LIFE AND LETTERS
AUGUSTUS J.C. HARE
MARIA to MISS WALLER.
COPPET, Sept. 1, 1820.
I am sure that you have heard of us, and of all we have done and seen from Edgeworthstown as far as Berne: from thence we went to Thun: there we took char-a-bancs, little low carriages, like half an Irish jaunting car, with four wheels, and a square tarpaulin awning over our heads. Jolting along on these vehicles, which would go over a house, I am sure, without being overturned or without being surprised, we went—the Swiss postillion jolting along at the same round rate up and down, without ever looking back to see whether the carriages and passengers follow, yet now and then turning to point to mountains, glaciers, and cascades. The valley of Lauterbrunn is beautiful; a clear, rushing cascady stream rushes through it: fine chestnuts, walnuts, and sycamores scattered about, the verdure on the mountains between the woods fresh and bright. Pointed mountains covered with snow in the midst of every sign of flowery summer strike us with a sense of the sublime which never grows familiar. The height of the Staubach waterfall, which we saw early in the morning, astonished my mind, I think, more than my eyes, looking more like thin vapour than water—more like strings of water; and I own I was disappointed, after all I had heard of it.
We went on to the valley of Grindelwald, where we saw, as we thought two fields off, a glacier to which we wished to go; and accordingly we left the char-a-bancs, and walked down the sloping field, expecting to reach it in a few minutes, but we found it a long walk—about two miles. To this sort of deception about distances we are continually subject, from the clearness of the air, and from the unusual size of the objects, for which we have no points of comparison, and no previous habits of estimating. We were repaid for our walk, however, when we came to the source of the Lutzen, which springs under an arch of ice in the glacier. The river runs clear and sparkling through the valley, while over the arch rests a mountain of ice, and beside it a valley of ice; not smooth or uniform, but in pyramids, and arches, and blocks of immense size, and between them clefts and ravines. The sight and the sound of the waters rushing, and the solemn immovability of the ice, formed a sublime contrast.
On the grass at the very foot of this glacier were some of the most delicious wood-strawberries I ever tasted.
At Interlaken we met Sneyd [Footnote: Her half-brother, son of the third Mrs. Edgeworth, and his wife Henrica Broadhurst.] and Henrica in a very pleasant situation in that most beautiful country. We parted on the banks of the lake of Brienz. On this lake we had an hour's delightful sailing, and put into a little bay and climbed up a mountain to see the cascade of the Giesbach, by far the most beautiful I ever beheld, and beyond all of which painting or poetry had ever given me any idea. Indeed it is particularly difficult, if not absolutely impossible, to give a representation of cascades which depend for effect upon the height from which they fall, the rush of motion, the sparkling and foam of the water in motion, and the magnitude of the surrounding objects.
After passing the lake of Brienz, we came to the far-famed valley of Meyringen, which had been much cried up to us; but, whether from the usual perverseness of human nature, or from being spoiled by the luxury of cascades, valleys, and Alps we had previously seen, we were disappointed in it, though, to do it justice, it has nine cascades.
We slept at a wooden inn, and rose at three; and, before four, mounted on our horses, set off for the Brunig; and after having gone up La Flegere at Chamouni, the crossing the Brunig was a small consideration. Brava! brava!
But—something happened to me and my horse; the result being that I went up the Brunig and down the Brunig on my two legs instead of on the horse's four, and was not the least tired with my three hours' scramble up and scramble down. At the little town of Sarnen we ate eggs and drank sour wine, and Mr. Moilliet, Fanny, and Harriet remounted their horses; Mrs. Moilliet, Emily, Susan, and I went in a char-a-banc of a different construction; not sitting sideways, but on two phaeton seats, one behind the other, facing the horses. Such jolting, such trimming from side to side; but we were not overturned, and got out at the town of Stanzstadt, where, after seeing in the dirtiest inn's dirtiest room a girl with a tremendous black eye, besides the two with which nature had favoured her, we took boat again about sunset, and had a two hours' delicious rowing across the lake of Lucerne, which I prefer to every other I have seen—the moon full and placid on the waters, the stars bright in the deep blue sky, the town of Lucerne shadowed before us with lights here and there in the windows. The air became still, and the sky suddenly clouded over; thunder was heard; bright flashes of lightning darted from behind the mountains and across the town, making it at intervals distinctly visible for a moment. It was dark when we landed, and we had to pass through two or three streets, servants, guides, bag, and baggage, groping our way; and oh, wretched mortals, went to the wrong place, and before we could reach the right one, down poured a waterspout of a shower on our devoted heads and backs. In five minutes, running as hard as we could, we were wet through; and Fanny, in crossing the street and plucking at the guide's bundle for a cloak for me, was nearly run over, but stood it; and, all dripping, we reached our inn, Le Cheval Blanc. An hour spent in throwing off wet clothes and putting on dry—tea, coffee—bed—bugs, and sleep, nevertheless.
We rejoined our landau and caleche at Lucerne, and proceeded in them to Zug, where there is a famous convent or Frauenkloster, which escaped being destroyed during the Revolution, because the abbess and nuns established a school for the female children of the neighbourhood, where they still continue to teach them to read and work: Madame Gautier had desired us to go and see it, and to it we walked: rang at the bell, were told that the nuns were all in the refectory, and were asked to wait. The nuns' repast was soon finished, and one came with a very agreeable, open countenance and fresh, brown complexion, well fed and happy-looking, becomingly dressed in snow-white hood and pelerine and brown gown. Bowing courteously, she by signs—for she could speak neither French nor English—invited us to follow her, and led us through cloister and passage to the room of the boarders; not nuns, only there for their education. A pretty Italian girl, with corkscrew ringlets of dark hair, rose from her pianoforte to receive us, and spoke with much grace and self-complacency Italian-French, and accompanied by way of interpreter our own conductress, who motioned us to the sitting-room, where nuns and pensioners were embroidering, with silk, cotton, chenille, and beads, various pretty, ugly, and fantastical, useless things. Luckily, none were finished at that moment, and their empty basket saved our purses and our taste from danger or disgrace.
I had spied in the corner of the Italian interpreter's apartment a daub of a print of the King and Queen of France taking leave of their family, with a German inscription; and thinking the Abbe Edgeworth had a good right to be in it, and as a kind of German notion of an Abbe appeared in the print, and something like Edgewatz in the German words, I put my finger on the spot, and bade the interpreter tell the nuns and the abbess, who now appeared, that we were nearly related to the Abbe Edgeworth, Louis XVI.'s confessor. This with some difficulty was put into the Italian's head, and through her into the nuns', and through them, in German, into the abbess' superior head. I heard a mistake in the first repetition, which ran, no doubt, through all the editions, viz. that we were proches parents, not to the King's confessor, but to the King! The nuns opened the whites of their eyes, and smiled regularly in succession as the bright idea reached them and the abbess—a good-looking soul, evidently of superior birth and breeding to the rest, all gracious and courteous in demeanour to the strangers.
A thought struck me—or, as Mr. Barrett of Navan expressed it, "I took a notion, ma'am"—that Fanny would look well in a nun's dress; and boldly I went to work with my interpreter, who thought the request at first too bold to make; but I forced it through to nun the first, who backed and consulted nun the second, who at my instigation referred in the last appeal to the abbess, who, in her supreme good-nature, smiled, and pointed upstairs; and straight our two nuns carried Fanny and me off with them up stairs and stairs, and through passages and passages, to a little nun's room—I mean a nun's little room—nice with flowers and scraps of relics and religious prints. The nuns ran to a press in the wall, and took out ever so many plaited coifs and bands, and examined them all carefully as birthnight beauty would have done, to fix upon one which was most becoming. Nun the second ran for the rest of the habiliments, and I the while disrobed Fanny of her worldly sprigged cambric muslin and straw hat, which, by the bye, nun the second eyed with a fond admiration which proved she had not quite forgotten this world's conveniences. The eagerness with which they dressed Fanny, the care with which they adjusted the frontlet, and tucked in the ringlets, and placed the coif on her head, and pulled it down to exactly the right becoming sit, was exceedingly amusing. No coquette dressing for Almack's could have shown more fastidious nicety, or expressed more joy and delight at the toilette's triumphant success. They exclaimed in German, and lifted up hands and eyes in admiration of Fanny's beautiful appearance in nun's attire. The universal language of action and the no less universal language of flattery was not lost upon me: I really loved these nuns, and thought of my Aunt Ruxton's nuns, who were so good to her. Down corridors and stairs we now led our novice, and the nuns showed her how to hold her hands tucked into her sleeves, and asked her name; and having learned it was Fanny, Frances, Sister Frances, were again overjoyed, because one of them was named Frances, the other was Agnes. When, between Sister Agnes and Sister Frances the first, Sister Frances the second entered the room, where we had left the abbess, Mrs. Moilliet, Emily, and Susan, they did not know Fanny in the least, and Harriet declared that, at the first moment, even she did not know her. Mrs. Moilliet told me she said to herself, "What a very graceful nun is coming now!"
After all had gathered round, and laughed, and admired, the abbess signified to me, through our interpreter, that we could do no less than leave her in the convent with them, and grew so mighty fond of Fanny, that I was in as great a hurry to get her nun's dress off as I had been to get it on; and when I had disrobed her, I could not think of a single thing to give the poor nuns, having no pockets, and my bag left in the carriage! At last, feeling all over myself, I twitched my little gold earrings out of my ears, and gave one, and Fanny gave the other, to the two nuns; and Sister Frances and Sister Agnes fell on their knees to pray for and thank us.
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
PREGNY, Sept. 6, 1820.
