Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 2/Letter 102
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Volume 2/Letter 102
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MARIA to MRS. EDGEWORTH.
EDGEWORTHSTOWN, Jan. 28, 1835.
The other night Harriet stood beside my bed before tea-time, and when I started up and said, "Tea is ready, I suppose," she told me that Mr. and Mrs. Danvers Butler and Miss Taylor were coming to tea. I thought it was a dream, but she explained,—they had come to Briggs's inn on their way to the County of Cavan, and could get no beds. Luckily we had two unoccupied rooms. Honora managed it all exceedingly well, and Barry took Mr. Danvers Butler in hand while he had dinner; the ladies preferred tea and coffee. They seemed much pleased by their reception. Mrs. Danvers Butler was a Miss Freemantle, and when I mentioned Lady Culling Smith and our Connemara adventures, she said she knew her very well and the Carrs, "all musical, highly accomplished, and such a united family." How oddly these little feltings of society go on in this way, working into one another little fibres of connection so strangely!
In the morning Briggs's four horses were put to their heavy chaise, and with main difficulty it was got through the yard and to the door, but not all the power of all the servants and four or five people besides could prevail upon these half-flayed-alive beasts to stir from the door—they would only back. So at last Barry was so kind as to send his man Philip with our black horses with them to Granard. We had as many thanks as well-bred people could give, and a cordial invitation to Leicestershire, if that could do us any good. Mr. Danvers Butler is handsome and gentleman-like, and she is charming: she had with her a favourite little Italian greyhound, with a collar of little gilt bells round her neck, which delighted the children, and she in return admired the children, Willy especially.
Lady Stafford—or the Countess-Duchess of Sutherland's magnificent memoir of her Duke, bound in morocco, with a beautiful engraving of him, reached me yesterday, but I have been in such a bother of tenants and business, I have had time only to look at the engraving and the kind inscription to myself.
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Mrs. Edgeworth writes:
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At the time of the general election in 1835, Maria was placed in a painful position as her brother's agent. The tenants were forced by the priests to vote against their landlord, and in his absence my son-in-law, Captain Fox, who had been much interested for the defeated candidate, wished to punish the refractory tenants by forcing them to pay up what is called the hanging gale of rent. Maria was grieved at any proceeding which would interrupt the long-continued friendship between these tenants and their landlord, and she was also anxious that there should be no misunderstanding between her brother and her brother-in-law. Captain Fox wrote to Sneyd to explain his views, and upon receiving Sneyd's letter in reply Maria writes to him of her sentiments on the occasion.