contrary, Lady Stafford conversed with them a great
deal, and repeatedly took opportunities of expressing to me how much she
liked and valued them for their own sake. "That sister Fanny of yours
has a most intelligent countenance: she is much more than pretty; and
what I so like is her manner of answering when she is asked any
question--so unlike the Missy style. They have both been admirably well
educated." Then she spoke in the handsomest manner of my father--"a
master-mind: even in the short time I saw him that was apparent to me."

Lady Elizabeth Gower is a most engaging, sensible, unaffected, sweet,
pretty creature. While Lady Stafford in the morning was in the library
doing a drawing in water colours to show Honora her manner of finishing
quickly, Fanny and I sat up in Lady Elizabeth's darling little room at
the top of the house, where she has all her drawings, and writing, and
books, and harp. She and her brother, Lord Francis, have always been
friends and companions: and on her table were bits of paper on which he
had scribbled droll heads, and verses of his, very good, on the
"Expulsion of the Moors from Spain"--Lady Elizabeth knew every line of
these, and had all that quick feeling, and _colouring_ apprehension, and
_slurring_ dexterity, which those who read out what is written by a dear
friend so well understand.

Large rooms filled with pictures, most of them modern--Reynolds,
Moreland, Glover, Wilkie; but there are a few ancient: one of Titian's,
that struck me as beautiful--"Hermes teaching Cupid to read." The chief
part of the collection is in the house in town. After a happy week at
Trentham we returned here.

Mercy on my poor memory! I forgot to tell you that Lady Harrowby and her
daughter were at Trentham, and an _exquisite_, or tiptop dandy, Mr.
Standish, and young Mr. Sneyd, of Keil--very fashionable. Lady Harrowby
deserves Madame de Stael's good word, she calls her "_compagne
spirituelle_"--a charming woman, and very quick in conversation.

The morning after Mr. Standish's arrival, Lady Stafford's maid told her
that she and all the ladies' maids had been taken by his _gentleman_ to
see his toilette--"which, I assure you, my lady, is the thing best worth
seeing in this house, all of gilt plate, and I wish, my lady, you had
such a dressing box." Though an exquisite, Mr. Standish is clever,
entertaining, and agreeable. One day that he sat beside me at dinner, we
had a delightful battledore and shuttlecock conversation from grave to
gay as quick as your heart could wish: from _L'Almanac des Gourmandes_
and _Le Respectable Porc_, to _Dorriforth and the Simple Story._


_Jan 22._

My letter has been detained two days for a frank. My aunts [Footnote:
The Miss Sneyds were now living for a time at Byrkely Lodge.] are pretty
well, and we feel that we add to their cheerfulness. Honora plays
cribbage with Aunt Mary, and I read Florence Macarthy; I like the Irish
characters, and the Commodore, and Lord Adelm--that is Lord Byron; but
Ireland is traduced in some of her representations. "Marriage" is
delightful.


_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

BYRKELY LODGE, _Feb 8, 1819._

Mrs. Sneyd took me with her to-day to Lord Bagot's to return Lady
Dartmouth's visit; she is a charming woman, and appears most amiable,
taking care of all those grandchildren. Lord Bagot very melancholy,
gentlemanlike, and interesting. Fine old cloistered house, galleries,
painted glass, coats of arms, and family pictures everywhere. It was the
first time Lord Bagot had seen Mrs. Sneyd since his wife's death; he
took both her hands and was as near bursting into tears as ever man was.
He was very obliging to me, and showed me all over his house, and gave
me a most sweet bunch of Daphne Indica.


TETSWORTH INN, _March 4._

On Tuesday morning we left dear, happy, luxurious, warm Byrkely Lodge.
At taking leave of me, Mr. Sneyd began thanking me as if I had been the
person obliging instead of obliged, and when I got up from the breakfast
table and went round to stop his thanks by mine, he took me in his arms
and gave me a squeeze that left me as flat as a pancake, and then ran
out of the room absolutely crying.

We arrived at tea-time at Mrs. Moilliet's, [Footnote: Daughter of Mr.
Keir, Mrs. Edgeworth's old friend.] Smethwick, near Birmingham, much
pleased with our reception, and with Mr. Moilliet and their five
children. He has purchased a delightful house on the banks of the Lake
of Geneva, where they go next summer, and most earnestly pressed us to
visit them there.

Mr. Moilliet told us an anecdote of Madame la Comtesse de Rumford and
her charming Count; he, one day in a fit of ill-humour, went to the
porter and forbad him to let into his house any of the friends of Madame
la Comtesse or of M. Lavoisier's--all the society which you and I saw at
her house: they had been invited to supper; the old porter, all
disconsolate, went to tell the Countess the order he had received.
"Well, you must obey your master, you must not let them into the house,
but I will go down to your lodge, and as each carriage comes, you will
let them know what has happened, and that I am there to receive them."

They all came; and by two or three at a time went into the porter's
lodge and spent the evening with her; their carriages lining the street
all night to the Count's infinite mortification.

Mr. Moilliet also told Fanny of a Yorkshire farmer who went to the Bank
of England, and producing a Bank of England note for L30,000, asked to
have it changed. The clerk was surprised and hesitated, said that a note
for so large a sum was very uncommon, and that he knew there never had
been more than two L30,000 bank notes issued. "Oh yes!" said the farmer,
"I have the other at home."

We went to see dear old Mr. Watt: eighty-four, and in perfect possession
of eyes, ears, and all his comprehensive understanding and warm heart.
Poor Mrs. Watt is almost crippled with rheumatism, but as good-natured
and hospitable as ever, and both were heartily glad to see us. So many
recollections, painful and pleasurable, crowded and pressed upon my
heart during this half-hour. I had much ado to talk, but I did,
[Footnote: Mr. Watt had been one of Mr. Edgeworth's most intimate
friends.] and so did he,--of forgeries on bank notes, no way can he
invent of avoiding such but by having an inspecting clerk in every
country town. Talked over the committee report--paper-marks,
vain--Tilloch--"I have no great opinion of his abilities--Bramah--yes,
he is a clever man, but set down this for truth; no man is so ingenious,
but what another may be found equally ingenious. What one invents,
another can detect and imitate."

Watt is at this moment himself the best encyclopedia extant; I dare not
attempt to tell you half he said: it would be a volume. Chantrey has
made a beautiful, mean an admirable, bust of him. Chantrey and Canova
are now making rival busts of Washington.

I must hop, skip, and jump as I can from subject to subject. Mr. and
Mrs. Moilliet took us in the evening to a lecture on poetry, by
Campbell, who has been invited by a Philosophical Society of Birmingham
gentlemen to give lectures; they give tickets to their friends. Mr.
Corrie, one of the heads of this society, was _proud_ to introduce us.
Excellent room, with gas spouting from tubes below the gallery. Lecture
good enough. Mr. Campbell introduced to me after lecture; asked very
kindly for Sneyd; many compliments. Mr. Corrie drank tea, after the
lecture, at Mr. Moilliet's--very agreeable benevolent countenance, most
agreeable voice. We liked particularly his enthusiasm for Mr. Watt; he
gave a history of his inventions, and instances of Watt's superiority
both in invention and magnanimity when in competition with others.

Mr. and Mrs. Moilliet have pressed us to come again. Mr. and Mrs. Watt,
ditto, ditto. Mr. Watt almost with tears in his eyes; and I was ashamed
to see that venerable man standing bareheaded at his door to do us the
last [Footnote: It was the last. Mr. Watt died a few months afterwards.]
honour, till the carriage drove away.

I beg your pardon for going backward and forward in this way in my
hurry-skurry. I leave the Stratford-upon-Avon, and Blenheim, and
Woodstock adventures, and Oxford to Honora and Fanny, whose pens have
been going _a l'envie l'une de l'autre_; we are writing so comfortably.
I at my desk with a table to myself, and the most comfortable little
black stuffed arm-chair. Fanny and Ho. at their desks and table near the
fire.

"We must have two pairs of snuffers."

"Yes, my lady, directly."

So now, my lady, good-night; for I am tired, a little, just enough to
pity the civilest and prettiest of Swiss-looking housemaids, who says in
answer to my "We shall come to bed very soon," "Oh dear, my lady, we
bees no ways particular in this house about times o' going to bed."


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

GROVE HOUSE, KENSINGTON GORE,

_March 1819._

We arrived here on Saturday last; found Lady Elizabeth Whitbread more
kind and more agreeable than ever. Her kindness to us is indeed
unbounded, and would quite overwhelm me but for the delicate and polite
manner in which she confers favours, more as if she received than
conferred them. Her house, her servants, her carriage, her horses, are
not only entirely at my disposal, but she had the good-natured
politeness to go down to the door to desire the coachman to have George
Bristow always on the box with him, as the shaking would be too much for
him behind.

Yesterday we spent two hours at Lady Stafford's. I had most agreeable
conversation with her and Lord Stafford, while Lady Elizabeth Gower
showed the pictures to Honora and Fanny.

Mr. Talbot [Footnote: Son of Lady Talbot de Malahide, a lawyer] is often
here, _l'ami de la maison_ and very much ours. Lady Grey, Lady
Elizabeth's mother, is a fine amiable old lady. Mr. Ellice, the
brother-in-law, very good-humoured and agreeable. Mr. and Mrs. Lefevre,
the son-in-law and daughter, very agreeable, good, and happy. I am more
and more convinced that happiness depends upon what is in the head and
heart more than on what is in the purse or the bank, or on the back or
in the stomach. There must be enough in the stomach, but the sauce is of
little consequence. _By the bye_, Lady Elizabeth's cook is said to be
the best in England; lived with her in the days of her prosperity, as
she says, and has followed her here.


KENSINGTON CORE, _March 24, 1819._

I have a moment to write to you, and I will use it. We are going on just
as when I last wrote to you. We began by steadily settling that we would
not go out to any dinner or evening parties, because we could not do so
without giving up Lady Elizabeth's society; she never goes out but to
her relations. The mornings she spends in her own apartments, and when
we had refused all invitations to dinner our friends were so kind as to
contrive to see us at our own hours: to breakfast or luncheon. Twice
with Lady Lansdowne--luncheon; found her with her children just the same
as at Bowood. Miss Fanshawe's--breakfast; Lord Glenbervie there, very
agreeable; much French and Italian literature--beautiful drawings, full
of genius--if there be such a thing allowed by practical education?

Three breakfasts at dear Mrs. Marcet's; the first quite private; the
second literary, very agreeable; Dr. Holland, Mr. Wishaw, Captain
Beaufort, Mr. Mallet, Lady Yonge; third, Mr. Mill--British India--was
the chief _figurante_; not the least of a _figurante_ though, excellent
in sense and benevolence.

Twice at Mr. Wilberforce's; he lives next door to Lady Elizabeth
Whitbread; there we met Mr. Buxton--admirable facts from him about
Newgate and Spitalfields weavers. One fact I was very sorry to learn,
that Mrs. Fry, that angel woman, was very ill.

Breakfast with Mr. and Mrs. Hope--quite alone--he showed the house to
Honora and Fanny while I sat with Mrs. Hope.

On St. Patrick's Day, by appointment to the Duchess of Wellington,
nothing could be more like Kitty Pakenham; a plate of shamrocks on the
table, and as she came forward to meet me, she gave a bunch to me,
pressing my hand and saying in a low voice with her sweet smile, _Vous
en etes digne._ She asked individually for all her Irish friends. I
showed to her what was said in my father's life, and by me, of Lord
Longford, and the drawing of his likeness, and asked if his family would
be pleased; she spoke very kindly: "would do her father's memory honour;
could not but please every Pakenham." She was obliging in directing her
conversation easily to my sisters as well as to myself. She said she had
purposely avoided being acquainted with Madame de Stael in England, not
knowing how she might be received by the Bourbons, to whom the Duchess
was to be Ambassadress. She found that Madame de Stael was well received
at the Bourbon Court, and consequently she must be received at the Duke
of Wellington's. She arrived, and walking up in full assembly to the
Duchess, with the fire of indignation flashing in her eyes.

"Eh! Madame la Duchesse, vous ne voulez pas donc faire ma connaissance
en Angleterre?"

"Non, Madame, je ne le voulais pas."

"Eh! comment, Madame? Pourquoi donc?"

"C'est que je vous _craignais_, Madame."

"Vous me _craignez_, Madame la Duchesse?"

"Non, Madame, je ne vous crains plus."

Madame de Stael threw her arms round her, "Ah! je vous adore!"

I must end abruptly. No; I have one minute more. While we were at the
Duchess of Wellington's a jeweller's man came in with some bracelets,
one was a shell like your Roman shell cameo, of the Duke's head, of
which she was correcting the profile. She showed us pictures of her
sons, and Fanny sketched from them while we sat with her. We saw in the
hall, or rather in the corner of the staircase, Canova's gigantic
"Apollo-Buonaparte," which was sent from France to the Regent who gave
it to the Duke. It is ten feet high, but I could not judge of it where
it is cooped up--shockingly ill-placed.