The account of the loss of the three guides at Chamouni is, alas! too true: three perished by stepping into the new-fallen snow which covered the crevasses; one was Joseph Carrier, who was Harriet's guide. Mrs. Marcet has just told us that, at a breakfast given by M. Prevost to M. Arago, and many scientific and literary people, a few days after the accident, parties ran high on this as on all affairs: some said it was all M. Hamel's fault; some, that it was all the guides' own fault. One said he wished one of the English gentlemen who was of the party was present, for then they should know the truth. At this moment the servant announced a stranger, "Monsieur Rumford," the name sounded like as the man pronounced it, and they thought it was Count Rumford come to life. M. Prevost went out and returned with Mr. Dornford, one of the Englishmen who had been of Dr. Hamel's party, who came, he said, to beg permission to state the plain facts, as he heard they had been told to Dr. Hamel's disadvantage. He, Dr. Hamel, Mr. Henderson, and M. Lelleque, a French naturalist, set out: the guides had not dissuaded them from attempting to go up Mont Blanc—only advised them to wait till a threatening cloud had passed. When it was gone, they all set out in high spirits; the guides cutting holes in the snow for their feet. This it is supposed loosened the snow newly fallen, and a quantity poured down over their heads. Mr. Dornford had pushed on before the guides; he shook off the snow as it fell, and felt no apprehension: on the contrary, he laughed as he pawed it away, and was making his way on, when he heard a cry from his companions, and looking back he saw some of them struggling in the snow. He helped to extricate them, saw a point moving in the snow, went to it, and pulled out Marie Coutay, one of the guides: he was quite purple, but recovered in the air. Looked round—two guides were missing: looked for them in vain, but saw a deep ravine covered with fresh snow, into which they must have fallen.
To MRS. RUXTON. LAUSANNE, Sept 14, 1820.
Ages ago I promised myself the pleasure of dating a letter from Lausanne to my dear aunt, and now that I am at the place of which I have so often heard her speak, which I have so often wished to see, I can hardly believe it is not a dream. A fortnight ago we were here, returning from our tour through les Petits Cantons; but at that time we could not enjoy anything, as we had heard from Sneyd, whom we met at Interlaken, of Lucy's [Footnote: Youngest daughter of the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth.] terrible illness. What a comfort to my mother to think that she was saved by your Sophy's steadiness and presence of mind, and by Lovell's decision and Crampton's skill and kindness!
Yesterday we began our tour round the Lake of Geneva—Dumont, Fanny, Harriet, and I—in one of the carriages of the country, a mixture of a sociable and an Irish jingle, with some resemblance to a hearse, from a covered top on iron poles, which keeps off the sun. It was late when we arrived here, and so dark, with only a few lamps strung across the street here and there, we could scarcely see the forms of the great black horses scrambling and struggling up the almost perpendicular streets. How could you ever have borne it, my dear aunt? You must have been in perpetual fear of your life! Lord Bellamont's description of the county of Cavan—all acclivity and declivity, without any intervention of horizontality—I am sure applies to Lausanne. I am sure travelled horses from all parts of the world say to each other when they meet in the stable, "Were you ever at Lausanne? Don't you hate Lausanne? How could men build a town in such a place? What asses! And how provoking, while we are breaking our backs, to hear them talking of picturesque beauty! I should like to see how they would look if we let them slip, and roll down these picturesque situations!"
Lausanne is, nevertheless, so full that we could scarcely find room; and after Dumont and his servant had gone back and forward to Le Faucon, the Lion d'or, Les Balances, etc. etc., all full to the garrets, we were thankful at finding ourselves in the worst inn's worst room, where, however, the beds were clean and good. We are not grumblers, so we drank coffee and were all very happy; and while the rooms were preparing Dumont read to us a pretty little French piece, Le faux Savant!
Our first object this morning was to see Madame de Montolieu, the author of Caroline de Lichfield, to whom I had a letter of introduction. She was not at Lausanne, we were told, but at her country house, Bussigny, about a league and a half from the town. We had a delicious fine morning, and through romantic lanes and up and down hills, till we found ourselves in the middle of a ploughed field, when the coachman's pride of ignorance had to give up, and he had to beg his way to Bussigny, a village of scattered Swiss cottages high upon rocks, with far-spreading prospects below. In the court of the house which we were told was Madame de Montolieu's we saw a lady, of a tall, upright, active-looking figure, with much the appearance of a gentlewoman; but we could not think that this was Madame de Montolieu, because for the last half-hour Dumont, impatient at our losing our way, had been saying she must be too old to receive us. She was very old thirty years ago; she must be quatre-vingt, at least: at last it came to quatre-vingt-dix. This lady did not look above fifty. She came up to the carriage as it stopped, and asked whom we wished to see. The moment I saw her eyes, I knew it was Madame de Montolieu, and stooping down from the open carriage I put into her hand the note of introduction and our card. She never opened the note, but the instant her eye had glanced upon the card, she repeated the name with a voice of joyful welcome. I jumped out of the carriage, and she embraced me so cordially, and received my sisters so kindly, and M. Dumont so politely, that we were all at ease and acquainted and delighted before we were half-way upstairs. While she went into the ante-chamber for a basket of peaches, I had time to look at the prints hung in the little drawing-room: they had struck me the moment we came in as scenes from Caroline de Lichfield. Indifferent, old-fashioned, provoking figures, Caroline and Count Walstein in the fashions of thirty years ago.
When Madame de Montolieu returned, she bade me not look at them; "but I will tell you how they came to be here." They had been given to her by Gibbon: he was the person who published Caroline de Lichfield. She had written it for the entertainment of an aunt who was ill: a German story of three or four pages gave her the first idea of it. "I never could invent: give me a hint, and I can go on and supply the details and the characters." Just when Caroline de Lichfield was finished, Gibbon became acquainted with her aunt, who showed it to him: he seized upon the MS., and said it must be published. It ran in a few months through several editions; and just when it was in its first vogue, Gibbon happened to be in London, saw these prints, and brought them over to her, telling her he had brought her a present of prints from London, but that he would only give them to her on condition that she would promise to hang them, and let them always hang, in her drawing-room. After many vain efforts to find out what manner of things they were, Gibbon and curiosity prevailed; she promised, and there they hang.
She must have been a beautiful woman: she told me she is seventy: fine dark, enthusiastic eyes, a quickly varying countenance, full of life, and with all the warmth of heart and imagination which is thought to belong only to youth.
We went into a wooden gallery reaching from one side of the house to the other, at one end of which was a table, where she had been writing when we arrived. We often took leave, but were loth to depart. Dumont luckily asked if she could direct us to a fine old chateau in the neighbourhood, which we had been told was particularly well worth seeing—Viernon. "It is my brother's," she said, and she would go with us and show it. The carriage was sent round to the high road, and we went by a walk along a river, romantically beautiful. Just as we came to a cascade and a wooden bridge, a little pug dog came running down, and the Baron and Madame de Polier appeared. Madame de Montolieu ran on to her brother, and explained who we were. Madame is an Englishwoman, and, to my surprise, I found she was niece to my father's old friend, Mr. Mundy of Markeaton. We were all very sorry to part with Madame de Montolieu; however, we returned to Lausanne, and Dumont in the evening read out Le Somnambule—very laughable when so well read.
PREGNY, Sept. 20.
Next day beautiful drive to Vevay, as you know. After visiting Chillon, where Lord Byron's name and coat of arms are cut upon Bonnivar's pillar, I read the poem again, and think it most sublime and pathetic. How can that man have perverted so much feeling as was originally given to him!
Have you been at St. Maurice? If you have not, I cannot give you an idea of the surprise and delight we felt at the first sight of the view going down through the archway! But what a miserable town! After Fanny had sketched from the window of the inn a group of children, we finished our evening by hearing Dumont read, incomparably well, Les Chateaux d'Espagne. In the night we were awakened by the most horrible female voice, singing, or rather screeching, in the passage—the voice of a person having a goitre, and either mad or drunk. There had been a marriage of country people in the house, and this lady had drunk a little too much. We heard Dumont's door open, and he silenced or drove her away.
Next morning we went, on part of the Simplon route which Buonaparte made, to St. Gingulph, where we spent some hours on the Lake. Dumont told us he had been there with Rogers, who was so delighted with its beauty, that instead of one he spent six days there.
Not having met the Moilliets as expected at St. Maurice, we became very anxious about them; but upon our arrival at Pregny next day, found them all very quietly there. Mrs. Moilliet's not being very well kept them at home. Nothing can be kinder than they are to us.
We dined two days after our return to Pregny at Coppet: the Duke and Duchess de Broglie are now there, and we met M. de Stein, [Footnote: Carl, Baron Stein, the Minister of Frederick William IV. of Prussia.] a great diplomatist, and M, Pictet Deodati, of whom Madame de Stael said, if one could take hold of Pictet Deodati's neckcloth, and give him one good shaking, what a number of good things would come out!
MALAGNY, DR. MARCET'S, Sept.
We came here last Friday, and have spent our time most happily with our excellent friend Mrs. Marcet. His children are all so fond of Dr. Marcet, we see that he is their companion and friend. They have all been happily busy in making a paper fire-balloon, sixteen feet in diameter, and thirty feet high. A large company were invited to see it mount. It was a fine evening. The balloon was filled on the green before the house. The lawn slopes down to the lake, and opposite to it magnificent Mont Blanc, the setting sun shining on its summit. After some heart-beatings about a hole in the top of the balloon, through which the smoke was seen to issue—an evil omen—it went up successfully. The sun had set, but we saw its reflection beautifully on one side of the balloon, so that it looked like a globe half ice, half fire, or half moon, half sun, self-suspended in the air. It went up exactly a mile. I say exactly, because Pictet measured the height by an instrument of a new invention, which I will describe when we meet. The air here is so clear, that at this height we saw it distinctly.
