Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 1/Letter 117
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Volume 1/Letter 117
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To MISS RUXTON.
We have been much interested in the life and letters of that most excellent, amiable, and unpretending Lady Russell. 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.
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.
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 from England to Edgeworthstown, where with short intervals, they continued to reside as long as they lived.
- 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.
- Sisters of her two former stepmothers, the second and third wives of Mr. R. L. Edgeworth.