Sunday--Lady Harrowby's by invitation, as it is Lord Harrowby's only
holiday. Mr. Ellis, a young man, just entered Parliament, from whom
great things are expected. Mr. Wilmot, and Mr. Frere--Lady Ebrington and
Lady Mary Ryder--Lord Harrowby, most agreeable conversation. Folding
doors thrown open. The Duke of----. Post--letter must go.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

DUCHESS STREET, MRS. HOPE'S,

_April 2, 1819._

I left off abruptly just as the folding doors were thrown open, and the
Duke of Wellington was announced in such an unintelligible manner that I
did not know what Duke it was, nor did I know till we got into the
carriage who it was--he looks so old and wrinkled. I never should have
known him from likeness to bust or picture. His manner is very
agreeable, perfectly simple and dignified. He said only a few words, but
listened to some literary conversation that was going on, as if he was
amused, laughing once very heartily. Remind me to tell you some
circumstances about Adele de Senange which Lord Harrowby told me, and
two expressions of Madame de Stael's--"On depose fleur a fleur la
couronne de la vie," [Footnote: Miss Edgeworth had quoted this
expression with admiration to Lord Harrowby, objecting to a criticism of
it by M. Dumont, "d'abord la vie n'a pas de couronne." To which Lord
Harrowby replied by quoting Johnson's

  Year follows year, decay pursues decay,
  Still drops from life some withering joy away.

It was to this conversation that the Duke of Wellington listened with
smiling attention.] and "Le silence est l'antichambre de la mort."

Mr. Hope is altered, and he has in his whole appearance the marks of
having suffered much. The contrast between his and Mrs. Hope's
depression of spirits and the magnificence of everything about them
speaks volumes of moral philosophy.

They were even more kind than I expected in their manner of receiving
us. One large drawing-room Mr. Hope gave us for the reception of our
friends. Mrs. Hope had not since her coming to town had a dinner party,
but she assembled all the people she thought we might like to see. One
day Miss Fanshawe; another day the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, Lord
Palmerston, Lord and Lady Darnley, and Mr. Ellis; Lady Darnley was very
kind, just what she was when I saw her before. Lady Jersey is
particularly agreeable, and was particularly obliging to us, and gave us
tickets for the French play, now one of the London objects of curiosity.
The Duchess of Bedford talked much to me, and very agreeably of her
travels.

Mrs. Hope was so exhausted by the effort of seeing all these people that
she could not sleep, and looked wretchedly the next day, when nobody was
at dinner but her own sister and Captain Beaufort. Next day, Lady
Tankerville and her daughter, Lady Mary Bennet, came and sat half an
hour.

_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

KENSINGTON GORE, _April 28, 1819._

We spent ten days delightfully with the kind Hopes at Deepdene, and a
most beautiful place it is. The valley of Dorking is so beautiful that
even Rasselas would not have desired to escape from that happy valley.
Fanny was well enough to enjoy everything, especially some rides on a
stumbling pony with Henry Hope, a fine boy of eleven, well informed, and
very good-natured. We went to see Norbury Park, Mr. Locke's place, and
Wotton, Mr. Evelyn's, and a beautiful cottage of Mrs. Hibbert's, of all
which I shall have much to say to you on my own little stool at your
feet.

We were received on our return here with affectionate kindness by Lady
Elizabeth Whitbread.

Remember that I don't forget to tell you of Lady Bredalbane's having
been left in her carriage fast asleep, and rolled into the coach-house
of an hotel at Florence and nobody missing her for some time, and how
they went to look for her, and how ever so many carriages had been
rolled in after hers, and how she wakened, and--I must sign and seal.


EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _July 7, 1819._

At Longford last Sunday we heard an excellent sermon by a Mr. M'Lelland,
the first he ever preached; a terrible brogue, but full of sense and
spirit. Some odd faults--quoting the _Quarterly Review_--citing
"Hogarth's Idle Apprentice"--"the Roman poet tells us," etc.; but it was
altogether new and striking, and contained such a fine address to the
soldiers present on the virtues of peace, after the triumphs of war, as
touched every heart. The soldiers all with one accord looked up to the
preacher at the best passages.


_To_ MRS. SNEYD EDGEWORTH, AT PARIS.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Sept. 15, 1819._

I rejoice that you and Sneyd are well enough to enjoy the pleasures of
Paris. I do not know what Sneyd can have done to make Madame Recamier
laugh; in my time she never went beyond the smile prescribed by Lord
Chesterfield as graceful in beauty.

This last week we have had the pleasure of having our kind friends Mrs.
and Miss Carr. Except the first day, which was Irish rainy, every day
has been sunshiny, and my mother has taken advantage of the shrievalty
four horses and two yellow jackets to drive about. They went to
Baronston, where there is a link of connection with the Carrs through an
English friend, Mrs. Benyon. Lady Sunderlin and Miss Catherine Malone
did the joint honours of their house most amiably, and gave as fine a
collation of grapes, nectarines, and peaches as France could supply.

Another morning we took a tour of the tenants. Hugh Kelly's house and
parlour and gates and garden, and all that should accompany a
farm-house, as nice as any England could afford. James Allen, though
grown very old, and in a forlorn black shag wig, looked like a
respectable yeoman, "the country's pride," and at my instance brought
out as fine a group of grandchildren as ever graced a cottage lawn.

In driving home at the cross-roads by Corbey we had the good fortune to
come in for an Irish dance, the audience or spectators seated on each
side of the road on opposite benches; all picturesque in the sunshine of
youth and age, with every variety of attitude and expression of
enjoyment. The dancers, in all the vivacity and graces of an Irish jig,
delighted our English friends; and we stood up in the landau for nearly
twenty minutes looking at them.


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

_Oct. 14._

We have been much interested in the life and letters of that most
excellent, amiable, and unpretending Lady Russell. [Footnote: Lady
Rachel Wriothesley, second daughter of Thomas Earl of Southampton, who
married (1) Francis Lord Vaughan; (2) William Lord Russell, the patriot,
beheaded July 21, 1683.] There are touches in these letters which paint
domestic happiness, and the character of a mother and a wife with
beautiful simplicity. I even like Miss Berry much the better for the
manner in which she has edited this book.


_Nov 5._

Have you the fourth number of _Modern Voyages and Travels_ which
contains Chateauvieux's travels in Italy? I have been so much delighted
with it, and feel so sure of its _transporting_ my aunt, that I had
hardly read the last words before I was going to pack it off post-haste
to Black Castle, but Prudence, in the shape of Honora, in a lilac
tabinet gown, whispered, "Better wait till you hear whether they have
read it."

Have I mentioned to you Bassompierre's _Memoirs_? a new edition, with
notes by Croker, which make the pegs on which they hang gay and
valuable. What an extraordinary collection of strange facts and strange
thoughts are dragged together in the _Quarterly Review_ of the
Cemeteries and Catacombs of Paris; the Jewish _House of the Living_; the
excommunicated skeletons coming into the church to parley with the
Bishop; and the Parisian sentimentalist in the country who sent for
barrels of ink from Paris to put his trees in mourning for the death of
his mother; and the fountain, called the _weeping eye_, for the death of
his wife, by the Dane. I hope, my dear friends, that you have been
reading these things, and that they have struck you as they did me;
there are few things pleasanter than these "jumping thoughts."

Now that I have a little time, and eyes to read again, I find it
delightful, and I have a voracious appetite, and a relish for food,
good, bad, and indifferent, I am afraid, like a half-famished,
shipwrecked wretch.


_28th._

Such a scene of lying and counter-lying as we have had with the cook and
her accuser, the kitchen-maid! The cook was dismissed on the spot. One
expression of Peggy Tuite's I must tell you--with her indignant figure
of truth defending herself against falsehood--when Rose, the vile public
accuser, said, in part of her speech, recollecting from Peggy Tuite's
dress, who came clean from chapel, that it was Sunday, "And it's two
masses I have lost by you already!" to which Peggy replied, "Oh, Rose,
the mass is in the heart, not in the chapel! only speak the truth."

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Edgeworth's steadiness in resting her eyes, neither reading nor
writing for nearly two years, was rewarded by their complete recovery;
and she was able to read, write, and work with ease and comfort all the
rest of her life.

This autumn of 1819 she was made happy by the return of the two Miss
Sneyds [Footnote: Sisters of her two former stepmothers, the second and
third wives of Mr. R. L. Edgeworth.] from England to Edgeworthstown,
where with short intervals, they continued to reside as long as they
lived.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS RUXTON.

EDGEWORTHSTOWN, _Jan. 1, 1820._

Have you seen a life of Madame de Stael by that Madame Neckar de
Saussure, of whom Madame de Stael said, when some one asked, "What sort
of woman is she?" "Elle a tous les talents qu'on me suppose, et toutes
les vertus qui me manquent." Is not that touching and beautiful?


_Jan. 14._

Poor Kitty Billamore breathed her last this morning at one o'clock. A
more faithful, warm-hearted, excellent creature never existed. How many
successions of children of this family she has nursed, and how many she
has attended in illness and death, regardless of her own health! I am
glad that sweet, dear little feeling Francis, her darling, was spared
being here at her death. Harriet, who, next to him, [Footnote: Francis
and Harriet, children of the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth.] had always been a
great favourite, was with her to the last. All the poor people loved
her, and will long feel her loss. Lovell [Footnote: Lovell, only
surviving child of the second Mrs. Edgeworth (Honora Sneyd), who had
succeeded to the property.] intends that she should be buried in the
family vault, as she deserves, for she was more a friend than a servant,
and he will attend her funeral himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having finished the memoirs of her father's life, and settled that they
should be published at Easter, Maria determined to indulge herself in
what she had long projected--a visit to Paris with two of her young
sisters, Fanny and Harriet. They set out on the 3rd of April.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.

DUBLIN, _April 10, 1820._

In my letter to my mother of the 8th I forgot--no, I had not time to say
that we had a restive mare at Dunshaughlin, who paid me for all I ever
wrote about Irish posting, and put me in the most horrible and
reasonable apprehension that she would have broken my aunt's carriage to
pieces against the corner of a wall. The crowd of people that assembled,
the shouts, the "never fears," the scolding of the landlord and
postillions, and the group surveying the scene, was beyond anything I
could or can paint. The stage coach drove to the door in the midst of
it, and ladies and bandboxes stopped, and all stood to gaze.

There was also a professional fool in his ass cart with two dogs, one a
white little curly dog, who sat upon the ass's head behind his ears, and
another a black shaggy mongrel, with longish ears, who sat up in a
begging attitude on the hinder part of the ass, and whom the fool-knave
had been tutoring with a broken crutch, as he sat in his covered cart.
Fanny made a drawing of him, and he and his dogs _sat_ for a fivepenny,
which I honestly gave him for his and his dogs' tricks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Steamboats had only begun to ply between Dublin and Holyhead in 1819,
and Maria Edgeworth's first experience of a steamboat was in crossing
now to Holyhead. She disliked the _jigging_ motion, which she said was
like the shake felt in a carriage when a pig is scratching himself
against the hind wheel while waiting at an Irish inn door.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.

MRS. WATT'S, HEATHFIELD,

_April 1820._

I was much surprised at finding that the postillion who drove us from
Wolverhampton could neither tell himself, nor learn from any one up the
road, along the heath, at the turnpike, or even in the very suburbs of
Birmingham, the way to Mr. Watt's! I was as much surprised as we were at
Paris in searching for Madame de Genlis; so we went to Mr. Moilliet's,
and stowed ourselves next day into their travelling landau, as large as
our own old, old delightful coach, and came here.

Oh, my dear Honora, how melancholy to see places the same--persons, and
such persons gone! Mrs. Watt, in deep mourning, coming forward to meet
us alone in that gay trellice, the same books on his table, his picture,
his bust, his image everywhere, _himself_ nowhere upon this earth. Mrs.
Watt has, in that poor little shattered frame, a prodigiously strong
mind; indeed she could not have been so loved by such a man for such a
length of time if she had not superior qualities. She was more kind than
I can express, receiving Fanny and Harriet as if they had been of her
own family.

In the morning I fell to penning this letter, as we were engaged to
breakfast at Mr. James Watt's, at Aston Hall. You remember the fine old
brick palace? Mr. Watt has fitted up half of it so as to make it
superbly comfortable: fine hall, breakfast room, Flemish pictures,
Boulton and Watt at either end. After breakfast, at which was Mr.
Priestly, an American, son of Dr. Priestly, we went over all the
habitable and uninhabitable parts of the house: the banqueting room,
with a most costly, frightful ceiling, and a chimneypiece carved up to
the cornice with monsters, one with a nose covered with scales, one with
human face on a tarantula's body. Varieties of little staircases, and a
garret gallery called Dick's haunted gallery; a blocked-up room called
the King's room; then a modern dressing-room, with fine tables of
Bullock's making, one of wood from Brazil--Zebra wood--and no more to be
had of it for love or money.