M. Pictet de Rochemont, brother to our old friend, has taken most kind pains to translate the best passages from my father's Memoirs for the Bibliotheque Universelle. We were yesterday at his house with a large party, and met Madame Necker de Saussure—much more agreeable than her book. Her manner and figure reminded us of our beloved Mrs. Moutray: she is deaf, too, and she has the same resignation, free from suspicion, in her expression when she is not speaking, and the same gracious attention to the person who speaks to her.
CHATEAU DE COPPET, Sept. 28,
We came here yesterday, and here we are in the very apartments occupied by M. Necker, opening into what is now the library, but what was once that theatre on which Madame de Stael used to act her own Corinne. Yesterday evening, when Madame de Broglie had placed me next the oldest friend of the family, M. de Bonstettin, he whispered to me, "You are now in the exact spot, in the very chair where Madame de Stael used to sit!" Her friends were excessively attached to her. This old man talked of her with tears in his eyes, and with all the sudden change of countenance and twitchings of the muscles which mark strong, uncontrollable feeling.
There is something inexpressibly melancholy, awful, in this house, in these rooms, where the thought continually recurs, Here Genius was! here was Ambition, Love! all the great struggles of the passions; here was Madame de Stael! The respect paid to her memory by her son and daughter, and by M. de Broglie, is touching. The little Rocca, seven years old, is an odd, cold, prudent, old-man sort of a child, as unlike as possible to the son you would have expected from such parents. M. Rocca, brother to the boy's father, is here: handsome, but I know no more. M. Sismondi and his wife dined here, and three Saladins, father, mother, and daughter. M. de Stael has promised to show to me Gibbon's love-letters to his grandmother, ending regularly with "Je suis, mademoiselle, avec les sentimens qui font le desespoir de ma vie," etc.
M. de Bonstettin—Gray the poet's friend—told me that in Sweden, about thirty years ago, he saw potatoes in the corner of a gentleman's garden as a curiosity. "They tell me, sir," said the gentleman, "that in some countries they eat the roots of this plant!" Now they are cultivated there, and the people have become fond of them.
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With M. de Stael and Madame de Broglie Miss Edgeworth was particularly happy. It had been reported that Madame de Stael had said of Maria's writings "que Miss Edgeworth etait digne de l'enthousiasme, mais qu'elle s'est perdue dans la triste utilite." "Ma mere n'a jamais dit ca," Madame de Broglie indignantly declared, "elle etait incapable!" She saw, indeed, the enthusiastic admiration which Maria felt for her mother's genius, and she was gratified by the regard and esteem which Maria showed for her and her brother, and the sympathy she expressed in their affection for each other, and in their kindness to their little Rocca brother.
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MARIA to MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.
LYONS, HOTEL DU NORD, Oct. 22, 1820.
Lyons! is it possible that I am really at Lyons, of which I have heard my father speak so much? Lyons! where his active spirit once reigned, and where now scarce a trace, a memory of him remains. The Perraches all gone, Carpentiers no more to be heard of, Bons a name unknown; De la Verpilliere—one descendant has a fine house here, but he is in the country.
The look of the town and the fine facades of the principal buildings, and the Place de Bellecour, were the more melancholy to me from knowing them so well in the prints in the great portfolio, with such a radiance thrown over them by his descriptions. I hear his voice saying, La Place de Bellecour and l'Hotel de Ville—these remain after all the horrors of the Revolution—but human creatures, the best, the ablest, the most full of life and gaiety, all passed away.
It is a relief to my mind to pour out all this to you. I do not repent having come to Lyons; I should not have forgiven myself if I had not.
I have been writing to dear Mrs. Moilliet—nothing could exceed her kindness and Mr. Moilliet's. Dumont was excessively touched at parting with us, and gave Fanny and Harriet La Fontaine and Gresset, and to me a map of the lake—of the tour we took so happily together.
To MRS. RUXTON.
PARIS, Nov. 1820.
Never lose another night's sleep, or another moment's thought on the Quarterly Review [Footnote: An article on Maria Edgeworth's Memoirs of her Father, full of doubt, ridicule, misrepresentation, and acrimony. Miss Edgeworth never read this Review till 1835, when she was induced to do so by a letter from Mr. Peabody alluding to it. It was then powerless to give her pain, for its anonymous falsehoods had long fallen into oblivion.]—I have never read and never will read it.
I write this merely to tell you that I have at last had the pleasure of seeing Madame la Comtesse de Vaudreuil, the daughter of your friend; she is an exceedingly pleasing woman, of high fashion, with the remains of great beauty, courteous and kind to us beyond all expectation. She had but a few days in Paris, and she made out two for us; she took us to the Conciergerie to see, by lamp-light, the dungeons where the poor Queen and Madame Elizabeth were confined, now fitted up as little chapels. In the Queen's is an altar inscribed with her letter to the King, expressing forgiveness of her enemies. Tears streamed from the eyes of the young Countess de Vaudreuil, the daughter-in-law, as she looked at this altar, and the place where the Queen's bed was. Who do you think accompanied us to this place? Lady Beauchamp, Lady Longford's mother, a great friend of Madame de Vaudreuil's, with whom we dined the next day, and who had procured for us the Duc de Choiseul's box at the Theatre Francais, when the house was to be uncommonly crowded to see Mademoiselle Duchenois in Athalie "avec tous les choeurs," and a most striking spectacle it was! I had never seen Mademoiselle Duchenois to perfection before.
MRS. MARCET to MARIA EDGEWORTH.
MALAGNY, Nov. 15, 1820.
I cannot make up my mind, my dear friend, to take my departure [Footnote: Mrs. Marcet was just setting out for Italy.] for a still more distant country without again bidding you adieu. I have hesitated for some time past, "Shall I or shall I not write to Miss Edgeworth?" for I felt that I could not write without touching on an article in the Quarterly—a subject which makes my blood boil with indignation, and which rouses every feeling of contempt and abhorrence. I might indeed refrain from the expression of these sentiments, but how could I restrain all those feelings of the warmest interest, the tenderest sympathy, and the softest pity for your wounded feelings? I well remember the wish you one day so piously expressed to me that your father could look down from heaven and see the purity and zeal of your intentions in writing his Memoirs; I am sure your HEAVENLY FATHER does see them. And I feel that this unjust, unchristian, inquisitorial attack will not only develop fresh sentiments of the tenderest nature in your friends, but also rally every human being of sound sense around you.
MARIA EDGEWORTH to MRS. EDGEWORTH.
PARIS, Nov. 15, 1820.
You would scarcely believe, my dear friends, the calm of mind and the sort of satisfied resignation I feel as to my father's Life. I suppose the two years of doubt and extreme anxiety that I felt, exhausted all my power of doubting. I know that I have done my very best, I know that I have done my duty, and I firmly believe that if my dear father could see the whole he would be satisfied with what I have done.
We have seen Mademoiselle Mars twice, or thrice rather, in the Mariage de Figaro and in the little pieces of Le Jaloux sans amour, and La jeunesse de Henri Cinq, and admire her exceedingly. En petit comite the other night at the Duchesse d'Escars, a discussion took place between the Duchesse de la Force, Marmont, and Pozzo di Borgo, on the bon et mauvais ton of different expressions—bonne societe is an expression bourgeoise—you may say bonne compagnie or la haute societe. "Voila des nuances," as Madame d'Escars said. Such a wonderful jabbering as these grandees made about these small matters. It put me in mind of a conversation in the World on good company which we all used to admire.
We have seen a great deal of our dear Delesserts, and of Madame de Rumford, [Footnote: First married to Lavoisier, the celebrated chemist, then to Count Rumford, the scientist, from whom she was separated for many years. She was now again a widow.] who gave us a splendid and most agreeable dinner. And one evening with the Princess Potemkin, who is—take notice—only a Princess by courtesy, as she has married a Potemkin, who is not a Prince, and though she was born Princess Galitzin, she loses her rank by marrying an inferior, according to Russian and French custom, and they are, with reason, surprised at our superior gallantry, once a lady always a lady. But whether Princess or not Princess, our Madame Potemkin is most charming, and you may bless your stars that you are not obliged to read a page of panegyric upon her. She was as much delighted to see us again, as we were to see her; she was alone with Madame de Noisville, that happy mixture of my Aunt Fox [Footnote: Mary, wife of Francis Fox, elder sister of Mr. Edgeworth and Mrs. Ruxton.] and Mrs. Lataffiere. We went from Madame Potemkin to Madame d'Haussonville's, with her we found Madame de Bouille playing at billiards, just in the attitude in which we had left her three months ago. Saturday I had a bad headache, but recovered in the evening; and Monday we dined at Madame Potemkin's, where we met her aunt, a Princess Galitzin, a thin, tall, odd, very clever woman, daughter to that Prince Shuvaloff, to whom Voltaire wrote eternally, and she is imbued with anecdotes of that period, very well bred, and quick in conversation. She is always afraid of catching cold, and always wears a velvet cap, and is always wrapped up in shawls and pelisses in going from house to house—a cela pres, a reasonable woman.
After leaving Madame Potemkin's we went to see—whom do you think? Guess all round the breakfast-table before you turn over the leaf; if anybody guesses right, I guess it will be Aunt Mary.
