Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 2/Letter 19
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.