But come on to the great gallery, longer than that at Sudbury,--about
one hundred and thirty-six feet long,--and at the farthest end we came
to a sort of oriel, separated from the gallery only by an arch, and
there the white marble bust of the great Mr. Watt struck me almost
breathless. What everybody went on saying I do not know, but my own
thoughts, as I looked down the closing lines of this superb gallery, now
in a half-ruined state, were very melancholy, on life and death, family
pride, and the pride of wealth, and the pride of genius, all so
perishable.

_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

CANTERBURY, _April 21._

I wrote to your dear father the history of our visit to Mr. Wren's at
Wroxall Abbey, and Kenilworth, and Warwick, and Stratford-upon-Avon, and
our pleasant three hours at Oxford. When we were looking at the theatre,
Mr. Biddulph told us, that when all the Emperors and Kings came with the
Regent, the theatre was filled in every part; but such was the hush you
could have heard a pin drop till the Prince put his foot upon the
threshold, when the whole assembly rose with a tremendous shout of
applause. The Prince was supremely gratified, and said to the Emperor of
Russia, "You heard the London mob hoot me, but you see how I am received
by the young gentlemen of England!"

When Lord Grenville was installed as chancellor, he was, the instant he
look his seat, assailed with loud hisses and groans. Mr. Biddulph said
he admired the dignity with which Lord Grenville behaved, and the
presence of mind of the Bishop of Peterborough (Parsons), who said in
Latin, "Either this disturbance must instantly cease, or I dismiss you
from this assembly!" Dead silence ensued.


PARIS, PLACE DU PALAIS BOURBON,

_April 29._

One moment of reward for two days of indescribable hurry I have at this
quiet interval after breakfast, and I seize it to tell you that Fanny is
quite well: so far for health. For beauty, I have only to say that I am
told by everybody that my sisters are _lovely_ in English, and
_charmantes_ in French. Last night was their _debut_ at Lady
Granard's--a large assembly of all manner of lords, ladies, counts,
countesses, princes, and princesses, French, Polish, and Italian:
Marmont and Humboldt were there. I was told by several persons of rank
and taste--Lady Rancliffe, the Countess de Salis, Lady Granard, Mrs.
Sneyd Edgeworth, _and_ a Polish Countess, that my sister's dress, the
grand affair at Paris, was _perfection_, and I believed it! Humboldt is
excessively agreeable, but I was twice taken from him to be introduced
to grandeurs, just as we had reached the most interesting point of
conversation.


_May 3rd._

On Sunday we went with the Comtesse de Salis and the Baronne de Salis,
who is also Chanoinesse, but goes into the world in roses and pink
ribbons nevertheless, and is very agreeable, moreover, and with M. Le
Baron, an officer in the Swiss Guards, an old bachelor, to St. Sulpice,
to hear M. Fressenus. He preached in the Kirwan style, but with
intolerable monotony of thumping eloquence, against _les Liberaux_,
Rousseau, etc.; it seemed to me old stuff, ill embroidered, but it was
much applauded. _Mem._: the _audience_ were not half so attentive or
silent at St. Sulpice as they were at the Theatre Francais the night
before.

After church a visit to Madame de Pastoret. Oh, my dear mother, think of
my finding her in that very boudoir, everything the same! Fanny and
Harriet were delighted with the beauty of the house till they saw her,
and then nothing could be thought of but her manner and conversation.
They are even more charmed with her than I expected: she is little
changed.

After a ball at the Polish Countess Orlowski's (the woman who is charmed
with _Early Lessons_, etc.), where Fanny and Harriet were delighted with
the children's dancing--they waltzed like angels, if angels waltz--after
this ball I went with the Count and Countess de Salis and La Baronne--I
was told that the first time it must be without my sisters--to the
Duchesse d'Escars, who _receives_ for the King at the Tuileries:
mounting a staircase of one hundred and forty steps. I thought the
Count's knees would have failed while I leaned on his arm; my own ached.
A long gallery, well lighted, opened into a suite of _little_ low
apartments, most beautifully hung, some with silk and some with
cashmere, some with tent drapery, with end ottomans, and lamps in
profusion. These rooms, with busts and pictures of kings, swarmed with
old nobility, with historic names, stars, red ribbons, and silver bells
at their button-holes: ladies in little white satin hats and _toques_,
with a profusion of ostrich or, still better, _marabout_ powder-puff
feathers; and the roofs were too low for such lofty heads.

After a most fatiguing morning at all the impertinent and pertinent
dressmakers and milliners, we finished by the dear delight of dining
with Madame Gautier at Passy. The drive there was delicious: we found
her with her Sophie, now a matron mother with her Caroline, like what
Madame Gautier and her Sophie were in that very room eighteen years ago.
All the Delessert family that remain were assembled except Benjamin, who
was detained by business in Paris. Madame Benjamin is very handsome,
nearer the style of Mrs. Admiral Pakenham than anybody I know; Francois
the same as you saw him, only with the additional crow's-feet of
eighteen years, sobered into a husband and father, the happiest I ever
saw in France. They have three houses, and the whole three terraces form
one long pleasure-ground. Judas-tree, like a Brobdingnag almond-tree,
was in full flower; lilacs and laburnums in abundance. Alexandre
Delessert takes after the father--good, sensible, commercial
conversation. He made a panegyric on the Jews of Hamburgh, who received
him at their houses with the utmost politeness and liberality. This was
_a propos_ of Walter Scott's Jewess, and, vanity must add, my own Jew
and Jewess, who came in for more than their due share.

Bank-notes were talked of: Francois tells me that the forging of
bank-notes is almost unknown at Paris: the very best artists--my
father's plan--are employed.

Tuesday we were at the Louvre: many fine pictures left. Dined at home:
in the evening to Madame de Pastoret's, to meet the Duchesse de Broglie:
very handsome, little, with large soft dark eyes: simple dress, winning
manner, soft Pastoret conversation: speaks English better than any
foreigner I ever heard: not only gracious, but quite _tender_ to me.

After Madame de Pastoret's we went to the Ambassador's and were received
in the most distinguished manner. We saw crowds of fine people and
conversed with Talleyrand, but he said nought worth hearing.


_May 20._

Paris is wonderfully embellished since we were here in 1803. Fanny and
Harriet are quite enchanted with the beauty of the Champs Elysees and
the Tuileries gardens: the trees are out in full leaf, and the deep
shade under them is delightful. I had never seen Paris in summer, so I
enjoy the novelty. Some of our happiest time is spent in driving about
in the morning, or returning at night by lamp or moonlight.

Lady Elizabeth Stuart has been most peculiarly civil to "Madame Maria
Edgeworth et Mesdemoiselles ses soeurs," which is the form on our
visiting tickets, as I was advised it should be. The Ambassador's hotel
is the same which Lord Whitworth had, which afterwards belonged to the
Princess Borghese. It is delightful! opening into a lawn-garden, with
terraces and conservatories, and a profusion of flowers and shrubs. The
dinner was splendid, but not formal; and nobody can _represent_ better
than Lady Elizabeth. She asked us to go with her and Mrs. Canning to the
opera, but we were engaged to Madame Recamier; and as she is no longer
rich and prosperous, I could not break the engagement.

We went to Madame Recamier's, in her convent--L'Abbaye aux Bois, up
seventy-eight steps; all came in with the asthma: elegant room, and she
as elegant as ever. Matthieu de Montmorenci, the ex-Queen of Sweden,
Madame de Boigne--a charming woman, and Madame la Marechale de Moreau--a
battered beauty, smelling of garlic, and screeching in vain to pass for
a wit.

Yesterday we had intended to have killed off a great many visits, but
the fates willed it otherwise. Mr. Hummelaur, attached to the Austrian
Embassy, came; and then Mr. Chenevix, who converses delightfully, but
all the time holding a distorting magnifying glass over French
character, and showing horrible things where we thought everything was
delightful. While he was here came Madame de Villeneuve and Madame de
Kergolay. Scarcely were they all gone, when I desired Rodolphe to let no
other person in, as the carriage had been ordered at eleven, and it was
now near two. "_Miladi!_" cried Rodolphe, running in with a card, "voila
une dame qui me dit de vous faire voir son nom."

It was "Madame de Roquefeuille," with her bright, benevolent eyes: and
much agreeable conversation. There is a great deal of difference between
the manners, tone, pronunciation, and quietness of demeanour of Madame
de Pastoret, Madame de Roquefeuille, and the little old Princess de
Broglie Revel, who are of the old nobility, and the striving, struggling
of the new, with all their riches and titles, who can never attain this
indescribable, incommunicable charm. But to go on with Saturday: Madame
de Roquefeuille took leave, and we caparisoned ourselves, and went to
Lady de Ros. She was at her easel, copying very well a portrait of
Madame de Grignan, and it was a very agreeable half-hour. Lady de Ros
and her daughter are very agreeable people. She has asked Fanny to meet
her three times a week, at the Riding-House, where she goes to take
exercise.

We were engaged to Cuvier's in the evening, and went first to M.
Jullien's, in the Rue de _l'Enfer_, not far from the Jardin des Plantes,
and there we saw one of the most extraordinary of all the extraordinary
persons we have seen--a Spaniard, squat, black-haired, black-browed,
and black-eyed, with an infernal countenance, who has written the
_History of the Inquisition_, and who related to us how he had been sent
_en penitence_ to a monastery by the Inquisition, and escaped by
presenting a certain number of kilogrammes of good chocolate to the
monks, who represented him as very penitent. But I dare not say more of
this man, lest we should never get to Cuvier's, which, in truth, I
thought we never should accomplish alive. Such streets! such turns! in
the old, old parts of the city: lamps strung at great distances: a
candle or two from high houses, making darkness visible: then bawling of
coach or cart-men, "Ouais! ouais!" backing and scolding, for no two
carriages could by any possibility pass in these narrow alleys. I was in
a very bad way, as you may guess, but I let down the glasses, and sat as
still as a frightened mouse: once I diverted Harriet by crying out, "Ah,
mon _cher_ cocher, arretez;" like Madame de Barri's "Un moment,
_Monsieur_ le Bourreau." It never was so bad with us that we could not
laugh. At last we turned into a _porte-cochere_, under which the
coachman bent literally double: total darkness: then suddenly trees,
lamps, and buildings; and one, brighter than the rest by an open portal,
illuminating large printed letters, "College de France."

Cuvier came down to the very carriage door to receive us, and handed us
up narrow, difficult stairs into a smallish room, where were assembled
many ladies and gentlemen of most distinguished names and talents.
Prony, as like an honest water-dog as ever; Biot (_et moi aussi je suis
pere de famille_), a fat, double volume of himself--I could not see a
trace of the young _pere de famille_ we knew--round-faced, with a bald
head and black ringlets, a fine-boned skull, on which the tortoise might
fall without cracking it. When he began to converse, his superior
ability was immediately apparent. Then Cuvier presented Prince
Czartorinski, a Pole, and many compliments passed; and then we went to a
table to look at Prince Maximilian de Neufchatel's _Journey to Brazil_,
magnificently printed in Germany, and all tongues began to clatter, and
it became wondrously agreeable; and behind me I heard English well
spoken, and this was Mr. Trelawny, and I heard from him a panegyric on
the Abbe Edgeworth, whom he knew well, and he was the person who took
the first letter and news to the Duchesse d'Angouleme at Mittau, after
she quitted France. She came out in the dead of the night in her
nightgown to receive the letter.

Tea and supper together: only two-thirds of the company could sit down,
but the rest stood or sat behind, and were very happy, loud, and
talkative: science, politics, literature, and nonsense in happy
proportions. Biot sat behind Fanny's chair, and talked of the parallax
and Dr. Brinkley. Prony, with his hair nearly in my plate, was telling
me most entertaining anecdotes of Buonaparte; and Cuvier, with his head
nearly meeting him, talking as hard as he could: not _striving_ to show
learning or wit--quite the contrary; frank, open--hearted genius,
delighted to be together at home, and at ease. This was the most
flattering and agreeable thing to me that could possibly be. Harriet was
on the off-side, and every now and then he turned to her in the midst of
his anecdotes, and made her completely one of us; and there was such a
prodigious noise nobody could hear but ourselves. Both Cuvier and Prony
agreed that Buonaparte never could bear to have any answer but a
_decided_ answer. "One day," said Cuvier, "I nearly ruined myself by
considering before I answered. He asked me, 'Faut-il introduire le sucre
de betrave en France?' 'D'abord, Sire, il faut songer si vos
colonies----' 'Faut-il avoir le sucre de betrave en France?' 'Mais,
Sire, il faut examiner----' 'Bah! je le demanderai a Berthollet.'"