Madame de la Rochejacquelin [Footnote: Widow of the Vendean hero.]—She had just arrived from the country, and we found ourselves in a large hotel, in which all the winds of heaven were blowing, and in which, as we went upstairs and crossed the ante-chambers, all was darkness, except one candle which the servant carried before us. In a small bedroom, well furnished, with a fire just lighted, we found Madame de la Rochejacquelin lying on a sofa—her two daughters at work—one spinning with a distaff, and the other embroidering muslin. Madame is a large fat woman, with a broad round fair face, with a most open benevolent expression, as benevolent as Molly Bristow's or as Mrs. Brinkley's. Her hair cut short, and perfectly gray, as seen under her cap; the rest of her face much too young for such gray locks, not at all the hard weatherbeaten look that had been described to us; and though her face and bundled form and dress, all squashed on a sofa, did not at first promise much of gentility, you could not hear her speak or see her for three minutes without perceiving that she was well-born and well-bred. She had hurt her leg, which was the cause of her lying on the sofa. It seemed a grievous penance, as she is of as active a temper as ever. She says her health is perfect, but a nervous disease in her eyes has nearly deprived her of sight—she could hardly see my face, though I sat as close as I could go to the sofa.
"I am always sorry," said she, "when any stranger sees me, parceque je sais que je detruis toute illusion. Je sais que je devrais avoir l'air d'une heroine, et surtout que je devrais avoir l'air malheureuse ou epuise an moins—rien de tout cela, helas!"
She is much better than a heroine—she is benevolence and truth itself. She begged her daughters to take us into the salon to show us what she thought would interest us. She apologised for the cold of these rooms—and well she might; when the double doors were opened I really thought Eolus himself was puffing in our faces; we shawled ourselves well before we ventured in. At one end of the salon is a picture of M. de Lescure, and at the other, of Henri de la Rochejacquelin, by Gerard and Girardet, presents from the King. Fine military figures. In the boudoir is one of M. de la Rochejacquelin, much the finest of all—she has never yet looked at this picture. Far from being disappointed, I was much gratified by this visit.
To MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.
CALAIS, Dec. 5, 1820.
It is a great satisfaction to me, my dear Lucy, to feel that we are now so much nearer to you, and that before I finish this little note we shall be still nearer to you in the same United Kingdom, so that in eight days we can have an answer to questions about you; what a difference from the three long weeks we used to wait at Geneva.
And now, my dear Lucy, I must employ you to break to my mother an important secret. Choose a proper time for speaking to her on the subject, when she is not very busy, when her mind is at ease, that is, when you are pretty well. My aunts and Honora may be in the room, if you think proper. Begin by saying that I know both my mother and Lovell are so kind and have such confidence in me that I am sure they will not hastily object to the introduction of a new person into the family, though they may perhaps feel a little surprised at hearing of my having actually decided upon such a measure without writing first to consult them. I have actually brought with me from Paris, and intend, unless I am actually forbidden, to bring with me to Edgeworthstown, a French washerwoman. I cannot expect that Lovell should build a house for her, though I know he has long had it in contemplation to build a laundry; but my little French woman does not require a house, she can live in our house, if he and my mother, and my aunts please, and I will engage that she shall give no sort of trouble, and shall cost nothing. She is a sourde et muette, an elderly woman with a very good countenance, always cheerful, and going on with her own business without minding other people's. She was recommended to me by Madame Francois Delessert, and has lived for some time in their family, much liked by all, especially by the children, for whom she washed constantly, till one of her legs was hurt, so that she cannot work now quite as well as formerly. But still she washed so as to give general satisfaction. Fanny and Harriet like her washing, and I am sure my aunts will like it and her very much; and I think she might, till some other place be found for her, sleep in my mother's dressing-room.
And here, my dear Lucy, I beg you will pause and hear what everybody says about this washerwoman and this plan.
And after five minutes given to deliberation, go on and say, that if no better place can be found for my washerwoman, she may stand on my mother's chimney-piece! [Footnote: A pretty little French toy given by Madame Francois Delessert.]
No more nonsense at present.
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
CALAIS, DESSIN'S HOTEL, Dec. 5, 1820.
Coming back to this place, to the same room where we were seven months ago, the whole seems to me and to my companions like a delightful dream, but in waking from Alps, and glaciers, and cascades, and Mont Blanc, and troops of acquaintance in splendid succession and visionary confusion, in waking from this wonderful dream, the sober certainty of happiness remains and assures us that all which has passed is not a dream. All our old friends at Paris are still more our friends than ever, and many new ones made. Every expectation, every hope that I had formed for this journey has been more than gratified, far surpassed by the reality; and we return with thorough satisfaction to our own country, looking to our dear home for permanent happiness, without a wish unsatisfied or a regret for anything we have left behind, except our friends.
To MISS RUXTON.
MALI, CLIFTON, Dec. 17, 1820.
We have spent a week here with Emmeline, [Footnote: The eldest of Miss Edgeworth's own sisters, wife of John King, Esq., of Clifton.] and very happy I am that we were able to give her this pleasure. Zoe and Emmeline are very nice-looking girls, pleasing in their manners and affectionate in their dispositions.
We are not, tell my aunt, likely to be drawn in to talk or take any part about the Queen, as we know nothing of her trial. She sent notice to Lady Elizabeth Whitbread that she would dine with her if she knew the hour. Lady Elizabeth answered that her hour varied from five to nine, as it suited her son's convenience. The Queen took it as it was meant, as a refusal.
To MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.
BOWOOD, Dec. 20, 1820.
I write to you sitting in the bow (or beau, or bay) window of the room with yellow furniture with black stars, into which we were shown by Lady Lansdowne. Oh, my dear Honora, how everything here reminds me of you!
Lady Lansdowne's reception of us was most cordial. She had been out walking, and came to us only half dressed, with a shawl thrown over her. Lord Lansdowne is at Bath, at an agricultural meeting. Mr. and Mrs. Ord and their son, an Eton youth, are here; Lady Elizabeth and Captain Fielding—he is very gentlemanlike and agreeable; Mr. Hallam; the two Mr. Smiths, whom you remember, and Mr. Fazakerley—very clever; and best of all, Miss Vernon and Miss Fox: she introduced to Fanny and Harriet her niece, Miss Fox, very handsome and agreeable—not come out.
EASTON GREY, Dec. 26.
I intended this frank for my mother, but Mr. Ricardo turned it into Miss instead of Mrs.; and why I asked for a frank at all I cannot tell, except for the honour and glory of having one from David Ricardo. He has been here one whole day, and is exceedingly agreeable. This house is delightful, in a beautiful situation, fine trees, fine valleys, and soft verdure, even at this season: the library-drawing-room with low sofas, plenty of movable tables, open bookcases, and all that speaks the habits and affords the means of agreeable occupation. Easton Grey might be a happy model of what an English country gentleman's house should be; and Mrs. Smith's kind, well-bred manners, and Mr. Smith's literary and sensible conversation, make this house one of the most agreeable I ever saw.
At Bowood there was a happy mixture of sense and nonsense. Lord Lansdowne was talking to me on the nice little sofa by the fire very seriously of Windham's life and death, and of a journal which he wrote to cure himself of indecision of character. Enter suddenly, with a great burst of noise from the breakfast-room, a tribe of gentlemen neighing like horses. You never saw a man look more surprised than Lord Lansdowne.
Re-enter the same performers on all-fours, grunting like pigs.
Then a company of ladies and gentlemen in dumb-show, doing a country visit, ending with asking for a frank, curtseying, bowing, and exit.—"Neighbour."
Then enter all the gentlemen, some with their fingers on their eyes, some delighted with themselves.—"I."
Then re-enter Lord Lansdowne, the two Mr. Smiths, Mr. Hallam, and Mr. Fazakerley, each with little dolls made of their pocket handkerchiefs, nursing and playing with them.—"Doll."
Exit, and re-enter, carrying, and surrounding, and worshipping Mrs. Ord in an arm-chair.—"Idol."
This does not do for sober reading, but it produced much laughter.
We have been at Badminton: magnificent: library delightful. Here, as at Trentham, a gallery opens into the chapel, also the village church, and here is a great curiosity—Raphael's first chalk sketch of the Transfiguration; that is, of all the figures in the lower part: wonderfully fine, the woman kneeling, and the boy possessed, and the man holding him—admirable. Some fine pictures, too, though not a professed collection. Saw in the park a fine herd of red deer, the finest, it is said, in England. How shall I find room to tell you of the Roman pavements and Roman town found near this place, much better worth than all I have been penning! For nonsense I always have time and space.
To MRS. RUXTON.
EDGEWORTHSTOWN, March 21.
The Archbishop of Tuam breakfasted here this morning and sat with Lucy in her room: he said he thought he should be the better all his life for having seen such an example of patience and resignation in so young a person. He says he was amused during the Queen's trial by the sight of the processions in honour of Her Majesty: the glass manufacturers with their brilliant wares, ladies in landaus with feathers, the most extraordinary figures; and the Queen complains that her garden has been destroyed and all her furniture broken by her polite visitors.
So you like to hear of all our little doings, so I will tell you that, about eight o'clock, Fanny being by that time up and dressed, and at her little table, Harriet comes and reads to me Madame de Sevigne's letters, of which I never tire; and I almost envy Fanny and Harriet the pleasure of reading them for the first time. After breakfast I take my little table into Lucy's room, and write there for an hour; she likes to have me in her room, though she only hears the scribble, scribble: she is generally reading at that hour, or doing Margaret's delight—algebra. I am doing the Sequel to Frank. Walking, reading, and talking fill the rest of the day. I do not read much, it tires my eyes, and I have not yet finished the Life of Wesley: I think it a most curious, entertaining, and instructive book. A Life of Pitt by the Bishop of Winchester is coming out: he wrote to Murray about it, who asked his friends, "Who is George Winton, who writes to me about publishing Pitt's Life?"
