Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 2/Letter 35
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Volume 2/Letter 35
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To MRS. O'BEIRNE.
BLACK CASTLE, Jan. 15, 1823.
We are delighted with Peveril, though there is too much of the dwarfs and the elfie. Scott cannot deny himself one of these spirits in some shape or other; I hope that we shall find that this elfin page, who has the power of shrinking or expanding, as it seems, to suit the occasion, is made really necessary to the story. I think the dwarf more allowable and better drawn than the page, true to history, and consistent; but Finella is sometimes handsome enough to make duke and king ready to be in love with her, and sometimes an odious little fury, clenching her hands, and to be lifted up or down stairs out of the hero's way. The indistinctness about her is not that indistinctness which belongs to the sublime, but that which arises from unsteadiness in the painter's hand when he sketched the figure. He touched and retouched at different times, without having, as it seems, a determined idea himself of what he would make her; nor had he settled whether she should bring with her "airs from heaven," or blasts from that place which is never named to ears polite.
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In May 1823 Miss Edgeworth took her half-sisters Harriet and Sophy to Scotland. It was a very happy time to her, chiefly because there she made an acquaintance with Sir Walter Scott, which soon ripened into an intimate and lasting friendship. He had already admired her stories, which he spoke of as "a sort of essence of common sense."