This despotic, laconic mode of insisting on learning everything in two
words had its inconveniences. One day he asked the master of the woods
at Fontainebleau, "How many acres of wood are here?" The master, an
honest man, stopped to recollect. "Bah!" and the under-master came
forward and said any number that came into his head. Buonaparte
immediately took the mastership from the first, and gave it to the
second. "Qu'arrivait-il?" continued Prony; "the rogue who gave the guess
answer was soon found cutting down and selling quantities of the trees,
and Buonaparte had to take the rangership from him, and reinstate the
honest hesitater."

Prony is, you know, one of the most absent men alive. "Once," he told
me, "I was in a carriage with Buonaparte and General Caffarelli: it was
at the time he was going to Egypt. He asked me to go. I said, I could
not; that is, I would not; and when I had said those words I fell into a
reverie, collecting in my own head all the reasons I could for not going
to Egypt. All this time Buonaparte was going on with some confidential
communication to me of his secret intentions and views; and when it was
ended, le seul mot, Arabie, m'avait frappe l'oreille. Alors, je voudrais
m'avoir arrache les cheveux," making the motion so to do, "pour pouvoir
me rapeller ce qu'il venait de me dire. But I never could recall one
single word or idea."

"Why did you not ask Caffarelli afterwards?"

"I dared not, because I should have betrayed myself to him."

Prony says that Buonaparte was not obstinate in his own opinion with men
of science about those things of which he was ignorant; but he would
bear no contradiction in tactics or politics.


_May 29._

Madame Recamier has no more taken the veil than I have, and is as little
likely to do it. She is still beautiful, still dresses herself and her
little room with elegant simplicity, and lives in a convent [Footnote:
The Abbaye aux Bois.] only because it is cheap and respectable. M.
Recamier is living; they have not been separated by anything but
misfortune.

We have at last seen a comedy perfectly well acted--the first
representation of a new piece, _Les Folliculaires_: it was received with
thunders of applause, admirably acted in every character to the life. It
was in ridicule of journalists and literary young men.


LA CELLE, M. DE VINDE'S COUNTRY HOUSE,

_June 4._

Is it not curious that, just when you wrote to us, all full of Mrs.
Strickland at Edgeworthstown, we should have been going about everywhere
with Mr. Strickland at Paris? I read to him what you said about his
little girl and Foster as he was going with us to a breakfast at
Cuvier's, and he was delighted even to tears.

We breakfasted at Passy on our way here: beautiful views of Paris and
its environs from all the balconied rooms; and Madame Francois showed us
all their delightful comfortable rooms--the bed in which Madame Gautier
and Madame Francois had slept when children, and where now her little
Caroline sleeps. There is something in the duration of these family
attachments which pleases and touches one, especially in days of
revolution and change.

We arrived here in good time. La Celle [Footnote: La Celle St. Cloud,
built by Bachelier, first valet de chambre of Louis XIV., afterwards
sold to Madame de Pompadour, who sold it again in two years.] is as old
as Clotwold, the son of Clovis, who came here to make a hermitage for
himself--La Cellule. Wonderfully changed and enlarged, it became the
residence of Madame de Pompadour. The rooms are wainscotted: very large
_croissees_ open upon shrubberies, with rose acacias and rhododendrons
in profuse flower: the garden is surrounded by lime-trees thick and
high, and cut, like the beech-walk at Collon, at the end into arches
through the foliage, and the stems left so as to form rows of pillars,
through which you see, on one side, fine views of lawn and distant
country, while on the other the lime-grove is continued in arcades,
eight or nine trees deep.

To each bedroom and dressing-room there are little dens of closets and
ante-chambers, which must have seen many strange exits and entrances in
their day. In one of these, ten feet by six, the white wainscot--now
very yellow--is painted in gray, with monkeys in men's and women's
clothes in groups in compartments, the most grotesque figures you can
imagine. I have an idea of having read of this cabinet of monkeys, and
having heard that the principal monkey who figures in it was some real
personage.

The situation of La Celle is beautiful, and the country about it. The
grounds, terraces, orchards, farmyard, dairy, etc., would lead me too
far, so I shall only note that, to preserve the hayrick from the
incursion of rats, the feet of the stand, which is higher than that in
our back yard, are not only slated, but at the part next the hay covered
with panes of glass: this defies climbing reptiles.

M. and Madame de Vinde are exactly what you remember them; and her
grand-daughter, Beatrice, the little girl you may remember, is as kind
to Fanny and Harriet as M. and Madame de Vinde were to their sister.

Mr. Hutton wrote to me about a certain Count Brennar, a German or
Hungarian--talents, youth, fortune--assuring me that this transcendental
Count had a great desire to be acquainted with us. I fell to work with
Madame Cuvier, with whom I knew he was acquainted, and he met us at
breakfast at Cuvier's; and I asked Prony if M. and Madame de Vinde would
allow me to ask the Count to come here; and so yesterday Prony came to
dinner, and the Count at dessert, and he ate cold cutlets and good
salad, and all was right; and whenever any of our family go to Vienna,
he gave me and mine, or yours, a most pressing invitation thither--which
will never be any trouble to him.

I have corrected before breakfast here all of the second volume of
_Rosamond_, [Footnote: The sequel, or last part of _Rosamund._] which
accompanies this letter. We have coffee brought to us in our rooms about
eight o'clock, and the family assemble at breakfast in the dining-room
about ten: this breakfast has consisted of mackerel stewed in oil;
cutlets; eggs, boiled and poached, _au jus_; peas stewed; lettuce
stewed, and rolled up like sausages; radishes; salad; stewed prunes;
preserved gooseberries; chocolate biscuits; apricot biscuits--that is to
say, a kind of flat tartlet, sweetmeat between paste; finishing with
coffee. There are sugar-tongs in this house, which I have seen nowhere
else except at Madame Gautier's. Salt-spoons never to be seen, so do not
be surprised at seeing me take salt and sugar in the natural way when I
come back.

Carriages come round about twelve, and we drive about seeing places in
the neighbourhood--afterwards go to our own rooms or to the _salon_, or
play billiards or chess. Dinner is at half-past five; no luncheon and no
dressing for dinner. I will describe one dinner--Bouilli de boeuf--large
piece in the middle, and all the other dishes round it--rotie de
mouton--ris de veau pique--maquereaux--pates de cervelle--salad. 2nd
service; oeufs aux jus--petits pois--lettuce stewed--gateaux de
confitures--prunes. Dessert; gateaux, cerises, confiture d'abricot et de
groseille.

Hands are washed at the side-table; coffee is in the saloon: men and
women all gathering round the table as of yore. But I should observe,
that a great change has taken place; the men huddle together now in
France as they used to do in England, talking politics with their backs
to the women in a corner, or even in the middle of the room, without
minding them in the least, and the ladies complain and look very
disconsolate, and many ask, "If this be Paris?" and others scream
_ultra_ nonsense or _liberal_ nonsense, to make themselves of
consequence and to attract the attention of the gentlemen.

But to go on with the history of our day. After coffee, Madame de Vinde
sits down at a round table in the middle of the room, and out of a
work-basket, which is just the shape of an antediluvian work-basket of
mine, made of orange-paper and pasteboard, which lived long in the
garret, she takes her tapestry work: a chair-cover of which she works
the little blue flowers, and M. Morel de Vinde, pair de France, ancien
Conseiller de Parlement, etc., does the ground! He has had a cold, and
wears a black silk handkerchief on his head and a hat over it in the
house; three waistcoats, two coats, and a spencer over all. Madame de
Vinde and I talk, and the young people play billiards.

When it grows duskish we all migrate at a signal from Madame de Vinde,
"Allons, nous passerons chez M. de Vinde;" so we all cross the
billiard-room and dining-room, and strike off by an odd passage into M.
de Vinde's study, where, almost in the fire, we sit round a small table
playing a game called Loto, with different-coloured pegs and collars for
these pegs, and whoever knows the game of Loto will understand what it
is, and those who have never heard of it must wait till I come home to
make them understand it. At half-past ten to bed; a dozen small round
silver-handled candlesticks, bougeoirs, with wax candles, ready for us.
Who dares to say French country-houses have no comforts? Let all such
henceforward except La Celle.

The three first days we were here M. de Prony and Count de Brennar were
the only guests, the Count only for one day. M. de Prony is enough
without any other person to keep the most active mind in conversation of
all sorts, scientific, literary, humorous. He is less changed than any
of our friends. His humour and good-humour are really delightful; he is,
as Madame de Vinde says, the most harmless good creature that ever
existed; and he has had sense enough to stick to science and keep clear
of politics, always pleading "qu'il n'etait bon qu'a cela." He
accompanied us in our morning excursions to Malmaison and St. Germain.

Malmaison was Josephine's, and is still Beauharnais's property, but is
now occupied only by his steward. The place is very pretty--profusion of
rhododendrons, as under-wood in the groves, on the grass, beside the
rivers, everywhere, and in the most luxuriant flower. Poor Josephine! Do
you remember Dr. Marcet telling us that when he breakfasted with her,
she said, pointing to her flowers: "These are my subjects; I try to make
them happy."

The grounds are admirably well taken care of, but the solitude and
silence and the continual reference to the dead were strikingly
melancholy, even in the midst of sunshine and flowers, and the song of
nightingales. In one pond we saw swimming in graceful desolate dignity
two black swans, which, as rare birds, were once great favourites. Now
they curve their necks of ebony in vain.

The grounds are altogether very small, and so is the house, but fitted
up with exquisite taste. In the saloon is the most elegant white marble
chimney-piece my eyes ever did or ever will behold, a present from the
Pope to Beauharnais. The finest pictures have been taken from the
gallery; the most striking that remains is one of General Dessain,
reading a letter, with a calm and absorbed countenance--two mamelukes
eagerly examining his countenance. In the finely parqueted floor great
holes appear; the places from which fine statues of Canova's were, as
the steward told us, dragged up for the Emperor of Russia. This the man
told under his breath, speaking of his master and of the armies without
distinctly naming any person, as John Langan used to talk of the robbles
(rebels). You may imagine the feelings which made us walk in absolute
silence through the library, which was formerly Napoleon's: the gilt N's
and J's still in the arches of the ceiling: busts and portraits all
round--that of Josephine admirable.

At St. Germain, that vast palace which has been of late a barrack for
the English army, our female guide was exceedingly well informed;
indeed, Francis I., Henry IV., Mary de Medicis, Louis XIV., and Madame
de la Valliere seem to have been her very intimate acquaintances. She
was in all their secrets: showed us Madame de la Valliere's room, poor
soul! all gilt--the gilding of her woe. This gilding, by accident,
escaped the revolutionary destruction. In the high gilt dome of this
room, the guide showed us the trap-door through which Louis XIV. used to
come down. How they managed it I don't well know: it must have been a
perilous operation, the room is so high. But my guide, who I am clear
saw him do it, assured me his Majesty came down very easily in his
arm-chair; and as she had great keys in her hand, and is as large nearly
as Mrs. Liddy, I did not hazard a contradiction or doubt.

Did you know that it was Prony who built the Pont Louis XVI.? Perronet
was then eighty-four, and Prony worked under him. One night, when he had
supped at Madame de Vinde's, he went to look at his bridge, when he
saw--but I have not time to tell you that story.

During Buonaparte's Spanish War he employed Prony to make logarithm,
astronomical, and nautical tables on a magnificent scale. Prony found
that to execute what was required would take him and all the
philosophers of France a hundred and fifty years. He was very unhappy,
having to do with a despot who _would_ have his will executed, when the
first volume of Smith's _Wealth of Nations_ fell into his hands. He
opened on the division of Labour, our favourite pin-making: "Ha, ha!
voila mon affaire; je ferai mes calcules comme on fait les epingles!"
And he divided the labour among two hundred men, who knew no more than
the simple rules of arithmetic, whom he assembled in one large building,
and there these men-machines worked on, and the tables are now complete.


PARIS,

_June 9._

All is quiet here now, but while we were in the country there have been
disturbances. Be assured that, if there is any danger, we shall decamp
for Geneva.


_June 22._

We have spent a day and a half delightfully with M. and Madame Mole at
Champlatreux, their beautiful country place. He is very sensible, and
she very obliging. Madame de Ventimille was there, and very agreeable
and kind, also Madame de Nansouti and Madame de Bezancourt,
grand-daughter of Madame d'Houtitot: all remember you most kindly.

_June 24._

You ask for Dupont de Fougeres--alas! he has been dead some years. I
went to see Camille Jordan, who is ill, and unable to leave his sofa;
but he is fatter and better-looking than when we knew him--no alteration
but for the better. He has got rid of all that might be thought a little
affected--his vivacity being elevated into energy, and his politeness
into benevolence; his pretty little good wife was sitting beside him.