Enclosed is a letter from our friend the American Jewess, [Footnote: Miss Mordecai of Richmond, on Maria's Life of her father.] written in a spirit of Christian charity and kindness which it were to be wished that all Christians possessed. It has given me exquisite pleasure; and you know I never feel great pleasure without instantly wishing that you should share it. Lovell has asked this good Jewess and her futur to come here, if she should visit Europe. He is at home now, and kind as ever to every creature within reach of his benevolence.
We have been reading Fleury's Memoirs of Napoleon. Get it in French: it is very interesting, or we never could have got through it in the wretched translation to which we were doomed.
Tell Sophy that Peggy Tuite, who turned into Peggy Mulheeran, has had a dead child. When my mother said to her brother, "Do not let people crowd in and heat her room," "Oh, ma'am, sure I am standing at the door since three in the morning, sentinel, to keep them out," the tears dropping from his eyes fast on the ground as he spoke. And all the time the old ould mother Tuite (who doats on Mrs. Ruxton-dear) was sitting rocking herself to and fro, and "crying under the big laurel, that Peggy might not hear her."
You may all praise erysipelas as much as you please, but I never desire to see or feel it again. Our boy, Mick Duffy, has been ill with it these ten days. Honora said to his father, Brian, "How can you be so fond of Michael; now that he lives with us, you hardly ever see him!" "Oh, how could I but be fond of him, the crater that sends me every guinea he gets!"
So Buonaparte is dead! and no change will be made in any country by the death of a man who once made such a figure in the world! He who commanded empires and sovereigns, a prisoner in an obscure island, disputing for a bottle of wine, subject to the petty tyranny of Sir Hudson Lowe! I regret that England permitted that trampling upon the fallen. What an excellent dialogue of the dead might be written between Buonaparte and Themistocles!
Ages ago I sent Bracebridge Hall to Merrion Street for you: have you got it? Next week another book will be there for you—an American novel Mrs. Griffith sent to me, The Spy; quite new scenes and characters, humour and pathos, a picture of America in Washington's time; a surgeon worthy of Smollett or Moore, and quite different from any of their various surgeons; and an Irishwoman, Betty Flanagan, incomparable.
What do you think is my employment out of doors, and what it has been this week past? My garden? no such elegant thing; but making a gutter! a sewer and a pathway in the street of Edgeworthstown; and I do declare I am as much interested about it as I ever was in writing anything in my life. We have never here yet found it necessary to have recourse to public contribution for the poor, but it is necessary to give some assistance to the labouring class; and I find that making the said gutter and pathway will employ twenty men for three weeks.
Did you ever hear these two excellent Tory lines made by a celebrated Whig?
As bees alighting upon flowerets cease to hum, So, settling upon places, Whigs grow dumb.
We are all in the joy of Francis' [Footnote: From Charterhouse; eldest son of the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth.] arrival: Pakenham at the tea-table has been standing beside him feeding him with red currants well sugared, and between every currant he told us, as well as he could, the history of his journey. "Talbot," Lord Talbot's son, who is his schoolfellow at the Charterhouse, was so kind as to go outside, that Francis might have an inside place at night. He met with so much good-nature from first to last in his journey, he wonders how people can be so good-natured.
* * * * *
Many of Maria Edgeworth's friends in England having invited her to visit them, she determined to spend the winter there, and set out in October with her former travelling companions, Fanny and Harriet, the two eldest daughters of the fourth Mrs. Edgeworth.
* * * * *
MARIA to MRS. EDGEWORTH.
KENIOGE, Oct. 23, 1821.
We have had a most delightful day, after sleeping well at Gwindu: we were in the carriage and off before the clock had finished striking six. In an interval of showers in a bright gleam of sunshine we passed Bangor Ferry: breakfasted nobly. Mr. Jackson, the old, old man, who some years ago was all pear-shaped stomach, and stupid, has wonderfully shrunk and revived, and is walking, alert and civil; and his fishy eyes brightened with pleasure on hearing of his friend, Mr. Lovell. Fine old waiter, a match in age and civility for the master; and a fine old dog, Twig, a match for both, and as saucy as Foster; for Mrs. Twig would not eat toast, unless buttered, forsooth!
Then on to Mrs. Worthington: excellent, motherly woman, the Mrs. Brinkley of the slate quarries. Her first question about you and William won my heart: she seemed so to have seen into you with that penetration of the heart, which is full as quick as that of the head, if there be any difference. She furnished us each with a pair of Devonshire clogs, that fitted each as if made for us; and as young Mr. Worthington was disappointed by a sore throat of the pleasure of accompanying us, he gave us a note to Mr. Williams at the Quarries; and good, dear Mrs. Williams, in her white gown and worked borders, trampoozed with us through the splish splash to all the yards, and with her master of the works showed us the saw-mills, and the mill for grinding flint, and for the china works.
Waiving the description of all this, I will not tell you of the quarries and the glaciers of slates, because I wish Harriet to write her own fresh account of her first impressions. I feel that she was even more pleased than I expected; and I rejoice that this first sight, which I had promised myself the pleasure of showing her, is secure.
This day's drive through Wales has been charming: a few showers, but always at the best time for us. I have at different times of my life seen Wales at all seasons of the year, and after all I prefer the autumn view of it. The withering red brown fern is a great addition of beauty on the white and gray rocks, and often so resembles the tint of autumn on beech trees, that you cannot at a distance tell ferns on the mountains from young plantations, touched by autumn colour.
We have just dined at this delightful inn, where you and Fanny slept in 1818, kept as I am sure you remember by two sisters with sweet, good-humoured countenances: most active, obliging people. I think the most discontented of travellers—old growling Smollett himself, if he could come from the grave in a fit of the gout—could not be discontented at this inn. Fanny, Harriet, and I have just determined that, if ever we are reduced to earn our bread, we will keep an inn like this.
Lest you should think that all the little sense I had is gone to nonsense, I must tell you that, during part of this day, we have been very wise. When there came ugly bits of the road, Harriet read out Humboldt's fifth volume; and I was charmed with it, and enjoyed it the more from the reflection that Lucy can share this pleasure with us. She has Humboldt, I hope; if not, pray get it for her. The account of the venomous flies which mount guard at different hours of the day is most curious. Humboldt is the Shakespear of travellers; as much superior to other travellers as Shakespear is to other poets. He seems to have at once a vue d'oiseau of one half of the world, and a perfect recollection of the other half, so as to bring together from all parts of the earth, and from all times, observations on the largest scale, from which he draws the most ingenious and the most useful conclusions. I will write to Madame Gautier to beg Humboldt to send to me portraits of the insects which appear on the Orinoco at different hours of the day and night, by which the natives mark the hours: it will make a fine contrast to the Watch of Flora.
To MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.
SMETHWICK GROVE, Oct. 25, 1821.
Here we are, my dear Honora, once more at the dear, hospitable Moilliets'; Emily making tea at the same well-furnished board, with her near-sighted, beautiful eyes picking her way among the cups.
We missed, by not arriving last night, a Frenchman who has been seventeen years learning to play on the flute, and cannot play, and who has been ten years learning to speak English, and yet told Mrs. Moilliet that he had a letter to Lord Porcelain, to whom his mother is related, meaning the Duke of Portland. He left this, determined to see the residence of "Lord Malbrouke." Mrs. Moilliet endeavoured to put him right, and to put the song, "Va-t-en Malbrouke" out of his head; but he quoted it with the authority of an old legend. "Blenheim," Mr. Moilliet told him, was the name of the Duke of Marlborough's place. "Ah, oui, yes; Blenheim, I know that is the inn." He would have "Malbrouke" as the name of the place.
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
WYCOMBE ABBEY, Oct. 30, 1821.
We spent two days instead of one at Smethwick. Nothing could be kinder than the Moilliets were to us; nevertheless, as dearest friends must part, we parted from them, and had a delightful drive to Woodstock. Fanny and Harriet will tell you of Blenheim; they were pleased, and you may be sure I was happy. At Oxford by twelve: found letter from Lord Carrington—most punctual of men—appointing the 29th. But no letter from Mr. Russell: sent the porter with note to him: "Mr. Russell gone to see his brother at the Charter-house." Porter trudged again with two notes, one to Tom Beddoes [Footnote: Her nephew]—"not come up this term:" another note to Mr. Biddulph—most civil and best of College cicerones—arrived almost as soon as the porter returned with his "very happy;" and he walked us about to all those halls and gardens which we had not seen before. Balliol and University gardens beautiful: at Corpus Christi beautiful altar-piece. Rested at Mr. Biddulph's most comfortable rooms at Maudlin: we went to Evening Service in the chapel: going in from daylight, chapel lighted with many candles: dim light through brown saints in the windows: chanting good, anthem very fine: two of the finest voices I ever heard, one of a young boy. Good tea at Tetsworth: amused ourselves next morning reading like ladies, and watching from our gazabo window the arrival and departure of twelve stage-coaches, any one of which would have been a study for Wilkie, besides the rubbing down of a horse with a besom: at first we thought the horse would have been affronted—no, quite agreeable. The dried flakes of yellow mud, first besomed and then brushed, raised such a dust, that in the dust, man and horse were lost.
Arrived here just at dressing-time. Lord Carrington had asked the Lushingtons and Dr. Holland—can't come. Count and Countess Ludolf expected to-morrow: he is ambassador from Sicily. Fanny says you and she met them at Lady Davy's.
