Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 2/Letter 120
|←Volume 2/Letter 119||Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth by
Volume 2/Letter 120
|Volume 2/Letter 121→|
To MRS. EDGEWORTH.
March 14, 1841.
Here I am, like a Sybarite, but with luxuries such as a Sybarite or Sybaritess never dreamed of: a cup of good coffee and some dry toast and butter, a good coal fire on my right, a light window on my left, dressing-table opposite, with large looking-glass, which reflects, not my face, which for good reasons of my own I never wish to see, but a beautiful green lawn and cedars of Lebanon; and on my mantelpiece stand jars of Nankin china, and shells from—Ocean knows where. And where do you think I am? At Heathfield Lodge, Croydon, the seat of Gerard Ralstone, Esq.; and met here at a large dinner yesterday Mr. Napier, and he comes for me to-morrow, and takes me to Forest Hill. At this dinner were two celebrated American gentlemen—Mr. Sparkes, who wrote Washington's Life; and Mr. Clisson, a man of fortune, and benevolently enthusiastic about colonisation in Liberia.
After luncheon I saw march by to church a whole regiment of youths from Addiscombe, which is near here.
But now I must retrograde to tell you, as I have a few minutes more than I expected, of a visit I had an hour before I set out, from a man fresh from Africa—a Scotchman by birth, a missionary by vocation, who had been twenty years abroad, almost all that time in Africa: sent to the Hottentots in the first place, and he converted many. They were taught to sow and to reap, and the women to sew in the other way, all by this indefatigable Mr. Moffatt; and they taught him on their part how to do the CLUCK, and Mr. Moffatt did it for me. It is indescribable and inimitable. It is not so loud as a hen's cluck to her chickens, but more quick and abrupt.
He said that when he was ordered to return home, he felt it as a sentence of banishment. "I had lived so long in Africa, I felt it my home, and I had almost forgotten how to speak English. I almost dreaded to be among white faces again."
1 NORTH AUDLEY STREET.
Mr. Napier brought me here by half after twelve.
I had a delightful drive with him in his little pony phaeton from Croydon to Forest Hill. Mr. and Mrs. Napier are more and more delightful to me in conversation and manners the more I see of them. A brother, Captain Napier, very conversable, and full of humour; he has a charming daughter, and has been in all parts of the world, and loves Ireland and the Irish.