Everybody, of every degree of rank or talent, who has read the
_Memoirs_, speaks of them in the most gratifying and delightful manner.
Those who have fixed on individual circumstances have always fixed on
those which we should have considered as most curious. Mr. Malthus this
morning spoke most highly of it, and of its useful tendency both in a
public and private light. Much as I dreaded hearing it spoken of, all I
have yet heard has been what best compensates for all the anxiety I have
felt.


_To_ MRS. MARY AND MRS. CHARLOTTE SNEYD.

PARIS, _July 7, 1820._

It is a greater refreshment to me, my dearest Aunt Mary and Charlotte,
to have a quiet half hour in which to write to you, while Fanny and
Harriet are practising with M. Deschamp, their dancing-master, in the
next room.

We had a delightful breakfast at Degerando's, in a room hung round with
some very valuable pictures: one in particular, which was sent to
Degerando by the town of Pescia, as a proof of gratitude for his conduct
at the time when he was in Italy under Buonaparte--sent to him after he
was no longer in power. There was an Italian gentleman, Marchese
Ridolfi, of large fortune and benevolent mind, intent on improving his
people. We also met Madame de Villette, Voltaire's "_belle et bonne_:"
she has still some remains of beauty, and great appearance of
good-humour. It was delightful to hear her speak of Voltaire with the
enthusiasm of affection, and with tears in her eyes beseeching us not to
believe the hundred misrepresentations we may have heard, but to trust
her, the person who had lived with him long, and who knew him best and
last. After breakfast she took us to her house, where Voltaire had
lived, and where we saw his chair and his writing desk turning on a
pivot on the arm of the chair: his statue smiling, keen-eyed, and
emaciated, said to be a perfect resemblance. In one of the hands hung
the brown and withered crown of bays, placed on his head when he
appeared the last time at the Theatre Francais. Madame de Villette
showed us some of his letters--one to his steward, about sheep, etc.,
ending with, "Let there be no drinking, no rioting, no beating of your
wife." The most precious relic in this room of Voltaire's is a little
piece carved in wood by an untaught genius, and sent to Voltaire by some
peasants, as a proof of gratitude. It represents him sitting, listening
to a family of poor peasants, who are pleading their cause: it is
excellent.

Two of the Miss Lawrences are at Paris. They are very sensible,
excellent women. They brought a letter from Miss Carr, begging me to see
them; and I hope I have had some little opportunity of obliging them,
for which they are a thousand times more greatful than I deserve.
Indeed, next to the delight of seeing my sisters so justly appreciated
and so happy at Paris, my greatest pleasure has been in the power of
introducing to each other people who longed to meet, but could not
contrive it before. We took Miss Lawrence to one of the great schools
established here on the Lancasterian principles, and we also took her to
hear a man lecture upon the mode of teaching arithmetic and geometry
which my father has recommended in _Practical Education_: the sight of
the little cubes was at once gratifying and painful.

I have just heard from Hunter that he is printing _Rosamond_, and that
my friends at home will correct the proofs for me: GOD bless them! We
spent a very pleasant day at dear Madame de Roquefeuille's, at
Versailles; and, returning, we paid a _latish_ visit to the Princess
Potemkin. What a contrast the tone of conversation and the whole of the
society from that at Versailles!

Certainly, no people can have seen more of the world than we have done
in the last three months. By seeing the world I mean seeing varieties of
characters and manners, and being behind the scenes of life in many
different societies and families. The constant chorus of our moral as we
drive home together at night is, "How happy we are to be so fond of each
other! How happy we are to be independent of all we see here! How happy
that we have our dear home to return to at last!"

But to return to the Princess Potemkin: she is Russian, but she has all
the grace, softness, and winning manners of the Polish ladies, and an
oval face, pale, with the finest, softest, most expressive _chestnut_
dark eyes. She has a sort of politeness which pleases peculiarly--a
mixture of the ease of high rank and early habit with something that is
sentimental without affectation. Madame Le Brun is painting her picture:
Madame Le Brun is sixty-six, with great vivacity as well as genius, and
better worth seeing than her pictures; for though they are speaking, she
speaks, and speaks uncommonly well.

Madame de Noisville, _dame d'honneur_ to the Princess Potemkin, educated
her and her sisters: the friendship of the pupil and the preceptress
does honour to both. Madame de Noisville is a very well-bred woman, of
superior understanding and decided character, very entertaining and
agreeable. She told us that Rostopchin, speaking of the Russians, said
he would represent their civilisation by a naked man looking at himself
in a gilt-framed mirror.

The Governor of Siberia lived at Petersburgh, and never went near his
government. One day the Emperor, in presence of this governor and
Rostopchin, was boasting of his farsightedness. "Commend me," said
Rostopchin, "to M. le Gouverneur, who sees so well from Petersburgh to
Siberia." Good-bye.

       *       *       *       *       *

An evening which Miss Edgeworth spent at Neuilly _en famille_ impressed
her with the unaffected happiness of the Orleans family. The Duke showed
her the picture of himself teaching a school in America: Mademoiselle
d'Orleans pointed to her harp, and said she superintended the lessons of
her nieces; both she and her brother acknowledging how admirably Madame
de Genlis had instructed them. The Duchess sat at a round table working,
and in the course of the evening the two eldest little boys ran in from
an Ecole d'enseignement mutuel which they attended in the neighbourhood,
with their schoolbooks in their hands, and some prizes they had gained,
eager to display them to their mother. It was a happy, simple family
party.

       *       *       *       *       *

MARIA _to_ MRS. RUXTON.

PARIS, _July 1820._

From what I have seen of the Parisians, I am convinced that they
require, if not a despot, at least an absolute monarch to reign over
them; but, leaving national character to shift for itself, I will go on
with what will interest you more--our own history. We have been much
pleased, interested, and instructed at Paris by all that we have seen of
the arts, have heard of science, and have enjoyed of society. The most
beautiful work of art I have seen at Paris, next to the facade of the
Louvre, is Canova's "Magdalene." The _prettiest_ things I have seen are
Madame Jacotot's miniatures, enamelled on porcelain--La Valliere, Madame
de Maintenon, Moliere, all the celebrated people of that time; and next
to these, which are exquisite, I should name a porcelain table, with
medallions all round of the marshals of France, by Isabey, surrounding a
full-length of Napoleon in the centre. This table is generally supposed
to have been broken to pieces, but by the favour of a friend we saw it
in its place of concealment.

We have twice dined at the Duchesse Douairiere d'Orleans' [Footnote:
Louise Marie Adelaide de Bourbon Conde, widow of Louis Philippe Joseph,
Duc d'Orleans, daughter of the Duc de Penthievre. Born March 13, 1783.
Died June 23, 1821.] little Court at Ivry, and we shall bring Mr.
William Everard there, as you may recollect he knew her at Port Mahon.
She has a benevolent countenance, and good-natured, dignified manners,
and moves with the air of a princess. Her striking likeness to Louis
XIV. _favours_ this impression. One of her _dames d'honneur_, la
Marquise de Castoras, a Spaniard, is one of the most interesting persons
I have conversed with.

Yesterday William Everard went with us to the Chapelle Royale, where we
saw Monsieur, the Duchesse d'Angouleme and all the court. In the evening
we were at a _fete de village_ at La Celle, to which Madame de Vinde had
invited us, as like an Irish _pattern_ as possible, allowing for the
difference of dress and manner. The scene was in a beautiful grove on
each side of a romantic road leading through a valley. High wooded
banks: groups of gaily-dressed village belles and beaux seen through the
trees, in a quarry, in the sand-holes, everywhere where there was space
enough to form a quadrille. This grove was planted by Gabrielle
d'Estrees, for whom Henry IV. built a lodge near it. Fanny and Harriet
danced with two gentlemen who were of our party, and they all danced on
till dewfall, when the lamps--little glasses full of oil and a wick
suspended to the branches of the trees--were lighted, and we returned to
La Celle, where we ate ice and sat in a circle, playing _trouvez mon
ami_--mighty like "why, when, and where"--and then played loto till
twelve. Rose at six, had coffee, and drove back to Paris in the cool of
the delicious morning. To-day we are going to dine again at Neuilly with
the other Duchess of Orleans, daughter-in-law of the good old Duchess,
who by the bye spoke of Madame de Genlis in a true Christian spirit of
forgiveness, but in a whisper, and with a shake of her head, allowed
_qu'elle m'avait causee bien des chagrins._

Among some of the most agreeable people we have met are some Russians
and Poles. Madame Swetchine, a Russian, is one of the cleverest women I
ever heard converse. At a dinner at the young and pretty Princess
Potemkin's, on entering the dining-room, we saw only a round table
covered with fruit and sweetmeats, as if we had come in at the dessert;
and so it remained while, first, soup, then cutlets, then fish, one dish
at a time, ten or twelve one after another, were handed round, ending
with game, sweet things, and ice.

A few days ago I saw, at the Duchesse d'Escar's, Prince Rostopchin, the
man who burned Moscow, first setting fire to his own house. I never saw
a more striking Calmuck countenance. From his conversation as well as
from his actions, I should think him a man of great strength of
character. This _soiree_ at Madame d'Escar's was not on a public night,
when she _receives_ for the King, but one of those _petits comites_, as
they call their private parties, which I am told the English seldom see.
The conversation turned, of course, first on the Queen of England, then
on Lady Hester Stanhope, then on English _dandies._ It was excessively
entertaining to hear half a dozen Parisians all speaking at once, giving
their opinions of the English _dandies_ who have appeared at Paris,
describing their manners and imitating their gestures, and sometimes by
a single gesture giving an idea of the whole man; then discussing the
difference between the _petit marquis_ of the old French comedy and the
present dandy. After many attempts at definition, and calling in Madame
d'Arblay's Meadows, with whom they are perfectly acquainted, they came
to "d'ailleurs c'est inconcevable ca." And Madame d'Escar, herself the
cleverest person in the room, summed it up: "L'essentiel c'est que notre
dandy il veut plaire aux femmes s'il le peut; mais votre dandy Anglais
ne le voudrait, meme s'il le pourrait!"

Pray tell Mrs. General Dillon I thank her for making us acquainted with
the amiable family of the Creeds, who have been exceedingly kind, and
who, I hope, like us as much as we like them. The Princess de Craon,
too, I like in another way, and Mademoiselle d'Alpy: they have
introduced us to the Mortemars--Madame de Sevigne's _Esprit de
Mortemar._


_To_ MISS RUXTON.

PASSY, _July 19._

Most comfortably, most happily seated at a little table in dear Madame
Gautier's cabinet, with a view of soft acacias seen through half-open
Venetian blinds, with a cool breeze waving the trees of this hanging
garden, and the song of birds and the cheerful voices of little Caroline
Delessert and her brother playing with bricks in the next room to me, I
write to you, my beloved friend. I must give you a history of one of our
last days at Paris--

Here entered Madame Gautier with a sweet rose and a sprig of verbena and
mignonette--so like one of the nose-gays I have so often received from
dear Aunt Ruxton, and bringing gales of Black Castle to my heart. But to
go on with my last days at Paris.

_Friday, July_ 14.--Dancing-master nine to ten; and while Fanny and
Harriet were dancing, I paid bills, saw tradespeople, and cleared away
some of that necessary business of life which must be done behind the
scenes. Breakfasted at Camille Jordan's: it was half-past twelve before
the company assembled, and we had an hour's delightful conversation with
Camille Jordan and his wife in her spotless white muslin and little cap,
sitting at her husband's feet as he lay on the sofa, as clean, as nice,
as fresh, and as thoughtless of herself as my mother. At this breakfast
we saw three of the most distinguished of that party who call themselves
_Les Doctrinaires_--and say they are more attached to measures than to
men. Camille Jordan himself has just been deprived of his place of
Conseiller d'Etat and one thousand five hundred francs per annum,
because he opposed government in the law of elections. These three
Doctrinaires were Casimir Perier, Royer Collard, and Benjamin Constant,
who is, I believe, of a more violent party. I do not like him at all:
his countenance, voice, manner, and conversation are all disagreeable to
me. He is a fair, _whithky_-looking man, very near-sighted, with
spectacles which seem to pinch his nose. He pokes out his chin to keep
the spectacles on, and yet looks over the top of his spectacles,
_squinching_ up his eyes so that you cannot see your way into his mind.
Then he speaks through his nose, and with a lisp, strangely contrasting
with the vehemence of his emphasis. He does not give me any confidence
in the sincerity of his patriotism, nor any high idea of his talents,
though he seems to have a mighty high idea of them himself. He has been
well called _Le hero des brochures._ We sat beside one another, and I
think felt a mutual antipathy. On the other side of me was Royer
Collard, suffering with toothache and swelled face; but, notwithstanding
the distortion of the swelling, the natural expression of his
countenance and the strength and sincerity of his soul made their way,
and the frankness of his character and plain superiority of his talents
were manifest in five minutes' conversation. Excellent Degerando
[Footnote: A friend whom the Edgeworths had constantly met in Mme. de
Pastoret's _salon_ in 1802.] gave me an account of all he had done in
one district in Spain, where he succeeded in employing the poor and
inspiring them with a desire to receive the wages of industry, instead
of alms from hospitals, etc. At Rome he employed the poor in clearing
away many feet of earth withinside the Colosseum, and discovered beneath
a beautiful pavement; but when the Pope returned the superstition of the
people took a sudden turn, and conceiving that this earth had been
consecrated, and ought not to have been removed, they set to work and
filled in all the rubbish again over the pavement!