To MRS. RUXTON.
WYCOMBE ABBEY, Nov. 2, 1821.
It is impossible to be kinder than Lord Carrington is to us: he wrote to invite everybody that he thought we should like to meet. We have had Mr. Wilberforce for several days, and I cannot tell you how glad I am to have seen him again, and to have had an opportunity of hearing his delightful conversation, and of seeing the extent and variety of his abilities. He is not at all anxious to show himself off; he converses, he does not merely talk. His thoughts flow in such abundance, and from so many sources, that they often cross one another; and sometimes a reporter would be quite at a loss. As he literally seems to speak all his thoughts as they occur, he produces what strikes him on both sides of any question. This often puzzles his hearers, but to me it is a proof of candour and sincerity; and it is both amusing and instructive to see him thus balancing accounts aloud. He is very lively, and full of odd contortions: no matter. His indulgent, benevolent temper strikes me particularly: he makes no pretension to superior sanctity or strictness. He spoke with much respect and tenderness for my feelings, of my father, and of the Life.
We have had, besides, Mr. Manning and his son, very unaffected and agreeable; and Mr. Abel Smith, a nephew of Lord Carrington's; and Mr. Hales, an old bachelor diplomatist, who told me the name which the Abbe de Pradt gave to Buonaparte—Jupiter-Scapin. Does not this name contain a volume?
To MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.
WYCOMBE ABBEY, Nov. 4, 1821.
God bless Mr. King! My dear Lucy, we have the best hopes now that your admirable patience and fortitude will be rewarded, and soon. We regretted the three-quarters of an hour Mr. King might have spent with you which were wasted at the coach office, but these are among the minnikin miseries of human life. You must often wonder how people in health, and out of pain, and with the use of their limbs and all their locomotive faculties, can complain of anything. But man is a grumbling animal, not woman.
We are reading Madame de Stael's Dix Annees d'Exil with delight. Though there may be too much egotism, yet it is extremely interesting; and though she repeats too often, and uses too many words, yet there are so many brilliant passages, and things which no one but herself could have thought or said, that it will last as long as the memory of Buonaparte lasts on earth. Pray get it and read it; not the plays or poetry which make up the last volume—why will friends publish all the trash they can scrape together of celebrated people?
Mr. Hales, my dry diplomatist, tells me that Madame de Stael, he was assured by the Swedish minister, provoked Buonaparte, by intriguing to set Bernadotte on the throne of France, and that letters of hers on this subject were intercepted. You will not care much about this, but you may tell it to some of your visitants, who will be in due time as full of Madame de Stael's Dix Annees d'Exil as I am at this moment.
Here is an old distich which my dry diplomatist came out with yesterday at dinner, on the ancestor of Hampden. The remains of the Hampden estate are in this neighbourhood, and as we were speaking of our wish to see the place in which the patriot lived, Mr. Hales observed that it is curious how the spirit of dislike to kings had run in the blood of the Hampdens some centuries before Charles' time: they lost three manors in this county, forfeit for a Hampden having struck the Black Prince.
Tring, Wing, and Ivanhoe, Old Hampden did forego, For striking the Black Prince a blow.
When this is read you will say he deserved to lose three manors for striking such a Prince.
Besides two spacious bed-chambers and a dressing-room, munificent Lord Carrington would insist upon our having a sitting-room to ourselves, and we have one that is delightful: windows down to the ground, and prospect—dark woods and river, so pretty that I can scarcely mind what I am saying to you.
Yesterday arrived a Mr. Hay, very well informed about mummies and Egypt, talks well, and as if he lived with all the learned and all the fashionable in London: his account of the unrolling of a mummy which he lately saw in London was most entertaining. All the folds of the thinnest linen which were unwound were laid more smoothly and dextrously, as the best London surgeons declared, than they can now apply bandages: they stood in amazement. The skin was quite tough, the flesh perfect: the face quite preserved, except the bridge of the nose, which had fallen in. Count Ludolf, who has been a fine painter in his day, says he has used mummy pitch, or whatever it is in which mummies are preserved, as a fine brown paint, like bistre, "only bitter to the taste when one sucks one's brush."
Mr. Hay, I find, is private secretary to Lord Melville. It is too much to have a Mr. Hales and a Mr. Hay.
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
GATCOMBE PARK, Nov. 9, 1821.
We arrived here on Wednesday evening to tea—beautiful moonlight night. At the gate, the first operation was to lock the wheel, and we went down, down a hill not knowing where it would end or when the house would appear; that it was a beautiful place was clear even by moonlight. Hall with lights very cheerful—servants on the steps. Mr. Ricardo very glad to see us. Mrs. Ricardo brilliant eyes and such cordial open-hearted benevolence of manner, no affectation, no thought about herself. [Footnote: David Ricardo (1772-1823), long M.P. for Portarlington, a great speaker and writer on Political Economy. He married Catherine, daughter of W.T. St. Quentin of Seampston Hall, York.] "My daughter-in-law, Mrs. Osman Ricardo," a beautiful tall figure, and fine face, fair, and a profusion of light hair. Mr. Ricardo, jun., and two young daughters, Mary, about fifteen, handsome, and a child of ten, Bertha, beautiful.
I was frightened about Fanny, tired and giddy after the journey; however, her first answer in the morning, "much better," set my heart at ease. A very fine day, all cheerful, a delightfully pleasant house, with uphill and downhill wooded views from every window. Rides and drives proposed. I asked to see a cloth manufactory in the neighbourhood. Mrs. Osman Ricardo offered her horse to Fanny, and Mr. Osman rode with her. Mr. Ricardo drove me in his nice safe and comfortable phaeton; Harriet and Mrs. Osman in the seat behind. The horses pretty and strong, and, moreover, quiet, so that though we drove up and down hills almost perpendicular, and along a sort of Rodborough Siemplon, I was not in the least alarmed. Mr. Ricardo is laughed at, as they tell me, for his driving, but I prefer it to more dashing driving. Sidney Smith, who was here lately, said, that "a new surgeon had set up in Minchin Hampton since Mr. Ricardo has taken to driving."
We had delightful conversation, both on deep and shallow subjects. Mr. Ricardo, with a very composed manner, has a continual life of mind, and starts perpetually new game in conversation. I never argued or discussed a question with any person who argues more fairly or less for victory and more for truth. He gives full weight to every argument brought against him, and seems not to be on any side of the question for one instant longer than the conviction of his mind on that side. It seems quite indifferent to him whether you find the truth, or whether he finds it, provided it be found. One gets at something by conversing with him; one learns either that one is wrong or that one is right, and the understanding is improved without the temper being ever tried in the discussion; but I must come to an end of this letter. Harriet has written to Pakenham an account of the cloth manufactory which Mr. Stephens explained admirably, and we are going out to see Mrs. Ricardo's school; she has 130 children there, and takes as much pains as Lovell.
Yesterday evening a Mr. and Miss Strachey dined here: he pleasing, and she with a nice pretty-shaped small head like Honora's, very agreeable voice. Mr. and Mrs. Smith of Easton Grey had come, and there was a great deal of agreeable conversation. An English bull was mentioned: Lord Camden put the following advertisement in the papers:—"Owing to the distress of the times Lord Camden will not shoot himself or any of his tenants before the 4th of October next."
Much conversation about cases of conscience, whether Scott was right to deny his novels? Then the Effie Deans question, and much about smugglers. Lord Carrington says all ladies are born smugglers. Lady Carrington once staying on the coast of Devonshire wrote to Lord Carrington that his butler had got from a wreck a pipe of wine for L36, and that it was in her cellar. "Now," said Lord Carrington to himself, "here am I in the king's service; can I permit such a thing? No." He wrote to the proper excise officers and gave them notice, and by the same post to Lady Carrington, but he did not know that taking goods from a wreck was a felony. As pale as death the butler came to Lady Carrington. "I must fly for it, my lady, to America." They were thrown into consternation; at last they staved the wine, so that when the excise officers came nothing was to be found. Lord Carrington of course lost his L36 and saved his honour. Mr. Ricardo said he might have done better by writing to apprise the owners of the vessel that he was ready to pay a fair price for it, and the duties.
To MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.
GATCOMBE PARK, Nov. 12.
We are perfectly happy here; delightful house and place for walking, riding, driving. Fanny has a horse always at her command. I a phaeton and Mr. Ricardo to converse with. He is altogether one of the most agreeable persons, as well as the best informed and most clever, that I ever knew. My own pleasure is infinitely increased by seeing that Fanny and Harriet are so much liked and so very happy here.
In the evenings, in the intervals of good conversation, we have all sorts of merry plays. Why, when and where: our words were—Jack, Bar, Belle, Caste, Plum, the best.
We acted charades last night. Pillion excellent. Maria, Fanny, and Harriet, little dear, pretty Bertha, and Mr. Smith, the best hand and head at these diversions imaginable. First we entered swallowing pills with great choking: pill. Next on all-fours, roaring lions; Fanny and Harriet's roaring devouring lions much clapped. Next Bertha riding on Mr. Smith's back. Pillion.
Coxcomb.—Mr. Smith, Mr. Ricardo, Fanny, Harriet, and Maria crowing. Ditto, ditto, combing hair. Mr. Ricardo, solus strutting, a coxcomb, very droll.
Sinecure.—Not a good one.
Monkey.—Very good. Mr. Ricardo and Mr. Smith as monks, with coloured silk handkerchiefs, as cowls, a laughable solemn procession. Re-enter with keys. Mr. Ricardo as monkey.
Fortune-tellers.—The best: Fanny as Fortune; unluckily we forgot to blind her, and she had only my leather bag for her purse, but nevertheless, she made a beautiful graceful Fortune, and scattered her riches with an air that charmed the world. 2nd scene: Mr. Smith and Harriet tellers of the house—"the ayes have it." Fanny, Maria, and Harriet, fortune-tellers; much approved.
Love-sick.—Bertha, with a bow made by Mr. Smith in an instant, with a switch and red tape and a long feathered pen. Bertha was properly blind and made an irresistible Cupid; she entered and shot, and all the company fell: Love. 2nd: Harriet, Mr. Smith, and Maria, all very sick. 3rd: Fanny, a love-sick young lady. Maria, her duenna, scolding, and pitying, and nursing her with a smelling bottle.
Fire-eater.—1st: Harriet and I acted alarm of fire, and alarmed Mr. Ricardo so well—he was going to call for assistance, 2nd: I was an epicure, and eating always succeeds on the stage. 3rd: Harriet devoured lighted spills to admiration, and only burnt her lip a little.
In "conundrum," Mrs. Osman was a beautiful nun; she is a charming creature, most winning countenance and manner, very desirous to improve herself, and with an understanding the extent and excellence of which I did not at first estimate.
To MRS. RUXTON.
EASTON GREY, Nov. 22, 1821.
Lady Catherine Bisset came with her two little nieces to call upon us, and Fanny won little Lady Mary-Rose's heart, partly by means of some Madeira and Portuguese figures from the chimney-piece, which she ranged on the table for her amusement, and partly by a whiz-gig, which Fanny plays to admiration.
And what is a whiz-gig? If you do not know, you must wait till I send you one.
Lady Catherine, when no one was seeing or looking, laid her hand on my arm most affectionately, and looking up in my face, said, "Do you know I have been half my life trying to be your good French governess. I love her."
We went to see her at her cottage, near her brother, Lord Suffolk's, and saw many curiosities from Ceylon, made entertaining to us by the comments and anecdotes of Captain Fenwick, who had been years at Ceylon. On our return we stopped to see Malmesbury Abbey—beautifully placed; the height of the arch sublime.
BOWOOD, Nov. 26.
We were fortunate enough to find Lord and Lady Lansdowne just returned from their tour. They looked at the Pyrenees, but they could not go into Spain, for the yellow fever rages there. A cordon of troops prevent any travellers who might be disposed to brave the danger of the fever, and fire if any attempt is made to pass. Lady Lansdowne would quite satisfy you by her love of the Italian women. Here are Miss Vernon, and Miss Fox, Lord Holland's sister, and Miss Fox, Lord Holland's daughter, and Mr. Ogden, the widower of that beautiful and extraordinary lady whom we met here three years ago. He has a great deal of cool, grave, gentlemanly humour, and has been amusing us with an account of his visit to Bowles, the poet, yesterday, and his musical sheep-bells and his susceptibility to criticism and his credulity. He wrote with all the simplicity of egotism to Murray to desire him, whenever any one who came into his shop was seen to look into the review of his controversy with Lord Byron on Pope, to pop into his hand his pamphlet by way of antidote.
Miss Vernon and Miss Fox are both very agreeable, and Miss Fox, [Footnote: Mary Elizabeth, who married, 1830, the third Lord Lilford.] the young lady, beautiful, timid, and charming.
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
MALL, CLIFTON, Dec. 3, 1821.
Our visit here and its object have been happily accomplished, my dear mother, for my sister and Mr. King seem quite pleased and gratified. Emmeline looks and is in much better health than when I was here before. I must go to breakfast now as the carriage is to be at the door to carry us to see Mr. Miles's pictures.
CIRENCESTER, Dec. 5.
Our picture day at Leigh Court surpassed our expectations. Poussin's famous "Land Storm;" "St. John," by Domenichino, the most striking, with a divine head of our SAVIOUR, by Leonardo da Vinci, and many others too tantalising to mention. Mr. King, Emmeline, Mr. Elton, and ourselves, filled the coach. Mr. King in high spirits, talked all the way there and back, and was exceedingly entertaining and instructive. He has great variety of tastes and acquirements, and we were delighted to hear him.
There was a large party the last night at Clifton, and I heard one new thing, a great deal to hear at one party. This new thing I shall keep for Pakenham; I wakened this morning with an intention of getting up remarkably early to write it for him, and I got up thinking myself a miracle of virtue and peep-o'-day woman; but lo! and behold, it was just nine o'clock. Good-bye to Pakenham and the Deadman's head, of which my own was full two seconds before; all that could be done was to scuffle about the room and rummage the imperials for gowns, frills, shoes, and gloves; all happily found, and on the right owners, and looking charmingly, ma'am, by breakfast time. Fanny and Harriet in their lilac and maroon tabinets. I am now writing in a delightful armchair, high-backed antiquity, and modern cushions. Company at dinner yesterday—Lord and Lady Bathurst, Lord Apsley, Mr. William Bathurst, Lady Georgiana, Lady Emily, Lady Georgiana Lennox, Major Colebrook, and Mr. Fortescue, whom we met at Paris, very agreeable, "melancholy and gentlemanlike." The conversation goes on here remarkably well: Lady Bathurst is perfectly well-bred and easy; Lord Apsley and Lady Georgiana very agreeable.
The Duchess of Beaufort's French governess published in 1817 a story called Valoe, which threw all high-bred London into confusion. Everybody, who is anybody in it, under feigned names, the picture of all the persons, manners, and character of all the young ladies who are supposed to file off before the Duke of Devonshire. No wit, but tittle-tattle truths. You can't buy the book if you were to give your eyes for it: all bought up by the Duchess of Beaufort. [Footnote: It was written by a governess whom she had dismissed.] Lord Apsley, who has a copy with all the names in it, lent it to me. Fanny had a pleasant ride this morning with Lord Bathurst, Mr. Fortescue, Major Colebrook, and Mr. Bathurst, who all returned charmed with her manner of riding, and she with her ride. Harriet and I had driven out with Lady Bathurst and Lady Georgiana—a delightful drive through this magnificent park. The meeting of the pine avenues in a star—superb. "Who plants like Bathurst?" etc. We saw Pope's seat, and "Cotswold's wild and Saperton's fair dale"—a most beautiful dale it is.
News from the best authority; probably it will be in the newspapers before you see this: Lord Wellesley is to be lord-lieutenant, and Mr. Goulburn, secretary.
To MISS HONORA EDGEWORTH.
WINCHESTER, Dec. 12, 1821.
Lest you should be staying in Dublin, I write this epitome to tell you what we have done. We spent two days at Cirencester, very entertaining. Delightful woods.
Friday to Dr. Fowler's, Salisbury, and stayed till today after breakfast; our four days deliciously spent. We have seen Salisbury Cathedral, and Wilton, pictures, and statues, and Lady Pembroke and her children, worth them all.
We were at Longford Castle yesterday; the strangest castle in the world. Finest private collection of pictures I have seen, or at least that in which there are the fewest indifferent ones.
We have seen Stonehenge! and spend to-morrow with Mrs. Moutray at Mr. Coxe's, Twyford.
THE DEEPDENE, Dec. 19.
We arrived here on Saturday. The first day there were Lady Mary Bennet, Miss Burrowes, and Prince Cariati, a banished Neapolitan, in very long-skirted coat, which he holds up by tucking one hand inside behind; good-humoured, and plays all sorts of petits jeux. Mrs. Hope has recovered her beauty, and she and Mr. Hope are as kind as ever, and asked affectionately after you, and so did Henry.
Mrs. Hogan, excellent Mrs. Hogan, has grown much older, but in all other respects the same, and next to our own dear Mrs. Billamore the most active and attached person in her station I ever saw. But why waste my time on housekeepers, when I should tell you of Lord Burford and his sisters, Lady Maria and Lady Caroline Beauclerc, who arrived on Monday, and Lady Westmeath and Mr. Smith (Rejected Addresses), and Mr. Lock, son of Norbury Park Lock: all come to go to a ball at Dorking, of which Mr. Hope is one of the stewards.
The Lady Beauclercs are beautiful, in the Vandyke style, and Lord Burford very handsome, and so is Mr. Lock, with a curly head.
Fanny danced a great deal, and Harriet two quadrilles and Sir Roger de Coverley, which ended at six in the morning. We met at this ball Mr. Greenough, and Mr. Angerstein, Sneyd's friend, very agreeable, and Mrs. Hibbert, of the beautiful cottage, and Lady Rothes. Mr. Smith excessively entertaining; he sings humorous songs of his own composition inimitably. Alas! he went away yesterday.
The evening after the ball they played at "the ring," a ring held on a string in a circle, and the fool in the middle seeks and challenges any suspected hand. This morning, the moment breakfast was over, they went into the hall of the marble table, and there played at petits pacquets (not time to describe), a great deal of running and laughing among pretty men and pretty maids.
As I stood at the window with Mr. Hope looking at a ring of company playing French blindman's-buff, we agreed we had never seen more beauty, male and female, collected in a circle of fourteen persons.
Mrs. Hogan has just announced the arrival of "Prince Cimitelli, and another name, ma'am, which I am ashamed to say I can never twist out rightly, is to come here to-day."
Mr. Smith told Fanny that he had intended to put me into the Rejected Addresses, and had written a part in the character of an Irish labourer, but it was so flat he threw it aside.
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
FROGNEL, HAMPSTEAD, Dec. 29, 1821.