After this breakfast we went to the Duchesse d'Uzes--a little,
shrivelled, thin, high-born, high-bred old lady, who knew and admired
the Abbe Edgeworth, and received us with distinction as his relations.
Her great-grandfather was the Duc de Chatillon, and she is
great-granddaughter, or something that way, of Madame de Montespan, and
her husband grand-nephew straight to Madame de la Valliere: their superb
hotel is filled with pictures of all sizes, from miniatures by Petitot
to full-lengths by Mignard, of illustrious and interesting family
pictures--in particular, Mignard's "La Valliere en Madeleine;" we
returned to it again and again, as though we could never see it enough.
A full-length of Madame de Montespan was prettier than I wished. After a
view of these pictures and of the garden, in which there was a catalpa
in splendid flower, we departed.

This day we dined with Lord Carrington and his daughter, Lady Stanhope:
[Footnote: Catherine Lucy, wife of the fourth Earl Stanhope.] the Count
de Noe, beside whom I sat, was an agreeable talker. In the evening we
received a note from Madame Lavoisier--Madame de Rumford, I
mean--telling us that she had just arrived at Paris, and warmly begging
to see us. Rejoiced was I that my sisters should have this glimpse of
her, and off we drove to her; but I must own that we were disappointed
in this visit, for there was a sort of _chuffiness_, and a sawdust kind
of unconnected cutshortness in her manner, which we could not like. She
was almost in the dark with one ballooned lamp, and a semicircle of
black men round her sofa, on which she sat cushioned up, giving the word
for conversation--and a very odd course she gave to it--on some wife's
separation from her husband; and she took the wife's part, and went on
for a long time in a shrill voice, proving that, where a husband and
wife detested each other, they should separate, and asserting that it
must always be the man's fault when it comes to this pass! She ordered
another lamp, that the gentlemen might, as she said, see my sisters'
pretty faces; and the light came in time to see the smiles of the
gentlemen at her matrimonial maxims. Several of the gentlemen were
unknown to me. Old Gallois sat next to her, dried, and in good
preservation, tell my mother; M. Gamier (_Richesses des Nations_) was
present, and Cuvier, with whom I had a comfortable dose of good
conversation. Just as we left the room Humboldt and the Prince de
Beauveau arrived, but we were engaged to Madame Recamier.

_15th._--We breakfasted with Madame de l'Aigle, sister to the Due de
Broglie. (Now Madame Gautier is putting on her bonnet, to take us to La
Bagatelle.) I forgot to tell you that Prince Potemkin is nephew to _the_
famous Potemkin. He has just returned from England, particularly pleased
with Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, and struck by the noble and useful manner in
which he spends his large fortune. This young Russian appears very
desirous to apply all he has seen in foreign countries to the advantage
of his own.

After our breakfast at Madame de l'Aigle's, we went home, and met Prince
Edmond de Beauveau by appointment, and went with him to the Invalides;
saw the library, and plans and models of fortifications, for which the
Duc de Coigny, unasked, had sent us tickets, and there we met his
secretary, a warm Buonapartist, whom we honoured for his gratitude and
attachment to his old master.

We dined at Passy, and met Mrs. Malthus, M. Garnier, and M. Chaptal--the
great Chaptal--a very interesting man. In the evening we were at the
Princesse de Beauveau's and Lady Granard's.

Sunday with the Miss Byrnes to Notre Dame, and went with them to
introduce them to Lady (Sidney) Smith; charming house, gardens, and
pictures. To Madame de Rumford's, and she was very agreeable this
morning. Dined at Mr. Creed's under the trees in their garden, with Mr.
and Mrs. Malthus, and Mrs. and Miss Eyre, fresh from Italy--very
agreeable.

Now we have returned from a very pleasant visit to La Bagatelle. What
struck me most there was the bust of the Duc d'Angouleme, with an
inscription from his own letter during the Cent Jours, when he was
detained by the enemy: _J'espere--j'exige meme--que le Roi ne fera point
de sacrifice pour me revoir; je crains ni la prison ni la mort._

Yesterday we went to Sevres--beautiful manufacture of china, especially
a table, with views of all the royal palaces, and a vase six feet and a
half high, painted with natural flowers.

Louis XV. was told that there was a man who had never been out of Paris;
he gave him a pension, provided he never went out of town; he quitted
Paris the year after! I have not time to make either prefaces or moral.
We breakfast at Mr. Chenevix's on Monday, and propose to be at Geneva on
Saturday.


_To_ MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.

PASSY, _July 23, 1820._

I hope this will find you under the tree in my garden, with Sophy Ruxton
near you, and my mother and Sophy and Pakenham, who will run and call my
aunts, for whom Honora will set chairs; and Lovell will, I hope, be at
home too; so I picture you to myself all happily assembled, and you have
had a good night, and all is right, and Honora has placed my Aunt Mary
with her back to the light--AND Maria is very like Mr. Fitzherbert, who
always tells his friends at home what _they_ are doing, instead of what
he is doing, which is what they want to know.

Yesterday we dined--for the last time, alas! this season--with excellent
Benjamin Delessert. The red book which you will receive with this letter
was among the many other pretty books lying on the table before dinner,
and I was so much delighted with it, and wished so much that Pakenham
was looking at it with me, that dear Francois Delessert procured a copy
of _Les Animaux savants_ for me the next morning. We never saw Les Cerfs
at Tivoli, but we saw a woman walk down a rope in the midst of the
fireworks, and I could not help shutting my eyes. As I was looking at
the picture of the stag rope-dancer in this book, and talking of the
wonderful intelligence and feeling of animals, an old lady who was
beside me told me that some Spanish horses she had seen were uncommonly
proud-spirited, always resenting an insult more than an injury. One of
these, who had been used to be much caressed by his master, saw him in a
field one day talking to a friend, and came up, according to his custom,
to be caressed. The horse put his head in between the master and his
friend, to whom he was talking; the master, eager in conversation, gave
him a box on the ear; the horse withdrew his head instantly, took it for
an affront, and never more would he permit his master to caress or mount
him again.

The little _dessert_ directed for Pakenham [Footnote: Her youngest
brother.] was picked out for him from a dish of bonbons at the last
dessert at Benjamin's. It is impossible to tell you all the little
exquisite instances of kindness and attention we have received from this
excellent family. The respect, affection, and admiration with which, _a
propos_ to everything great and small, they remember my father and
mother, is most touching and gratifying.

Yesterday morning we had been talking of Mrs. Hofland's _Son of a
Genius_, which is very well translated under the name of _Ludovico._ I
told Madame Gautier the history of Mrs. Hofland, and then went to look
for the lines which she wrote on my father's birthday. Madame Gautier
followed me into this cabinet to read them. I then showed to her Sophy's
lines, which I love so much.

Sophy! I see your colour rising; but trust to me! I will never do you
any harm.

Madame Gautier was exceedingly touched with them. She pointed to the
line,

  Those days are past which never can return,

and said in English, "This is the day on which we all used to celebrate
my dear mother's birthday, but I never _keep_ days now, except that,
according to our Swiss custom, we carry flowers early in the morning to
the grave. She and my father are buried in this garden, in a place you
have not seen; I have been there at six o'clock this morning. You will
not wonder, then, my dear friend, at my being touched by your sister
Sophy's verses. I wish to know her; I am sure I shall love her. Is she
most like Fanny or Harriet?" This led to a conversation on the
difference between our different sisters and brothers; and Madame
Gautier, in a most eloquent manner, described the character of each of
her brothers, ending with speaking of Benjamin. "Men have often two
kinds of consideration in society; one derived from their public
conduct, the other enjoyed in their private capacity. My brother
Benjamin has equal influence in both. We all look up to him; we all
apply to him as to our guardian friend. Besides the advantage of having
such a friend, it gives us a pleasure which no money can purchase--the
pleasure of feeling the mind elevated by looking up to a character we
perfectly esteem, and that repose which results from perfect
confidence."

I find always, when I come to the end of my paper, that I have not told
you several entertaining things I had treasured up for you. I had a
history of a man and woman from Cochin China, which must now be squeezed
almost to death. Just before the French Revolution a French military man
went out to India, was wrecked, and with two or three companions made
his way, LORD knows how, to Cochin China. It happened that the King of
Cochin China was at war, and was glad of some hints from the French
officer, who was encouraged to settle in Cochin China, married a Cochin
Chinese lady, rose to power and credit, became a mandarin of the first
class, and within the last month has arrived in France with his
daughter. When his relations offered to embrace her, she drew back with
horror. She is completely Chinese, and her idea of happiness is to sit
still and do nothing, not even to blow her nose. I hope she will not
half change her views and opinions while she is in France, or she would
become wholly unhappy on her return to China. Her father is on his word
of honour to return in two years.

I send by Lord Carrington a cutting of cactus, for my mother, from this
garden: it is carefully packed, and will, I think, grow in the
greenhouse.


_To_ MRS. RUXTON.

AT MR. MOILLIET'S, PREGNY, GENEVA,

_August 5, 1820._

Whenever I feel any strong emotion, especially of pleasure, you, friend
of my youth and age,--you, dear resemblance of my father,--are always
present to my mind; and I always wish and want immediately to
communicate to you my feelings.

I did not conceive it possible that I should feel so much pleasure from
the beauties of nature as I have done since I came to this country. The
first moment when I saw Mont Blanc will remain an era in my life--a new
idea, a new feeling, standing alone in the mind.

We are most comfortably settled here: Dumont, Pictet, Dr. and Mrs.
Marcet, and various others, dined and spent two most agreeable evenings
here; and the fourth day after our arrival we set out on our expedition
to Chamouni with M. Pictet, as kind, as active, and as warm-hearted as
ever. Mrs. Moilliet was prevented, by the indisposition of Susan, from
accompanying us; but Mr. Moilliet and Emily came with us at five o'clock
in the morning in Mr. Moilliet's landau: raining desperately--great
doubts--but on we went: rain ceased--the sun came out, the landau was
opened, and all was delightful.

My first impression of the country was that it was like Wales; but
snow-capped Mont Blanc, visible everywhere from different points of
view, distinguished the landscape from all I had ever seen before. Then
the sides of the mountains, quite different from Wales indeed--
cultivated with garden care, green vineyards, patches of _ble de
Turquie_, hemp, and potatoes, all without enclosure of any kind, mixed
with trees and shrubs: then the garden-cultivation abruptly
ceasing--bare white rocks and fir above, fir measuring straight to the
eye the prodigious height. Between the foot of the mountain and the road
spread a border-plain of verdure, about the breadth of the lawn at Black
Castle between the trellis and Suzy Clarke's, rich with chestnut and
walnut trees, and scarlet barberries enlivening the green.

The inns on the Chamouni roads are much better than those on the road
from Paris; we grew quite fond of the honest family of the hotel at
Chamouni. Pictet knows all the people, and wherever we stopped they all
flocked round him with such cordial gratitude in their faces, from the
little children to the gray-headed men and women; all seemed to love
"Monsieur le Professeur." The guides, especially Pierre Balmat and his
son, are some of the best-informed and most agreeable men I ever
conversed with. Indeed for six months of the year they keep company with
the most distinguished travellers of Europe. With these guides, each of
us armed with a long pole with an iron spike, such as my uncle described
to me ages ago, and which I never expected to wield, we came down La
Flegere, which we mounted on mules. In talking to an old woman who
brought us strawberries, I was surprised to hear her pronounce the
Italian proverb, "_Poco a poco fa lontano nel giorno._" I thought she
must have been beyond the Alps--no, she had never been out of her own
mountains. The patois of these people is very agreeable--a mixture of
the Italian fond diminutives and accents on the last syllable--
Septembre, Octobre.

Our evening walk was to the arch of ice at the source of the Arveron,
and we went in the dusk to see a manufactory of cloth, made by a single
individual peasant--the machinery for spinning, carding, weaving, and
all made, woodwork and ironwork, by his own hands. He had in his youth
worked in some manufactory in Dauphine. The workmanship was astonishing,
and the modesty and philosophy of the man still more astonishing. When I
said, "I hope all this succeeds in making money for you and your
family," he answered, "Money was not my object: I make just enough for
myself and my family to live by, and that is all I want; I made it for
employment for ourselves in the long winter evenings. And if it lasts
after me, it may be of service to some of them; but I do not much look
to that. It often happens that sons are of a different way of thinking
from their fathers: mine may think little of these things, and if so, no
harm."

The _table-d'hote_ at Chamouni--thirty people--was very entertaining. We
had a most agreeable addition to our party in M. and Madame Arago: he
was very civil to us at Paris, and very glad to meet us again. As we
were walking to a cascade, he told me most romantic adventures of his in
Spain and Algiers, which I will tell you hereafter; but I must tell you
now a curious anecdote of Buonaparte. When he had abdicated after the
battle of Waterloo, he sent for Arago, and offered him a considerable
sum of money if he would accompany him to America. He had formed the
project of establishing himself in America, and of carrying there in his
train several men of science! Madame Bertrand was the person who
persuaded him to go to England. Arago was so disgusted at his deserting
his troops, he would have nothing more to do with him.

We returned by the beautiful valley of Sallenches and St. Gervais to
Geneva. I forgot to mention about a dozen cascades, one more beautiful
than the other, and I thought of Ondine, which you hate, and _mon Oncle
Friedelhausen._ We had left our carriage at St. Martin, and travelled in
_char-a-bancs_, with which you and Sophy made me long ago
acquainted--cousin-german to an Irish jaunting-car. We were well
drenched by the rain; and as we had imprudently lined our great straw
hats with green, we arrived at St. Gervais with chins and shoulders dyed
green. The hotel at St. Gervais is the most singular-looking house I
ever saw. You drive through a valley, between high pine-covered
mountains that seem remote from human habitation--when suddenly in a
scoop-out in the valley you see a large, low, strange wooden building
round three sides of a square, half Chinese, half American-looking, with
galleries, and domes, and sheds--the whole of unpainted wood. Under the
projecting roof of the gallery stood a lady in a purple silk dress,
plaiting straw, and various other figures in shawls, and caps, and
flowered bonnets, some looking very fine, others deadly sick--all
curious to see the new-comers. M. Goutar, the master, reminded me of
Samuel Essington: [Footnote: An old servant.] full of gratitude to M.
Pictet, who had discovered these baths for him, he whisked about with
his round perspiring face, eager to say a hundred things at once, with a
tongue too large for his mouth and a goitre which impeded his utterance,
and showed us his douches and contrivances, and spits turned by
water--very ingenious. Dinner was in a long, low, narrow room--about
fifty people; and after dinner we were ushered into a room with calico
curtains, very smart--a select party let in. Many unexpected compliments
on _Patronage_ from a Dijon Marquise, who was at the baths to get rid of
a redness in her nose. Enter, a sick but very gentlewomanlike Prussian
Countess, _Patronage_ again: Walter Scott's novels, as well known as in
England, admirably criticised. She promised me a letter to Madame de
Montolieu.

At Chamouni there is a little museum of stones and crystals, etc., where
MM. Moilliet and Pictet contrived to treat their geological souls to
seven napoleons' worth of specimens. An English lady was buying some
baubles, when her husband entered: "God bless my soul and body,
_another_ napoleon gone!"

At the inn at Bonneville--_shackamarack_ gilt dirt, Irish-French. Pictet
bought a sparrow some boys in the street threw up at the window, and
said he would bring it home for his little grandson. It was ornamented
with a topping made of scarlet cloth. He put it in his hat, and tied a
handkerchief over it; and hatless in the burning sun he brought it to
Geneva.


_August 6._

The day after our return we dined at Mrs. Marcet's with M. Dumont, M.
and Madame Prevost, M. de la Rive, M. Bonstettin, and M. de Candolle,
the botanist, a particularly agreeable man. He told us of many
experiments on the cure of goitres. In proportion as the land has been
cultivated in some districts the goitres have disappeared. M. Bonstettin
told us of some cretins, the lowest in the scale of human intellect, who
used to assemble before a barber's shop and laugh immoderately at their
own imitations of all those who came to the shop, ridiculing them in a
language of their own.


_To_ MRS. EDGEWORTH.

PREGNY, _Aug. 10, 1820._

I wrote to my Aunt Ruxton a long--much too long an account of our
Chamouni excursion, since which we have dined at Pictet's with his
daughters, Madame Prevost Pictet and Madame Vernet, agreeable, sensible,
and the remains of great beauty; but the grandest of all his married
daughters is Madame Enard. M. Enard is building a magnificent house, the
admiration, envy, and _scandal_ of Geneva; we have called it the Palais
de la Republique.

Dumont, tell Honora, is very kind and cordial; he seems to enjoy
universal consideration here, and he loves Mont Blanc next to Bentham,
above all created things: I had no idea till I saw him here how much he
enjoyed the beauties of nature. He gave us a charming anecdote of Madame
de Stael when she was very young. One day M. Suard, as he entered the
saloon of the Hotel Necker, saw Madame Necker going out of the room, and
Mademoiselle Necker standing in a melancholy attitude with tears in her
eyes. Guessing that Madame Necker had been lecturing her, Suard went
towards her to comfort her, and whispered, _"Un caresse du papa vous
dedommagera bien de tout ca."_ She immediately, wiping the tears from
her eyes, answered, _"Eh! oui, Monsieur, mon pere songe a mon bonheur
present, maman songe a mon avenir."_ There was more than presence of
mind, there was heart and soul and greatness of mind, in this answer.

Dumont speaks to me in the kindest, most tender, and affectionate manner
of our _Memoirs_; he says he hears from England, and from all who have
read them, that they have produced the effect we wished and hoped; the
MS. had interested him, he said, so deeply that with all his efforts he
could not then put himself in the place of the indifferent public.

M. Vernet, Pictet's son-in-law, mentioned a compliment of a Protestant
cure at Geneva to the new Catholic Bishop which French politeness might
envy, and which I wish that party spirit in Ireland and all over the
world could imitate. "_Monseigneur, vous etes dans un pays ou la moitie
du peuple vous ouvre leurs coeurs, et l'autre moitie vous tende les
bras."

We have taken a pretty and comfortable caleche for our three weeks' tour
with the Moilliets. But I must tell you of our visit to M. and Madame de
Candolle; we went there to see some volumes of drawings of flowers which
had been made for him. I will begin from the beginning; Joseph
Buonaparte, who has been represented by some as a mere drunkard, did,
nevertheless, some good things; he encouraged a Spaniard of botanical
skill to go over to Mexico and make a Mexican flora; he employed Mexican
artists, and expended considerable sums of money upon it; the work was
completed, but the engraving had not been commenced when the revolution
drove Joseph from his throne. The Spaniard withdrew from Spain, bringing
with him his botanical treasure, and took refuge at Marseilles, where he
met De Candolle, who, on looking over his Mexican flora, said it was
admirably well done for Mexicans, who had no access to European books,
and he pointed out its deficiencies; they worked at it for eighteen
months, when De Candolle was to return to Geneva, and the Spaniard said
to him, "Take the book--as far as I am concerned, I give it to you, but
if my government should reclaim it, you will let me have it." De
Candolle took it and returned to Geneva, where he became not only famous
but beloved by all the inhabitants. This summer he gave a course of
lectures on botany, which has been the theme of universal admiration.
Just as the lectures finished, a letter came from the Spaniard, saying
he had been unexpectedly recalled to Spain, that the King had offered to
him the Professorship he formerly held, that he could not appear before
the King without his book; and that, however unwilling, he must request
him to return it in eight days. One of De Candolle's young-lady pupils
was present when he received the letter and expressed his regret at
losing the drawings: she exclaimed, "We will copy them for you." De
Candolle said it was impossible--1500 drawings in eight days! He had
some duplicates, however, and some which were not peculiar to Mexico he
threw aside; this reduced the number to a thousand, which were
distributed among the volunteer artists. The talents and the industry
shown, he says, were astonishing; all joined in this benevolent
undertaking without vanity and without rivalship; those who could not
paint drew the outlines; those who could not draw, traced; those who
could not trace made themselves useful by carrying the drawings
backwards and forwards. One was by an old lady of eighty. We saw
thirteen folio volumes of these drawings done in the eight days! Of
course some were much worse than others, but even this I liked: it
showed that individuals were ready to sacrifice their own _amour propre_
in a benevolent undertaking.

De Candolle went himself with the original Flora to the frontier; he was
to send it by Lyons. Now the custom-house officers between the territory
of Geneva and France are some of the most strict and troublesome in the
universe, and when they saw the book they said, "You must pay 1500
francs for this." But when the chief of the Douane heard the story, he
caught the enthusiasm, and with something like a tear in the corner of
his eye, exclaimed, "We must let this book pass. I hazard my place; but
let it pass."


_To_ MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.

PREGNY, _Aug 13, 1820._

Ask to see _Lettres Physiques et Morales sur l'Histoire de la Terre et
de l'Homme, adressees a la Reine d'Angleterre. Par M. de Luc._ 1778.

Ask your mother to send a messenger forthwith to Pakenham Hall to borrow
this book; and if the gossoon does not bring it from Pakenham Hall, next
morning at flight of night send off another or the same to Castle
Forbes, and to Mr. Cobbe, who, if he has not the book, ought to be
hanged, and if he has, drawn and quartered if he does not send it to
you. But if, nevertheless, he should not send it, do not rest satisfied
under three fruitless attempts; let another--not the same boy, as I
presume his feet are weary--gossoon be off at the flight of night for
Baronstown, and in case of a fourth failure there, order him neither to
stint nor stay till he reaches Sonna, where I hope he will at last find
it. Now if, after all, it should not amuse you, I shall be much
mistaken, that's all. Skip over the tiresome parts, of which there are
many, and you will find an account of the journey we are going to make,
and of many of the feelings we have had in seeing glaciers, seas of ice
and mountains.

I believe I mentioned in some former letter that we had become
acquainted with M. Arago, who, in his height and size, reminded us of
our own dear Dr. Brinckley, but I am sure I did not tell what I kept for
you, my dear Lucy, that you might have the pleasure of telling it to
your mother and all the friends around you.

When M. Arago was with us in our excursion to Chamouni, he was speaking
of the voyage of Captain Scoresby to the Arctic regions, which he had
with him and was reading with great delight. As I found he was fond of
voyages and travels, and from what he said of this book perceived that
he was an excellent judge of their merits, I asked if he had ever
happened to meet with a book called _Karamania_, by a Captain Beaufort.
He knew nothing of our connection with him, and I spoke with a perfect
indifference from which he could not guess that I felt any interest
about the book, or the person, but the sort of lighting up of pleasure
which you have seen in Dr. Brinckley's face when he hears of a thing he
much approves, immediately appeared in Monsieur Arago's face, and he
said _Karamania_ was, of all the books of travels he had seen, that
which he admired the most: that he had admired it for its clearness, its
truth, its perfect freedom from ostentation. He said it contained more
knowledge in fewer words than any book of travels he knew, and must
remain a book of reference--a standard book. Then he mentioned several
passages that he recollected having liked, which proved the impression
they had made; the Greek fire, the amphitheatre at Side, etc. He knew
the book as well as we do, and alluded to the parts we all liked with
great rapidity and delight in perceiving our sympathy. He pointed out
the places where an ordinary writer would have given pages of
amplification. He was particularly pleased with the manner in which the
affair of the sixty Turks is told, and said, "That marked the character
of the man and does honour to his country."

I then told him that Captain Beaufort was uncle to the two young ladies
with me!

He told me he had read an article in the _Journal des Scavans_ in which
_Karamania_ is mentioned and parts translated. I have recommended it to
many at Paris who wanted English books to translate, but I am sorry to
say that little is read there besides politics and novels. Science has,
however, a better chance than literature.

Whenever any one in your Book Society wants to bespeak a book, perhaps
you could order _Recueil des Eloges, par M. Cuvier._ They contain the
_Lives_, not merely the _Eloges_, of all the men of science since 1880,
written, and with an excellent introduction. The lives of Priestley and
Cavendish are written with so much candour towards the English
philosophers that even Mr. Chenevix cannot have anything to complain of.


_To_ MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.