We read—I mean we have heard read by Mr. Carr, who reads admirably, half the first volume of the Pirate, stopped at the chapter ending with the description of Norma of the Fitful Head. We were much pleased and interested, especially with the beautiful description of Mordaunt's education and employments: the sea-monsters, etc., most poetical, in Scott's master style: the manner in which, by scarcely perceptible touches, he wakens the reader's interest for his hero, admirable, unequalled by all but Shakespear. Wonderful genius; who can raise an interest even on the barren rocks of Zetland. Aladdin could only raise palaces at will, but the mighty master Scott can transport us to the most remote desert corner of the earth, ay, and keep us there, and make us wish to stay among beings of his own creation. I send a sketch of the room, and how we all sat last night as happy as possible listening to Mr. Carr reading; show this ground-plan to Honora, who knows the room, and she will insense you.
To MRS. RUXTON.
FROGNEL, HAMPSTEAD, Jan. 2, 1822.
We have been enjoying in this family every delight which affection and cultivated tastes, and cheerful tempers can bestow. Upon nearer acquaintance I find Dr. Lushington worthy of the prize he has obtained in a wife, [Footnote: Miss Edgeworth's old friend, Miss Sarah Carr.] and I have heard from friends, who differ from him in political opinions, such honourable testimony to his integrity and strength of mind that my heart is quite at ease about her happiness.
To MISS RUXTON.
FROGNEL, Jan. 3, 1822.
I believe I left off where I had mentioned the Pirate, which I hope you are reading to my aunt. The characters of the two sisters are beautiful. The idea of Brenda not believing in supernatural agency, and yet being afraid, and Minna not being afraid though she believes in Norma's power, is new and natural and ingenious. This was Joanna Baillie's idea. The picture of the sisters sleeping and the lacing scene is excellent, and there are not only passages of beautiful picturesque description, but many more deep philosophical reflections upon the human mind, and the causes of human happiness, than in any of his other works. The satire upon agriculturists imported from one country to another, who set to work to improve the land and the habits of the people without being acquainted with the circumstances of either, is excellent. I am sure my uncle will like and laugh with Magnus Troil. It is wonderful how genius can make even barren Zetland fertile in novelty. Both Morton and Tom Carr are very amiable and both handsome. Tom dark, like an Italian portrait; Morton fair, with light hair and quick-colouring with every emotion: a high sense of honour, chivalrous sentiments, and delicacy of taste.
New Year's Day was Mr. and Mrs. Carr's wedding day, and it was kept as it always is, with family rejoicings; Dr. Holland, as he has done for many years, and Joanna Baillie and Miss Mulso, an intimate friend, a niece of Mrs. Chapone's, dined here, which, with the whole family and ourselves, made a party of twenty. Mr. Carr gave many toasts; some so affectionate they made the tears roll down the cheeks of his children. In the evening there was a merry dance, in which Joanna and her sister joined, and then as agreed upon, at a given signal, we all ran up to our rooms and dressed in different characters. We did not know what the others were to be, but Fanny was a nun in a white muslin veil and drapery over her black gown—dressed in a moment, and I fell to decking Harriet, a pert travelled young lady just returned from Paris, in the height of the fashion: feathers of all colours, gold diadem, a profusion of artificial flowers, a nosegay of vast size, rose-coloured gauze dress, darkened eyebrows, and ringlets of dark hair which so completely altered her that no creature guessed who she was till Mrs. Carr at last knew her by her likeness to her mother; she supported her character with great spirit. I was an Irish nurse in a red cloak, come all the way from Killogonsawee, "for my two childer that left me last year for foreign parts." Little Francis was Triptolemus, in the Pirate, an excellent figure, and Mrs. Carr his sister Baby. Isabella, an old lady in an old-fashioned dress, and Laura as her daughter in a court dress and powder; Anna, a French troubadour singing beautifully and speaking French perfectly; William, the youngest son, a half-pay officer, king of the coffee house; Tom, a famous London black beggar, Billy Waters, with a wooden leg; Morton, Meg Merillics; Dr. Lushington, a housemaid; Miss Mulso, an English ballad singer; Mr. Burrell (I forgot to mention him, an old family friend at dinner) as a Spanish gentleman, Don Pedro Velasquez de Tordesillas; very good ruff and feathers, but much wanting a sword when the wooden-legged black trod on his toes. In the scuffle of dressing, for which only ten minutes were allowed, no sword could be found. From the quickness of preparation, and our all being a family party, this little masquerade went off remarkably well, and was very diverting to the persons concerned.
I heard yesterday from a friend of Lady Lansdowne's that Miss Kitty Malone has had the operation performed upon her eye; saw the ring on Alexander's finger, and exclaimed, "How happy you must be, sir, who can give sight to the blind!"
To MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.
MISS BAILLIE'S, HAMPSTEAD, Jan. 12, 1822.
I have been four days resolving to get up half an hour earlier that I might have time to tell you, my dear Lucy, the history of a cat of Joanna and Agnes Baillie's.
You may, perhaps, have heard the name of a celebrated Mr. Brodie, who wrote on Poisons, and whose papers on this subject are to be found in the Transactions of the Royal Society, and reviewed in the Edinburgh Review, in 1811. He brought some of the Woorara poison, with which the natives poison their arrows and destroy their victims. It was his theory that this poison destroys by affecting the nervous system only, and that after a certain time its effects on the nerves would cease as the effects of intoxicating liquors cease, and that the patient might recover, if the lungs could be kept in play, if respiration were not suspended during the trance or partial death in which the patient lies. To prove the truth of this by experiment he fell to work upon a cat; he pricked the cat with the point of a lancet dipped in Woorara. It was some minutes before the animal became convulsed, and then it lay, to all appearance, dead. Mr. Brodie applied a tube to its mouth, and blew air into it from time to time; after lying some hours apparently lifeless it recovered, shook itself and went about its own affairs as usual. This was tried several times, much to the satisfaction of the philosophical spectators, but not quite to the satisfaction of poor puss, who grew very thin and looked so wretched that Dr. Baillie's son, then a boy, took compassion on this poor subject of experiment, and begged Mr. Brodie would let him carry off the cat. With or without consent, he did carry her off, and brought her to his aunts, Joanna and Agnes Baillie. Then puss's prosperous days began. Agnes made a soft bed for her in her own room, and by night and day she was the happiest of cats; she was called Woorara, which in time shortened into Woory. I wish I could wind up Woory's history by assuring you that she was the most attached and grateful of cats, but truth forbids. A few weeks after her arrival at Hampstead she marched off and never was heard of more. It is supposed that she took to evil courses: tasted the blood and bones of her neighbours' chickens, and fell at last a sacrifice to the vengeance of a cook-maid.
After this cat's departure Agnes took to heart a kitten, who was very fond of her. This kitten, the first night she slept in her room, on wakening in the morning looked up from the hearth at Agnes, who was lying awake, but with her eyes half-shut, and marked all puss's motions; after looking some instants, puss jumped up on the bed, crept softly forward and put her paw, with its glove on, upon one of Miss Baillie's eyelids and pushed it gently up; Miss Baillie looked at her fixedly, and puss, as if satisfied that her eyes were there and safe, went back to her station on the hearth and never troubled herself more about the matter.
To finish this chapter of cats. I saw yesterday at a lady's house at Hampstead, a real Persian cat, brought over by a Navy Captain, her brother. It has long hair like a dog, and a tail like a terrier's, only with longer hair. It is the most gentle, depressed-looking creature I ever saw; it seems to have the mal du pays, and moreover, had the cholic the morning I saw it, and Agnes Baillie had a spoonful of castor oil poured out for it, but it ran away.
Joanna quoted to me the other day an excellent proverb applied to health: "Let well alone." If the Italian valetudinarian had done this his epitaph would not have arrived at the sto qui.
Captain Beaufort tells me that they have found out that the wool under the buffalo's long hair is finer than the material of which the Cashmere shawls are made, and they are going to manufacture shawls of buffalo's wool, which are to shame and silence the looms of Cashmere. Would my mother choose to wait for one of these?
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
HAMPSTEAD, Jan. 14, 1822.
We are come to our last morning at this hospitable house. Most affectionate hospitality has been shown to us by these two excellent sisters. I part with Agnes and Joanna Baillie, confirmed in my opinion that the one is the most amiable literary woman I ever beheld, and the other one of the best informed and most useful. I wish you had seen Joanna and Agnes each evening laying Fanny's feet up on the sofa, spreading their bright Stuart plaid over her, and a silk handkerchief hooded over her head so comfortable and so pretty, as Joanna said, she looked like one of Guido's pictures.
An hour after I had read your letter, arrived the gentleman who franks this letter, [Footnote: Mr. Abercromby—Lord Dunfermline.] one of the most sensible, well-bred conversers I ever heard. He began by giving us an account of all Lord Wellesley has been doing in Ireland, and entertained us for three hours with anecdotes of Fox and Mrs. Fox, and Lord Grenville, with whom he has been staying at Dropmore. He said that when he first went there and heard there was no company in the house, he was frightened out of his wits at the idea of a tete-a-tete with silent Lord Grenville; but to his astonishment, he found him tete-a-tete the most communicative and talkative of men; he had only to ask him what he pleased to set him off delightfully, like the Primate; those who can venture to talk to him freely, please him, and conquer his constitutional bashfulness. At breakfast he has three or four spaniels jumping upon him, he feeding, and protecting from them the newspaper, which he is reading all the time. He is remarkably fond of children. Mr. Abercromby saw him with two little boys, sons of a friend, and all the morning he was diverting them in the library, hunting for entertaining books and pictures for them. Such a new idea of Lord Grenville!