BERNE,

_August 19, 1820._

The day we set out from Pregny we breakfasted at Coppet; from some
misunderstanding M. de Stael had not expected us and had breakfasted,
but as he is remarkably well-bred, easy, and obliging in his manners he
was not _put out_, and while our breakfast was preparing he showed us
the house. All the rooms once inhabited by Madame de Stael we could not
think of as common rooms--they have a classical power over the mind, and
this was much heightened by the strong attachment and respect for her
memory shown in every word and look, and _silence_ by her son and by her
friend, Miss Randall. He is correcting for the press _Les dix Annees
d'Exil._ M. de Stael after breakfast took us a delightful walk through
the grounds, which he is improving with good taste and judgment. He told
me that his mother never gave any work to the public in the form in
which she originally composed it; she changed the arrangement and
expression of her thoughts with such facility, and was so little
attached to her own first views of the subject that often a work was
completely remodelled by her while passing through the press. Her father
disliked to see her make any formal preparation for writing when she was
young, so that she used to write often on the corner of the
chimney-piece, or on a pasteboard held in her hand, and always in the
room with others, for her father could not bear her to be out of the
room--and this habit of writing without preparation she preserved ever
afterwards.

M. de Stael told me of a curious interview he had with Buonaparte when
he was enraged with his mother, who had published remarks on his
government--concluding with "Eh! bien vous avez raison aussi. Je concois
qu'un fils doit toujours faire la defense de sa mere, mais enfin, si
Monsieur veut ecrire des libelles, il faut aller en Angleterre. Ou bien,
s'il cherche la gloire, c'est en Angleterre qu'il faut aller. C'est
l'Angleterre, ou la France--il n'y a que ces deux pays en Europe--dans
le monde."

Before any one else at Paris, Miss Randall told me, had the _MS. de
Sainte-Helene_, a copy had been sent to the Duke of Wellington, who lent
it to Madame de Stael; she began to read it eagerly, and when she had
read about half, she stopped and exclaimed, "Where is Benjamin Constant?
we will wait for him." When he came, she began to give him an account of
what they had been reading; he listened with the indifference of a
person who had already seen the book, and when she urged him to read up
to them, he said he would go on where they were. When it was criticised,
he defended it, or writhed under it as if the attack was personal. When
accused of being the author, he denied it with vehemence, and Miss
Randall said to him, "If you had simply denied it I might have believed
you, but when you come to swearing, I am sure that you are the author."

M. de Stael called his little brother, Alphonse Rocca, to introduce him
to us; he is a pleasing, gentle-looking, ivory-pale boy with dark-blue
eyes, not the least like Madame de Stael. M. de Stael speaks English
perfectly, and with the air of an Englishman of fashion. After our walk
he proposed our going on the lake--and we rowed for about an hour. The
deep, deep blue of the water, and the varying colours as the sun shone
and the shadows of the clouds appeared on it were beautiful. When we
returned and went to rest in M. de Stael's cabinet, Dumont, who had
quoted from Voltaire's "Ode on the Lake of Geneva," read it to us. Read
it and tell me where you think it ought to begin.

We slept at Morges on Tuesday, and arrived late and tired at Yverdun.
Next morning we went to see Pestalozzi's establishment; he recognised me
and I him; he is, tell my mother, the same wild-looking man he was, with
the addition of seventeen years. The whole superintendence of the school
is now in the hands of his masters; he just shows a visitor into the
room, and reappears as you are going away with a look that pleads
irresistibly for an obole of praise.

While we were in the school, and while I was stretching my poor little
comprehension to the utmost to follow the master of mathematics, I saw
enter a benevolent-looking man with an open forehead and a clear, kind
eye. He was obviously an Englishman, and from his manner of standing I
thought he was a captain in the navy. My attention was called away, and
I was intent upon an account of a school for deaf and dumb, which I was
interested in on account of William Beaufort, when a lady desired to be
introduced to me; she said she had been talking to Mrs. Moilliet, taking
her for Miss Edgeworth--she was "the wife of Captain Hillyar, Captain
Beaufort's friend." What a revolution in all our ideas! We almost ran to
Captain Hillyar, my benevolent--looking Englishman, and most cordially
did he receive us, and insisted upon our all coming to dine with him.
When I presented Fanny and Harriet to him as Captain Beaufort's nieces
he did look so pleased, and all the way home he was praising Captain
Beaufort with such delight to himself. "But I never write to the fellow,
faith! I'll tell you the truth; I can't bring myself to sit down and
write to him, he is such a superior being; I can't do it; what can I
have to say worth his reading? Why, look at his letters, one page of
them contains more sense than I could write in a volume."

At dinner, turning to Fanny and Harriet, he drank "Uncle Francis's
health;" and when we took leave he shook us by the hand at the carriage
door. "You know we sailors can never take leave without a hearty shake
of the hand. It comes from the heart, and I hope will go to it."

From Yverdun our evening drive by the lake of Neufchatel was beautiful,
and mounting gradually we came late at night to Paienne, and next day to
Fribourg, at the dirtiest of inns, as if kept by chance, and such a
mixture of smells of onions, grease, dirt, and dunghill! But, never
mind! I would bear all that, and more, to see and hear Pere Gerard. But
this I keep for Lovell, as I shall tell him all about Pestalozzi,
Fellenburg, and Pere Gerard's schools. You shall not even know who Pere
Gerard is.

So we go on to Berne. The moment we entered this canton we perceived the
superior cultivation of the land, the comfort of the cottagers, and
their fresh-coloured, honest, jolly, independent, hard-working
appearance. Trees of superb growth, beech and fir, beautifully mixed,
grew on the sides of the mountains. On the road here we had the finest
lightning I ever saw flashing from the horizon. Berne is chiefly built
of a whitish stone, like Bath stone, and has flagged walks arched over,
like Chester. A clear rivulet runs through the middle of each street:
there are delightful public walks. On Sunday we saw the peasants in
their holiday costume, very pretty, etc.

I have kept to the last that M. de Stael and Miss Randall spoke in the
most gratifying terms of praise of my father's life.




SUMMARY OF VOLUME I


1767-1787

Childhood of Maria Edgeworth--Death of her mother and marriage of her
father to Miss Honora Sneyd--Death of Mrs. Honora Edgeworth and marriage
of Mr. Edgeworth to Miss Elizabeth Sneyd--Life at Edgeworthstown.


1787-1793

Letters from Maria Edgeworth from Edgeworthstown, Clifton, and London to
Miss Charlotte Sneyd, Mr. and Mrs. Ruxton, and Miss Sophy Ruxton.

Journey to Clifton--Dr. Darwin, Mrs. Yearsly, and Hannah More--Visit to
Mrs. Charles Hoare--Dr. Beddoes--Return to Ireland.


1793-1795

Letters from Edgeworthstown to Miss Sophy Ruxton, Mrs. Ruxton, Mrs.
Elizabeth Edgeworth.

Literary occupations of Maria Edgeworth: _Letters for Literary Ladies,
Practical Education_--Disturbances in Ireland: Lord Granard, the "White
Tooths," General Crosby's adventure.


1795-1798

Letters from Edgeworthstown to Mrs. Ruxton, Miss S. Ruxton, Miss
Beaufort.

Publication of _Letters for Literary Ladies_ and _The Parent's
Assistant_--Mr. Edgeworth's election to the Irish Parliament--Literary
work and study: _Moral Tales, Irish Bulls_--Madame Roland's
Memoirs--Death of Mrs. Edgeworth, and marriage of Mr. Edgeworth to Miss
Beaufort.


1798-1799

Letters from Edgeworthstown, Longford, and Dublin to Miss Sophy Ruxton,
Mrs. Ruxton, Miss Charlotte Sneyd.

The Irish Rebellion: Lord Cornwallis, Lady Anne Fox--Flight from
Edgeworthstown to Longford--Return to Edgeworthstown--Publication of
_Practical Education_--Theatricals: _Whim for Whim_--At Dublin.


1799-1802

Letters from Clifton, Edgeworthstown, and Loughborough to Mrs. Ruxton,
Miss Ruxton.

At Clifton: Sir Humphry Davy, Dr. Beddoes, Mrs. Barbauld--Death of Dr.
Darwin--Literary work at Edgeworthstown: _Castle Rackrent, Belinda,
Early Lessons, Moral Tales, Essay on Irish Bulls_--Visits of Mr.
Chenevix and Professor Pictet--Journey to London.


1802-1803

Letters from London, Brussels, Chantilly, Paris, Calais, Edinburgh to
Miss Sneyd, Miss Sophy Ruxton, Mrs. Mary Sneyd, Mrs. Ruxton, C.S.
Edgeworth.

A visit to Miss Watts at Leicester--Journey to Paris: Calais, Dunkirk,
Bruges, Ghent--Madame Talma in _Andromaque_ at Brussels--Palace of
Chantilly--Paris: Madame Delessert, Madame Gautier, Madame de Pastoret,
M. Dumont, Abbe Morellet, M. Suard, Marquis of Lansdowne, M. Degerando,
M. Camille Jordan, Madame Campan, Madame Recamier, Baron de Prony,
Rogers, M. Pictet, Kosciusko--Monsieur Edelcrantz proposes to Maria
Edgeworth; her feelings towards him--Buonaparte--Madame d'Ouditot and
Rousseau--Rumours of war--The Edgeworths return to England--Account of a
visit to Madame de Genlis.


1803-1809

Letters from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Black Castle, Edgeworthstown,
Rosstrevor, Allenstown, Pakenham Hall to Mrs. Ruxton, Miss Honora
Edgeworth, Miss Charlotte Sneyd, Miss Ruxton, Henry Edgeworth, C. Sneyd
Edgeworth, Mrs. Edgeworth.

Visit to Lindley Murray at Newcastle--Dugald Stewart at
Edinburgh--Return to Edgeworthstown--Literary work: _Popular Tales,
Leonora, Griselda_--Marriage of Miss Pakenham to Sir Arthur Wellesley
(Duke of Wellington)--Death of Dr. Beddoes.


1809-1813

Letters from Edgeworthstown, Black Castle, Bangor Ferry, Liverpool,
Derby, Cambridge, London to Miss Ruxton, Miss Honora Edgeworth, Mrs.
Ruxton, C. Sneyd Edgeworth, Miss Sneyd, Mrs. Edgeworth.

Publication of _Tales of Fashionable Life_: Madame de Stael, Lord
Dudley, Lord Jeffrey upon--Life at Edgeworthstown: Mr. Chenevix, Miss
Lydia White, Sir Henry Holland, Mrs. Inchbald, Mrs. Barbauld, Hannah
More, Lady Wellington--Marriage of Sir Humphry Davy--Literary pursuits:
Byron's _English Bards_, Scott's _Lady of the Lake_ and _Rokeby_,
Campbell: _Patronage, Tales of Fashionable Life_ (second series), _The
Absentee_--Balloon ascent of Sadler--Journey to London: Roscoe, Dr.
Ferrier, Sir Henry Holland--Visit to Cambridge and to Dr. Clarke at
Trumpington.


1813-1817

Letters from London, Malvern Links, Ross, Edgeworthstown, Dublin, Black
Castle to Miss Ruxton, Mrs. Ruxton, Sir Walter Scott, C.S. Edgeworth.

Visit to London: Madame de Stael, Davy, Byron, Miss Berry's, Lord
Lansdowne, Lady Wellington, Mrs. Siddons, the Prince Regent, Lady
Elizabeth Monk, Dukes of Kent and Sussex, Sir James Macintosh, Dumont,
Sir Samuel Romilly, Dr. Parr, Malthus, Madame d'Arblay, Rogers--Return
to, and life at Edgeworthstown: _Early Lessons, Popular Plays,
Harrington, Ormond--Waverley_--Illness and Death of Mr. Edgeworth.


1817-1820

Letters from Edgeworthstown, Mount Kennedy, Bowood, Epping, Hampstead,
Byrkely Lodge, Tetsworth, London, Dublin, Heathfield, Canterbury to Mrs.
Ruxton, Mrs. Stark, Mrs. Edgeworth, Miss Ruxton, Miss Waller, Miss Lucy
Edgeworth, Miss Honora Edgeworth.

Literary pursuits at Edgeworthstown: Miss Austen--Visits to Bowood: Lord
Lansdowne, Dumont, Lord Grenville, Mr. Hare, Dugald Stewart--Death of
Sir Samuel Romilly--Joanna Baillie, Watt, Campbell--London: Mill,
Wilberforce, Duke and Duchess of Wellington, Lord Palmerston--Visit to
Ireland--Journey to Paris.


1820

Letters from Paris, La Celle, Passy, Geneva, Pregny, Berne to Mrs.
Edgeworth, Mrs. Ruxton, Miss Ruxton, Miss Lucy Edgeworth, Miss Honora
Edgeworth.

Paris: Duchesse de Broglie, Madame Recamier, Camille Jordan,
Cuvier--Prony's anecdotes of Buonaparte--Visit to M. de Vinde's
country-house--A visit to the Duke of Orleans at Neuilly--Duchesse
d'Angouleme, Casimir Perier, Duchesse d'Uzes, Humboldt, Malthus--Journey
through Switzerland: Dumont, M. de Stael.


END OF VOL. I




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